News & Politics

Gun Control Discussion
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david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
Hello hello, people of fig! I know this site is basically dead, but I'd like to make a thread! A thread on the dead site? Indeed!

Today's topic is gun control, and boy is that a hot-button issue!

As an American gun owner, hunter, military reenactor, gun collector and wannabe-historian, this issue is really close to home for me.

I don't want to cover every side in detail right now, I'm typing on an iPad and I don't have forever to type this, so I'll just state my own case.

Currently there are estimated to be more than 300,000,000 guns in the United States, making us likely the only country in the world with more guns than people. However, the number of people with guns in this country is actually decreasing, down from 50% in the 70's to just 31% today. This means that most Americans do not have guns, but those that do have about 3 on average. I'm not going to say here how many guns I have, but suffice it to say I'm much closer to 30 than to 3.

Knowing the number of guns, you start to wonder what kinds of guns. As it turns out, the VAST majority of these guns are hunting rifles or .22 calibre guns. While any gun can kill people quite easily, in fact .22 lr was, at least until recently, the most lethal cartridge in the nation due to mishandling of the firearms and people assuming it couldn't kill them. But while any gun can kill, hunting rifles and .22s are virtually never used in crime due to their cumbersome nature and the .22's lack of stopping power.

From what I gather, foreigners think the U.S. is unlimited in gun ownership, but in reality we do have regulations in all states. My home state of PA is one of the most liberal states for gun laws. Here, you're required to have a permit to have a stock or a bipod on a handgun, or to have rifles and shotguns under a certain length or this permit is needed to get a silencer for a weapon.(Class 2 permit there. Issued to law enforcement and regulated security companies, I think some non-active-duty military personnel may be able to get class 2, but it's difficult.) A class 3 permit is required for any fully-automatic weapon, i.e. "machineguns".(Class 3 permits are available to the public, but very expensive and they require registration on all such firearms as well as background checks to even get the permit. Pretty much the only people that can get these permits are wealthy collectors.) Class 4 is for explosives, and is limited to demolisions experts and military advisors of certain qualifications. Class 4 is strictly regulated, and virtually impossible to get.

Excluding permits, you have to undergo a background check to buy a handgun, and you have to fill out transfer paperwork to get pretty much any gun, with the exception of private purchase of rifles between civilians.(PA is liberal there, other states tend to regulate that more, but in PA you can buy a rifle or a shotgun from another civilian non-dealer without paperwork, as long as it doesn't need a permit.)

Oh, and from what I gather, PA has no regulations on black powder firearms, though they're still considered weapons. I think that you're allowed to own them if you're a former felon as long as you're no longer on probation. In all fairness, this is what you might call a "musket", which would be virtually impossible to use in most crimes, and a baseball bat would be more effective. Oddly enough, the black powder itself is more regulated than the firearms, but that's because it has other uses.

Does PA have a lot of gun crime? I think it does in the cities, but I don't go to those. I spend my time in a rural area, where it's in the news for weeks if a murder happens within 70 miles of here.

Anyway, our gun regulation isn't too strict, gun crime isn't the highest, either. However, accidents do occur, and that's also a problem.

As a gun owner, and the vast majority of my guns are under the "hunting rifle" category, I am wary of people who just say "we need gun control" because I'm used to people who say that but aren't able to tell the bayonet lug from the butt. In the 1990's there were a series of bans put in place, many of which were based entirely upon the appearance of an item that had no effect on safety.(At times certain guns were even banned for their names. The companies changed the names and the law makers didn't notice, nor did they feel the gun was threatening anymore. It was essentially anti-gun histeria that got little done.)

However, as a gun owner and collector, I am appalled by many other gun owners. So many gun onwers that I know have accidentally discharged firearms, others have mishandled guns, loaded the wrong ammo or simply don't even know what their gun is!

I can't agree on banning guns. I consider them fascinating historical artifacts, useful tools and beautiful works of art. However, I don't think it's acceptable for any work of art, any tool, or any historical artifact to be in the hands of someone that doesn't know how to use it and doesn't appreciate and respect it.

If I were in charge, I would make gun safety classes, *not hands-on classes* required as part of public education. I would then have a, preferrably mandatory, test given at age 18 requiring you to answer a series of firearms safety questions. Some questions would be mild gun knowledge, like asking people to recognize the difference between a bullet and a cartridge, or the difference between a magazine and a clip. Those things would be able to detract from your grade, but one wrong wouldn't be an instant fail. Then there'd be instant fail questions, like "When is it okay to point a gun in the direction of another person?" and if you give an answer other than "Never" or "In extreme cases of defence" then you'd instantly fail. Passing this test grants you a firearms license, which since it would be mandatory, or at least encouraged, for most people, more licenses would be issued than people would get guns.

With this kind of test, assuming you fail you's have to wait at least a year to retake the test, and if you fail a total of 3 time you will not be able to take the test again. Likewise, if you pass the test you should be required to have the license renewed every few years, like a driver's test. Upon being arrested for serious crimes, the license would be revoked. Depending on the nature of the crimes, you may not be permitted to retake the test. The license could also be suspended or removed in cases of mental illness, depending on severity.

This license would be registered, but purchase of non-permit firearms would not be registered. You would be required to show your license at purchase, the same as many firearms purchases require you to show our driver's license or state I.D. Why not register all the firearms? Most American gun owners fear that you'd have your guns taken by the government. While I doubt that will ever happen, and I honeslty don't care about that issue, I do see the possiblity, astronomically slim though it may be, that if our country were invaded an occupying army would use a list of registered gun owners as a list of people to put in prison camps. At least with this test something like half of Americans would be on the list of peoplewho could legally own guns.

Really, I don't want fewer people owning guns, but I want more people understanding them. Often times gun related accidents occur when someone who does not own a gun is messing around with someone else's gun and doesn't understand what they're doing.(My uncle nearly lost his... Manhood... When he was a kid because one of his friends was messing around with a gun he didn't realize was loaded.)

Of course, I actually fear most Americans would fail these tests. So many Americans are just so... Stupid. If you don't know how to handle guns safely, how to maintain them, how to keep them away from children, then you have no business having guns.

I still support requiring permits for the weapons I mentioned before.

Anyway, that's where I stand. Basically, the same we have now, but a bit of regulation to ensure safety.
Ribbit
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My view on this matter is heavily depend on me being very unfamiliar with guns of any sort and me feeling very uncomfortable around subjects that go hand in hand with typical aggressive machismo stereotypes (like for example football and cars also). I don't know if that's clear though, since maybe that is a very personal stereotype of me, but I have the impression that owning and knowing how to handle a gun is somewhat seen as a test of some manlyness, or toughness in general. People draw some kind of feeling of selfworth out of it, which, as it seems to me, chiefly wants to downgrade the value of others, the ones who don't fit that sterotype, instead of simply feeling good about themselfes. The case presents itself to me the same on the topic of cars (or sports cars) and also football.

Anyway, I irrationally feel uncomfortable about guns, is what I want to say, so I am biased obviously. So my natural reaction would be: I want to ban all guns and production of guns too.

Of course that is a) not possible and b) also not reasonable if possible. The argument that criminals, who are the main problem related to guns, are defined exactly by not following laws is a convincing one. And a world where all people who do follow laws have no guns but people who follow them still have guns, is not favourable. On the other hand, I do not see criminals all too often, or at least notice them. But when everybody around me would have guns all the time, I definitely would not feel save about it. There are a lot of not-exactly-criminals who I wouldn't trust around anything like a gun. Of course they could, in a drunken stupor, also take a stone and throw that on my head and it would have the same effect as a gun, in some cases, but that wouldn't satisfy their machismo instinct as much.

Now I digressed again into my irrational fear territory of course. In view of that, I am for registration and regulation. For every gun. I follow the simple logic that a criminal would not be allowed to have a gun, so if you find a gun on somebody who is not registrated for it, you would at least have a reason to investigate it, if registrated the case is already cleared. This has of course to go hand in hand with education and schooling on that matter, much as you proposed, I'd say. Sounds reasonable in general, from my uneducated perspective.

One thing to add to that: Age restriction on the other side. Regions in Germany where the old hunters strife through the woods have become dangerous for nature lovers. They are advised to wear brightly coloured road safety vests, so the old hunters don't think them to be boars or something.

All around I would feel a lot saver with reasonable people who are also well trained for all sorts of occasions, with guns, and ordinary people, who are in general stupid, drunk or maybe only careless, and also tend to panic, with no guns.

Oh, and on a side note: From an engineering perspective, guns are very interesting and fascinating, I'll admit any time. But it's also very sad to me that so much brain matter and hard work had to be put into a deadly tool like that.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I see what you're saying and agree on much of it. I didn't get around to mentioning age in my previous post, but I should mention it now.

In the U.S. you're not allowed to buy a gun or ammunition unless you're over 18, but there is no maximum age, which could be a problem if someone is cenile, but in that case individual testing wouldmbe needed, rather than age discrimination, which would be quite cruel. But handgun purchases require you to be over 21.

In the U.S. there is controversy over open-carry, that is people visibly carrying guns rather than hiding them under their clothing or in a bag or pocket or something along those lines.(Hiding it is called concealed-carry.) Currently in PA open carry is legal in most public places, with exceptions being banks, federal property of any kind, schools, courthouses, bars/alcohol stores where you could get drunk or other things along those lines. Concealed carry is also allowed in the same situations, but only if you get a concealed carry permit. The carry permit, as it's called, is needed to conceal a legal firearm on your person in those situations. You do not need a permit for open carry. In most cases, open carry is frowned upon, and often spooks people around you. Businesses have a right to set up no-guns policies, which forbids anyone from entering with either a concealed or non-concealed firearm, with the exception of law enforcement officers.

In my recollection, excluding at gun shows where guns are bought and sold or gun shows, or when people are hunting, and also excluding police and soldiers, I've only seen someone open carrying once. It was a few months ago and someone had a revolver in a holster in their hip, something small and inoffensive. He was carrying it at an outdoor farmer's market where literally dozens of guns are for sale at any given time. A fair number of people noticed, but no one complained. It's a rural area, a lot of people have guns.

However, since it keeps people calm around you, concealed carry is usually recommended. My dad once told me that open-carrying was asking for otrouble, and I thought he meant that someone who would commit a crime would target you because you'd pose a threat to them. When I thought that, I figured that open carry would be better then because if someone wanted to commit a crime and they targetted me, then I'd be better able to handle it than someone unarmed. Now, however, I realize that the trouble wouldn't be from criminals, but from other people who were scared of guns, who would complain or call the police because they were scared.

As such I have a concealed-carry permit. I virtually never carry a gun, but I do at times when I'm going to a particularly rough place, or when I'm going out in the woods.

Anyway, enough about carrying, I also wanted to address hiking!

We actually have state forests, state hunting lands and private lands/semi-private lands. State hunting lands, i.e. "game lands" do not allow hiking normally. They are considered to be permanent hunting areas. State forests are only designated for hunting in certain areas, and only during certain hunting seasons.(You're limited to hunting certain animals during certain times of the year.) Private land can legally be hunted on by the owner, or with the owner's permission, and you can still only hunt things that are "in season".

If you go to a game land, or if you are in state woods during a hunting season that people can be hunting in, you are required to wear a certain number of inches of fluorescent orange clothing, visible from all angles. The only exception is Turkey season, but I think that's only if you're on private land. It doesn't matter if you're hiking or not then, you must wear orange. Furthermore, if you have any gun on you during hunting season, even if it's not a legal hunting gun, in fact especially if it's not a legal hunting gun, you have to have a hunting license on you, and depending may also need a carry permit. Game wardens may take you in to custody if you have a gun that is not legal for hunting, but you may be allowed to have one, provided that you have a valid purpose.(For example, if there were bear sightings in the area, and you wanted a pistol as a defence against bears. Even so, the game warden may reprimand you, but it's not a written law. It's best to consult your game warden before hand, or to carry a hunting-legal revolver.)

Hunting licenses require you to take a test, and you're recommended to take an education class prior to taking the test. You must be 12 years old or older to get a hunting license, though there are some very thoroughly monitered events where people between the ages of 10 and 16 are allowed to hunt without a license, under close adult supervision. Again, hunting rifles only. Oddly enough, these events have proven very safe, and have been wonderful bonding experiences for families.

I find it odd that taking a test to be allowed to buy a semi-automatic rifle that cannot be used for hunting is considered extreme by many Americans, but they don't bat an eye at the idea of requiring a test for people to go hunting. You can thank the NRA for both of those things. I learned recently that the NRA was founded on the idea of training people the proper use of guns, educating people on guns, and even trying to put gun control and safety measures in place. Then there was an internal coup where the pro-control faction was overthrown by a more extreme anti-control faction. Suddenly the NRA became obsessed with stopping all gun control. The old NRA required tests for hunters, but the new NRA stops people from trying to make tests for gun owners. It's really sad. The NRA has become a rapid political group that only wants to feel tough, but it was once about safety, knowledge and respect.

But yeah, you're idea of gun owners is both right and wrong. Many gun owners buy guns, as my dad says, "to compensate for their small penises". The same people often watch American football, drink beer and drive very large red American made pick-up trucks that serve no purpose and make a lot of noise. People exactly like that are so common that you cannot be in public around here for 10 minutes without seeing exactly what I described.

However, there are also genuine gun enthusiasts. People who like guns for historical value, or as pieces of fine engineering, or people that keep 1 gun for home defence, or people that like hunting. Most of these people are very mild-mannered and far from cruel about guns. Some of them are paranoid and fearful, yes. I've seen many gun owners screaming "Obama is gonna take all our guns!". Many of those same people,also said that within a year of him taking office he would make all white men slaves and take all the white women and give them to black men as sex objects. Oddly enough, none of that happened. The only thing he did was pushed to close a loophole in gun show sales regulation, that's all he did in 8 years, and it was only after several mass shootings.

One problem, however, is that even with the best regulation, the majority of crimes are commited with illegally owned firearms. A couple years ago there was a mass shooting where someone hand a semi-automatic assault rifle and shot several dozen kindergarteners. The media kept stating that the gun was legally owned. In actuality, the gun was legally his mother's gun, and he had broken into the closet where it was locked up, used the gun to kill his mother, and then went on the rampage. This is considered stealing, but the media assumed that it somehow counts as legally your when you kill the rightful owner or something. However, it still proves a major problem in gun control laws.

In reality, most crimes are commited with guns stolen from legal gun owners, from police, or often times illegally made or illegally imported guns. Luckily, we can limit the stolen guns by properly locking up and hiding guns. Guarding them also helps.

Uh... Now I think I've gotten so far off your comment that even I'm lost. I should stop this here. Sorry for rambling.
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
I have yet to be convinced of the purpose of firearms in anything other than police work and military work. And then again, I am not very fond of the military.
My life experience with guns is as follows: in fiction, the news, biographies, and sheathed in a cop's belt.
I have never seen a real unsheathed and ready gun, and for similar reasons, have never felt the urge of seeing one.

Then, one day, I stumbled on a video advocating conceal-carry on youtube. Naturally, the comments were very pro-gun. The video contained real audio records of people calling the police as they were being attacked by people. The "happy" scenario ended with the man shooting the aggressor twice in the chest, killing him and saving everyone.
When I commented about how this was presented as nothing short of a thriving success, and that it seemed a bit cavalier since a death had just happened, I was unsurprisingly lambasted. But then I pushed the argument further, and realized that I was talking to people that lived in places where criminality was at a much higher rate; people whom were genuinely worried about their security. We also explored how it was hardly realistic at all to hope to shoot someone anywhere but in the chest (center-of-mass as it was called; apparently, even cops are trained to shoot at center-of-mass, because it's just that hard to hit a target. It was also presented that someone hit anywhere by a gun still had chances of dying anyway).

So, security, personal security, seemed to have something going for it. After all, in extreme cases, it's not unreasonable to use extreme measures.
In Canada, it seems to be less of an issue because regulations are stricter, and I'm happy with not knowing what a "life with guns in it" feels like.
I'm against hunting, but only marginally.
I'm not against shooting as a sport if it's very well regulated.
I am almost uncontrovertibly against any gun that is as much as semi-automatic, because seriously, that's just designed for killing, not protection.

The biggest question, one that is very difficult to answer because it's at the core of the controversy around the right for carrying guns, is whether gun access exacerbates gun crimes.
It seems that the military is the obvious culprit here, and I really wonder what would happen if they were to suddenly go out of budget. On one hand, security measures would be decreased and crime would increase as a result. But the implicit decrease in impetus to the gun market might just as well reduce gun-related crime in itself. Would decreasing gun incentive also decrease gun crimes?

I don't live in that kind of reality. Naturally, I can only think "well gosh, I wish America was as gun-free as Canada"
From where I stand, I can't help but hear people advocate carrying guns and just wonder "Why don't we just ban guns altogether?"
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
You bring up a good point about the impracticalities of defence with guns, however there's a lot of variation to it. For instance, if someone is using a shotgun, you could aim for a general area and hit the person. Shotguns are considered ideal for home defence, since they have a pellet spread that increases the likelihood of hitting the person,they can be loaded with less lethal ammo, such as bean bags or rock salt, and they do not over penetrate, so it's much less likely to go through a wall and hurt someone on the other side.

Shotguns are also common hunting guns. Since shotguns can be loaded with many different kinds of ammo, they can be used in most places for most kinds of hunting, ranging from birds and squirrels to deer. The different ammo makes it possible to kill a wide variety of animals without causing unnecessary damage.

They're also very easy to make and very inexpensive.

There is a major drawback, though. They're very effective at killing humans, and they're also virtually impossible to trace because they have no rifling. If you murder someone with a shotgun and walk away, they couldn't trace it back to that gun. This makes the shotgun a common criminal weapon.

Luckily, they're also short ranged. Most rifles can shoot lethally at a range of about 1,000 meters if you take your time to aim, though they're not going to hit the target every time. Shotguns do little damage beyond 35 meters. After about 100 meters, a shotgun is about as effective as throwing either coarse sand or fine gravel at someone.(One time some shotgun pellets fell on me while I was hunting. The person shot upward at a bird over a burm a while away, quite far enough that the pellets lost all velocity and fell harmlessly to the ground.)

But anyway, the chance of hitting anywhere other than centre-body-mass is very low for most people in the moment of a threat. That's why police train for it. However, it doesn't always work. For example, during the North Hollywood Shootout during the 1990's two men wearing body armour got into a gunfight with police officers. The police handguns were unable to pierce the body armour, which resulted in many officers getting shot, despite accurately landing shots onto the shooters' torsos. The police had to commandeer assault rifles from a nearby gun shop to kill the one man, and the other man killed himself. Many officers were injured, and I think some died. The one suspect was actually physically brought down to the ground, oddly enough, after several officers shot under a car and hit his feet and legs, though the assault rifles finished him off while he was still shooting. The suspects had limited protection around their heads, but the police didn't shoot for the heads. They just fell back on their centre-body-mass training, and it bad negative consequences.

It's still safest to shoot like that, but some situations require quick thinking, and sometimes that's not practical. A lot of weapons are said to be used for defence, but may be impractical. There's a lot of blurring of what's okay in the political world in the U.S.

However, semi-automatics are actually common in the target shooting/sport shooting world, and semi-automatic shotguns are also common in the bird hunting world, or in handicapped people's hunting, since they mit not be able to manually cycle a bolt-action.

And for the record, bolt-action rifles are legal for hunting in Canada, though I think they're tightly regulated. Handguns are also legal in Canada, but so tightly regulated that you can't keep most types of handguns in your home, and have to register them with law enforcement.

Uh... i'm off topic. I'll stop here.
donutsizzle
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We should take away guns. Let's start with the human rights violators that we've sold them to--namely Israel and Saudi Arabia. Let's take all that excrement back. Then let's give all those guns, tanks and helicopters to the Kurds and Palestinians they've been used to mow down. Eye for an eye, right?


Naw, I don't know. My first ever post on this site was about this topic and it started me off with a barrage of negative FLIGS. My opinion is that we need to reassert consistency within our 2nd amendment. The second amendment was written with the intention of allowing US citizens to defend themselves against tyrannical governmental rule. Which means the only way to maintain the spirit of the amendment is for the citizenry to have access to the same weaponry the government has access to. This can either be achieved by restricting the weaponry our government can use, or by freeing up the citizenry to possess weapons of mass destruction. Or we could change the amendment. One of those 3 things needs to happen, otherwise the 2nd amendment is just excrement, and our constitution is excrement, and intercourse it all.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I always figured it could be foreign tyranny. I mean, at the time the constitution was written, the British kept invading us, trying to take us back. In terms of protecting us from invasion, the right to bear arms has actually been effective in the past. In WWII the Japanese made a report on the feasibility of invading the U.S. and determined that it wouldn't work because the Americans had "A rifle behind every blade of grass, a shotgun behind every door".

Also, currently the thing we have going for us about stopping our own government is that the military is made of citizens, of the people. If the government were to become too tyrannical, I'd imagine a large chunk of the military would rebel as well. Of course, the increase in the use of drones means more weapons that the government could turn off and switch controller to loyalists at a moment's notice, and fewer real humans to convince. Drones allow the few too much power, and they're inhumane. But for now our military is mostly human.
donutsizzle
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Ok, but the purpose of the Constitution was to ensure a viable democratic/republican system self-sustaining and self-protecting. Hence the founders were fully appreciative of the potential danger of local monarchy/dictatorship. Britain is not going to give two excrements about our Constitutional guarantees, yet we're promised privacy, assembly, free language, etc.. (the deists did us right)

Our military is made of citizens. Our police force is made of citizens. Our government is made of citizens. Our billionaires are citizens.

That doesn't seem to prevent the great thefts, from the native peoples, from immigrants, from minorities, from workers (wage slavery), the education debt machine, the medical debt machine, the real estate debt machine, lead in our drinking water, they're feeding us poison (sugar, etc.) in EVERYTHING soda, pasta sauce, "cheesey snacks" and everything else pumped full of poison, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, we may as well be hooked up to machines that slowly leach off our essence while we lie catatonic

You think people are really gonna rise up? One nuke. You think people are gonna rise up? Two nukes. You think people are gonna rise up? Ebola, Bird Flu, mustard gas, sarin, you and I have no idea the kinds of biological and chemical weapons our military has or could have at its disposal within a fraction of the time it would take people to "rise up."

Our fellow citizens in the police, government, military wouldn't do that to us, right? But we are not the authority over them; they are the authority over us. Stanley Milgram taught us a little something about authority. And they are trained by another authority machine, trained to ask "how high?" when told "jump."

It doesn't have to be this way, it is possible it won't be. I may be a cynic and a nihilist, but that doesn't mean I can't be an optimist.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I don't disagree that the government can oppress the people, it certainly does, but A: that's not *because* of the constitution and B: there are limits.

Bear in mind those limits can change.

Example of a limit: Corporal Cooper is a USMC. He's been in the service for a while, he's no longer active duty. He's on leave with his family, sitting, eating dinner. His Sergeant shows up at his house, hands him a gun, aims another gun at his wife amd says "I'll kill your wofe, you kill your son." The Marine will kill his Sergeant.

Example of a limit changing: Private Parts is an active-duty army G.I. fresh out of basic. Parts is told that people in his home town have stockpiled a cash of weapons and are plotting to overthrow the government. Parts' unit engages in combat with the local rebels. During the fire-fight one of the armed rebels firing at him is his wife. His Sergeant has been wounded. Parts shoots his wife.

Example of confusion: Lance Korporal Schmitt has been in combat again rebelling civilians in his homeland for two months. Today he saw a town burned to ruin. His squad mates are currently playing football with a little girl's skull in the ashes of a schoolhouse. He vomits. Tonight Lance Korporal Schmitt goes AWOL because he can't stand the war anymore. He's not alone. This war has seen the highest suicide rate of all time as people literally wage war against themselves. What's more is that defections occur and recruitments have ground to a halt. More than half of the armed forces are mercenaries. The war is a tragedy, and the government is feared, but not respected. The idea of peace no longer exists, and the only people with hope are the rebels who die in vain trying to extinguish tyranny.

Complicating factor: San Nguyen is standing in the middle of his village, or rather what remains of it after a napalm blast turned it in to a pile of burning sticks where houses stood, and the sickeningly sweet smell of burning long-pork where his family farm once lay. San does not decide at this moment to like the people who bombed his family, but instead picks up a Norinco Type 56 and waits in ambush for the attacker's infantry to appear. Years later Akmed Bashir is herding goats in a pasture outsided Baghdad when someone drops a "signalling" bomb near him. The bomb contains white phosphorus. He is burned severely, and scarred for life. He, like everyone else damaged by these attacks, becomes irate. Today he works as a remodeller, often recycling 155mm shells into fireworks, sure to blow his nay-sayers away.

Oppression with weapon's actually increases resistence. Oppression with economy starts the war. Oppression with propoganda, and manipulating people as your tool of oppression results in increased death rates of the lower class and profits for the bourgeoisie. Hate-washing and idealized images of granduer with promises of power and ultranationalism, like claiming you'd make America great again or something else that totally isn't reminiscent of anything, that is how people are oppressed and driven into their own hell.

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Anyway, though. I see what tou're saying, but the more people their are in the military, and the more the military comes from 'we the people', the harder it is for the government to oppress the people using the military. If the military launches nukes, then some people in the military might stop those nukes, or turn them against tyrants. No one is saying it'd be a bloodless thing, but in the end a nation is nothing without it's people, and the harder you hit the more the people will resist. There is no such thing as breaking their back with brute force. The only ways to won guerrilla wars are to be the guerrillas or to take away the need for them to fight.

As for the first part, I don't think the British would pay attention to the laws either, but the point is that if the American people had guns and the British invaded, the American people would have guns. If guns were banned then, the American people would have fewer guns and the British would have taken longer to be defeated, and more deaths would result. Think hedgehog spikes.(Apt comparison, since a hedgehog can hurt other hedgehogs, or itself.)

I certainly won't say it's a flawless idea, but I do think it's a bit dated. I honestly think we should disband the military and form regulated defence militias. Not that every-hick-with-a-gun stuff, but real cautious organizations. Not one to rise up against the government, one that is by the people so the government doesn't even have a sword to use on the people. If that makes sense.


donutsizzle
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In principle I'm in favor of your idea of localized militias, might even favor in practice if it weren't for the corruption rampant in small-town police departments (due to lack of oversight?) (which seems analogous)

I do feel a little under-addressed on 2 points: 1.the great thefts, including the theft of the planet, the theft of land/resources, the theft of labor through artificially deflated wages, the theft of economy via falsified markets, the theft of information, the theft of nutrition, etc.; 2. Stanley Milgram's experiment and what it reveals about authority structures. You are right that the oppressed will struggle against their oppression, but those wielding authority will struggle as much or more to hang onto that authority in the face of challenge, even overshadowing the authority to which they are themselves subject.

My only proposal is consistency, since it is pointless to try to work within a system that doesn't even maintain consistency within itself. Any "progress" will amount to white noise if the actual manipulators cherrypick their way through it.

We have a constitutional amendment created to ensure the ability of the citizenry to defend itself against tyranny. I see one of three options to make this work. 1 - restrict the weaponry of the military to close the gap between them and civilians. 2 - deregulate the weaponry of civilians to close the gap between them and the military 3 - change the amendment (we have that power; that's how the amendment was written in the first place)
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I meant to respond sooner, but I could never muster up the will, i.e. I'm lazy. :P

I didn't address other thefts and such because I thought those subjects were better discussed on another thread, rather than here.(A political thread is overdue, but I'm too lazy to start one at the moment. Perhaps you could try one? I might later, but not for a couple of days, probably.)

I'm not familiar with Stanley Milgrim's experiments, though I'm somewhat interested in what you say, but I'd rather not read up on it on my own, since most consumer-directed readings would be... Really boring. I'd rather hear what it's about frrom someone like you, that way I can actually think, question and so on with a real person instead of a book. I am, however, familiar with guerilla wars, where civilians fight military oppressors. Every time one guerilla is downed by oppression, two arise from the civilian population to oppose oppression. The hydra of resistance.

As for your options, I like option 1. The U.S. could actually get rid of its military entirely and people wouldn't invade us. We still have a lot of guns.

Ideally, I'd like to see it instead with heavy weapons in locked-up stations, guarded, only authorizing weapon use in emergencies. These weapons would only be accessible to members of an emergency service that would function much like volunteer fire police, or like firemen. Most often their uses would be directing traffic from car accidents, or helping to evacuate civilians from disaster areas. Until there's an invasion, these people wouldn't have access to any explosives or IFVs or anything.

This would ideally also apply for police forces in general. Why do I say this? My university has a party every spring called "springfest". While springfest is going on, the students hold "block party". Block party has drinking. One year they decided that the drunk students running around on the streets, as they always do, was too violent or something, even though nothing was happening. They called in an armoured car and started tear-gassing students, then they arrested students who threw rocks at it, and tried to bill them for damaging a headlight.

Escalation of force for no good reason is vile.
donutsizzle
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I replied to you, but accidentally as a new post in the thread.
donutsizzle
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1.

The basics behind the Milgram experiment (more or less):

The proctor says something along the line of "turn this knob to 1." You turn the knob, and you can hear someone in another room cry out in pain. The proctor says, "turn the knob to 2" and the sounds of pain from the other room become louder/more intense. The proctor continues to ask you to turn the knob further, and the sounds of pain continue to intensify until "10" or so, when they stop. The stranger you've been torturing has died.

In actual practice of this experiment, the participants willingly turned the knob higher and higher, most of them getting very near to or reaching 10 before or rather than refusing.

Some authority figure says jump, and even unconditioned civilians are likely to ask "how high?" even without being formally trained (conditioned) to do so (like police and military are).

2.

Couple this with Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. In this experiment (more or less) a group of participants is split randomly in two. One half is told, "You are the guards, and these [the other half] are your prisoners."

Over the course of the experiment, the guards become more and more willing to assert their authority, exercise control. The prisoners do, in fact, resist. However, the resistance is met by escalated authority, attempts to reassert control, even with force. Remember, these are just regular people, playing a silly role, and yet when given authority over others they very quickly conform to the role and exercise, even abuse, that authority. And the prisoners are regular people, too, discovering themselves suddenly put into a very uncomfortable, unfair, and actually dangerous position, and they begin to escalate their resistance as well, causing two-fold escalation on part of the guards. The experiment is prematurely shut down because the safety of its participants has been compromised.

Here we see that authority is like a drug to those wielding it, and they must reassert and increase that authority to "chase the dragon" or try to achieve the same or greater highs than the first sparks of its exercise caused them.

3.

Guerrilla warfare is not like the hydra. Guerrilla warfare is as temporary as human life. This can be seen in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is one of the most tragically, abhorrently economically destroyed nations in Central America. Why? The United States.

The United States has repeatedly destroyed Nicaragua. With helicopters, guns, bombs, actual boots on the ground. In clandestine warfare. The US has done this to almost every country in Central America and in the Caribbean as well as many South American countries. We like to pretend we didn't, but we did. Central America, the Caribbean, and South America are all abundantly wealthy in terms of natural resources, yet why are they third world countries, the vast, vast majorities of their citizens living in poverty? The US.

And why didn't they fight back? They did. Guerrilla Warfare from a small, undeveloped, poorly armed country like Nicaragua, even with the support of the majority of the people (who democratically elected the Socialist Sandanista government that the US deposed using assassination and terrorism) were unable to fight off the US political and corporate interests (as well as abundant weapons and US troops and secretly funded contra and terrorist groups within the country). At some point, living on one's knees actually seems preferable to dying on one's feet. The fight can be stifled in many ways, generally including a combination of force and propaganda.

4.

One problem with the idea of the dormant weaponry you propose is that if you leave a door open you've got to expect someone to walk through it.

Another problem is that it requires the corporate interests that control our government and thus our military to let go of the power they have (the power to kill anyone and anything between their pockets and a starving man's last dollar), which seems as likely as Elvis rising from the dead to play a Heart Health Awareness benefit concert.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I'll try to respond to points in order, but please forgive my own lack of knowledge. Unfortunately, the American education system is excrement, and there are also some shortcomings in my own learning.

1. Now I remember that experiment, I simply didn't remember what it was called.(The thing about psychology is that I tend to remember the results, the cause and the effect, but I always forget the who came up with it, when, where and what it was called.) As I recall, the original Milgram experiment was something about you seeing the person getting an "electric shock" with increasing levels of pain. I think there was something like a third, maybe it was something like a tenth, but there are a number of people that refused to administer shock. And they were only administering shock when the "test taker" gave a wrong answer or something like that. The number of people that took the shock all the way up to 10 was actually quite low, as I recall, but they were told that 9 could be lethal to the person, so that just goes to show you that humans are worthless, and deserve to go extinct. Or something.(I miss being so cynical like this! It takes me back to when Fig was more active. )

2. I'm actually familiar with the Stanford experiment, even by name. It made a special impact with me since my parents worked as psychologists at prisons, and I had been through my own juvenile experiences with the quasi-correctional system.

In my observations, the more the people were told that the people they were handling were stupid or criminals, the worse they were treated. The staff at the placements I went to as a juvenile ranged from the one placement, where most of the staff hit the kids and I only managed to hold a conversation with one of them, to another place where all the staff had regular conversations with the kids, and the chairmen of the board went out of his way to personally help me when a situation had been fouled up. Of course, the people at the first place were your basic highschool dropout correctional officers, and the last place was actually a lot of very highly trained staff, many of whom were in similar situations as kids, but rather than growing up to become bullies, they cultivated their empathy.

But yes, since I could relate to the Stanford experiment, I took interest in it. In all honesty, I suppose you're using the word "authority" where I use the word "power".(I don't believe in authority, and pretty much take a 180 whenever someone claims to be an authority. If someone treated me like an equal, I treated them like an equal. If someone treated me like an inferior, I treated them like an oppressor. I will never believe in the superiority or inferiority of others based on status, only on personal merit.)

I agree that power tends to corrupt, but it's not a certainty. For example, it's well known that faith is powerful, and therefore religion gathers power, and therefore the large religions of the world are powerful. Many religious figures are super powerful people, and these positions of power attract power-craving people. However, there are good people in positions of religious power. I truly believe that both the 14th Dalai Lama and Pope Francis are very good people, even as major religious leaders. I do not think they're corrupt or evil. However, I will bethe first to admit, nay proclaim to others of my own volition, that the church is often used for evil.

However, unlike most Figs, I don't blame religion or power, but the actual people who abuse religion and power. We've seen organized religion do evil things, and we've seen it do good things. We've seen billionaires hoarde up their money and buy politicians, but we've also seen billionaires create new charities and save thousands of lives. What it comes down to isn't that power is evil, but that power should be used with caution and kindness. Power is just energy. That energy can move you forward or push you back.

People who claim to be superior, though... they're just @$$40£€$.

3. I see what you're saying with those, but I don't think those wars actually defy what I said, and by that I mean I forget what I said, and going back on my iPad to see what I said at this point would be a pain.(Please don't quote whatever I said. That's even more of a pain.)

But I'm not sure that the people weren't won over, or at least satisfied with what they have. I won't deny that they're oppressed, but it's nothing like what it could be. But I do agree, we used scumbag tactics amd strategies. Throughout the cold war, we always supported the dictators. Gaddafi, for example. Total arse. We were cool with it, though, because profit. Profit means power, and those in power want more power, because the people that seek positions of power crave power. Those that crave power only want more.

Anyway, it comes down to a formula. If you oppress the people, the people will dislike it. There's a point where too much oppression gets the people to revolt. You can either change how much you oppress the people, or change how much they'll tolerate. If you don't change those, you'll still have a revolt. Many revolts succeed, though certainly not all of them. The ones that succeed often succeed because the dictator increases oppression, which just makes it worse. That's what we did in Vietnam. But if you decrease oppression, you end revolts. It's much harder to change what the people will tolerate, though. That takes more care. It's too complicated for me to understand, though. I'm not that Machiavellian.

Uh, my me hurts too much... I think you know what that was all about... Probably.

4. I should certainly hope it'd be kept under lock-and-key. To be honest, I'd like it if these armouries would have the level of security that our nuclear arsenals have, and I'd like our nuclear arsenals to be shrunk about a thousand fold and put under super-strict security.(Literally the only valid use I can think of for nukes is defending us from some really powerful alien invasion.)

As for the people in power agreeing to it... Well, I think that's why some many Americans want guns. You get to have the power to make that rich CEO as powerful as average Joe. That's one thing I love about guns. In their own morbid way, they make everyone equal. Swords require strength and training, so only the people that seek the ability to kill, the ones who seek that power, can have power. But with guns, anyone can kill anyone. It's sad and sick, but it's true, pure equality. It is cold, neutral equality. Some people say guns are good, some say they're evil. I say they's objects of power, and people are both good and evil.

Anyway, maybe gun people are saying that the rich power-holders can be brought to justice by guns. But the catch 22 there is that it would be a rebellion to fight those people, unless they changed the laws that they'd only change if there were a rebellion.

I still think that power should only mean ability, never authority. 1 person should always equal 1 person, and no one's word should be more important. Respect should always be earned, never given, and all power should be questioned, all people suspect, and equality be met. I guess that makes me an idealist, eh?
donutsizzle
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"Power should only mean ability" doesn't just make you an idealist,

it makes you an anarchist (of a particular flavor, but an anarchist).

You've heard, I'm sure, "people get the governments they deserve"

or something along those lines. It is not exactly true.

Although it does require mob complacency for governments to function

a government can still dominate a people into submission

easier to do when done clandestinely

take Haiti for example:

∞ LINK ∞

∞ LINK ∞

∞ LINK ∞

a trend toward anarchism is a goal that seems almost universally beneficial (except to the exploitative class), it seems we agree
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I like the idea of anarchism in a realistic way, but I think that it must be reached slowly and gradually. I think that it may actually be best instead to have what would kinda be the opposite of anarchism, which is to say everyone being the rulers. It's not that I don't want their to be governing, but that everyone should have total equality in it, and no one should have authority above others. But anarchy becomes much more hopeless when you consider that there will always be people that try to exploit things more. Basically greedy people would use the lack of authority to exploit others who lack physical ability. Or something.

But if you slowly evolve society into anarchy, I think it could work.

Over all, people are evil, people in power are evil, people in power make the rules and the victors write the history books while the oppressed write the songs played in run-down taverns, telling the tales of better days, past and future.
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
Is this dead already? Hrm.
With the recent gun-slaughter news in Florida, I wondered what would happen here. But nothing seems to have come up.

In addition, I came across this article
∞ LINK ∞
donutsizzle
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There is a way, probably, to use the core values of "conservatives" (tradition, unchangingness, etc) around a compassionate cause that somehow includes change (see prohibition for example).

If there were some way to harness the unity "conservatives" feel around their tribalistic fear/pride, but to direct it toward some good rather than toward some selfish or sinister goal (trump).

I cannot entirely immerse myself into the mindset, being as polar opposite as I am (I'm down for progress, any progress, smash tradition), which I recognize is equally exploitable to selfish or sinister goals (hillary, obama)

The bill of rights we've been talking about, the one built by the deist elite, is full of excellent guaranteed freedoms aside from the freedom to arm oneself. If somehow, those voices could be rallied around the American traditions of free speech, free press, free assemblage, right to privacy, freedom of and from religion, etcetera....

This post is about a much larger issue than "gun control" (which really needs some replacement buzzwords that sound more palatable), but its related in that these exploitable features common in conservativism are being taken advantage of to control the conversation.

Again, I do not mean to single out conservatives as the only group exploited in this way, since liberals bought into "Change" and "Yes We Can" while weapons have flowed unimpeded from the US to terrorist nations during Obama's duration in office, perhaps even increased, since the conservatives have distracted from these dealings by railing against Obama's supposedly liberal acts such as "Expanding Healthcare to All Americans!" AKA: forcing Americans to entangle themselves with the increasingly lucrative health insurance industry, leading them into the arms of the pharmaceutical industry, leading many of them into the arms of the illicit drug industry, leading them into the arms of the "justice system" (what a crock of excrement), then into slave labor as incarcerated "criminals."

I'm trying to cover too much ground here.
The point is, these same exploitable weaknesses can be used for universally beneficial purposes like the advancement of technologies, the reduction of military interventions, the refinement and replacement of such systemic and destructively exploitation rather than its construction and defense. Hypothetically. On a psychological or sociological level (though not, perhaps, with abundant historic precedent or much real political momentum). It's possible, at least, it seems, in principle.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
Personally I think gun suicides shouldn't be listed as a negative. If a person is going to kill themself, I honestly think a gun is a good way to go. It involves less suffering than other methods.

But anyway, I agree that the NRA is stupid. Very, very stupid.

But anti-gun factions are also stupid. It seems that gun issues bring out stupidity. The other day The Daily Show did a report on gun violence, and they showed a video of an ISIL official saying that in America you can buy a fully automatic assault rifle without paperwork. I'd say that's as true in the U.S. as it is in the U.K. or in... Name somewhere else where that is *possible, but absolutely illegal*. the Daily Show aired this video as if it were truth, but in the U.S. it is absolutely illegal 100% of the time for anyone anywhere in the country to buy a fully automatic weapon without paperwork, licensing, transfers, taxes and most importantly background checks.(It usually requires a class 3 permit, but it's possible to buy one without the permit by paying an extra $200 and having a federal transferal of ownership stamp.

But that's still beside the point. I just f***ing hate it when people are ignorant about what they're talking about, and people on both sides of the argument, or rather all sides, since it's not binary, are intentionally muddying things to add to the confusion. Statistics are contradicting other statistics, surveys giving opposing views, arguments that straight up lie, false information and bad fact-checking... This whole issue is hell.

I love guns. I love having guns. I don't want the government to know how many guns I have, I don't want to have them taken from me. I want to keep the guns I have. I want to get more guns in the future. I haven't hurt anyone with guns, nor do I intend to. Why do I have guns? Well, K98s aren't exactly something for mass shootings.(If you don't know why, then you're too ignorant about guns to be talking about them.)

I want to protect people. I want people to stop these mass shootings. Arming everyone isn't the answer, that just means more idiots with guns. I demand we crack down on idiots.

Suicides should be disregarded as gun violence. Suicide is not evil. I consider suicide both a right/freedom, and a symptom of disease or injury. The tool used is not the cause, though it may to some extent be a catalyst. I'm sure my brother thought something along those lines, too.
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
It's a pretty bold thing to say that suicide is not all that bad, in a community [fighunter] with a history of people that have contemplated suicide. I think I've also heard (can't remember, but regardless it's plausible on its own) that suicidal people are more likely to die if they have access to a firearm.
It's very arguable that people have the right to suicide. Many philosophers of justice that have influenced modern justice assumed suicide to be wrong. It is, after all, a violation of our *own* rights; we do not *own ourselves* (as they would say). Suicide is not legal in all countries or states. Suicide can be said illegal the same as assisted suicide. If assisted suicide is illegal, then I don't see why it would be valid to cast off gun suicides.

Arguing (as I assume you would in response to this) that other means of committing suicide is messier achieves about the same as pointing out that gun control *may* save lives; it obfuscates the issue at hand. People *may* choose to kill themselves either way, and end up suffering more, or not, but they may also plain decide not to kill themselves (better), or fail to kill themselves (kind of better), so I do think suicide by firearm is a good point against gun ownership.

I do agree, however, that strict gun control is a good thing. That much is not matter for debate. I do wonder, though, if incentive for the existence of guns promotes the ability for people to bypass gun control. This would not be a premiere.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I worry that if guns didn't exist, there'd be more violence with swords, and jocks who get their rocks off by hacking people limb from limb as their blood ran down their face would become the norm... Since, I mean, they'd be the only people to go through the training to use a sword in a fight. Basically only the people who want to kill people would have the ability. Let's face it, some people like to kill people.

Anyway, back towards the subject at hand. I personally feel there's probably no one on this planet, save for maybe a few people who committed suicide but were revived, who should have more of a right to speak freely on suicide than me. That sounds hella selfish, but it's kinda complicated. Or simple, depending on how you look at it.

You see, suicide seems to pervade every facet of my life anymore. When I was younger I tried to kill myself a couple times, mostly not very serious, though I've pointed a loaded gun at my head and tickled the trigger at least once.

One time I was at a gun show and I was carrying some stuff my dad and I got at the show out to the car. I was looking for the car, saw a cop rolling out yellow tape and figured their was an accident. Well, I thought it was something on the other side of the tape, but it turned out the cop just hadn't blocked off where I was walking yet, so I saw someone who just killed himself in the parking lot. He was actually protesting against the show earlier that day, trying to say that guns were the cause of violence. People didn't think much of it when he bought ammo for a shotgun, asking if it would kill someone in one shot. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but I think he was trying to prove that it was too easy to get ammo or something. The thing is, whatever he wanted to convey, it fell on def ears and was blown away in the wind. He just looked like some crazy guy who went out of his way to try to say guns were bad, then he did a bad thing himself. At least, that's how other people saw him. I saw him as a middle aged man in a salmon coloured shirt, khakis and a leather belt, lying in a pool of his own blood mixed with some glass blown out of the rear window of the vehicle next to him. He chose that, and it's not my place to say he had no right. It was his life, so he had a right to choose how to end it.

More recently suicide came much closer to me. Last year in May, my oldest brother killed himself. He used a gun, blew his brains out on his back porch. His girlfriend just left him and was trying to take the kid, planned on lying about him so she'd be awarded custody, threatened him in some other ways. I found out afterwards that suicide runs in my mom's side of the family, and that he was the third or fourth person we know of in the family to kill themself.

I decided long ago that my family could handle a suicide, but not two, so now I'm stuck with my life until something else ends it. I hadn't been as inclined towards suicidal tendancies since I was about 20 anyway, so I guess it's fine that I don't really think about it too much anymore.

I think that people should have the right to kill themselves. A person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A person has the right to incarcerate themselves, the right to make themselves sad, so why not the right to die? To forbid suicide is to prevent someone from choosing their own death. The stigma, the taboo, has to stop. I don't like that my brother killed himself. It made things hell for me. It made things hell for my family. We're still trying to fight his ex-girlfriend for custody of the kid. She's raising him terribly, but a child's grandparents and two uncles have far less sway than the biological mother, even if she's using drugs. Frank killing himself piled up problems on the rest of us, it absolutely did.

But I still think Frank had the right. It wasn't the best thing, if I had the chance to go back in time, I'd try talking him out of it.(After giving him a good solid punch in the jaw, of course.) But it was his choice, and it wasn't his fault. When it came down to it, if I had the choice to let him pull the trigger or to take the gun from him and send him to a mental hospital where he couldn't hurt himself, I would let him kill himself. He has more of a choice to die than I should to force him to live. I have my words, but he has his right. It's just that people all around the world try to block that right.

You sometimes hear people say "depression is a disease", which is absolutely true. And suicide is a symptom of a disease, or a mental injury. Just because it's in your head, doesn't mean it's not real. If you get an injury and it becomes infected, you can die. If you get a disease, the symptoms can kill you. Suicide isn't really different from that. When people blame the victim for their suicide, it sickens me. Frank isn't at fault. He tried to get help, but only too late, and at a cost. You see, he was in the military as well. He was never deployed, but he was a state-side officer. The military provides mental health services, but the catch is that you're basically going to be given a medical discharge if you're suicidal, and then he'd be out of his primary source of income, and he'd be out of a lot of potential jobs that hire former military personnel. Basically it's like saying "If you feel like ending your life, your life is over".

But I digress. When it comes down to it, I can't really see suicide as this evil thing that people make it out to be. As for guns, they make suicide much easier. I tried hanging myself, and I highly don't recommend that. I once tried knives and, to be honest, it doesn't seem as hard as I expected. A good sharp knife, you'll hardly notice the slice, and placed correctly you'll bleed out in no time. There isn't really pain with blood loss, you'll just pass out.(I didn't lose any blood with my cuts,[which, incidentally, were accidental when someone tried to stop me] but I know what blood loss does.) But using a gun is preferable. It's very easy and very quick... Unless your aim sucks, but that's your fault. Presumably it's painless, since it's so quick. Aimed right, you can sever your medula, so you shouldn't feel any pain with that. Of course, blowing up your whole brain should also do the trick.

So you should also be able to figure that I believe that if there is a heaven and a hell, suicide victims aren't sent to hell just for killing themselves.

But there's this strange idea that saving lives is *always* better than someone dying. I think assisted suicide should definitely be legal. Suicide without being revived should be a crime punishable by death.(That one's a joke, you see? Because they're already dead.) Is it right to save someone from death when they're ready to die? If natural death were a thing of the past, would immortality become mandatory, or should we allow people to die? I consider the right to death just as important as the right to life. Death is not evil, it's just death. The only thing our universe doesn't need is suffering. Suffering is useless. If someone suffers, their suicide shouldn't be called evil, the suffering should be called evil. You don't treat the symptom, treat the disease, help the person when you can, but know sometimes you have to let them go.

As someone so close to suicide, I guess it's sort of a "there's nothing more you can say to make it look like I don't understand suicide, I understand it fully well, but I still have my own opinions on the matter regardless" sort of thing. At some point I'd like to make a thread about suicide.
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
You add interesting insight to the question.
I didn't say that suicide was wrong, but that *the way philosophers of justice have considered it* made it out to be essentially wrong.
People that commit suicide are in general in a very dire state of mind, so I agree that it's not their fault.
I wonder, though, what role you feel guns had to play in the suicides you just talked about (since this IS about the impact of guns in suicide cases). Do you not feel that the people would have had *less* chance of dying, and that things might have turned out *less* badly if guns had not been available?
Removing gun access would not rob people of the chance to kill in itself, it would just make them less likely to succeed (and as you said yourself, depression is an illness; I personally consider a person killing himself or herself when depressed the same as a person killed by some other physiological disease. This is different from deaths of alleged "I suffer every second of my existence", i.e. in an objective healthy *and complete* mindset; suicide is okay in this case, to me).
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
I frankly don't came what the philosophers think. I've been more skeptical of philosophy ever since I had a philosophy class where my professor answered virtually every question with "No". Even so, there's no really certain way to say what's good and bad, so people define things based on their personal standards. Most of anti-suicide stuff in the west is based on religion. In Japan, suicide is far less stigmatized, in fact at times it's romanticized. That being said, the stigma is on the rise their, most likely due to western influence.

But in a case where a gun not being present could prevent a suicide, or cause the attempt to fail, I'd say that's actually *worse*. Other means of attempting suicide involve more suffering. Poison causes suffering, hanging yourself causes suffering, slitting your throat is painful and takes time, time in which you may regret it or fear. Some would say this means that the person could have more time to realize they shouldn't kill themselves, but I can't imagine it's anything short of hellish suffering. Guns reduce the suffering.

Taking guns away may prevent attempts at suicide, but suicide may be a good thing if the person is suffering otherwise. At least, that's how I see it. You're free to feel differently, I won't try to impose my views on you, I just can't think of suicide as being as bad as so many other people think it is.
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
This debate is pretty open, you shouldn't feel like there's a need to say that suicide is right or wrong here. As we have pointed out, it's relative in a few ways.

Since you seem to find it difficult to defend *against* suicide, I'll try to highlight strong arguments from a typical anti-suicide position.

I think that the ideas behind the "surprising" opposition to suicide comes from the same cultural background as the people that claim that a single life is more valuable than anything else.

I feel this sort of position (that life is extremely valuable) can be defended based on two arguments:
1: the argument that whatever suffering which could lead to suicide acts as a misdirection. The future is uncertain and can be considered a "veil of ignorance" in the sense that killing ourselves now is much like killing some other individual in the future. This becomes non-trivial as soon as you realize that life changes very fast, and sacrificing 50 years of life to escape a seemingly hellish present could be misguided.
Similar arguments are made when arguing against abortion, although unlike suicide, I find myself not to be really against abortion at all. The difference, to me, is that resources have ALREADY been invested in the individuals' life, so his death would mean that all that the investment did not "really" pay off. The same cannot be said for the death of an embryo. This stems from a feeling of societal responsibility, and ties in with point 2.
2: the argument that anyone in society has a duty as a citizen, not because they are "FORCED TO BEHAVE!!!11" but because a citizen can simply not do all that he wants to. Society would not make sense without these kinds of social contracts; it wouldn't make sense if eveyrone was given the right to kill or steal. It wouldn't make sense if everyone spent away every single penny, leaving their entire family with a huge loan, and then kill themselves to "avoid the pain". As I pointed out, you can see an individual as a living investment of resources; his prematured death is the failure of that investment; it is therefore not desirable to have suicide (and here I do not say that it's a responsibility; just that it's not desirable). Tangentially, you could argue that any death whatsoever will eat at the state of equilibrium that may lie in any social context. Emotional, political and economical equilibrium can very easily be broken if someone decides to kill themselves.

Incidentally, I find it surprising that you haven't even scratched at the thought that the life of your family (and your brother's child) might not have been as bad if your brother had failed to kill himself, and then might have turned his life around, after eventually managing to push through his darkness (somehow), and so on.
While this is a hypothetical, if you put immense value on life (as many do), then even the sliver of a chance of saving a life has great value.
david s
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david s 25 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1193C
He did increase the burden on all of us, that's true, but as you were saying about the social contracts, it wouldn't be fair for him to go through all of the dakrness on his own. We, his family members, should have been able to help. Admittedly, at the time we did the best we could, but we couldn't live his life for him, so it was essentially like he was in the dark without a candle, and we were a picture of a flashlight, not actually capable of creating light in his world, but trying to convince him that there was still light in the world. But since it was so dark, he couldn't evn see that.

He messed things up for a lot of people, but he went through much worse.

I understand that a lot of people value life above all else, but I don't think it's good to make people continue living if they don't want to. I mean, isn't there a point where you should be allowed to die? I think both life and death are important rights. Give the person options and alternatives to suicide, try to make their lives better by all means, but don't go with the "STOP THEM AT ALL COSTS!" route.

I could imagine no worse torture than eternal life.