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10-23-18 02:03 PM

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Posted on 10-07-17 10:56 AM Link | #90149
This is not a post about myself, but rather about my personal views. It might be a bit of a rant I guess. If you decide to quote anything in this post, please keep it in a spoiler tag.


This is going to be me, talking about owning guns in the United States. I'm going to offer arguments for and against, hoping everyone can have a understanding of both sides of the issue and how complicated it is. Another thing is: let's not involve the terrible things that happened to those people in the recent shooting in this discussion. That was simply horrible, period. I really want this to be a discussion about the ideas, not about any of these terrible events, and I don't want to make a disservice to the lives of those affected by this tragedy. In no situation in this post I talk about anything related to that shooting other than inside this note. Instead, this entire post is about owning guns and controlling them, not about any specific events, including that one.

Please be aware that I don't know much about the topic, neither am I very in touch with current politics, groups of people, etc. This is just me, organizing my own thoughts to see if I can make sense of the situation. Please also be aware that my views are based on what I've observed, listened and learned not only from myself but also from others as well, and I try to be as ample with my views as I can. I may make mistakes, and this can easily get very very dated. Please don't apply this logic to an individual situation or person, it's supposed to be hypothetical in nature. We're talking ideas, not people. I hope an agreement can always be reached on discussing things politely and respectfully. Not that I believe any person in here would jump against me, but this is the internet, so I know I should always be careful when working with controversial topics such as these. Who knows what some random person might assume out of reading this post...


This is a very long post, and I don't blame you if you don't want to read it, so:

tl;dr: Both arguments have valid reasons, and both have flaws as well, but currently I have to side with: guns have to be more strictly controlled, as I can't put faith in the average person to use it properly. I don't want to know what kind of conclusion a person will get from constantly questioning themselves if they have to use a gun in a situation or not, but I do believe it wouldn't end well. It's clearly an incredibly complicated issue that has to be adapted to each individual case, and too much restriction can leave the population hopeless to fight any external threats as well, so this is also an important issue to be considered.

The main argument I see for guns is that: providing a way for people to defend themselves in a situation of immediate threat is important. In a situation where your life is on the line, and possibly of others, it's better to risk the life of the criminal than of your valued close relatives/friends. I believe that would get classified as justified self-defense. But this comes from a very closed logic, an option between A or B, where A would be have you die because of a criminal, or B, have them die because you defended yourself, without considering real life doesn't provide just outcomes A or B.

It's ethically questionable as well, based on what I believe to be part of human rights in certain regions, there's a concept where no one should be sentenced to death under the law / no one should "deserve" to die, and no one is qualified to give such a sentence to the entirety of another person's life. This can be debated of course, and inserting exceptions to the rule can make these rights very unstable. Such as "if a person is willing to kill many others, this person deserves to die". Well, maybe so, everyone would prefer that the lives of innocent people to be maintaned and to fix the mentality of the wicked person, but how do you know "if a person is willing to kill"? Can you magically read a person's mind? If you base it on evidence, can you rely on it enough to make such a judgement? What if we later on find out that the evidence we used was false, and that the person was wrongfully killed? There's no turning back on such a judgement, specially considering you can't unkill a person. Is it really preferable that we base a fundamental human right on a person's subjective opinion and interpretation of the intentions of another being? Is death really the only solution to this problem, so as to avenge the situation that happened previously? Is this what is considered "fair"?

This is not to say doing something of that nature in self-defense is morally wrong. If I had to choose between the life of someone I consider close to me and of someone who is willing to kill someone else for whatever personal gain, and I had to choose one or the other, I would absolutely defend the person close to me, and I'm sure many others would as well.

Think of the famous question:

A train is coming and there's a fork in the railroad tracks. In one side there's one person of whom you know and value a lot stuck to the rails, and on the other side, ten completely random strangers of whom you have absolutely no idea of what kind of person they are, also stuck. There's a switch to change the train from one track to another, and the switch is currently set to the track to go over the person you know. There's no way to stop the train and you must make a choice. The side that the train goes over will 100% guaranteed kill whoever is there. You have [finite amount of time here]. What would you choose?

The gun situation would be comparable to this one, except both lines would only have one person. No matter which side you pick, you're killing someone. You can argue that someone deserves life more than a person who would be willing to kill for, but at that point you're using your own morals and ideals to solve and justify the situation. What if you're the stranger in the track? How would you react to the possible choices that person would make? It's a shitty situation to be in, to say the least, and it requires a person to have good values in order to be able to rationally choose an option, and even that might not be enough. Justifications only go so far as well. The person doing the decision can be forgiven, and hell in some situations, absolutely should be forgiven, but the action must not be forgotten. This is all way too subjective. Just put yourself on that person's shoes for instance.

At the same time, everyone having a means of self-defense and being able to use it responsibly would be an incredibly great barrier against gun violence, but like my philosophy teacher once said, in our minds everything is perfect, when you bring that abstraction from your mind to Earth it becomes less perfect, you start to see holes and problems you haven't even considered possible before. By entrusting everyone with a weapon, you assume a lot of things such as:
- everyone is going to be comfortable using weapons;
- no one is going to feel remorse for potentially killing someone, even if there was no better option;
- the amount of people that use it responsibly will be vastly higher than the amount of people who don't, and they are going to be able to fight back the wicked ones;
- it'll always be used to counter-act violence where no better option is available, rather than used for other purposes such as intimidation;
- no person is going to misinterpret others as being agressive and violent and pull up a gun, reacting to a misinterpretation of the situation due to lack of context;
- etc.

So many things could go wrong, and too many things are at risk. At its worse, this ideology could end up creating an environment where no one trusts each other, an chaotic anarchy of sorts due to each person's individual independence. At its best, it would solve a lot of violence problems and would encorage everyone to seek for better methods of self-defense, and it would empower people, individually and collectivelly, against all sorts of threats by criminals and the government. The reason I believe this is because this can mess with "Group cohesiveness". Whenether this would increase it or decrease it would define which side the best/worst coin everyone lands on, and it depends on other factors such as everyone's morals and education.

The main argument I see against guns is that: offering power to each and every single individual can end up creating the situations described above. At the same time, this comes with it's own problems as well. Sane people would have more difficulty for finding a gun for self-defense and would have to resort to other less effective methods, and it would make them more vulnerable against attacks from criminals, and depending on how far the problem goes, even against the government, such is the situation with many countries in the world such as Venezuela. The majority of people have less access to resources and protection, while the higher ups can grab all those to themselves and repress the rest. The argument that criminals will not be able to acquire guns as easily is reasonable as well, and this would certainly reduce the amount of criminals should gun control be enforced correctly and not lazily, but this still wouldn't eradicate a lot cases.

Currently, I have to side with "guns have to be regulated", and the person owning it needs to prove they are able to handle the responsibility. Just doing a simple test has flaws as well, as people can just cheat their way through or fake their answers. You'd have to be pretty clever in order to figure out something that worked, and even more to ensure that it kept working subsequently. "With great power comes great responsiblity", and I just don't believe the average person has enough responsibility to deal with that power. Maybe if I believed more in the average person this answer would be different, but I just don't have that much faith.

I believe enough in the average person to think that the majority doesn't have ill intent, but this is not about intent, it's about what action they would take. If life was simple, we'd all be singing along happily ever after in eternal peace with every single other person, but that isn't really the case. Sometimes bad situations happen just people did not communicate between themselves properly, leaving one or the other to have the wrong interpretation of the situation. Context is important, and it's something a lot of people forget or completely disregard.

I'm not advocating for further violenece, please no, I'm trying to find the path that reduces it the most, while considering all different approaches to this.

I'm sorry about writing such a long post, it's just, this is an complicated issue. If anyone happens to be a responsible gun user, able to use it only when needed and only when no better option is available, I'm not against you, but this is a lot of responsibility you're holding, you absolutely must be able to deal with it properly, with the collective goal in mind, otherwise I can only see bad things happening.

Moreover, this is not something I think very oftenly about and this is certainly not a topic I would discuss with anyone. If there's anything you absolutely must comment about, please keep it to the hypothetical scenario. This doesn't mean "don't base it on real-life", but more as, "work with the ideas and the concepts". Remember the note I put at the beginning of this post.

I'm sorry about being so "restrictive" with this post. It's just, I want to be careful with what I start, and how people understand what I'm trying to say. I apologize if I happen to be exaggerating on the restrictiveness. Talking about this is a bit depressing to me, and somewhat time-consuming. Maybe I'm not made for this kind of discussion...
"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear." --Ram Dass

Posted on 10-09-17 09:07 PM Link | #90232
IMO the self-defense argument is completely bullshit, and merely owning a gun increases the risk of homicide. Guns are NOT the only solution to secure your home and they are a terrible reason for self-defense; they increase the risk of homicide and suicide. Remember, you run the risk of criminals getting your gun too. Most criminals don't want to make a scene in the first place, so overall, guns for self-defense are a very poor choice especially if you're not trained with guns. You can accidentally shoot "good" guys too with guns and you'll increase police tensions if police comes to your house and finds you armed.

Posted on 10-10-17 05:00 AM (rev. 2 of 10-10-17 05:04 AM) Link | #90234
Posted by StapleButter
civilian ownership of guns means I could as well get a gun, go to some crowded place and start shooting at people

well, of course there are ways to get a gun anyway, but <i>why would you make it way easier for anybody</i>

of course there are many creative ways to murder people, but why would you just hand guns to people and make it easy

"vehicles can be used as weapons" but they aren't meant to be. guns, on the other hand, <i>are</i> weapons. you don't use a gun to open your champ bottle or clean your dishes or drill a hole in your wall.

So okay, we get rid of guns altogether because they're weapons. But there's just one problem: there wil be people who want to have corkscrews, electric drills, and other things treated as guns. It may sound like an outlandish non-seqiutur but remember we used to be able to bring liquids past airport security until terrorists decided to abuse that. The US also recently banned carry-on electronics on flights from certain countries because apparently ISIS is planning to plsnt bombs in them.

We can't just let "restrict every tangible object" to become the norm. That's the largest issue I see in a post-civilian gun ownership world. I'm not saying this is why we need guns, I'm just pointing out we can't allow our freedoms to be taken away under the guise of "counterterrorism". (Also, the US cannot claim to be "fighting terrorism" when it armed in Libya and Syria what eventually became ISIS and Harakat Tahrir ash-Sham/al-Qaeda in Syria but that's for another thread.)

The best solution imo is to deal with the issues of mental illness and extremism first and then it'll not just make it easier to phase out guns but it'll also prevent excuses to attack our freedoms.

Posted on 10-10-17 03:23 PM Link | #90247
Nope, again the same fallacious argument used by people in favor of gun. Gun are weapons MEANT TO KILL. Like, what's hard to understand in that? A corkscrew is not meant to kill (and it's pretty hard to kill with that too). I doubt almost 12,000 people died of electric drills since the beginning of the year in the US.

Posted on 10-10-17 05:52 PM Link | #90256
Plus people in other countries without guns don't do that.

Nothing to say, so jadnjkfmnjamnfjkldnajfnjkanfjdksan jsdnvj m.

[insert quote here]

Baby Luigi
Posted on 10-11-17 01:02 AM (rev. 2 of 10-11-17 01:03 AM) Link | #90271
Posted by Belsaw
So okay, we get rid of guns altogether because they're weapons.

You do realize that none of us actually want to actively get rid of all guns nor ban all guns, since that's completely unenforceable. We want more regulations on firearms, to make them harder to get so lunatics can't just drop by a guitars and guns shop and be off with an AK-47 in hand.

Posted by Belsaw
We can't just let "restrict every tangible object" to become the norm.

It's completely possible to impose regulations on guns, the deadly weapons that are efficient at killing. We've done the same with driving vehicles, I don't see why guns can't receive the same treatment.

Posted by Belsaw
The best solution imo is to deal with the issues of mental illness and extremism first and then it'll not just make it easier to phase out guns but it'll also prevent excuses to attack our freedoms.

The funny thing is, mental healthcare is ALSO something the GOP wants to curb, alongside gun regulations. My sister, LGM, had linked an Onion article in the other thread and I think its biting satire of the situation is simply perfect.

I've seen the "freedom" dogwhistle played so many times when it comes to regulations like these (ESPECIALLY anti-vaxxers and anti-seatbelt laws love talking about and we know how full of it they are). More regulations doesn't automatically mean we're hell bent on taking away property you want to own. It's mostly for the good of other people around us, because most of the time, we don't know what the hell we're doign in the first place.

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