Violence, Guns, and Personal Choices

Sam Harris . . . I am indebted to the man because I will no longer engage in debates about guns, violence, and gun control with anyone who has not read his ruminations on the subjects.

Mr. Harris reflects nearly 99.8756% of my views on violence, guns, and gun control.

“Wouldn’t any decent person wish for a world without guns? In my view, only someone who doesn’t understand violence could wish for such a world. A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want.” – Sam Harris

A world without guns is a world in which no man, not even a member of Seal Team Six, can reasonably expect to prevail over more than one determined attacker at a time. A world without guns, therefore, is one in which the advantages of youth, size, strength, aggression, and sheer numbers are almost always decisive. Who could be nostalgic for such a world?” – Sam Harris

“There are people who consider using a burglar alarm at night or even locking their doors to be debasing concessions to fear.” – Sam Harris

There is an interesting point he makes in that last quote. The fact that some people are so against the idea of self-protection that they would put themselves and their families at risk to uphold what I consider an unreasonable ideal when it comes to violence and the real world. They see any concession as giving in to panic and fear. 

From many documented cases, that attitude only lasts until they come face-to-face with the real world, often with tragic results.

But enough of me talking; Harris is much more eloquent than I will ever be. 

So, for them who might want to engage me in a discussion on such matters, for them who want to know my views with regard to violence, weapons, personal responsibility and self-reliance, I give you the following.

First off, if you abhor reading, his latest podcast reprises many of his thoughts on violence, self-defense, and guns:

The Riddle of the Gun (Revisited)

However, for a deeper dive in all these subjects and inherent nuances of same, it’s worth reading the following:

The Truth About Violence (excellent advice, November 2011)

The Riddle of the Gun (the original written post, January 2013)

FAQ on Violence (his response to criticisms to Riddle of the Gun, January 2013)
Note: read point #8; this is somewhat analogous to my recent discussion of guns and alcohol, but there is a lot of other good information here.

Self-Defense and the Law (very informative, and occasionally baffling, August 2013)

Fighting (peripheral information but useful toward understanding violence, April 2015)

I am fully aware most people will not read any of this. I also know those who are inclined to read the material already know much of it.

But, if you are a person incensed about violence and gun violence in particular, if you are a person intent on having an intelligent discussion on the topics with the aim of making a real difference to the conversation, if you are a person who would rather know as opposed to assuming, then you owe it to yourself to take less than an hour and slog through all this information. Surely, if someone considers this one of the important topics facing us, an hour is not too much to ask for. 

You don’t have to agree with any of it, but you do need to understand the other side of the debate about guns, gun violence, and gun control. Especially if you aim to open your mouth about it.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paper Clips on vacation

Paper Clips on vacation

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Guns, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Violence, Guns, and Personal Choices

  1. I’ve read the links. They seem to decry martial artist skills. I can’t remember, have you practised martial arts?

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I’m not reading it as decrying. Harris trains regularly. The point he was making is that even with the highest skill levels you are not going to do well against multiple attackers, regardless what Hollywood shows.

      As for me, I had some martial arts (minimal), but my business kept me pretty busy and that was one of the things that got put on the back burner.

      That said, I don’t intend getting hit, hence precautions, awareness, and at last resort, the gun.

      Realistically, at 5′ 8″ and 175 lbs I’m not going to be a physical match against a guy (or gal) that is 6′ 2″ and 220 pounds. Not now, and not in my younger days.

      One of the reasons many states have severe laws against hurting the elderly (amazingly, I qualify) is because they are often victims to physical attacks by younger individuals who are stronger, quicker, and have the mindset of a predator eying the weak.

      There is a misconception about “unarmed attackers” as they are often not viewed as lethal. Bull. One good punch can kill you, and at the very least do severe and permanent damage.

      I do have the berserker mindset. I will avoid confrontation, but if pushed, I don’t plan to hold back. That is something people should get in their minds. In a physical fight, you have to go all-in because sure as liquid excrement the attacker has already made that choice and is in that mindset.

      As usual, too long an answer, but . . .

      Like

      • I don’t live in your society. Are you all seriously that paranoid?

        Like

      • disperser says:

        Interesting question. I usually ignore such questions because they speak to a generalization that is equally naive and semi-insulting.

        I have medical insurance, I have car insurance, I have house insurance, I wear my seatbelt, I don’t drink and drive (I don’t drink), I don’t do drugs, I don’t take unnecessary risks, I don’t go to bars, I rarely attend events with crowds, I don’t pick fights.

        None of that do I consider paranoid. If I know the conditions are right, I will take shelter rather than risk getting hit by lightning . . . but the odds of getting hit by a bolt of lightning are less than the odds of being a victim of a violent crime. Much less. Lightning – 1 in 6,000,000, Violent crime 1-150.

        The odds of getting murdered are 1 in 21,000. So, the odds of getting murdered are much higher than the odds of getting hit by lightning. But I’m considered paranoid if I want to protect myself from murder, and sensible if I fear lightning .

        The fact is that my lifestyle lends itself to a very safe life. But the odds are never zero.

        Even so, I don’t live in fear of something bad happening to us . . . still, if anything bad does happen, I have a measure of confidence that I can mitigate the chances of a negative outcome. Like anything else in life, it’s better to plan for the worst and never encounter it than the opposite. That is why I am not paranoid. I have a plan.

        By the way, in my life, mugged once (when I was much younger), and received one series of death threats. You would be amazed how one’s attitude changes when you know someone might be out there who wants to specifically harm you. It’s not that much less comforting knowing you could be a random victim.

        Finally, the big part of not being a victim is presenting yourself as someone who is not a victim (read about that; interesting studies on how criminals are very good at spotting “easy” targets and avoiding people with confidence).

        Like

        • I asked about martial arts because my partner took it up in his teens. After he had been victimised. But, martial arts is very controlled yes?

          I read years ago that positive people walk down the middle of the street. P

          None of this is a reason to own a gun. Is it? Or is it just the society you live in, I think that’s my question. Either it’s because you enjoy killing animals for sport or because you feel it’s necessary to survive.

          Like

        • disperser says:

          Again, interesting perception . . .

          I no longer hunt (have not done so for about 30 years).

          I do like shooting. Paper targets don’t stand a chance when I’m in the mood.

          The other reason to own and carry a gun is what I described above and what Harris talk about in his articles. There simply is nothing else that is going to reliably stop someone who means to do you harm.

          And no, the gun is not necessary to survival. If I moved to Europe I would resign myself to go about unharmed and be paranoid about being at the mercy of anyone who is bigger and meaner than I am (my understanding is that Europeans love to be victims and take a dim view of anyone interested in defending themselves against an attacker).

          Also, if I move to a state that does not allow conceal carry, I would find other less lethal and infinitely less effective of defending myself when not at home. (that, by the way, is not likely to happen)

          Also, if guns were suddenly outlawed (won’t happen) I would adjust and carry some other force multiplier that will be ineffective against any criminal who uses guns (they won’t abide by the ban).

          You live in a place with low incidence of violent crime. I hope it never changes for you.

          Liked by 1 person

        • disperser says:

          You might find this interesting:
          https://limatunesrangediaries.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/the-year-i-put-my-gun-away/

          In fact, her life history is also interesting (survivor of prolonged sexual abuse and rape- http://bit.ly/1L6mbfd), as well as her dedication to and reasoning for being proficient and safe with a gun. If you are thinking of commenting, please do a thorough read of the site before judging her.

          The thing is that realistically I could live my life without guns. I do whenever I go on vacation, when I go places where they are not allowed, and so on.

          But, like my pocket knife, it’s usually on me. Like the pocket knife, it’s a tool. My life, my awareness, what I do, is not centered on either my pocket knife or my guns. Tools don’t define me. When someone asks what I like to do, what I like, guns seldom come up. You won’t see photos of them here, or me with my guns, or even discussions about guns (obviously, gun control is another matter). Most people who know me probably don’t know I own guns, and certainly not that I carry (and no, I don’t go to people’s homes wearing a gun – then again, I don’t go to people’s homes). How can that be, you ask? Well, few people read my blog.

          Like

  2. A world with guns is one where a neighbor of mine deliberately fired his rifle through the woods at me during deer season. I heard the gun fire and then the bullet fly past my head while I stood on my porch dressed in blaze orange. Had it blown my skull apart as I am sure was intended my death would have been chalked up as “death by a stray bullet during deer season” (Hey, stuff like that happens, dontcha know!). Then my neighbor, who owns an arsenal of semi-automatic pistols and rifles which he loves fire off daily for hours at a time could get back to his “hobby” firing off his arsenal every day and all day without me taking it to the township board ever again.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I assume you called the cops? Attempted murder is a serious offense.

      Like

      • Yes, I did and nothing happened because he said he wasn’t outside that day. There is always a lot of gunfire during deer season anyway so case closed. He never fired at me again after that (prior to that he would rush out and fire along the property line if I was near it) but I did have to call the police on him one more time when he went on a shooting frenzy one day that lasted 5 hours. That second call must have put them on notice because now seldom shoot off their guns, pistols, rifles, muskets, and Bushmasters (yes, they have all these).

        I have put up with the neighbor and his family’s obsession with firearms for years. It took a township meeting to get them to stop. The gunshot at me happened 6 months after that meeting. But if a person says they weren’t outside all day what can you do? What can the police do? Nothing.

        Owning firearms did not equalize him and me. And sneaking through the woods in camo (he, like many people here wear camo everyday) to take a shot at me is something that cannot possibly make the case that owning firearms makes everyone safer. My guns are locked up in the house not buckled to my belt just in case.

        Like

      • disperser says:

        If you could have recovered the bullet, it would have been easy to check. Also, you are saying he would deliberately stalk and take shots at you. Again, that is an actionable item by the police. At the very least they can get him for endangerment.

        As for your argument “And sneaking through the woods in camo (he, like many people here, wear camo everyday) to take a shot at me is something that cannot possibly make the case that owning firearms makes everyone safer” I agree with you in your particular case, but don’t agree it can be applied universally. Unless you can change human nature.

        It also sounds like you two have history. That’s a whole different ball of bees residue.

        So, perhaps the wish should be for a world without bullies, idiots, psychopaths, and assholes in general. Now, that would be a world where I would feel comfortable not having guns, although I would still like to shoot (targets).

        Why, we might not even need cops. Everyone would just get along.

        Like

        • There are a lot of trees where the bullet could have lodged but it may also have gone between them so recovery of the bullet is pretty much impossible. I looked and never saw a mark in any of the trees. Then again, an entry point is not very obvious especially in a tree.

          It’s been almost 11 years since this happened and I still do not feel safe. This morning he got his gun and fired of 4 shots just because. Call the police over that? It would accomplish nothing. In the time I have lived here I have had people cut wide trails through distant parts of my woods, steal (log off) a few thousand square feet of forest, cut pine boughs to sell, and hunt without permission. I’ve had my car tires spiked while it was parked in the drive way and I was sleeping.
          This isn’t an issue of human nature. I don’t do things like that and I doubt any of your readers are like that either.

          What it boils down to is that I am not from here and they are. We were here first, they say. And no, they are not Ojibwa.

          There is a history between us but having asked around it turns out that wherever they have lived they have set up firing ranges on their land and shot off guns all day every day for hours at a time. No one has had a good experience with them as neighbors. I was just the first to take it up at a town meeting and that is what pisses them off so much.

          Like

        • disperser says:

          Like I said, they sound like assholes. I’ve had some experience with that. Unfortunately, you can’t shoot assholes, so guns or no guns, won’t solve the issue. And, I’m pretty sure it’s not guns that made them assholes; that’s a learned behaviour that is cultivated by some. Do guns make it worse? In this case, yes.

          At the same time, you are characterizing others based on your experience. My experience is markedly different as is my perception of the world.

          By the way, have you ever tried expressing an interest in their gun collection and asked if you could join them when they shoot?

          . . . could be it might improve relations, and if not, you could claim your own “accidental” discharge . . . those things happen, doing you know.

          Like

        • Okay, yes they are assholes and it is something learned, of that I have no doubt. The gun culture, of which they are a part, enforces the bullying behavior. Got a big gun, you’re a big man, nothing to fear especially from the libtard (that’d be me) next door. They are extremes and unfortunately they moved in next to me. But listening to others around here I get the same message just with less ultra-violence. The racism, the hyper-militarism, the tough guy/gal attitude, and the anti-science mentality seep through all the time. Weekends are often punctuated by someone nearby firing off 30 rounds at a time followed by 30 more and so on. It’s like a sickness. Why does anyone, and I mean anyone, need that amount of firepower in their hands?

          I am not interested in their gun collection or shooting rifles for 8 hours a day. Its purpose, and this from people who work with them and know them pretty well, is that they have to be ready for the big meltdown in society that is coming soon.

          They already knew of my objections to the day long shooting fests. It isn’t about target practice. One day they fired off 250 rounds in 45 minutes. I counted them. What was their reason or need for that?

          Like

        • disperser says:

          The last part was levity. Sorry about that.

          I am glad to provide a place for you to vent, but your situation is essentially (except for the underlying reasons) the same as living in a neighborhood infested with gangs, drug addicts, and high crime. Why does anyone do anything that’s outside of the norm? Why do people resort to irresponsible or even criminal behavior?

          I can wish everyone would live in places they really loved and found happiness in, but that’s not reality.

          I have a desire to live in Hawaii, but I know there are many locals who resent non-natives moving to the islands. I could go live in any of the “small-towns” USA, and be met with hostility because of some of my views and because I would be considered an outsider.

          Not to be callous, but perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere as a place to live. Some may ask “why should I accommodate those assholes?” I don’t have answers. My own negative interactions have usually resulted in my moving elsewhere hoping to get away from said assholes (my last two houses, and apartments before that). It’s a crap-shoot, but my belief is we only have one life. I don’t want it spend it miserable and wishing other people would change.

          Previous to here, I lived in a very affluent community and was, unfortunately, saddled with a very crappy neighbor. Eventually, I moved; he is still there. My last ten years have been marginally better for having moved. Is that option available to everyone? Probably not, but it sounds as if you own a lot of property. At first pass, it seems that would afford you a wider range of choices than to live in fear and steeped in resentment, frustration, and anger. But, maybe not.

          Regardless, wishing things were different has never helped any of my situations.

          As for the gun issue, if you want to hold up your neighbors as representing the majority of gun owners, I can’t stop you and I certainly can’t say anything that would ever make you reconsider that opinion. We are, after all, products of our individual experiences.

          Like

  3. Emily Scott says:

    We’re having building work done at the moment and our usual router is in storage, so I have only slow and intermittent internet access, not good enough for podcasts. I read a couple of the links.

    In a society where most people have guns, I can understand why you might want to carry one yourself and why it might be sensible to do so. However, I am relieved not to live in such a society and feel safer for it.

    There are many U.S. laws (and British ones too) I find perplexing, but one of the most strange to me is your lack of paid maternity and paternity leave and the short period allowed for even unpaid leave. This may seem to have nothing to do with gun laws, but it suggests a society with the wrong priorities.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      You and I have discussed this before and at length . . . if you can’t see yourself accepting the idea of being self-responsible for your safety, then there is nothing I can say that would make you change your mind someone who does (me). On the other hand, were I to live in England, I would feel less safe. Understandable that, as our experiences differ in significant aspects.

      The thing that galls a bit is that underlying current of disapproval I sense from most of the people who either are against guns or see no use for them.

      It appears I am not being judged by my actions, what I have accomplished in life, how I live my life, my honesty, sense of justice, compassion, empathy, or any of the other metrics by which one should judge others.

      It’s the gun, and only the gun that defines me in the mind of many.

      I am defined by an object. Only fair, I suppose; I render instant judgment when I see someone clutching a Bible or other supposed holy book, or walking around with an alcoholic drink in their hand. The thing is, I easily modify that judgment based on additional information and assessment of the person.

      Not so, apparently, if one likes guns.

      Like

      • Emily Scott says:

        Statistically speaking there would be no reason to feel less safe in England. Unless perhaps you were riding a bike. We come from different cultures and that colours our view of the world. It seems to me that the current system in the U.S. is not working and perhaps there are ways it could be improved that would result in fewer deaths.

        I think of you as a writer and photographer rather than as a person with a gun for a head by the way. Disagreeing with someone about one thing doesn’t necessarily mean you are judging them, it just means you have different points of view about something. You are making your own assumptions for others when you say that you are defined by an object.

        Like

      • disperser says:

        Hmm . . . not much of an assumption on my part when I read editorials, facebook posts, and general comments by people who live across the pond. To be fair, I read the same here. Sad that; we are becoming so polarized that there is virtually no chance of meaningful discussions.

        And, you are mistaken. Statistically, there are all the reasons to feel less safe in England (and Australia, and Sweden, and more). If you read the article titled FAQ on Violence, you can see the numbers. We may have more murders, but we lag well behind in assaults (and rape). It’s not even close. Ask me if I am worried about being murdered or assaulted here in the US. And, that’s the thing about perceptions; the system you see as not working seems preferable to me than many alternatives. Were that not the case, I would be moving elsewhere.

        There is also the frustration that comes from having the whole world read and hear when someone shoots three people in some US city, but no one outside the immediate family hears how a drunk guy killed a family of four without getting near a gun, but that’s another story.

        To be clear, I’m not saying you judge me solely based on me liking guns (or judge me at all). I’m saying it happens. On the other hand, it does not appear as if you are comfortable with the idea of someone (me or anyone) having a gun.

        Like

        • Emily Scott says:

          I looked at the FAQ on violence article. According to that, you have four times our homicide rate and are slightly behind on rape. Assault is much higher here apparently, though Sam Harris himself admits that “many readers have pointed out that cultural differences in how often assaults and rapes get reported, and how they are defined by different police departments, makes comparing rates of nonlethal violence between countries problematic. I tend to agree.” When someone’s dead, they’re dead, but what counts as an assault differs in our countries.

          This guy did some number crunching in 2013 and back then found that you are 1.1 times more likely to suffer robbery in the UK and 1.27 times more likely to be knifed in the UK. Sounds bad, but he also found that you are 6.9 times more likely to suffer aggravated assault in the U.S. and 35.2 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S. : https://dispellingthemythukvsusguns.wordpress.com. On the evidence from both articles, I would be more likely to be shot (or murdered by any means possible) if I lived in the U.S., so I am correct to feel my life is in less danger living in the U.K.

          I think the judging works both ways. People may be judging you for liking guns, but for sure pro-gun supporters in turn judge people who don’t like guns and circulate sarcastic internet memes about them.

          Surely most of us just want to see less people die, but we disagree about how best to do that. If U.S. gun laws are working, why are so many people dying? I’m asking this as a genuine question – if different gun laws are not the reason, what do you think is? Is social inequality or unemployment or some other factor to blame?

          Like

        • disperser says:

          I read the report . . . a few assumptions I don’t agree with, but OK. Still it does not square with data from other sources.

          I look at this:
          http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Total-crimes

          and from there I look at this:
          http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Total-crime-victims

          and then this:
          http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Total-crimes-per-1000

          But, what is right?
          http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jun/24/blog-posting/social-media-post-says-uk-has-far-higher-violent-c/

          That says the original claim is false, but they also say there is no way to compare. If the argument is that it can’t be reasonably be compared, then we can leave it at that.

          I was wrong for making the statement (with some reservations).

          I beg to differ in one respect; personally, I don’t want to be a victim of ANY crime, period.

          We, you and I, have discussed this before. One major difference between the UK and here is that here I have a variety of options for self-defense.

          Were I to move to the UK, this is what I am faced with:
          https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q589.htm

          Any way you want to slant that, it would not change how I feel; namely, in the UK any asshole that is bigger than I am can beat me up. Even two guys that are smaller than me. The fact they might be caught and face some measure of punishment would be of little consolation to me.

          But, you’ve convinced me; the US is a dangerous country. I think I’ll start carrying a backup gun in addition to my usual carry gun. I might even lug around a spare magazine or two. And, I need to take a couple of knife-fighting classes.

          By the way, just as an aside, as I looked up some numbers I came across this; for a country with a police force that carries no guns, this is a little odd.
          http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/killed-by-police-firearms.html

          Not that it means anything or says anything one way or the other, but I found it odd.

          Like

  4. I know a few people I need to share these links with! Thank you! and HUGS!!!

    Like

  5. Emily Scott says:

    There was no reply option on your last comment, so I’ll reply here. It does seem that violent crimes in both countries (rather than homicides) cannot easily be compared. If carrying extra guns makes you feel happier then great, the thought doesn’t upset me.

    It’s not correct to say our police force carries no guns. The standard Bobby on the street doesn’t but certain special divisions do. This has led to some bungles over the years. There was one case where a man was shot because he had surgery and couldn’t raise his arms when the police shouted at him to put his arms in the air. There was also the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man mistakenly believed to have been involved in terrorism: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Jean_Charles_de_Menezes. Preventable deaths.

    You didn’t answer my question about whether you have any thoughts on what lies behind the higher U.S. homicide rate. I wonder if it might be the lack of good chocolate, cheese and bacon. Hershey’s is enough to drive anyone crazy at such a crime against chocolate.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      The reason I did not answer is because I do not think there is any one answer one can give.

      As much as people would like to blame guns, upbringing, mental health, lack of religion, too much religion, a history of violence in the family, or any one of literally hundreds of reasons someone kills, nearly all murders have individual peculiarities that are difficult to nail down as “the reason” for murdering someone.

      Besides, someone with the same history and temperament as a killer might go their whole life without ever hurting a fly. What metric should we employ to “weed out” these killers?

      If you listened to the audio recording I linked above, you will hear the echo of my bafflement with the current situation . . . someone can rape and kill and be eligible for parole in less than 20 years. Someone who buys or sell drugs can be sent away for life. The majority of crimes are committed by repeat offenders. Our prisons are little more than training grounds for criminals. Little rehabilitation that I can see.

      One aspect about the US that is different than many other places is the process of laws. You can’t be convicted or committed based on what you might do; only in what you have done. Many societies with different laws take active roles into preventative measures.

      So, perhaps the US is more violent because we have more freedom. Perhaps it’s because the culture permeates of violence (from sports to entertainment (movies, tv) to video games, to a desire to excel at all costs). Perhaps it’s nothing more than we are a much more diverse and, in many ways, isolated society. That, by the way, is changing in Europe so we can wait and see if it’s a factor.

      This article (a fortuitous coincidence) should send chills down one’s spine:
      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/thresholds-of-violence

      Ultimately, I can never put myself in the shoes (or mind) of someone who premeditates murder. I can, and do have the mindset to, kill in self-defense (for a variety of reasons, I would rather avoid that if at all possible), but inherently I’m not a violent man, so I can’t understand those who are.

      Oddly enough, I am pro-capital punishment for the same reasons . . . Someone who is willing to hurt others for pleasure, personal gain, revenge, or just on a lark, that someone should be removed from society.

      Of course, that’s frowned upon by “civilized” people who offer no alternative other than to limit my self-defense options. So, I debate the issues even as I know I’ll never convince anyone.

      I know that’s a non-answer. I would advise you to listen to the podcast as the means to at least try to understand views opposite your own. I would also challenge you to listen to it and come up with rebuttals to the arguments offered. Rebuttals not anchored on wishing the world was different.

      But, I could ask you the same thing . . . given the lack of gun violence in your own society, why is there violence at all. Or, if you want to strictly look at homicides, why are there any homicides at all? Does your country have a ready answer?

      What if someone from another country asks you why the UK has multiple times the homicide rate in their country? What if they identified what is in their mind the answer, but it does not match what you know of your own country? Would you act on it?

      Like

      • Emily Scott says:

        Thanks for the thoughtful answer and articles, I enjoyed reading them. Your points make a lot of sense. I also wish I knew the answer behind what drives someone to kill. I can understand why someone who has been tormented and harassed by another might be driven to killing – a type of self-defence, in a way. If you have grown up witnessing violence often, or if you feel violence is the only way to make a living or gain respect, I can see how violence might seem like a good option too.

        The type of killings I find most disturbing are those that seem to be carried out purely for pleasure. I am against capital punishment for such people, because I think it’s a bigger punishment for them to stay in prison indefinitely. They should be removed from society by being placed in prison and never let out again.

        I suspect brain chemistry and hormones have a part to play, just because looking at the demographics of killers they do tend to be young men. A dangerous age group, wherever you are in the world.

        Like

        • disperser says:

          The thing is, as illustrated in those articles, growing up with violence is not an indicator. The kid in the article had a nice life, loved his parents, loved his sister, but was still planning on killing them all.

          Anyway, no answers now or in times past. Perhaps one day.

          However, you can perhaps at least have a small understanding of my frustration when someone says they have the answer, and that answer (unjustified as it obviously is) involves doing something that has me be at greater risk.

          At the very least, I would want to know why one person’s comfort trumps another’s when the two are at odds.

          Like

    • disperser says:

      By the way, this is also a nice read . . . won’t go anywhere, but it speaks to reconciling differences as opposed to yelling at each other. That reconciliation begins with understanding the other person.

      So, when I say I would not want to live in England (or any part of Europe), don’t take it as an insult . . . I just don’t see the world as you do. It does not make you wrong, but neither does it make you right, and the same goes for me.

      Like

  6. mvschulze says:

    There’s a lot of material to sift through here, interesting comments, all from varying points of view. What statistics are relevant, what experiences influence each of us… so much to ponder. The discussions generated here, by yourself, (with appreciation to your supporting links,) and the comments are healthy (for me) and certainly of interest.
    But what bothers me is the seemingly irrational mantra of the NRA, its rigidity and influence. It, along with throwbacks to the outdated 2nd amendment seem, (or I might even say IS,) counter-productive to achieving meaningful discussion on weapons legislation in 21st century America.
    Thanks, EJ, as usual for the thought provoking subject matter. M. (PS this comment (as most of mine) is not proof-read, so please excuse the grammatical and technical errors, if any.) :-)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Remember that much of the discussion in the media is dominated by two extreme camps.

      The problem I see is that both camps have views that are outside what a person might consider reasonable. Sam Harris comments eloquently on this point, as he does on the Second Amendment.

      The issue I have with people who feel the 2nd Amendment is outdated is that they vehemently defend the ones they do care about. Take, for instance, the 1st or 4th . . . both have seen limits placed upon them, and in my opinion those limits are already negating the protection those amendments were meant to offer. And yet, reasonable people will argue to impose even more limits. All the while, other people argue to remove provisions and limits that weaken them.

      Depending which side one is on, one can reasonably be expected to say some of those amendments fail to take into account the world we live in and want to see them change. In other instances, the government blatantly violates those same limits.

      All of it is done under the guise of an immediate need superseding the original intent of the wording based on conditions being different now than back then. As a rule, I am incredibly suspicious of those arguments.

      As I mentioned to others, listen to what Harris says or read what he writes; he echoes some of my feelings on who exactly is impeding “meaningful discussion”.

      An example I might give that is close to home is one that attempts to discover which camera and lens systems are better; were I to start out saying “Canon sucks; I don’t see why they are even sold” it does not leave much room for discussion; Nikon wins by default.

      Like

Voice your opinion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s