To those concerned Obama was anti-nuclear (IntLibber)

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alexjrgreen
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Re: To those concerned Obama was anti-nuclear (IntLibber)

Post by alexjrgreen »

IntLibber wrote:"well regulated" in the legal dictionaries of the time was defined as "trained and skilled", not "subject to statutory limitations".
We agree on this.

"Trained and skilled" doesn't necessarily mean "self trained", and "organized" doesn't necessarily mean "subject to statutory limitations".

NRA certification encourages people to be properly trained and skilled, and a nationally recognised ranking system could reflect ability to lead.

Anyone who owns a gun should be fit for duty if called to serve.
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Mike Holmes
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Post by Mike Holmes »

As a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard for 15 years before I got out, I can tell you that well-regulated militias already do exist. And are quite functional. Ask all of them who are currently in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, including many friends of mine.

The current court rulings on the matter are pretty well thought out. It's not exactly a new debate.

The extremists who would like no regulation on weapons don't seem to understand that unregulated proliferation of heavy combat weapons would lead to problems with law enforcement. It's one thing to have a populace that can be called on to defend the nation, and another to make each individial potentially capable of their own revolution. I think we're plenty well armed right now that no politician even considers autocracy. They'd be killed within hours, if not minutes. That only takes one bullet.

The founding fathers were thinking muskets... less effective than longbows. Not assault rifles, which they couldn't have imagined.

The extremists who would like to ban every weapon make the same mistake that Confuscious did, a mistake that ended up creating Kung Fu. You can't stop people from desiring to kill each other by taking away their weapons. They'll just use something else. If you want to combat that urge, work on enfranchisement. Not just the vote, or money, but also in getting people involved in a more substantive way in civil society.

The middle of the road is the right path here... as usual.

Mike

alexjrgreen
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Post by alexjrgreen »

Mike Holmes wrote:As a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard for 15 years before I got out, I can tell you that well-regulated militias already do exist. And are quite functional. Ask all of them who are currently in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, including many friends of mine.
You have my admiration.

The National Guard and the Naval Militia come under "(1) the organized militia" in § 311.

At issue is "(2) the unorganized militia". Anyone who owns a gun but isn't properly disciplined, trained and skilled is of doubtful use in an emergency.
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Mike Holmes
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Post by Mike Holmes »

Sure, but, again, what good will taking away hunting arms and such do? It only prevents honest citizens from getting them, largely, and if they want to kill somebody, they'll still find a way. The NRA even argues (somewhat dubiously) that gun ownership prevents crimes.

Its like the drug issue to me. Yes, you increase the danger to the public slightly by having legal drugs, or legal weapons. But the enforcement issue is a nightmare, and not worth it's cost. I don't advocate legalizing every weapon, just the ones that are sensible as personal defense weapons for people who want them (or for those who imagine themselves as defenders of the democracy). Just as I don't suggest legalizing every drug, just those that aren't automatically dangerous.

A balance of the public interest and liberty. You really can't have one without the other.

In any case, the workaround to the "unorganized militia" thing is what happens in Michigan where you have people creating their own militias in order to insure their ability to own weapons. I think that ruling that people can carry certain weapons is better than forcing them to organize like this, which seems to have it's own dangers to me.

If you're arguing for the status quo, I'm with you - I think it's constitutional, and sane. If you're arguing for greater gun control, I think it's pointless legislation. If you want to stop gun crime, how about putting more money into law enforcement so they can deal with gangs and such instead? Or, heaven forfend, programs that keep kids from getting into gangs in the first place? Something to fight poverty, which is the indirect cause of most violence?

Or, if you're against spending, then deal with the violence. You can't legislate it away by making weapons illegal.

Mike

alexjrgreen
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Post by alexjrgreen »

Mike Holmes wrote:In any case, the workaround to the "unorganized militia" thing is what happens in Michigan where you have people creating their own militias in order to insure their ability to own weapons.
If "all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States" can be called to serve as part of the "unorganized militia", then they need to be fit for duty.

Those who own guns need to be properly skilled and trained in their use.

I'm not in favour of maverick private armies. A nationally recognised scheme of training and certification which also includes leadership training should be quite adequate.
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Post by MSimon »

The NRA even argues (somewhat dubiously) that gun ownership prevents crimes.
Well actually it does. The effect is small. About 5% to 10%. But it is real.

John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)(Studies in law and economics)(ISBN: 0226493636). 232p.

http://www2.lib.uchicago.edu/~llou/guns.html
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Post by MSimon »

Or, if you're against spending, then deal with the violence. You can't legislate it away by making weapons illegal.
True. But you can increase violence by enacting a prohibition regime.
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Mike Holmes
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Post by Mike Holmes »

The dubious part is the overall benefit. That is, if one hundred lives are saved by the deterrent effect, but one thousand lives are lost because of accidents or crimes that would be less lethal had the perpetrator not had a gun, is it a net benefit?

I think that the lives lost to GSW in the US is something like 10,000 each year? Again, I think most of these might have been knife wound deaths or something else if guns had been taken away. But there's an argument to be made that guns make violence easier to commit (less personal risk to the shooter).

Either way, the effects are less important than the overall principle which we agree on (I think), which is that enforcement problems trump the potential damage that occurs. "Even one life saved" suffers from contrary to fact fallacy, which is that we don't know that a life would have been saved if a gun hadn't been present in each case. But we do know that trying to ban all guns would lead to prohibition-style problems.

I'm a big fan of Game Theory. Game Theory says that in terms of preventing problems that there has to be somebody who is actively damaged by a crime (other than the perpetrator) to make it reasonable to enforce laws against that crime. Hence it's not a problem to enforce laws about theft... you're looking out for your own property. But enforcing a drug regulation means that most of the time nobody can be looking. Same thing with gun ownership.

Works with assault weapons because the suppliers are limited, and we can monitor all (legitimate) sales. You can't grow AK-47s in your back yard. Handguns in the US are as common as marijuana plants. For good or for ill.

Mike

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Post by MSimon »

I think that the lives lost to GSW in the US is something like 10,000 each year?
We could cut that in 1/2 by ending drug prohibition.

-- One of the things not accounted for is situations where the mere brandishing of a weapon prevents a crime.

But we do have a test case. England where robbery, theft, and burglary are above American rates since the Brits disarmed.

If you count the shooting death rates among whites it is about the same as shooting death rates in Britain.

So we have a policy which raises the murder rates on black folks in drug war zones. Marvelous. We have brought Jim Crow back without referencing race in any of our policies that do the dirty work. Pure genius.
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Post by TallDave »

Obama looks to be a pragmatist. He courted the far left when it suited his purposes, but threw them under the bus as soon as they became inconvenient.

I'm cautiously optimistic he will allow more nuke plants. I think ITER is too expensive and the U.S. commitment will end. That may make Polywell funding more likely.
The dubious part is the overall benefit. That is, if one hundred lives are saved by the deterrent effect, but one thousand lives are lost because of accidents or crimes that would be less lethal had the perpetrator not had a gun, is it a net benefit?
It's not enough to calculate a safety benefit; you have to consider freedom as well. We could end fatal auto accidents tomorrow by mandating nationwide 10 MPH speed limits but it would be a gross imposition on our freedom. We could probably eliminate 90% of organized crime if we did away with the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments, but would the lives saved be worth the price?

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Post by TallDave »

Anyone who owns a gun but isn't properly disciplined, trained and skilled is of doubtful use in an emergency.
Flight 90. Those people prevented hijackers from crashing a plane into the Capitol. And they didn't even have guns.

I think you'd be surprised at the effectiveness of untrained American males. Most of us have some informal training in applied group violence, even if it's just football or hockey.

We're a pack, not a herd.

alexjrgreen
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Post by alexjrgreen »

TallDave wrote:I think you'd be surprised at the effectiveness of untrained American males. Most of us have some informal training in applied group violence, even if it's just football or hockey.

We're a pack, not a herd.
If you've been to a good school, sure. The rest of the population aren't as well prepared.
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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

alexjrgreen wrote:
TallDave wrote:I think you'd be surprised at the effectiveness of untrained American males. Most of us have some informal training in applied group violence, even if it's just football or hockey.

We're a pack, not a herd.
If you've been to a good school, sure. The rest of the population aren't as well prepared.
That is where leadership comes in. Americans are known for taking the initiative.

This board is a prime example. We are not waiting for experts. We are doing what we can. I remember back in the summer of '07 when it was decided that more than NASA Space Flight was needed. There was a flurry of activity. About 5 or 8 efforts were started. Two or three survived. Not bad.
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alexjrgreen
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Post by alexjrgreen »

TallDave wrote:
Anyone who owns a gun but isn't properly disciplined, trained and skilled is of doubtful use in an emergency.
Flight 90. Those people prevented hijackers from crashing a plane into the Capitol. And they didn't even have guns.
A truly humbling example. The story of United Airlines Flight 93 should rank right up there with the Alamo.

But the campaign to build a permanent memorial to them still needs money - you can donate here: http://www.honorflight93.org/

People in the other planes that day just sat there and let the highjackers get on with it.

In New Orleans four years later, many people reacted to Hurricane Katrina with the same fatalism. And yet in 1814, when the British attacked, the local population organised in support of the army and sent Major General Pakenham home in a barrel of rum.
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IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

Mike Holmes wrote:
In any case, the workaround to the "unorganized militia" thing is what happens in Michigan where you have people creating their own militias in order to insure their ability to own weapons. I think that ruling that people can carry certain weapons is better than forcing them to organize like this, which seems to have it's own dangers to me.
As Justice Scalia and other legal scholars have clearly said, belonging to a group is not a qualification under the 2nd amendment. The whole militia clause was never meant as a qualification, it was an explanatory reason. Such were common in constitutional writing of the era, many state constitutions did such. If, for instance, you were to use the logic of having a qualification, then the only people with free speech rights under the constitution are people who own printing presses, the only people with freedom of religion are priests and ministers, and the only people with freedom against search and seizure are landowners. Thats obviously NOT what the founders intended, and anybody claiming such logic under the 2nd amendment is clearly trying to trojan horse some fascism in under the guise of a long disposed of argument.
If you're arguing for the status quo, I'm with you - I think it's constitutional, and sane.
As to your earlier argument about military weapons: The musket WAS the infantry weapon, the M-16, of that day and age, and secondly, there were more cannon in private ownership than in government ownership in that era, particularly among merchant ship owners, who typically armed each ship with between 4-12 cannon. 90% of the revolutionary war US navy were privately owned vessels as well operating under letters of marque.

A merchant ship with a dozen cannon was a weapon of mass destruction in that day and age (as proven by Blackbeard in bombardments of coastal american cities in the early 18th century).

The founders intentions were that the US should NOT have a standing army.

Now, do I think every able bodied person should participate in community militia, as was done then every sunday after church (showing up to church without your musket was a finable offense then), yes, excepting of those who are morally scrupulous against bearing arms (who should be registered and pay a tax to go unarmed), yes thats a good thing, but forced association is also an unconstitutional violation of the freedom of association.

As for current status quo: which state are you talking about? There is a vast range of laws in the 50 states. Mine, New Hampshire, along with vermont and alaska, have among the least gun laws in the world and also the lowest crime rates in all categories (less than switzerland). DC, NY, IL, and CA have insanely restrictive gun laws and insanely high crime rates.

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