Saturday, January 26, 2013

Letters to a Democrat

Albert Camus: My hero.
January 25th, 2013


It has been difficult to talk to you lately, because you seem to have abandoned one of your time-honored traditions: relying on facts and statistics.

You always told me that there was "evidence" that supported all of your policy goals.  You showed me statistics about people's beliefs on gay marriage and abortion.  You gave me some historical factoids and some numbers about how government spending helps the economy.  You even brought up the fact that Republicans supported cutting funding to programs that provide services for people with disabilities.

You'll have to forgive me for not understanding why you reject the facts, data, and statistics that I have presented to you over the gun control debate.  I've presented to you the statistics straight from the Bureau of Justice Statistics that suggest that the murder rate has steadily declined since 1989--yet you retort, erroneously, that we are seeing record numbers of gun-related homicides.

I showed you that out of all the gun deaths in America, only a fraction of them were committed with assault weapons.  Most gun deaths have come from handguns, yet you assert that assault weapons are simply too deadly and must be banned.

I even showed you that over 80% of gun violence is gang related or committed during the commission of another felony.  In response, you told me that there should be fewer guns in America, and the way to achieve that is to hamper our ability to legally obtain guns.  You didn't even answer me when I asked you how gun regulations will keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.

You told me that we should ban semi-automatic weapons.  When I informed you that over 95% of the firearms legally owned are, in fact, semi-automatic, you scoffed.  You told me that at one point, single-action handguns were the norm.  I informed you that single-action handguns haven't been the norm since 1885.  You scoffed again.  You didn't actually provide a retort, but you just scoffed.  Then when I told you that you sound very unknowledgeable about guns, you actually provided me with a statistic that supposedly shows most Americans want to ban semi-automatic weapons.

In reality, that poll only shows that most Americans have very limited knowledge about firearms.

You keep insisting that assault rifles are too deadly, too dangerous.  You got really quiet when I brought up the fact that more people are murdered with blunt objects than are murdered with assault rifles. You also don't answer me when I ask you to explain why a city with a handgun ban has a higher murder rate than a larger city without a handgun ban.But for whatever reason, whenever I bring these things to your attention, you sort of deflect the ideas and start talking about "emotions." 

Emotion is the problem, not the solution.  You always tell me that Republicans vote on their emotions and feelings when it comes to social issues, but what have you done here?  I think you're afraid to admit the truth.  In the face of hopelessness, you choose to take the rosey view.  Why?  So you can feel safer?  So you can feel like you're not powerless to stop the madness?

Facts are facts, my friend.  They're important because they help us to make logical, rational decisions.  You agreed with me once that most Americans only vote their feelings.  Their politics are based on what they feel is right in their hearts.  You agreed that they will ignore reality in order to maintain their worldview, because most people lack the intellectual capability of coping with a shattered worldview.

You can't choose to ignore the facts simply because they don't jive with your sentiments.  I've done my homework on this issue.  I've countered everything you've asserted with cold, hard facts that prove your statements to be false, or at least prove them to not be based on reality.

Why have you abandoned logic and reason?  Why don't the facts matter to you in the gun control debate?  I fail to understand why your facts are all-important, while my facts seem to make little difference.

Why don't my facts matter to you?!


Jersey McJones said...

Jack, you need to stop insulting the intelligence of people who disagree with you on this issue. It is sleazy and beneath you.

Here are some other facts:


Jack Camwell said...

I'm not insulting anyone's intelligence. I'm simply asking why you ignore my facts and data on the matter.

Let's break down the facts that you presented me.

"An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides and 94% of gun-related suicides would not occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present."

Maybe I'm an idiot, but this is a baffling "statistic" to me. So what this is saying is that if a gun was not present in the commission of a "gun-related" homicide, then only 41% of those homicides would have been stopped?

. . .

Also, of course guns are going to be used more in crime than in self defense seeing as how there are tons of places where you can't even bring a gun. Here's another fact: knives are used more often to commit a crime than in self defense. So are baseball bats. Go figure--criminals are using weapons to kill people more often than law-abiding citizens . . .

" Assaults and suicide attempts with firearms are much more likely to be fatal than those perpetrated with less lethal weapons or means. Removing guns saves lives. "

No shit, Sherlock. This sounds like an argument to ban all guns, which you said you're not for. So how does this help your argument?

"It is estimated that forty percent of gun acquisitions occur in the secondary market. That means that they happen without a Brady background check at a federally licensed dealer."

How are you going to stop that from happening? Here's a hint: you can't. You can make the penalties as high as you want to limit person-to-person sales. It won't stop person-to-person sales. It certainly won't stop the people who are already selling completely illegal weapons. Like I told you, if I had the money, I could get an AK THIS WEEK. I could also get a Thompson Sub Machine gun.

Jack Camwell said...

"Guns are used to intimidate and threaten 4 to 6 times more often than they are used to thwart crime."

How often are they used to intimidate and threaten someone in order to stop them from committing a crime? I bet the study doesn't mention that.

What do you want to do, Jersey? You want to limit everyone to shotguns which would have actually been far deadlier in a Sandy Hook scenario? Limit us all to single action pistols and bolt action rifles? (A bolt action rifle was used to kill JFK, btw).

Tell me what you propose to do in order to get all of the illegal guns off the street and out of the hands of gangbangers who circumvented the background check process to begin with.

Philosophically and constitutionally, I have a right to protect myself however the hell I see fit. So why are you trying to make that more difficult for me to do?

Now I feel insulted because I presented you with hard data, and you give me this crap?

Jersey McJones said...

I'm sorry you think the Brady Campaign is crap. It is in fact a serious, grown-up effort to deal with the ridiculous ubiquity of guns around America today. I guess you think that just doesn't matter at all. Oh, that's right... you have "hard" data... I guess your "facts" are more special than everyone else'.


Jack Camwell said...

My facts and data aren't extrapolations from studies. They're straight up numbers and statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

It's not an adult effort, it's a partisan effort. Those idiots seek to eliminate guns completely.

I mean really? "41% of gun homicides could have been prevented if there weren't any guns." Hmm. Kinda makes you wonder why only 41% of gun homicides could be prevented.

Once again, you can't tell me why we should be all upset over the ubiquity of guns when less than 1% of the US population is killed by guns every year.

Logic and reason, Jersey. That's all I'm advocating here.

Jersey McJones said...

The Brady Campaign is a partisan effort???

You can talk about "logic and reason" all you like, but when it comes to the gun debate you are "pro-gun." At least admit that.


Jack Camwell said...

I am pro-lets-not-make-rash-decisions.

I don't own guns, but I'm not about to tell millions of Americans that they can't own guns simply because .0003% of the population is wacked out of its gourd.

Do I think there should be MORE guns? Not really. Do I think that everyone should own a gun? No. But I do believe that law abiding citizens who want to own guns should be able to do so without so much god damned hassle.

I have to bring this up again. Doesn't it seem pretty ridiculous that we're trying to get an assault weapon ban when more people were murdered with blunt objects than with assault weapons?

This whole thing seems like a colossal waste of time to me.

Anonymous said...

I am going to try a different approach with you Jersey, see if we can find absolutely any common ground.

What I would like to happen is instead of the people who own guns responsibly being punished, I want the sons of bitches breaking the law to have the book thrown at them, and THEIR guns taken away and melted down, not mine.

Just like we don't say you cannot own a car and also have booze at your house... I am hurting absolutely no one with my hobby. No one is being threatened or menaced by me or approximately 150,000,000 other gun owners. I use my firearms to develop skill and proficiency, in case there does come a time I have to use it I will be better suited for the task at hand if I have ran 1000's of rounds through my pistol.

You want to prevent as many shootings and as much violence as possible, so do I.

Cut out the gang wars and more than 50% of our already low violence rate is cut.

The assault weapons ban is lifted and our homicide rates drop. How can that be so? They were never using the rifles in crimes to begin with is why.

Handguns is where your problem really lies, and it's handguns in the clutches of evil-doers to be more specific. Not handguns in my clutches. I have a USP .45 sitting 2 feet away from me, all I need to do is rack the slide and I am in business. This is the case day after day, night after night, and thus, me and my pistol have not killed a single living thing, except for maybe some of my skin cells from the powder blast.

We aren't the ones hurting anyone sir. That's why we are so upset. You are punishing the overwhelming majority that is law abiding citizens for the actions of the asshat few.

You want to stop murders, you have the only law that you can logically make to have that happen, a law against murder.

How about seriously enforcing the law for starters? Do something to limit the people who are breaking the law first before you point the finger at us, like we are the problem.

You said once you used to be in overseas supply or marketing or some such... I am not blaming you for our fucked up consumption culture? Because it's not your fault.

Jersey McJones said...

I worked for two of the world's largest container lines.

I just don't see how any legitimate gun owner is being "punished" or "hassled" by having waiting periods, background checks, slower firing guns with smaller magazines, and bearing the responsibility that goes with their Second Amendment right.

40% of guns are purchased in the "secondary" market, but almost 100% or originally purchased "legally." So we have a big problem with untraceable sales and it's coming from supposedly "law-abiding" citizens.

We have to do something about that.


Jack Camwell said...

Here you go, Jersey.


So how about a country that actually bans guns?

Since 2003, Brazil has come close to fitting that description. Only police, people in high-risk professions and those who can prove their lives are threatened are eligible to receive gun permits. Anyone caught carrying a weapon without a permit faces up to four years on prison.

But Brazil also tops the global list for gun murders.

According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime study in 2011, 34,678 people were murdered by firearms in Brazil in 2008, compared to 34,147 in 2007. The numbers for both years represent a homicide-by-firearm rate of 18 per 100,000 inhabitants — more than five times higher than the U.S. rate.

Violence is so endemic in Brazil that few civilians would even consider trying to arm themselves for self-defense. Vast swaths of cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are slums long dominated by powerful drug gangs, who are often better armed than the police. Brazilian officials admit guns flow easily over the nation's long, porous Amazon jungle border.

Still, Guaracy Mingardi, a crime and public safety expert and researcher at Brazil's top think tank, Fundacao Getulio Vargas, said the 2003 law helped make a dent in homicides by firearms in some areas.

According to the Sao Paulo State Public Safety Department, the homicide rate there was 28.29 per 100,000 in 2003 and dropped to 10.02 per 100,000 in 2011.

Brazil wants more powerful guns in the hands of police. This month, the army authorized law enforcement officers to carry heavy caliber weapons for personal use.

Ligia Rechenberg, coordinator of the Sou da Paz, or "I am for Peace," violence prevention group, thinks that could make things worse. She said police will buy weapons that "they don't know how to handle, and that puts them and the population at risk."

Anonymous said...

Well, it's a punishment for various reasons. I am unsure what you mean by slower firing weapons, but the smaller mag and waiting period thing has been tried before and failed. Again, you are only hurting law abiding citizens with the smaller magazines.

Background checks, fine. I have nothing to hide and I have no restrictions because of that. Huge PITA at times, but I will give you that it has been effective thus far.

Now... your last sentence makes no sense from this side of the fence. Restricting our Second Amendment Rights flies in the face of us being able to carry out our responsibility; to resist a tyrannical government if need be.

It's almost as if you think its a privilege and not a right by that statement.

Ok, this secondary market. You lose me here. Criminals that pay money for guns are buying them from other criminals so they don't have to go through the hassle to steal them. Smuggling is huge, I have no idea how they slip past but I have seen the fruit of gun smuggling, You could fill up one of your containers with the firepower these cats have. Now... outright theft is hard to track, sure, however I can't see a criminal paying full price for something he/she can just steal or get money for stealing and selling.

I don't buy this line of bullshit that nearly 100% of the secondary market is originally legally owned guns that their original owners "sold" them.

Hell, I have heard of some of these ner-do-wells I am familiar with ripped off the police for some of their stash.

I buy a gun, I keep it. Quality firearms are expensive. You don't want to give someone a deal you didn't get?

As for the issue of "no need to have it" I disagree. Sure, you can defend your house with a pistol and shotgun, you might do well with that. When there are multiple attackers a semi-auto rifle is amazing and way better than a pistol. Throw in the possibility that have body armor you might as well be shooting rubber bullets. Why bring that up you may ask? Because the rifles aren't being used for the crimes, handguns are. What the rifles CAN be used for is to repel well armed tyrant governments.

In the end, I am of the opinion it comes down to this:

If the enemy can skirt the law and have better gear than you can buy anyway, whats the sense in being a good guy on this issue? All a gun or accessory ban would accomplish is an increase in illegal trades/sales etc. As far as your private sales, I mean... what the hell you gonna do there? If you are talking about the criminal element, yes, fine... go balls out.

Enforce the laws we have first before you start in on us.

Silverfiddle said...

Jack: Jersey is a walking, bloviating "Appeal to Authority" logical fallacy.

The Brady people said so! Period! End of discussion!

It's so much easier than analyzing facts and statistics and using your own light of reason.

That is how libs roll...

Jersey McJones said...


I do not advocate banning guns, I do not selectively ignore facts, I'm not a loon.

We have essentially a massive underground gun market in America today, and it's out of control, and for Christ's sake we regulate fireworks but not firearms???

At what point do we grow up here with our guns?


Anonymous said...

"A man all wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package."

The Wizard of Ozyandias

Silverfiddle said...

2 jERSEY: "I do not selectively ignore facts, I'm not a loon."

You have disproved that over and over with your rantings here.

Jack presents facts, and you ignore them, choosing instead to spout propaganda handed to you by the Brady people or whoever else it makes you feel good to agree with.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, just because you don;t like where some facts come from does not mean those facts are not true. I did not deny any fact you guys presented in your arguments. You guys are the deniers.

I'm simply showing that there are more facts than you guys are presenting or observing, and when those other facts are considered as well, a,d all in total, for me, it balances toward the argument for more regulation, slower guns, smaller magazines, and some kind of interstate registration and title system.


Jack Camwell said...

The difference between your information and my information, is that yours is a bunch of extrapolations.

My facts are good old fashioned hard data. Numbers. When a study comes out and says "41% of gun deaths could have been avoided had guns not been present," that's not a FACT. It's not as if the people who did the study analyzed all 12,000 gun deaths individually and determined that 59% of the victims would still have been murdered if a gun wasn't there.

You absolutely CANNOT deny the facts that I've presented, because they are raw statistical numbers. Unless you think the Bureau of Justice Statistics flat out lied about there being 12,000ish gun deaths in 2011.

Unless you think Brazil is lying about its murder rate. Or Chicago is lying about its murder statistics.

Studies are refutable. Any good academian knows that. Raw numbers, however, are not refutable. That's the difference between your facts and mine.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Jack: "The difference between your information and my information, is that yours is a bunch of extrapolations.

My facts are good old fashioned hard data. Numbers."


Jack has done the work of digging into the originally compiled statistics, while Jersey snatches red propaganda off of the talking points teletype.

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside... I rarely read that crooks and liars blog anymore after some of the blatantly illogical discussions that I have seen, and the torrent of personal attacks against dissenters.

I am all for looking at the other side's point of view, so I went back into the maw of the elitist and read some of the larger threads that were about gun control.

Yeah, that place hasn't changed one bit. Some serious fact bending and irrational arguments being thrown in there.

Still don't know what a slower gun is however.