Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wrapping up Guns

I have another post half-written, but I am not going to post it because it is already like 4,000 words long, and I promised myself I would have this wrapped up by today. If I am going to finish this by today, then there is no real use in introducing new laws today;-) Or in asking questions with only answers that will irritate me ("Why can people buy assault weapons?")

Thanks to Aaron for finally providing a cogent argument in favor of widespread gun ownership. See...that wasn't so hard, and I don't bite:-)

I think Aaron is away for a while, so I will let him have the last word, for the most part. I am not going to take issue with most of it, but there are a couple of things I want to address. First, it is really easy to dismiss statistics by saying "Oh, you can make statistics say whatever you want." But there is a reason we count stuff...because it often tells a story. And in this case, it says that guns aren't "protecting" us. We have just as much property crime as any of the non-gun owning countries. We have more violent crime, and our murder numbers are completely off the charts.

(This makes perfect sense when you think about it...people don't often break and enter because they wrote a business plan and think it is a good venture. It is a desperate and irrational act...why would we expect them to think rationally about what might be on the inside?)

So I will say it again. Guns don't protect the People, they create more crime. America is a more dangerous place because of our gun laws.

A couple of people have compared guns to cars...which ignores a whole bunch of things. 1) You need to pass a drivers test to get a driver's license. 2) All cars are registered when they are bought and re-registered every two years. 3) In most states, you need insurance to drive a car. 4) Cars have very important purposes: they enable commerce, they facilitate the free movement of people and they enable better distribution of the population.

Cars are a net positive to society, and we have to tolerate the dangers and drawbacks (like noise and pollution) to achieve the benefits. Guns are a net negative...the good that they provide does not measure up to the bad. Because of that, we should try as hard as we can to limit their numbers and their usage.

I think Aaron would say that guns are a net-positive, and while I disagree, that is just a difference of opinion that will have to remain unresolved (and he is on vacation, according to his blog, so I hope I am not putting words into his mouth).

The argument that infuriates me, however, is "We can't solve the problem." What the fuck does that mean? Yes, I know that no one has a perfect solution...but why is that a requirement of starting? Too many people get killed by guns, and too many crimes get committed because of can we not try and make that better? So what if it is only baby steps...progress is progress.

Anyway, I am done with guns (for this week) from my end. Anyone who disagrees is welcome to continue to chime in...all comments get published unless they violate my rules (you can read them on the right side of the page). The last word is yours...


Ally said...

I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on this issue and certainly don't think this has been a "waste of your time." I find it ironic that Billy suggests that your posting on a topic you feel passionately about to be a waste of time. After all, most of us just post about day to day activities (like going to McDonalds)--and blogging is simply a forum to talk about whatever is on your mind. If you want to engage someone in a debate, I don't see the big deal or the need for snarky comments.

Now, please post the eloquent and witty comment I wrote yesterday that destroyed any arguments you might have had:) It was clearly filtered out by your Nazi comment moderation.

brandy said...

Although I didn't chime in on the great gun debate of 2007, I (like Ally) did enjoy reading about it and hearing everyones views. I appreciated someone bringing a serious topic up and presenting it in an intersting way. Good form!

cat said...

did i not read closely enough, or did you talk about the michael moore statistic about how canada owns way more guns than us but has fewer murders?

is that statistic even true? i haven't looked it up.

i'm not in favor of gun ownership personally, but your argument doesn't seem very solid in general. I would work on finding more facts and using less passion.

Aaron said...

Giving up? Darn. I was just getting started. :(

Accidentally Me said...

Aaron - Should I point out that you were the one who dissapeared for a week;-) I will happily continue offline if you have more to say:-P