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Old 06-12-2002, 10:41 PM   #41
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Melon,
Interesting info. Do you have an idea of how popular hunting is in the UK or how many people have hunting Rifles. I have also heard about the CCTV and it has been very helpful in combating the IRA.

I do think that over time more restrictive gun laws can be instituted in the USA and I feel that the 2nd amendment should be amended. I don't look at things as being impossible and believe given time and effort, positive developments can take place.
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Old 06-13-2002, 01:47 AM   #42
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I'll agree with you on this point, the lawless and spread out nature of the Wild Wild West obviously prevents effective security to be provided by the government for every individual travelling west. This is the late 1800s. No such thing as 911 and a nearby police station with cars or helicopters. Of course this brings up a new point. Perhaps the increase in technology will eventually mean that local security forces will be able to deal with all problems or that citizens will have the means to deal with criminals using some type of non-leathal device. The Pentagon is already investing several Billion dollars in non-lethal weapon systems for soldiers carrying out operations in third world countries to control unruly mobs of citizens without having to resort to lethal force. It can also make it easier to engage an enemy attempting to use the local population as a shield.

With Washington DC I do not think restrictive gun laws in such a small area are going to have any effect at all when the surrounding area's do not have similar laws. You have to have enforcement of the same law everywhere in the country for it to work. In Pennsylvania, fireworks are actually banned, but people just cross the state border into Maryland to get their fireworks for the fourth of July. The reason for the high murder rate in DC is the availability of guns(in DC and the surrounding area) coupled with a high crime rate caused by a level of poverty not seen in most other area's of the country.

I certainly support tightening the juctice system to prevent convicted criminals from commiting their past crimes again. But this does nothing to stop first time offenders who I think make up the majority of those who have commited firearm murder. While prior criminals do commit way to many firearm murders, most are commited by people who have yet to be caught by the Police or other law enforcement. Since they make up the majority of offenders, how would you bring the firearm murder rate down to the levels in the UK and Ireland?

Having weapons in the Revolution was important, but the colonist had to have weapons without a Revolution or not. Colonist militia's were needed during the French and Indian war and of course, this is the18th century and having a rifle is a necessity for hunting purposes for a majority of the population. But without support from the French government and military, including firearms, the Revolution may have failed. Again if you read the second amendment it says the right to bear arms shall not be infringed so as to maintain a well regulated militia, to obviously defend the country. It was not meant so a vocal minority could overthrow the government when they decided it was evil.

With Nazi Germany, even if a large number of German civilians had taken up arms against Hitler, they would have been easily defeated by the German war machine. The sad fact is that Hitler did much of his work(not the murder of 6 million Jews) with the support and approval of the German people who blamed the Allies from World War I for their economic and social difficulties. At least initially in the begining.

In the US military, soldiers are trained to follow a code of ethics and respect for human rights and the US Constitution. The US military is not an organization of unthinking robots who simply follow orders. My Father was an Army Officer for over 30 years and would if needed correct the observations or orders of a direct superior if those were unethical, inhuman, or dishonest in some way. There were several times during his career when he did just that, and others in higher rank saw this leadership and it helped with being promoted to the next rank. It was not insubordination but taking action that was necessary to the proper running of the unit as well as giving other Superiors the most accurate picture of the situation.

This type of professional training and learning is not something that existed in the military's of most democracy's at the time of World War II. The new members of NATO, Poland, Czech Rep., Hungery, and later this year Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia are having their military officer corps trained in this area of military-civil relations in a democracy in addition to ethics and human rights.

So yes I do have faith in the Federal Government and the US military. It is not naive because I understand the checks and balances that the US military and Federal government have that other institions of Democracy and their military's in the past did not have. There are of course bad apples in every organization of course, but they are in the minority and do not have real power.

But as I have said before, even if the US Government became tyranical and the US military supported it, US citizens armed with small arms would be useless against a modern military. If the military was trying to coerce an individual, armored vehicles could and would be certainly used in situations that lightly armed soldiers were deemed unable to handle a possible level of resistence. The fact is that most of the Army is based on Tanks with the infrantry following behind in Armored Infrantry fighting vehicles from which they can fight and fire from without exposing themselves. These weapons are not to powerful that they would not be used in these situations rather they are an unstoppable means of destroying any resistence a population armed only with small arms could muster. The Iraqi resistence has had plenty of small arms, it is their lack of heavy weapons(Tanks, Apc's, Artillery, aircraft) which prevent them from being able to overthrow Saddam Hussian. Only US airpower and the ability to flee across the border prevent them from being destroyed entirely by Saddam Hussian.

It is true though that 220 years ago when the country was formed that small arms would have been enough to overthrow the government if sufficient numbers could be mustered to a cause. But in those days, rifles were the #1 weapon. Heavy weapons only existed in the form of cannon which had to be towed and was only effective against large rather fixed positions or masses of troops. The point is, most of what the military had was readily available to most citizens as well 220 years ago. Today that is light years away from the situation. Pratically everything that the military has is unavailable to citizens. So even if there was an "evil government" with the support of the military citizens with firearms(small arms) would be unable to stop it. So the arguement that the right to bear arms is so that citizens would be able to defend themselves against the government does not hold any water because they simply would be unable to in the 21st century unlike the 18th century..(unless you are able to demonstrate an example that it could be which I highly doubt but would be interested to see non the less.)

As far as the government is concerned, you view as a necessary evil. I view as a necessary good. Again there is a large amount of corruption and evil inside the government. This is individuals though, bad apples, and not the government as a whole. As whole the governments failures are mainly that it is slow and bureaucratic in its operations and there is often waste and mismanagement because of this rather than evil monsters. But the reason that government is slow and cubersome is often because of the checks and balances that prevent individuals from instituting some form of absolute power with in the government. Most people who work in the government especially those in the military do so at a pay rate considerably lower than what they would make from the same type of work in the private sector. The Billion dollar people are not in government but in the private sector.

Joining the military is one of the most selfless acts an individual could do. The men and women of the US military risk their lives every day for the safety and security of US citizens regardless if those citizens appreciate it or not. The work that the Diplomatic service, FBI and other intelligence agencies do is vital to safety and of US individuals and private business both in the USA and abroad. Again these men and women serve the american people! They do this at rates of pay that are not equal to what they could make in the private sector. Good noble people serving you and me, and not being payed the full amount that they should for it.

Because of these facts, unlike you, I'm far more likely to trust a person in the US government(which includes the US military) than a person who works in the private sector and serves no one but himself or his company.

While I am a US citizen and a registered Republican, I believe that the government will always have an important role to play in society as it has for nearly 10,000 years since man came out of the wild from the stone age and began to live in cities. Government is necessary for Capitalism to work. Without government regulation, capitalism naturally leads to monopoly which is Communism in a sense. The absense of competition.

Given what the government has to do, the taxes even under your system will always give it a large role in what happens in the economy. The level of taxes, how people are taxed, will continue even under reduced conditions to greatly effect the economy. In addition when the economy is at full employment, giving more money back to the public only creates inflation. There are limits to how fast the economy can grow. The US went off the Gold Standard because there simply is not enough Gold to back up every dollar that exist in the economy. The level of Gold in the USA is constant, but the level of wealth is NOT! Adjusting for inflation, the USA is 3 times as wealthy today as we were in 1968. In 1968, the USA's GDP was $3 Trillion in year 2000 dollars. We of course know that USA GDP in the Year 2000 was around 10 Trillion.

I also disagree that we should not try to end poverty. Ending poverty after all benifits those who are not impoverished just as much as the individuals in poverty. The USA has only benifited from ending widespread poverty in Europe following World War II. Today nearly 20% of US GDP comes from the Export of US goods and services to other countries. Decreasing poverty hear in the USA also lowers the crime rate which is good for everyone. Helping people become productive citizens and there by bring them out of poverty creates income and service for everyone. As a Catholic, I believe it is are duty to try and help everyone and end poverty. The eredication of poverty is possible and a country like the Netherlands with the lowest unemployment in the world of 2% is almost there.

This has been an interesting debate, but back to the original point I made way back in the thread, people in Ireland and the UK do enjoy a certain freedom that most in the USA do not because of the low rate of death from firearms in those two countries. It is clearly a result of those countries gun control policies and I feel that the USA should move toward a similar system so that we can enjoy this freedom that the Irish and the British have.
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Old 06-13-2002, 08:14 AM   #43
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Do you think the paranoia of government comes about from our history?

A great many of us came here because the government in our country of origins did things to our ancestors....persecuted them because they were the wrong religion...seized their land because they lost the war...starved them....I think if any of our families have been in this country for any length of time...they have a similar story to tell. And this doesn't even address the more modern people who came here as a result of the Nazi's or the communist regimes...

And the government here has a history of turning against its own as well...Jim Crowe laws...Japanese internment...the Trail of Tears....

Is it any wonder we don't trust it...?

Of course we dont' walk around in a constant state of paranoia...but I wonder if its part of our collective conscience or something..

As far as the gun laws in DC....I live in VA in the metro area...we have the more liberal gun laws of the three districts...and watching the locale news at night I note that the crime reported in VA is quite low as compared to the other two places. This is a very unscientific observation...but I would ask anyone who lives in the area take note and watch the locale news and see how many shootings take place in MD..and DC...and compare it to the lower number in VA....

I have no idea what this means...if it means anything at all.


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Old 06-13-2002, 10:15 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Do you have an idea of how popular hunting is in the UK or how many people have hunting Rifles. I have also heard about the CCTV and it has been very helpful in combating the IRA.
I live in the UK but have also spent some time in the US and in my experience, hunting is nowhere near as popular in the UK as it is in the US. I live part of the year in a rural area and even there, very few people hunt, although of course many farmers keep rifles to kill wild animals on their farms as well.

Also - I'd say the reason there has been very little IRA activity in UK recently isn't so much to do with CCTV as the fact that the IRA are on ceasefire because of the peace process and Good Friday Agreement.
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Old 06-13-2002, 10:17 AM   #45
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STING2,

I just wanted to add that my previous post wasn't in any way a criticism of what you'd said - just another perspective. And also, I think you made some great points in your previous post - particularly regarding fighting poverty.

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Old 06-13-2002, 01:25 PM   #46
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Northern Virginia is very wealthy compared to DC, and the Maryland side. I use to live in Springfield. It is this absence of poverty in Northern VA that results in a lower crime rate and there for low death rate from firearms. But for those in engaged in illegal activities in DC and who want weapons, circumventing the strict gun laws there is done by just taking a drive in a car or catching a bus or the subway to area's with liberal gun laws.

Fizzing,
Thats interesting to hear how few actually hunt in the UK and of course points to the low level of gun ownership in the UK which I believe is resposible for the low rate of death from firearms there.
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Old 06-13-2002, 03:17 PM   #47
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http://www.projectexile.com/


Virginia also has Project Exile...if you are caught commiting a crime and are in possesion of an illegal weapon...its an automatic five years in prison...and also remember Virginia has no parole.


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Old 06-13-2002, 11:16 PM   #48
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...and also remember Virginia has no parole.
I like that program of Truth-in-Sentencing.

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Old 06-14-2002, 04:32 PM   #49
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Originally posted by STING2
Melon,
Interesting info. Do you have an idea of how popular hunting is in the UK or how many people have hunting Rifles. I have also heard about the CCTV and it has been very helpful in combating the IRA.
Honestly? I don't know this for sure, but I don't think hunting is popular at all there. I think it is mostly a sport for nobility. Anyone from the U.K. here care to clarify? I don't wish to make a fool out of myself, because perception is often different than reality.

What does anger me a bit is the fact that the NRA tried to say that Al Gore was going to ban all guns, including hunting rifles. On the contrary, I don't know many gun control advocates who are looking for an absolute ban on guns; mostly those guns whose sole purpose is to kill people.

The idea of CCTV really impressed me when there was a car bombing in Ealing (suburb of London) when I was over there. The exploding car was right there, caught on tape. Obviously now, I'd have many issues with CCTV being used without the public's knowledge, as well as it being used in private areas, but I certainly do not see a problem with it in public areas, where you really don't have privacy anyway. This would certainly be a great crime deterrant, in my opinion.

Quote:
I do think that over time more restrictive gun laws can be instituted in the USA and I feel that the 2nd amendment should be amended. I don't look at things as being impossible and believe given time and effort, positive developments can take place.
The Second Amendment isn't as simple as the far-right would like to think, but it certainly isn't new news over the fact that it is a difficult amendment to interpret. Of course, it certainly doesn't help that the Second Amendment itself is a run-on sentence:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The key phrase that certainly encourages gun control is the idea of the "well regulated Militia." Regardless of the interpretation of this amendment, the Second Amendment only bars federal action, not state or private action.

From FindLaw.com:

"In United States v. Miller (1939), the Court sustained a statute requiring registration under the National Firearms Act of sawed-off shotguns. After reciting the original provisions of the Constitution dealing with the militia, the Court observed that ''[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.'' The significance of the militia, the Court continued, was that it was composed of ''civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.'' It was upon this force that the States could rely for defense and securing of the laws, on a force that ''comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense,'' who, ''when called for service . . . were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.'' Therefore, ''[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well- regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.''

Thoughts?

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Old 06-14-2002, 04:37 PM   #50
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Damn, STING2, I must say again that what you write is very well-written, and I'm admittedly not a registered Republican.

At least no one can accuse me of not giving people credit where due...

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Old 06-15-2002, 04:06 PM   #51
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Thanks Melon. That was interesting quote from United States Vs Miller. Most civilian firearms are of course not used by the military. While I think Achtung Bubba is a registered Republican as well, you can see we have widely different opinions on these issues. The Republican and Democratic parties are very big tents. Some accuse them of being one party rather than two. The perfect political party for me would be one that would hold a combination of views from the Democratic and Republican parties. Perhaps in another thread I'll state what I'd like that party to be for and like.
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Old 06-23-2002, 06:19 AM   #52
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The American Freedom?

What's so American about freedom?

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Old 06-23-2002, 04:01 PM   #53
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In this discussion, the only "US freedoms" I came across (at least in this thread) were the right to carry arms and a lot of talk about taxes. Somehow I don't get the idea these are the freedoms people have in mind when I hear them sing the national anthem etc.
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Old 06-23-2002, 08:02 PM   #54
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Well Americans are very lucky and have freedoms we obviously don't realize or take for granted.

Freedom to work, marry, and live where we choose
Marry whom we want to (in relation to pre-arranged marriages that go on in a lot of middle-east countries)

Freedom to serve our country or not to serve-our choice

Freedom of speech, I don't know if that was mentioned. Obviously gun ownership, since it is the main thing this thread talks about.

Legal defense for free, albeit not the best, but it's better than automatically having your hand chopped off for stealing like they do in SAUDI ARABIA. Speaking of SAUDI, If women over there were allowed to talk I bet they would say a lot of the American Freedom that we take for granted.
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Old 06-23-2002, 08:42 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally posted by z edge
Freedom to...marry....
Marry whom we want to...
If only this were really true...

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Old 06-23-2002, 08:43 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrTeeth
In this discussion, the only "US freedoms" I came across (at least in this thread) were the right to carry arms and a lot of talk about taxes. Somehow I don't get the idea these are the freedoms people have in mind when I hear them sing the national anthem etc.
I wouldn't knock low taxes. A low tax rate reflects, I believe, a high respect for property rights, and a lot of people believe that, without property rights, the right to vote and exercise free speech are merely academic.

It seems to me that the freedoms much of the Western world enjoy - with the U.S. perhaps enjoying more freedoms than others - reduce to more or less four groups:

- Economic rights (capitalism: particularly property rights)
- Political rights (small-'r' republicanism: free speech, the right to vote, the right to assemble)
- Religious rights (pluralism: the right to worship, church-state separation)
- Arms rights, the right to self defense

In the worst case of tyranny, the fourth right is what ensures the other three, IMHO.
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Old 06-23-2002, 09:30 PM   #57
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Originally posted by melon


If only this were really true...

Melon
Okay I see your point here

I meant in terms of / or in relationship to other countries where marriages are pre-arranged for whatever reason. I think in one or two (correct me if i am wrong) states it is legal to marry persons of the same sex, while in other states like mine it probably never will be. But we are making progress in that area I believe.
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Old 06-23-2002, 09:43 PM   #58
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Freedom of speech
exactly. while i'm not the biggest fan of america, i can say there are many countries where we couldn't be having this conversation, because the government would've already come in and locked us in a dungeon, or just killed us.
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Old 06-23-2002, 10:07 PM   #59
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exactly. while i'm not the biggest fan of america, i can say there are many countries where we couldn't be having this conversation, because the government would've already come in and locked us in a dungeon, or just killed us.
An example would be Iraq, where if you oppose the Regime they might just put you in a "container" (for lack of better term) of acid that will eat you away slowly until you are dead.
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Old 06-23-2002, 10:42 PM   #60
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Quote:
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Freedom of speech
Watch out on this one.. At this moment, you do not have the ability to speak in support/attack a candidate 60 days before the election...

And with the S. Court's recent ruling in succumbing to public opinion.. Who knows??..

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