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Do Guns Kill People or Do People Kill People?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Dark_Nexium, Jan 8, 2007.

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  1. Dark_Nexium

    Dark_Nexium Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 2, 2007
    This topic is on the discussion of whether we should outlaw guns or leave the Constitution to defend our right to bare arms. It seems that in today's society that guns and violence seem to be more of a problem then in other generations. Why is it that a country, like Canada, has more guns per household and still have far less shootings then America? Also should the Constitution decide on the guns arguement or is a new Amendment in need?

    In my opinion, guns are no more a menace than the people who use them. Others may argue that there needs to be more strict laws governing guns. Their arguement is just as valid to me since I too realize the danger guns pose. But I also believe that our Constitution has it right as every American deserves the right to be able to defend himself.

    So what say you?
  2. Master_SweetPea

    Master_SweetPea Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 18, 2002
    Do Cars kill people?
    Do Knives kill people?

    Do Firetrucks and hoses save lives or those who use them?
    Does an Ambulance give you First-Aid or those who drive them?
    Does a scalpel remove a tumor or the Doctor using it?
    Does a wrench fix your car or the mechanic using it?
    Do shoes win the game or the player wearing them?

    Basically Firearms don't kill or save lives
    People do both.
    Basic Cost-benefit analysis has shown that in the U.S. we are
    better off when civilians are armed, and criminals are punished.

    *edit just noticed that the thread starter registered in the last week...hmm who's sock are you?
  3. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    This is gonna get ugly.

    But, before it does, I'd like to point out that guns do not roam the streets in packs looking for victims. :p
  4. Shadow_of_Evil

    Shadow_of_Evil Jedi Youngling star 6

    Nov 18, 2001
    Meh. Guns just make it easier to kill.
  5. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 12, 2002
    I totally saw a rifle walking down the street yesterday and it just shot this guy. It was weird.
  6. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Oh, lord.

    This ol' chestnut.

    I'm of a mixed mind, because on the one hand we haven't had this debate for a while. However, when we do it becomes an exercise in cyclic repetition.

    I can tell you know, there will be three sides to this debate. The Anti- side, the Pro- side, and the Ender_Side.

    The Anti- will point to gun crime and say that guns are a convenient, readily available tool that was invented purely to end life and that societies without guns have less murders.

    The Pro- Side will point out that a gun is a tool and therefore can't be imbued with intent or blame.

    I'll suggest that whilst guns were designed to kill, the pro-side is right in saying guns lack sentience and therefore intent. I will however, argue that the main problem with guns is that the problem with guns in America isn't guns, it's Americans. I'll of course be right.

    You can expect liberal doses of Bowling for Columbine/Truth, depending on your side, and I'll once again comment that the best part of BFC was a totally missed opportunity involving Canada and the US on guns:crime. Special_Fred may even de-lurk to make another crazy suggestion that owning a gun is a one of those "nonsense of stilts" natural rights, if he still indeed lurks. And that will continue for about 1000 posts, and I'll lock it again.

    I'm not really kidding, either. :D Both the Pro- and Anti- sides are too wed to their position to change sides, and it's rare any consensus is reached. I guess I'll see what you all think, and confer with Mr44 - at least if I do lock this, you can read what would have been, right here in this very post. ;)

    Peace out/From my cold, dead hands,

  7. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000

    I still don't believe that color of yours is royal blue. :p

    But, why not just lock this now and save everyone a few weeks of carpal tunnel somewhere down the road? :p
  8. DorkmanScott

    DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 26, 2001
    Technically neither guns nor people kill people. It's fast-moving bullets that are the culprit. [face_peace]

    I don't really understand how this can be a question. The saying is cliche and annoying, but still true.

    A gun can do nothing until a person picks it up. It has no desires, nor the capability to enact them even if it did. A gun is a chunk of metal. It's the person pulling the trigger and pointing the weapon that decides what happens.

    M. Scott
  9. Jediflyer

    Jediflyer Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 5, 2001

    A gun can do nothing until a person picks it up. It has no desires, nor the capability to enact them even if it did. A gun is a chunk of metal. It's the person pulling the trigger and pointing the weapon that decides what happens.

    Nevertheless, gun technology can make a big difference in culture and society. Take for example the difference the machine gun made in WWI. The people and governments fighting the war hadn't changed, only their weapons. However, they made the difference between thousands dead and millions dead.

    Now, handguns and rifles aren't machine guns, but the ease of use, lethality, etc over knives and other weapons can have a similar effect on murders in a society.

    So, it is not as simple as saying guns don't kill people, people kill people. The weapon itself has a very significant effect that guns rights activitists often ignore.

  10. Quixotic-Sith

    Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 22, 2001
  11. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    I used to be a shooter - I'm over it now, in that there really wasn't much about the sport which kept me interested. As Mr44 will vouch for as well, I didn't own a weekend popgun, I owned an expensive, start of the art Olympic target rifle (as well as a handgun which I used to competition shoot).

    I say this because I think it's important to establish that I am familiar with firearms, and if Mr44 remembers what type of rifle I had, gun-owners will see I took my shooting seriously.

    I'm trying to establish a context for what I'm about to say, so I'm not mistaken for someone who has no history with guns...

    Making a gun a right, and not a privilege, was in my opinion a monumentally regrettable act.

    People very erroneously assume that the availability and number of guns is the issue in the US.

    It's not.

    As I said before,a nd have said many times before, the biggest insight into this came from Bowling for Columbine, though Michael Moore of course didn't have nor share this insight, as he was too busy opening unlocked doors and mistaking conjecture for fact.

    The stats he gives for Canadian firearm ownership is approx 10,000,000.

    Canada has a population of approx 30,000,000, so you've got a 1:3 ratio of guns to people. [link=]Wiki[/link] cites a source that suggests 21% ownership versus 48.8% in the US.

    [link=]As the graph here shows[/link], Switzerland has 36.5% ownership.

    Bear in mind this is as a percentage based on households and not individuals.

    Yet on a per capita basis, Canada and Switzerland have a fraction of the gun-related crime of the US.

    People would point to the guns in America and say they're the problem; but if that truly were the case, then you'd need to see crime figures in Switzerland which were about 60-70% of the same figures for the US.

    So, this sorta skirts the middle ground between the anti- and pro- sides, this argument...

    The Pro-gun response would be that guns don't kill people, and they are partially right. Guns don't. As the anti-crowd says, they act as a convenient force multiplier so killing someone is made easier by having a gun. But, if the anti-crowd was fully correct, instead of also being partially correct, they would need to establish the Swiss as having about 70% of the crime of the US, and the Canadians having similarly relative figures. Even assuming they're not absolute rates, you'd want only a few percentage points difference between the two.

    But you don't get that.

    So, I'm sorry, both the Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun sides are equal parts right and wrong.

    The problem isn't guns killing people; it's Americans with guns killing people.


    I can only take guesses.

    I think by having it as a right, and not as a privilege, you're stripping it of any meaning and responsibility. Especially when you factor in the general acceptance of the idea of natural rights endowed from a creator, you add layers of trouble. How can it be wrong if you're just exercising your god given right?

    There's a reason why gun-crime in America is a problem. It's not guns, because we can't see comparative trends elsewhere. It's also not because people would just harm others regardless, and the gun is just the tool, for the same reason as above.

    It's your culture. It's hundreds of years of the "nonsense of stilts" that is natural rights; and it's the problem of the way that law is written in the US. You read law from Europe or the Commonwealth, it tells you what you can't do. In the US, it tells you what you can do. And so what you're left with is a situation where the rights end up being taken for g
  12. Espaldapalabras

    Espaldapalabras Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2005
    That is an interesting analysis E_S. I agree that guns aren't the reason behind our higher levels of crime, but it seems odd to me to blame our "rights based culture" for that increase in crime. If that was really the case then we should expect to see rural America, like Idaho where guns are a right, have the highest rates of gun crime. If we look at the places with the biggest crime problems you are going to find urban areas with poor and minority populations.

    Most Americans don't even know what the term "natural right" even means, and while it most certainly plays a huge part in why we have and defend the "right to bare arms," I don't see how that belief is the primary cause of higher crime rates in the US when we have so many other proven factors.
  13. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Well, the thing is that in Idaho or those areas you speak of, you'll find the reason for owning a gun is probably more (percentage wise) about hunting than, say, defence and those guys aren't owning guns because it's their right gawdammit, but because they have a day-to-day need of them. Clearly, it's probably deeper than I went into.

    But I'm going to reject something that blames minorities or the poor without some form of evidence to back it up. I would bet that the US still had higher gun crime rates per capita than most other states 50 years ago, and even 60 years ago. I think the problem runs deeper than blacks, latinos and poverty.

  14. dizfactor

    dizfactor Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 12, 2002
    And what's the driving force behind gun crime in the inner city?

    The drug trade.

    Legalize drugs, watch violent crime drop. Homicide rates increased by a whopping 78% after the passage of the 18th Amendment, and dropped back down to pre-Prohibition levels a few years after it was repealed.
  15. Darth Mischievous

    Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Oct 12, 1999
    A poignant example of why the 2nd Amendment is essential is the reality when the power went down for days and days after Hurricane Katrina.

    George Carlin once said that all you have to do to take us back to the stone age is to simply turn the power off, and he's correct. Turn the power off in a major US city for a year, and see if the same ideological rhetoric applies.

    I don't personally like handguns, but I had one in the aftermath of Katrina (an HK 9mm). I sold it a few months afterwards to a friend, because I simply wasn't comfortable having it in my house.

    Legalizing all drugs is definitely not a solution to crime, it's a recipe for disaster. Other places that have tried it with hardcore drugs have gone back on it. I don't have a problem decriminalizing marijuana itself (although I've never and have no intention on trying it). Drugs are also differentiated in that they intoxicate on one single use. I also deal with patients who end up in ICU after even one single hardcore drug use, mainly cocaine, but also other meth, heroin, and other substances (e.g., 'k'). Hardcore drugs such as heroin and meth are highly addictive. We highly regulate narcotic use, even in hosptial setting. It's nonsensical to legalize these drugs, and it simply won't happen (thankfully).

    It is my personal belief that drugs provide for a weak self-esteem; that's just a personal point of view.
  16. Espaldapalabras

    Espaldapalabras Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2005
    My point was simply that the underlying reasons for gun crime are not due to the gangster on the street keeping his gun because it is his "right."

    Legalizing drugs is not the answer to crime, that seems more like handing out handguns to everyone rather than try and solve the problems handguns cause in the first place. We do have problems with trying to enforce drug laws when the majority of a population wants to use some drug, but that isn't a solution to narcotics. The effects of a legal heroin culture in the US would be far more devastating than the bad effects from fighting the use of that drug. And not to derail this topic any more, but the US couldn't handle the loose drug laws of places like the Netherlands. Just because beer is legal doesn't mean people use it in moderation.
  17. Obi-Wan McCartney

    Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 17, 1999
    Dorkman stole my joke.
  18. darkcide

    darkcide Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 17, 2003
    If guns are outlawed,then only outlaws will have guns.[face_flag]
  19. GrandAdmiralPelleaon

    GrandAdmiralPelleaon Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Oct 28, 2000
    Seeing as Ender already made fully clear where this is going, might I lighten the thread up with a little humor?

    Guns don't kill people! Rappers do!
  20. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    It's not that I found soundbyte cliches horribly lacking and usually indicative of a person who hasn't got many original thoughts... ;)

    How do you account for the gun laws in countries that have significantly less gun crime than the US?

  21. Jabbadabbado

    Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Mar 19, 1999
    Having a swimming pool in the backyard is probably more dangerous to children than having a gun locked in a gun safe. I'm sure I'm more likely to be killed in a fatal car accident than be fatally shot. A lot of people are too stupid to own guns, just like a lot of people are too stupid to be parents and too stupid to drive cars, but we're all uncomfortable about drawing those kinds of lines without provocation.

    I'm not interested very much in someone's "God given right" to own a gun. The constituational amendment is not all that convincing as an absolute blank check to stockpile firearms.

    Hunting/target practice seem like respectable leisure time activities to me, with the caveat that you want to choose hunting buddies who won't accidently shoot you in the face.

    If someone you don't like rings your doorbell and you brandish a weapon at them, does that count as "self defense?" Are there any really valid statistics about the success of guns as a self-protection device, relative to other approaches like, say, avoiding confrontation? I'm also wary of promoting the social value of using deadly force to protect personal property.

    Guns are clearly here to stay

  22. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 7

    Jul 19, 1999
    Batman in Dark Knight Returns nailed it. Guns make killing easy. All you have to do is pull a trigger, without a gun it's harder.

    So, on this one, I'm with Frank Miller.

  23. rumsmuggler

    rumsmuggler Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 31, 2000
    People kill people. Guns just make it easy for those who can actually shoot and hit what they are aiming for.

    Edit: Why are ya'll rocking the same colors as the Lit. Boards? I didn't realize where I was until 30 seconds ago..
  24. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Because Zahn rules, has a new book coming out, and I've beenreading Tempest so I needed to remember a time when EU books rocked. :D

  25. rumsmuggler

    rumsmuggler Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 31, 2000
    I see. I'm not as big a Zahn fan as I used to be, but i'll read the novel when it comes out..:)
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