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misteraven

Las Vegas Shooting and the Gun Debate

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No doubt an extremely loaded topic. Likely, many of you already know what side of the debate I fall on, but in the interest of intelligent debate that'll hopefully lead to a worthwhile thread, I figured I'd drop this in here and see where it goes.

 

Being honest, I don't know a lot about what happened in Las Vegas other than a white male apparently setup a sniper position of some sort and fired on a crowd gathered at a concert. I believe the death toll is at about 50 souls, which makes this the largest shooting tragedy in United States history.

 

Perhaps someone more informed than I can chime in as to whether or not there's been any sort of specific motive uncovered, whether the shooter acted solo, what type of fire arm it was and whether it was legal for him to posses. (Not that I really trust the news in any meaningful way).

 

In any case, nothing so far understood about this has me changing my stance, which can in basic terms be summarized as I do not believe you can eradicate evil, let alone legislate it away. Which is to say that when you analyze countries that have disarmed their populace, you see no meaningful reduction in violent crime or murder.

 

Obviously its a complex subject that likely has no real answer, let alone resolution beyond the fact that humans have been killing each other since the dawn of time and though there are many contributing factors for why that is, I honestly don't think we'll ever find a solution for the evils of this world. As such, I feel compelled to do my best to guard against it as best as I'm able.

 

Thoughts, opinions? Sound off (but keep it intelligent and insightful please).

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In times of crisis and trauma people will reach for what they can control, and with evil being seemingly limitless and unpredictable they'll focus on the weapon(s).

 

Root of the issue is the idea of it being a human right to possess arms but at the same time not everyone is competent in terms of mental health or otherwise to own or operate such.

 

Horrible thing that happened.

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Oh, no doubt that most often people will grasp for low hanging fruit. Interesting to see that people don't view political response in these situations as pandering regardless of what side of the debate you fall. Crazy to me that anyone gives a shit about the talking heads, especially the politicians that always seem to run out to the first pulpit they can for the purposes of pushing whatever narrative that their consultants say will most resonate with their particular base. It's not even a secret or a conspiracy at this point, but rather an opportunity to push through an agenda that can only happen when people are blinded by emotion.

 

From the horses mouth, though its been repeated by many politicians. Believe Winston Churchill was credited with being on the record first.

 

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." as spoken by Rahm Emanuel (Obama's former Chief of Staff).

 

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Root of the issue is the idea of it being a human right to possess arms but at the same time not everyone is competent in terms of mental health or otherwise to own or operate such.

 

Problem with this is similar to the "terrorist" watch list: There's no due process in place for most circumstances of this. I assume it's purposely designed as such, but point is that you can be identified as such, often without being informed of it, with few if any methods to dispute it. Instead your rights are stripped and that's just how it goes. Its similar to the BATF wait period debate... It can be used to circumvent a persons rights with little, if any, reasonable recourse.

 

As for competency... That becomes even more muddled. Truth be told, most cops can't shoot. This I know from experience having taken as many classes as I have, but anyone can see the news and wonder how in places like NYC, you'll see dozens of shots fired, several bystanders hit and usually not even the subject they we're aiming for. Likewise when you see that many municipalities will have some arbitrary bullshit like 200 rounds a year as the standard that police need to maintain for their firearms qualifications. But fact in this subset of the argument on 2A is that its considered a fundamental right, similar in nature to the freedom of speech, which I have no doubt has likely led to more violence and death than firearms. I'd have to say that trying to legislate stupidity is almost as fruitless as legislating evil.

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Personally, I feel like at this point I'v become very desensitized to the entire idea behind mass shootings, due to it being unfortunately common at this point. Motive wise it seems like there are just a bunch of deranged people who know that for a while, their names will be plastered across every major news station. The sensationalist media spurs these people to commit such horrendous crimes, as they fully know it will garner attention.

 

In terms of these events being related to gun laws, I think its a fair point. Naturally you can go back and forth about the prospect of legalizing weaponry for average citizens, but I think its a much more complex issue then what people are trying to make this sort of event into. Its tough to think logically when emotions are still running high at this point.

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This one, from I know so far, seems a bit unusual in that most of the time the shooter isn't particularly strategic about it. Most seem to be super soft targets (generally a school or other gun free zone) that are obviously packed with vulnerable people that are almost exclusively unarmed. As bad as the blood shed is, if the gun man were well trained, they'd certainly be far higher and almost always seem to end in a suicide. In this case, it seems the gun man was pretty well positioned to carry out as heavy a casualty as would be possible with little chance for interruption. I suppose he could have just as easily driven a u-haul through crowds on the strip or if he really wanted to inflict damage, rig a u-haul (or himself) to blow up within throngs of people like they do in most other countries. We've been very fortunate to not have much of that in this country or other types of IED's for that matter.

 

Again, not a lot you can do about that type of evil. But to circle back... In the case of the Orlando attack (which I personally don't really buy the official narrative of), a single armed person beyond the gun man could have ended that situation fairly quickly and most likely saved a bunch of lives including their own. When it comes down to it and you're that person cowering in the bath room while some lunatic is ranting just beyond your hiding place shooting people randomly, does it make sense to have a means to fight back (and have an efficient tool to help equalize the situation) or would you rather rely on the police to come (and hopefully) save you?

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Raven, I'm traveling with work at the moment and can't be bothered writing long replies in the phone and I'm not inclined to get into the whole restrictions debate as it's all been said before. However I do have issue with what you've said about the potential shooter Iin the bathrooms in the nightclub but will save that response for when I get back to a keyboard.

 

Interestingly enough, I'm at a large international defense conference. I never feel comfortable around these kinds of gigs, a lot of it is often dudes in suits pedaling death.

 

The Vegas shooter was an amateur, these guys are the pros

 

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America is the only developed country this happens in. It happened in Australia once, 35 were killed. What changed? Gun laws. How many massacres have occurred since then? Zero.

 

It would be fine if those that don't want any changes would just pony up and say they're prepared to have hundreds of their countrymen die each decade as the price of having freedom of gun ownership.

 

I don't have to agree or disagree, I'm not a product of your environment. But I am able to look at the reality.

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America is the only developed country this happens in. It happened in Australia once, 35 were killed. What changed? Gun laws. How many massacres have occurred since then? Zero.

 

It would be fine if those that don't want any changes would just pony up and say they're prepared to have hundreds of their countrymen die each decade as the price of having freedom of gun ownership.

 

I don't have to agree or disagree, I'm not a product of your environment. But I am able to look at the reality.

 

Not true at all... France has had several mass shootings, as has Germany and Sweden amongst others. In fact the ones in France and Sweden both have had higher death tolls than even this recent one in Vegas as horrible as it was despite very strict gun laws if not outright bans on firearms.

 

Truth be told, this discussion shouldn’t really be about ‘shooting’ but rather mass murder. Calling out the tool used to carry it out only takes the focus off the true subject which is that there are people out there that want to commit mass murder. But since this will undoubtedly lead to huge debates here about ‘sensible’ new gun laws, I figured I’d open up the discussion.

 

Reality is that making it about guns helps people feel a little safer, the belief being if we can control the guns, we can control the violence even though there are many examples where it simply has shown this to not be the case. Again, look at France and then compare it to neighboring Switzerland which actually has a higher per capita firearms ownership rate than the United States due to how their military service works and hadn’t had similar tragedies that I’m aware of.

 

Not to mention that both Brazil and Mexico are industrialized, have virtually zero tolerance towards private gun ownership, yet are amongst the most violent countries on earth.

 

But also interesting is that mass shootings are a fairly new phenomenon that seems to be accelerating (along with lots of other forms of terrorism / mass murder). Though the number of guns as a whole has increased in the United States, per capita gun ownership has actually gone down quite a bit. This would lend itself towards investigating (or at least questioning) Other cultural and psychological changes that have occurred that might explain it. I’d think that the erosion of the nuclear family could be a subject for critical analysis in this regard. In fact considering where these events generally take place makes me wonder if it might be actually the result of the population in general actually being more disarmed then they once were. These events almost always happen in a super soft target areas (most often gun free zones like schools). Perhaps there were less mass shootings back before because the assumption could be it wouldn’t go very far with so many people being potentially armed? I don’t know but it’s more plausible an idea to me than thinking we might make new laws that would somehow make the violence go away when so many other countries are trying and failing at exactly that.

 

All this being said, admittedly I don’t know a lot about Australia, but I don’t recall it ever having a particularly violent history or all that much issue with gun related crimes. You said it only happened once, so hard to judge if causation equals correlation in that instance. It does, however, bring to mind how the UK followed Australia’s lead and saw gun crime go down, while violent crime as a whole actually rise.

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The thing is, while the person behind the tool is to blame, the intended purpose for a firearm is to kill. When examining terrorist attacks that occur due to, say, a van hitting a large crowd, it is solely the intent of the terrorist, and by no means the fault of the tool.

 

Personally, I'm a fan of firing ranges, and many of the responsible gun owners that I'v been around have been 100% about safety when using a firearm. However, with such frequent attacks on the public, I think now is the time to really take a look at gun control. Now, mind you, completely disarming citizens is not a logical approach to the problem; yet, clearly there are steps that need to be taken to ensure the mental state of the potential owner.

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Raven, I think you need to revise your thinking on gun laws in Mexico and Brazil mBrazil has very permissive gun laws, I've been in many houses in Brazil that had many legally owned rifles, shotguns and hand guns.

 

Mexico restricts some calibres but it is 100% untrue that either country has near zero tolerance or even something resembling such a policy.

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Yeah no point continuing this.

 

You can wall up that text as much as you like you won't change my perception of the facts.

 

Australia had about 15 mass shootings in the 20 years leading up to the last one. Then the laws changed. Haven't had one since. Whether this applies to America not I don't really care, but it doesn't matter what metric, or imperial if you must, that you use - people stopped dying.

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Definitely concede to your point re the French terror attack.

 

Foreign nationals inflicting a terror attack somehow feels different to me.

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Lot of tough realities to be faced here. Restricting guns will not stop mental illness or the desire to hurt/kill others. Won't stop killing either. Owning more guns doesn't resolve anything either, maybe gives a feeling of safety but not much else. Issues with mental illness definitely needs to be addressed, yet still may not have stopped this attack or any of the others in the past several years. Don't think you can solely blame the dissolving of the nuclear family... too many divorced/single parent etc. households with no mass murderers in them for that. I would argue though that we have moved away from an emphasis on resolving social problems and issues even while it seems that the general public might like more respect and sensitivity toward these areas. There's a lot of anger and frustration iin the U.S. right now and it's all been stewing for years without any real changes or reforms, going to boil over somewhere.

 

Might have to put some blame on our approach to and views of violence. For example, how many of us played video games that involved shooting as a kid? How many of us had toy guns? How many of us watched shoot 'em up movies? All of these things equate guns with action, adventure, fun, etc. We get hyped up to shoot and kill things. Missing in all of this is any emphasis on responsible gun ownership and use. Also missing is the reality that in real life people don't die from gunshots like they do in a video game. I saw someone shot and killed and that image stayed with me a long time- was definitely not like a movie. In high crime areas where there is a concentration of violence we also don't look at the effects of repeated trauma on children and how that effects development, closes off the emotions, makes people insensitive to violence, including committing it.

 

Big irony in the gun control battle is the idea that the people need to be armed to defend against the government when government has already invaded, exploited, and taken over through much more covert methods. Perhaps also ironic that NRA members are part of that government but I won't ponder that further right now.

 

@misteraven is the moral of this story that people do fucked up things, deal with it?

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Raven, I think you need to revise your thinking on gun laws in Mexico and Brazil mBrazil has very permissive gun laws, I've been in many houses in Brazil that had many legally owned rifles, shotguns and hand guns.

 

Mexico restricts some calibres but it is 100% untrue that either country has near zero tolerance or even something resembling such a policy.

 

Not true. My family is from there and I've got a lot of friends there as well. Gun ownership is high, but most of it isn't legal. I'm not from Mexico or have any close friends from there but my understanding is that it is entirely illegal.

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Yeah no point continuing this.

 

You can wall up that text as much as you like you won't change my perception of the facts.

 

Australia had about 15 mass shootings in the 20 years leading up to the last one. Then the laws changed. Haven't had one since. Whether this applies to America not I don't really care, but it doesn't matter what metric, or imperial if you must, that you use - people stopped dying.

 

Thats great that its worked in Austrailia, but as stated, it doesn't seem to have worked anywhere else. Most glaring example really is France, which I think likely serves to fuel the debate that socio economics and likely culture have more to do with mass murder than anything else. No doubt it is a moot point as nothing discussed here will in any way affect the legislation being debated on the topic. Further to that, I'm not sure its possible to implement legislation that would lead to an Australian type ban as this country was founded on very specific terms, which included a Bill of Rights that in itself was designed to be an absolute guarantee of certain freedoms which includes a Right to Bear Arms. Though there is an instrument that allows it to be amended (2/3 majority state vote in a Constitutional Convention), the first 10 amendments we're developed so they could not be touched.

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Also at the end of the day the NRA has the house at the moment so this is a moot point.

 

I see a lot of grief regarding the NRA. It's interesting that so much of it is clearly misinformation, the largest of which is them being in the pocket of the gun industry and not representative of the people. I'm not here to defend them, but reality is the NRA is a registered non-profit organization. As such, they are legally required to publicly disclose their tax returns. You can easily Google them and after hearing repeatedly they're funded by the gun industry on the news I put some time into reviewing several years worth. Reality is they are on of the largest paid membership organization in the United States with a charter to promote gun safety and lobby on the behalf of their membership to protect gun rights. Looking at their returns the lions share of their revenues is from membership dues. The small minority that could be classified as industry contribution actually includes 'NRA Round Up' revenue which is a contribution a customer can make at many sporting retailers to round up their purchase to the next whole dollar and contribute the difference. In any case, doesn't really have anything to do with your comment but figured I'd mention it as that's often where the conversation regarding the NRA leads.

 

Reality is that your comment regarding the "NRA having the house at the moment" is neither here no there. I can't stand politicians and maintain a very skeptical position on government by default, but will say when the Obama administration was in power and the Democrats controlled both the house and senate, they didn't do anything then either. In fact, it was actually pretty surprising to me that even after the Sandy Hook mass murder, it still didn't galvanize the left into much action. Also interesting was that the CDC study that Obama applied all that funding towards via executive decision, was essentially buried when it didn't substantiate the claims led by the gun control crowd.

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The thing is, while the person behind the tool is to blame, the intended purpose for a firearm is to kill. When examining terrorist attacks that occur due to, say, a van hitting a large crowd, it is solely the intent of the terrorist, and by no means the fault of the tool.

 

Personally, I'm a fan of firing ranges, and many of the responsible gun owners that I'v been around have been 100% about safety when using a firearm. However, with such frequent attacks on the public, I think now is the time to really take a look at gun control. Now, mind you, completely disarming citizens is not a logical approach to the problem; yet, clearly there are steps that need to be taken to ensure the mental state of the potential owner.

 

The real issue is that 'common sense gun control' has no other outcome except an all out ban. The movement for gun control actually began to formalize after the assassination of JFK. Since then it's been a steady push for 'common sense' gun laws almost every time a mass murder occurs (and often even when it doesn't even involve firearms). For a long time, most of it would pass (especially under the Clinton Administration), but despite it passing, it never satiates the side looking to control guns. The new laws do virtually nothing to curb gun violence and so the next time it happens, it on again about we need more 'common sense' gun laws. Currently there over 14,000 laws on the books at the Federal Level specific to firearms and no doubt assault and murder is illegal in every state regardless of how its carried out. So what other conclusion can be drawn when a person says we need more 'common sense' gun laws than them pursuing an outright ban. Seems disingenuous to not call it what it is.

 

That being said, it really is interesting to note the results of these gun restrictions, as well as the statistics relating to them. (I find it fascinating at least). Considering how much of the news cycle it takes up, as well as how much money is poured into the opposition and lobbying against guns, firearms related deaths don't even account for the top 10 ways people in the United States die each year. Another interesting result is that for the years that the 'assault weapons' ban was implemented (which in itself is interesting to me as it doesn't fit the military definition of an assault weapon or the fact that this class of weapons represents less than 2% of all firearms related death), gun crime actually went up. This again leads me back to my thoughts that an armed society actually reduces overall gun violence, especially when the most violent cities in the United States are almost all categorically the ones with the strictest gun laws if not outright bans at the city or municipality level.

 

Feel free to Google any of this as I don't have all the references to it handy to share.

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Anyhow, it seems that people are thinking the thread is not worth discussing, but I find it pretty interesting and look forward to having people challenge each other in a respectful and intelligent way.

 

Also interesting to interact with people from other countries and hear differing view points as it really brings to light the cultural differences between people. Anyhow, I find it all pretty interesting and honestly it was this mind set that has kept me interested and engaged in this forum for so many years.

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It's just the price of the American version of freedom.

 

So what's your explanation about the mass murder France has experienced in recent years? Or in any other society or country that has restricted freedoms for the idea of safety, yet saw large scale terrorism and death? Sweden, UK, etc.?

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They share land borders with little to no border controls. Australia is and island making smuggling much more costly and risky. A lot of the weapons that have made it throughout Europe came from the war in former Yugoslavia.

 

Not a comment on gun laws in absolute terms but that different context create differing challenges in achieving security and that one country can not be properly compared to others without covering the context.

 

I'd say that one of the differences with Switzerland and the US is that the Swiss get formal training with their weapons, there is less disparity in wealth, a more homogeneous society in general. However, if I recall, Swiss has a bad suicide rate and part of that is due to easy access to fire arms making the act faster (between decision and action), less scary as the death is instantaneous and the means readily available.

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