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Barny
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:03 am
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The night before last I picked up a paper on my way out to meet some friends and was saddened (I cant say shocked) to see that another senseless brutal mass killing had taken place in a public place where families might reasonably have expected to be safe.
Nowhere in the word is immune from such horrors as the recent tragedy in Norway so cruelly demonstrated. But the people of the USA, with their love of personal freedom and instinctive distrust of government interference seem particularly vulnerable.
After the initial reaction of sympathy and concern for the victims which must be shared by everyone on the planet, my next response (knee-jerk, yes) was to ask the question so many repeatedly ask at these times. How - particularly in America - can this happen again and again without the connection seeming to be made with easy access to the deadly weaponry necessary to carry out these crimes? And without that access being significantly curtailed in response?
I went straight onto twitter and posed my simplistic question in perhaps an unnecessarily divisive way:

USA: Is the right to bear arms really more important than the right not to have your kids killed in schools and cinemas?

I guess its what Ive always understood the issue to be. Of course, for many people the answer to this question might be yes, and to many more it may simply be the wrong question. Of course, personal freedoms matters. I normally find myself on the side of those who would protect our liberties from the regulators, thought-police, health-and-safety nutters and religious fundamentalists who would judge and control our every word and deed. I believe for example that just as alcohol prohibition failed in the past world-wide drug prohibition is failing now. But you can rarely sustain an absolute position on these things.

There is a lot to this issue, much of which I do not know, and twitter soundbites can do little more than rally the committed. I flicked on my phone a few hours later and saw that alongside the many re-tweets and thumbs up I had attracted a lot of anger and disagreements. Often peppered with personal abuse. I dont mind that, although nothing said did anything to help pursued me that there were strong anti gun-control arguments out there which I needed to hear. Of course, this has as much to do with the restrictions of the medium as with the deeply divisive nature of the issue and I would love to have a serious discussion with someone who genuinely wanted to educate me and change my mind.

The most common points made in these tweets were as follows:

1: Eating makes me fat. Do you wanna take my spoon away?

Really? Do I need to answer that? So many people made the same point that I feel like maybe I do. People, get a grip. Spoons are useful tools with which we prepare and eat food. Mostly we feed ourselves, occasionally each other.
Guns have only one purpose. To rip through the flesh of living creatures, to hurt maim and kill. Occasionally people turn their deadly power on themselves, mostly though they point them at others. Others who rarely have a choice in what happens to them.
When cutlery is employed as weaponry we do indeed, quite rightly, take a different view. Many times in recent years I have heroically contended with plastic cutlery (silverware to you) on airplanes. Its quite a sacrifice but its one Im proud to make for the safely of my fellow passengers and crew.


2: Guns dont kill people, people do.

Hmm yes...people with guns. This is a self-contained and useless piece of logic with which it is hard to engage. Of course, we are talking about people here. Crazy people, criminal people, careless people, incompetent people, hateful people, deluded people, frightened people, greedy people...and many many brave and decent people who wish to protect themselves from all of the above.
We are people, talking about which laws we should or shouldnt make to control our access to the weapons people use to hurt and kill each other. Yes, its people who pull the trigger...but they need a trigger to pull.
If this is really your position why stop with guns? Why restrict the sale of poisons, bacteriological and chemical weapons? Its not poisons that poison, its people.
And why control nuclear weapons? Bombs are morally neutral (like giant spoons really), the problem is the people who drop them.


3: Gun control would not have prevented this.

This is dogma dressed up as debate. I do not know if this particular incident would have taken place under a different gun regime, and neither do you. It does seem reasonable to assume though, and the evidence seems to bear this out, that abundance of, and easy access to guns makes these incidents more common and more deadly. There may be case studies from particular cities and states that seem to buck this, I dont know. But taken as a whole countries with more guns do seem to get more gun crime. Wouldnt it be extraordinary if that weren't the case?

4: If you control guns, the good guys wont get them. The bad guys still will.

At this point, with all the guns in circulation, within its own flawed terms of reference there may be something in this argument. It wouldnt be a quick or easy task to get guns off the streets of America. But that doesn't seem like a reason not to try. And how do you distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys anyway? Im not trying to be wise with hindsight, but this guy was a good guy right up to the point that he pulled the trigger. I mean he had no criminal record and he came by his weapons easily and legitimately. Can you really be sure that he would have done what he did were that not the case?

5: The problem is the suspects state of mind, not his access to guns.

Well, I would argue that these are both problems. And by the way, whos to say that the latter did not contribute to the former?

6: Its too soon to be saying these things. Let the victims mourn.

If Ive somehow offended any victim of this or any other crime then of course Im sorry. But I dont honestly understand the point being made by those taking offense on their behalf. I am not a politician jumping to make capital for my party or cause. I am an ordinary person doing what it is natural to do in these circumstances. Asking why this happened and how it might be prevented from happening again. Any disaster, man-made or otherwise always gives rise to such questions and it seems that now, when it is foremost in peoples minds is the most effective time to ask them.
I do not see how asking these questions would be inappropriate. These events are the subject of intense media coverage, I image many of the victims are asking these questions and if anything it would seem callous and disrespectful not to be asking them too. As with everything else I stand ready to be educated and corrected on this.

I noticed today that Jean-Robert Belland has put his head above the parapet only to be shot down as it were, as I was by others in the poker world calling him an idiot. That is what has prompted me to make this post. As poker players we are naturally individualists We love of personal freedom and hate interference and restrictions in our way of life. Most of us European players although very culturally distinct, feel a special connection to America even if we dont always understand it. I do think its a shame though that some big and respected names in the game would rather throw abuse than take this issue on seriously.

Maybe the question I asked was the right one after all, but maybe it should be slightly refined to elicit a more nuanced response:

If gun control could reduce the number of tragic deaths, would it be worth curtailing the right to bear arms to achieve that?
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If it wasn't for luck I'd lose every tournament I played...If I wanted to manage a bankroll I'd be a bank manager.
Seb
Full House


Joined: 29 Dec 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:06 pm
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Barny you should be on American forums, they love this shit. My main argument is a game theoretic one that few people seem to understand: if guns are freely available and you suspect the other guy has a gun, you'll use a gun. The other guy can be a robber or a policeman or a guy you're passing in the street - it makes no difference. I think the fault is exactly the one you identify: believing in good guys and bad guys. I don't take anyone seriously if they refuse to put themselves in the shoes of a drug addict who's robbing your house.

It would actually be a good thing if only criminals had guns. They would very rarely use them. If you know the shopkeep doesn't have a shotgun under the counter and that any police who show up will be unarmed, then if you bring a gun at all you don't put bullets in it. You make off with your loot and the shop's insurance covers it, no one gets hurt. I think that's pretty civilised but Americans hate it.
Leus
Rigged


Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 1290

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:11 pm
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Agree mostly. The evidence is very clear that easy availablity of guns means people are far more likely to be killed by guns, including those who keep them in the house, and their children. Objectively the best way to protect yourself from guns is never to go near one.

On the point about whether 'now is not a respectful time to talk about it', I would respect that if it came from the relative of a victim, but it feels more like an attempt to stifle discussion (an attempt to restrict liberty if you like) by others.

Gary Younge, a lefty American, mentions the state of US politics. His view is that there's a large body of opinion which would support Barny, but that these voices are hard to hear.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfr...rol-wake-colorado

The discussion often rests on personal interpretations of the Constitution. It can be interpreted as an absolute right to bear arms.
Grumbledook
Royal Flush


Joined: 25 Dec 2003
Posts: 16061

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:37 pm
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I agree and have had the same convo with an american in the past few months who kept saying "it would be against the 4th (iirc) amendment" to me.

He didn't have an answer about why gambling is illegal in most of america... perhaps it is more dangerous than guns.
darrensprengers
Misclick


Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 7551

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:57 pm
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its an interesting debate. i think both the 2nd amendmentists and barny are both taking too extreme views and are linked to sensationalist journalism.

canada has more guns per person than america and has relatively no gun crime. switzaland has the right to bear arms and again have little gun crime.

we need to look at the usa as a whole to find out what drives and enables them to willfully kill each other. the gun in this case may be the same as the spoon. the spoon enable the weak to eat more easily than they could with their hands. the gun enables anybody to kill even those much stronger than them. if you have a society that, for whatever sociological reasons, is at war with itself the gun merely facilitates the underlying problems.

Although these underlying problems should be discovered and worked upon you do have to question why the right to bear arms includes assault rifles, grenades and other high velocity weapons.

the 4th amendment has been interpreted to mean that the people have the right to bear arms as an organised, by the government, militia. it probably seems that it was a way to get everyone fighting the british and french etc. its a similar rule to the swiss which has the largest land army in the world due to its rule that all swiss nationals are technically in the army.

its an interesting subject and i like bill hicks' opinion on it. to paraphrase 'you have to wonder at the wisdom of a government that cannot see the connection with not having guns and the reduction of gun crime'.
Donnie_Brasco
King of Canada


Joined: 01 Dec 2006
Posts: 742

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:46 pm
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darrensprengers wrote:

canada has more guns per person than america and has relatively no gun crime.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_o...capita_by_country
darrensprengers
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:55 pm
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Donnie_Brasco wrote:
darrensprengers wrote:

canada has more guns per person than america and has relatively no gun crime.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_o...capita_by_country


Quote:
The ownership rate reported is the average estimate taken from "Annexe 4: The largest civilian firearms arsenals for 178 countries. That table gives also the minimum and maximum estimates. Note that for some countries, this margin of error is considerable. E.g. Yemen, ranked near the top with an ownership rate of 54.8, has a low estimate of 28.6 and a high estimate of 81.1. While the United States is ranked for the highest gun ownership rate unambiguously, Yemen based on the margin of error may rank anywhere between 2nd and 18th, Switzerland anywhere between 2nd and 16th.


but the 88% is unequivocally right. holy f**king shit america
Welshman
Full House


Joined: 27 Nov 2003
Posts: 751
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:39 pm
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You can prove anything with statistics and nowhere does it say that 88% of americans own guns so stop the spin. 1 person with 88 guns and 99 people with none would give you the same number, as would 88 people with a gun each and 12 without so the real number is going to be somewhere between the 2 extremes.

Out of the people I know well only 2 have guns, 1 collects antique guns and one hunts (yes he eats everything he kills) yet between them they have about 20 guns.

Coming from the UK I am against guns being as freely available as they are even in California which is probably one of the states that has the toughest gun controls. I still shake my head every time I walk into a sports shop & see rows of guns behind the counter but it is so ingrained in the American way of life that they are never going away.

As with gambling it would seem that the loud minority make the rules & the silent majority suffer.
Barny
Mobster


Joined: 18 Sep 2003
Posts: 1136

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:53 pm
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darrensprengers wrote:
its an interesting debate. i think both the 2nd amendmentists and barny are both taking too extreme views and are linked to sensationalist journalism.

canada has more guns per person than america and has relatively no gun crime. switzaland has the right to bear arms and again have little gun crime.

we need to look at the usa as a whole to find out what drives and enables them to willfully kill each other. the gun in this case may be the same as the spoon. the spoon enable the weak to eat more easily than they could with their hands. the gun enables anybody to kill even those much stronger than them. if you have a society that, for whatever sociological reasons, is at war with itself the gun merely facilitates the underlying problems.

Although these underlying problems should be discovered and worked upon you do have to question why the right to bear arms includes assault rifles, grenades and other high velocity weapons.

the 4th amendment has been interpreted to mean that the people have the right to bear arms as an organised, by the government, militia. it probably seems that it was a way to get everyone fighting the british and french etc. its a similar rule to the swiss which has the largest land army in the world due to its rule that all swiss nationals are technically in the army.

its an interesting subject and i like bill hicks' opinion on it. to paraphrase 'you have to wonder at the wisdom of a government that cannot see the connection with not having guns and the reduction of gun crime'.



I wrote my post in a hurry this morning so I'm having to check back just now to see what could be characterised as 'extreme.' ...No, sorry. You'll have to help me with that. In any case, beyond the original report I haven't consumed any journalism on the subject. Sensational or otherwise.

Regarding the varying statistics on gun crime. No-body is saying (as far as I know) that access to guns is the ONLY factor affecting crime rates. But it is a necessary condition for widespread gun crime. You're a lot more likely to be shot, if there's a gun in the room.
If it's true that the USA commits more gun crime with the same amount of guns then this is hardly an argument against US gun-control. On the contrary, it suggests they need it more.

When you say "the gun merely facilitates(sic) the underlying problems" I have to question your choice of the word 'merely'. Having guns 'merely' means that people get killed and injured in staggering numbers. Merely? Whatever other problems contribute to violent crime I have to say that widespread uncontrolled gun ownership qualifies as a serious problem in it's own right.
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If it wasn't for luck I'd lose every tournament I played...If I wanted to manage a bankroll I'd be a bank manager.
Seb
Full House


Joined: 29 Dec 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:58 pm
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You need a way to fight with people that doesn't kill them. Again, basic game theory.
Skal
High Card


Joined: 22 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:00 pm
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Personally id like to see all weapons banned from public ownership but at the very least hand guns. These are way too easily concealed. Should the main aguement be that they need weapons to protect themselves in the home then buy a shotgun which can not easily be carried around in public without it being noticed.
StGilmore
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:58 pm
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I was raised an American in many different parts of the States, mostly big cities.

I have a history with guns:

As a very young child I, along with my older sister, witnessed our father holding a gun to our mother's head.

When working at a health food store in Boston in my teens I was held at gunpoint by two men who came to rob the tills.

Also in my teens, during a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico to see my mother, I held her shotgun (she'd named it 'Kate' ) and pointed at two men insisting I open the front door. They could have been Mormon missionaries as they claimed. But there was serial raping occuring in the area -men who'd gained access to homes even claiming to be from the police department's rape crisis unit among other things. I was frightened and very glad to have 'Kate' to show. I don't know what I would've have done if just the sight of the gun hadn't scared them away.

In my early twenties in New York City my apartment was broken into and I was ferociously assaulted. For years aftwards I visited gunshops. I wanted a hand gun. I wanted power to protect myself. I had daydreams of having a gun constructed for me along the lines of tranquilizer guns used on big animals. I thought a lot about how instant acting the tranq would have to be. If I'd had the money, I would own one today.

When the L.A. Riots happened, I was pregnant with my first child. I walked to my local shop (in Venice) and passed soldiers with guns everywhere on patrol. It wasn't only or even mainly guns that were ugly vicious weapons during those riots, of course. But guns came out everywhere, from shop keepers in Koreatown on the roofs of their businesses to those soldiers and the looters and the LAPD who'd started it all.

Right before I moved away from the U.S., on a freeway I used regularly with my two small children in the car, the comedian Bill Cosby's son was found shot in the head at one of the laybys.

I lived my last few years in the States in Pacific Palisades, a nice quiet neighborhood village sort of place between L.A. and Malibu - most crime virtually unknown. Could be something to do with every other house having an 'armed guard response' little sign stuck in their lovely lawn. Or the big gated communities in the hills with guards on the gates. But even so, less than a year after I moved, six blocks from my house at the local high school there was a drive by shooting- a student athlete and a teacher were shot.

I still think about guns sometimes- even though I've not lived in the U.S. for many years and for me, those kinds of haunting fears are mostly left in that country. I've been round and round with this in my heart and head since I saw Barny's tweet and learned what happened. And then saw some of the ignorant vitriol spewed at him. It's a trap over there, the gun cycle. Fear builds on fear - of 'bad guys', governments whatever. But I think it's a fear of powerlessness. For me, having my own gun wasn't a solution. But if I'd stayed - would I own a gun now? I don't think so, I think I made that choice already. But with my children to now protect? The trap sickens and saddens me just thinking about it.
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Barny
Mobster


Joined: 18 Sep 2003
Posts: 1136

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:22 pm
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StGilmore wrote:
I was raised an American in many different parts of the States, mostly big cities.

I have a history with guns:

As a very young child I, along with my older sister, witnessed our father holding a gun to our mother's head.

When working at a health food store in Boston in my teens I was held at gunpoint by two men who came to rob the tills.

Also in my teens, during a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico to see my mother, I held her shotgun (she'd named it 'Kate' ) and pointed at two men insisting I open the front door. They could have been Mormon missionaries as they claimed. But there was serial raping occuring in the area -men who'd gained access to homes even claiming to be from the police department's rape crisis unit among other things. I was frightened and very glad to have 'Kate' to show. I don't know what I would've have done if just the sight of the gun hadn't scared them away.

In my early twenties in New York City my apartment was broken into and I was ferociously assaulted. For years aftwards I visited gunshops. I wanted a hand gun. I wanted power to protect myself. I had daydreams of having a gun constructed for me along the lines of tranquilizer guns used on big animals. I thought a lot about how instant acting the tranq would have to be. If I'd had the money, I would own one today.

When the L.A. Riots happened, I was pregnant with my first child. I walked to my local shop (in Venice) and passed soldiers with guns everywhere on patrol. It wasn't only or even mainly guns that were ugly vicious weapons during those riots, of course. But guns came out everywhere, from shop keepers in Koreatown on the roofs of their businesses to those soldiers and the looters and the LAPD who'd started it all.

Right before I moved away from the U.S., on a freeway I used regularly with my two small children in the car, the comedian Bill Cosby's son was found shot in the head at one of the laybys.

I lived my last few years in the States in Pacific Palisades, a nice quiet neighborhood village sort of place between L.A. and Malibu - most crime virtually unknown. Could be something to do with every other house having an 'armed guard response' little sign stuck in their lovely lawn. Or the big gated communities in the hills with guards on the gates. But even so, less than a year after I moved, six blocks from my house at the local high school there was a drive by shooting- a student athlete and a teacher were shot.

I still think about guns sometimes- even though I've not lived in the U.S. for many years and for me, those kinds of haunting fears are mostly left in that country. I've been round and round with this in my heart and head since I saw Barny's tweet and learned what happened. And then saw some of the ignorant vitriol spewed at him. It's a trap over there, the gun cycle. Fear builds on fear - of 'bad guys', governments whatever. But I think it's a fear of powerlessness. For me, having my own gun wasn't a solution. But if I'd stayed - would I own a gun now? I don't think so, I think I made that choice already. But with my children to now protect? The trap sickens and saddens me just thinking about it.


Thanks. That's a great post and it makes me realise how little I truly know about this. As I remember, the whole theme of Bowling for Columbine was this debilitating, self-fulfilling culture of fear you talk about. But to me your story makes the point more forcefully than that whole movie. You yourself do not sound powerless, you sound courageous and wise.
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If it wasn't for luck I'd lose every tournament I played...If I wanted to manage a bankroll I'd be a bank manager.
PokerSensation
Flush


Joined: 18 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:38 pm
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This is interesting and I will have a proper read through.

I must say though, I have a general distrust of all governments and there could possibly be times when guns are needed to protect your private property (such as in the case of the riots we had here).
Seb
Full House


Joined: 29 Dec 2011
Posts: 912

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:41 pm
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PokerSensation wrote:
This is interesting and I will have a proper read through.

I must say though, I have a general distrust of all governments and there could possibly be times when guns are needed to protect your private property (such as in the case of the riots we had here).


Do you think your property is worth more than someone else's life? Why don't you have insurance?
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