Beyond the Cusp

March 5, 2018

The Gun Debate Reveals Exaggeration Extremes

 

The gun debate has reached the level of ludicrous. Any solution anybody suggests gets taken almost immediately into the theater of the absurd levels so exaggerated then ridicule begins. In this poisonous atmosphere, there is absolutely nothing which could ever pass the ridicule of the extremes of every solution. The most ridiculed solution has been the suggestion that teachers be armed. Now the initial suggestion was that teachers who chose to and either have police or military experience and pass a test or a teacher who desires to assist in such fashion and have taken a course and also passed a proficiency exam, then they be permitted to concealed carry. The most foolish ridicule we found was that arming teachers sends the message to students that arming themselves to the teeth is the best way to avoid violence and would lead to weekly school shootings by heavily armed paranoid kids. Where do we start at picking this apart? First and foremost, the teachers are to carry concealed as in the weapons are not in the open for general viewing, so as far as the students are concerned, they will not know and the teachers would be instructed not to reveal whether they carried a firearm or not. This should not lead to students ever knowing even if any of their teachers are armed and that is how it should stay. The main idea of this is not as much for the teachers to act as guards, despite in the situation of a shooter, an armed teacher would be far better situated in guarding his class and keeping the door secured, but for any shooter to be uncertain as to whether there are armed teachers or other workers in any school and this would work as a deterrent against choosing any school as a shooting target. There is a reason that police stations are never attacked by shooters except in the movies. But the ridiculing also claimed that arming every teacher would result in far more carnage than a shooter would cause as the teachers would be shooting one another and their multiple missed shots would likely find other bodies and lead to an unimaginable body count. Nobody has ever stated that every teacher be armed and only those teachers who proved to be proficient with firearms were to be permitted to carry concealed. Further, one would think that the teachers would recognize the other school personnel and the majority of the students. But ridicule always beats calm discussion.

 

Another suggestion was that those who show mental difficulties to the degree of the Florida shooter at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Nikolas Cruz, such that they pose to turn violent should be placed into an institution and given professional assistance by trained medical psychological staff and physicians. The immediate argument was that there are too few such institutions left to treat any number above a very small few plus such treatment costs far too much. There are some valid arguments here but they exist because of liberal programs from the 1960’s and 1970’s where the vast majority of the mentally disturbed in state institutions were placed in outpatient care of clinics and made to reside in the general population and this led to the states mostly closing their state run institutions. This has proven to be a failed experiment which a simple search will present the evidence or you can read this lengthy article. The time is far past that the governments at the local and state level recognize that there is a rising number of mentally challenged individuals within the prison system, the problem which led to the initial building of state institutions, and others adding to the homeless numbers and those in shelters and many who have fallen from their assigned outpatient treatment centers who simply drop these souls as they are challenged with governments cutting funds repeatedly year after year. At some point, it would make sense to return to the state institution system which proved to be the most efficient way of protecting the mentally challenged. As we recently reported, the mentally challenged problems more in depth in our article The Left Denies Mental Problems the mentally challenged commit ten percent of homicides and are being incarcerated which was the initial reason when the state institutions were first built to provide cost effective treatment for the mentally challenged. So, perhaps the protestations should be placed aside and the problem actually addressed instead of ridiculed.

 

Another solution is one which comes up virtually every time that there is a firearm horrific crime, which is really simple sounding, just enforce the existing laws. The immediate reaction to this is what are you talking about enforce the existing laws, there aren’t any actual laws against guns and that’s the problem. Well, the first step is actually enforcing laws instead of ignoring them. For a full coverage of this problem all but leading directly to the recent Florida school shooting one needs to read The School-To-Mass-Murder Pipeline by Ann Coulter, and please do not let the author set you off from reading the article as there is a wealth of actual documentable information contained within. There are laws in virtually every district against people with mental illness from possessing firearms as well as laws against people with a felony or spousal abuse and other such convictions from possessing firearms. The problem is that often these problems are not reported to the FBI and thus never get the names placed on the denial lists in the instant background check which is often the sole item between a person and owning a rifle. Fortunately, or not, depending on your viewpoint, purchasing a handgun is far more difficult and the background check is far more extensive. Further, mentally challenged individuals who have personality disorders with tendencies for violence and are being treated are often not reported as their physicians prefer not to place such warnings on their background as such might prevent them from getting employment despite the fact that such lists are presumed to be only checked for employment requiring a security clearance or to be armed as in guard positions. Do the psychologists really desire that their troubled patients actually receive a firearm as part of their employment? If so, their licenses should be pulled. Part of the problem is lack of proper enforcement and reporting of items which would make one unable to receive or purchase firearms are far too lax to be efficient and thus inoperable.

 

United Nations Twisted Gun

Twisted Gun

 

There are also those who have simply stated that if concealed carry laws were such that anyone who could legally own a firearm, pass a full FBI background check, take a course in firearms safety, pass a proficiency test with their firearm, and pass a police department class and test on the applicable laws concerning the use by a private individual of a firearm in public, and make such relatively standardized across the states, then with more firearms in the possession of licensed concealed carry owners with the proper experience, then the chance for a shooter to be unopposed in an mass shooting would be less and thus they would be prevented from carrying out their mass killing sprees. Here we would like to add that one additional law need be passed which would permit these licensed concealed carry personnel to carry even in these “gun free zones” then all areas would present a potential shooter with the probability that there would be somebody armed to prevent their having a free fire spree. This is always referred to as the “Wild West” situation where there are shootings in the streets and outlaw gangs robbing the town bank and other really uneducated responses. Oddly enough, the “Wild West” was really quite tame. First thing was if you did not carry a gun, then you would not be shot even by the bad guys. The reason was simple, even if a bad guy shot an unarmed person, other equally bad guys would turn them over to that town’s sheriff simply because otherwise, there would be posses out all over the area seeking this lout and that would be bad for all the other bad guys. Further, most towns had their respectable areas and the less reputable areas with the saloons, houses of ill repute, and often the sheriff’s office as you place it where the business is. There would be a main street separating the residential area and the stores from the more restless area where the cowhands often let off their exuberance after a payday and the respectable people avoided for obvious reasons. Many of the smaller towns today have a similar divide, the two sides of the railroad tracks concept. This is especially true in towns where certain occupations such as running a gambling house or other such establishment or certain types of clubs are found which are all together in one area while the rest of the city or town is more respectable. If you wish to avoid trouble, you avoid these areas and if you are seeking trouble, you seek it in these areas. That ends our lesson on the so-called “Wild West” and the shootings every fifteen minutes myth.

 

There are more such flame wars going on on the Internet and probably between people at work and other places. The easiest thing to do is ridicule any solution by taking it to the farthest extreme and then poking holes in it. In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”; or argumentum ad absurdum, “argument to absurdity”) is a form of argument which attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible. It is traced back to classical Greek philosophy in Aristotle’s Prior Analytics (Greek: ἡ Εις άτοπον απαγωγή, ‘reduction to the impossible’). This may be a form of argument in debates in college or other school settings but it has no place in rational debate over legal and societal arguments. The simple truth is virtually any position can be ridiculed through this method and this system only functions if both sides are permitted the same polite and equal opportunity to destroy one another’s arguments and have it decided by scholarly judges. On the Internet and in social media we are completely lacking all of these items. There definitely are no scholarly judges, both sides are rarely given the freedom of rebuttal and using this tactic, and lastly it is usually not just one person who chooses to use this method for ridicule but more often a trolling attack with multiple people using often multiple sign-on identities all erupting to explode one person’s argument often after they have signed off and are not there to defend themselves or so outnumbered that their presence is useless. The Internet could be a place for sober and somber debate, but it really is nothing of the sort. It has become a place where people are dragged through the mud, torn apart and otherwise disregarded and treated as the worst pariahs. Perhaps, at some point in the future, when the world has attained a point currently only imaginable in fiction or futuristic idealized settings, the Internet will serve a debate format through which societies are able to rule themselves with some degree of decorum and dignity, but for the time being we will all face flaming at some point in our Internet experiences. Debating the gun laws and proper solutions is one of the fastest ways to get such treatment.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 10, 2016

How Could Gun Control Lower Gun Violence?

 

This has been a basic question where conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and advocates against gun control advocates have wrestled and neither side has ever found the magic, pardon our word usage, silver bullet to end the violence resulting from criminal firearm usage. Every time there is a dramatic milestone reached as was recently in Chicago where they reached five-hundredth homicide of the year or a dramatic firearms related death toll resulting from firearms usage such as the Orlando club shooting or the string of homicides in San Bernardino for the anti-gun forces to rush to blame the guns even if the real culprit was terrorism as in Orlando and San Bernardino. There is the demand for long waiting periods, deeper background checks, limits on firearm purchases per person per year or any of a number from a plethora of inventive laws which would presumably end criminal purchases of firearms at gun shows, gun stores, private sales or other legal forms of firearms purchases. This begs a simple question, how many criminals are purchasing their firearms legally. Yes, there have been some tragic cases where a person legally purchased the firearms they use all too often in violent mass shootings such as too many school shootings or mass public shootings such as in movie theaters or nightclubs or as vengeance workplace violence or even terrorism. These tragic cases often are the first criminal act of the shooters and they went through all of the existing checks and even if further checks and wait periods were enacted they would have had little if any effect beyond waiting periods causing them to plan longer and delay their shooting sprees but not preventing them. Still, over ninety percent of shootings are committed by people with criminal records who already would be unable to walk into a gun show or gun store and purchase a firearm legally and most of the firearms used in these crimes are often stolen weapons which were bought illegally from nonstandard sources which operate beyond the law. The idea that making legal firearm purchases more time consuming, burdensome and legally tangled with more and more layers of paperwork and legal hurdles does nothing to prevent criminal firearm purchases and the politicians know this and the crime data records prove this. So why if these facts are well known and understood do the politicians continue to call for restrictions on firearm purchases and even have many calling now for the repeal of the Second Amendment and the complete ban of legal firearm ownership despite all evidence pointing to this leading to increased firearm use by criminal elements as they then are assured they will be the only people armed in any criminal incident.

 

There are at least two easily understandable reasons for the politicians calling for more restrictive laws. The most obvious is their receiving funds for making such demands coming from the anti-gun lobbies who will love such legislation and will spend liberally supporting political campaigns for those supportive candidates. Another reason is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) who also favor more firearm laws as each law, regulation and licensing required by law increases the numbers of government employees required to process and handle the additional forms, research, background checks, license issuing or renewal and any other directives and requirements such legislation demands. These are two of the most active groups a candidate can get behind them in order to finance their campaign. The other reason which looms over the gun debate even more than campaign finances is the general lack of real information and education of the public, especially in most major metropolitan jurisdictions. This is largely due to the complete lack of intimate knowledge, education, training or even the slightest use of a firearm by the majority of the voting public. With a smaller and smaller percentage of the population having served in the military, especially suburban residents, and even less training in firearms in such organization as the Boy Scouts and other youth groups and there no longer having any firearms training in summer camps, the public is generally unfamiliar with firearms and many even developing a symptom bordering on maniacal fear of firearms to the point of hyperventilating at the sight of a gun other than on the belt of a uniformed police officer. Additionally, the use of firearms in entertainment venues such as movies displaying firearms in ways which are wildly inaccurate such as handguns or rifles firing well over one-hundred rounds without ceasing fire for reloading even firing six-shot revolvers twenty or thirty times before changing to another weapon or reloading, has fueled misconceptions of the lethality and practical use of firearms which if applied to swords would have the sword being capable of killing merely by removing it from its scabbard. Another misconception furthered by the entertainment industry is the range at which weapons, particularly handguns, are lethal. With shots being taken with a 9mm or a 45cal semi-automatic handgun at well over a quarter mile, 440 yards or four and a half football fields (pitch) which is a highly dubious range even for a really good marksman, but that is the short end of impossible shots as many a movie aficionado can attest. I have actually seen neighbors shrink away when friends and I would return from the outdoor public range and transport normal handguns and a few hunting rifles from the trunk of the vehicle into the house for cleaning and once had an extremely paranoid neighbor call the police claiming that terrorists were meeting in my place with dozens of guns and other weapons. The police were not all that amused but as two of my friends had Federal Firearms Licenses and one had a Class III Weapons Permit and worked at a gun store, they were forced to allow us to retain our weapons. The neighbor was frantic that we were not taken away in chains and the arsenal confiscated. Ah, reliving the good old days of my misspent youth.

 

Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers

Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers

 

The truth is that should the anti-gun and anti-weapons fanatics get their way, we will be eating steaks with butter knives if the vegans allow us to continue to eat slabs of cows. This claim is made as there have been calls in the United Kingdom, or at least in London and other cities of the Isles to make knives beyond six inches illegal which would make a number of carving knives and my bread knife illegal and some steak knives I have seen such as the ones at a restaurant in the United States and likely elsewhere called Outback. By our figuring, if these fanatics against weapons of all venues got their way, we would no longer have forks and instead be using sporks with our butter knives. The people who wish to make life so guarded that even the roads are made soft enough that falling will not scrape an elbow or a knee really have lost all sense of excitement and see danger not as a challenge to be overcome but a peril which must be eradicated so even the most inept cannot harm themselves no matter how recklessly they address life’s challenges. Where if they desire to round every corner in their homes and pad every piece of furniture while only using safe utensils such as butter knives and sporks and eat only the most bland fruits and vegetables rushing to the doctor’s office at the first sneeze or cough, let them live such lives but do not force your phobias on the remainder of us who wish to live lives dangerously using real forks and steak knives just to eat an apple because we love the thrill of the hunt. Truth be told, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution was argued in the Federalist Papers as being the last line of defense against and to prevent Government Overreach and assure the Constitutional limits on Government power was in the hands of the people.

 

Safe Knife and Spork of the Future

Safe Knife and Spork of the Future

 

These people who claim that the gun is evil are carrying paranoia to an extreme beyond reason. I am willing to bet any of these people that a fully loaded handgun of any caliber could be placed on my kitchen table and sit there in the open for a full year and nobody I know would pick it up or fear it and it is highly unlikely, to the point of absurdness, that it would ever injure, let alone murder, anybody during that year or any number of additional years. I am willing to bet that they could not produce one person who robbed a convenience store who was claiming the firearm walked up to them, grabbed them by the hand and dragged them to the convenience store forcing them to rob it. Yet these same people would claim it was the gun if that same person had shot the clerk and simply wounded him requiring three stitches and a band aid. The tired old phrase that it is the person who commits the crime and not the firearm is true but there are those who insist on believing otherwise. They will claim that had the criminal not had the gun they would not have committed the crime. Somehow we believe it is more likely that the criminal would easily be able to buy a gun from, wait for it, another criminal if they were without a gun and believed one was needed to commit their crime. They would not go to Joe’s Gun Emporium or the county fair gun pavilion or any other legal means, they would go to a well-known criminal world individual and purchase a gun and for a few dollars more a gun without any serial number as it had been removed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the criminal world will sell you guns made to order for the right price. It probably comes as a shock to the gun control supporters that there exist individuals who actually sell guns illegally and if they desire making it more difficult for criminal elements to use firearms, then the people they need to prevent from selling guns are the criminal elements and not the local gun store. Are there those gun store people who might sell guns under the table? Probably, but they are a rare minority and eventually they will be caught which every gun owner will be glad and hopes such a person is put away for a very long time. Gun owners are responsible citizens and are just as abhorred at criminal gun use as the next person, even the anti-gun lobbyist. Nothing would make gun owners happier than for every gun to be legally owned and never used for a criminal purpose and for not another person to die from gun violence. As far as gun accidental deaths, when you can figure out how to end the fifty-thousand plus vehicle deaths each year on the American highways and streets, then we can worry about the few hundred accidental gun deaths. It is nice to keep things in perspective and every gun death is a tragedy as is every premature death. But please let us remain sane and address the more serious causes of accidental deaths such as swimming pools and bathtubs, honestly folks.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 8, 2013

Of Firearms and Children

There has been a rash of shootings covered in the news. It appears that ever since Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by twenty-year-old Adam Lanza who murdered twenty young children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut that the media has turned to reporting every shooting which is committed anywhere outside of a major city. This repetitive stressing of firearms used in a criminal manner appears to solely be for the expressed purpose of adding fuel to the anti-firearms fire burning from every liberal politician, liberal NGO spokesperson, and liberal media personality. The cacophony emanating from the combination of the shrill accusations from the anti-gun proponents and the booming chest pounding by the pro-Second Amendment front, it is difficult to reach a reasoned conclusion. The odds are that whatever are the results which comes from this debate will also not exactly be reasoned. But all that aside, there has been a front to the gun debate which may have played a part in some of the calamities which are a product of only the most recent past and perhaps that might need some examination.

 

One of the items which I have yet to hear be discussed by many in this debate is the aura and emotion which are used to describe firearms in many sectors of modern society. These views and feelings are new and only been prevalent for the past fifty years or so. Firearms, rifles in particular, used to be part and parcel of our everyday lives not that long ago. School children would bring their rifles to school and take them and go hunting right after classes. There were no metal detectors, no zero tolerance rules, and no shocked and frantic adults going absolutely stark raving mad at the sight of a firearm. My, the times have changed. Today the teachers in the public and some private schools teach their students that guns are evil and terrible items to be feared and having only one use, the mass killing of innocents instead of teaching that guns are tools that when utilized properly can provide food or serve as a defensive weapon in cases of emergency. So, instead of impressing on the young minds of the children in their care that firearms have a place and use as well as presenting a potential for danger and need to be respected and treated with great care and keeping in mind certain safety precautions the teachers instruct their pupils that firearms are to be feared as they are evil and terrible items which have the sole purpose to murder and kill large numbers of people quickly and that firearms are to be treated as toxic items. What would one expect that a child taught and filled with such misinformation about firearms might utilize them for the exact purpose they had drilled into their heads was the sole use?

 

Imagine if in our schools the children were taught that golf clubs were only used to split open people’s skulls and our society had decided that the public had to be shielded from the game of golf. Golf was not allowed to be televised, covered by sports casters, or played within the sight of other people. All golf courses were placed way out away from the view of the populace the same as firearms ranges are. Golf stores had no display windows and golf was never mentioned in polite conversation. Meanwhile, it was reported with some regularity that golf clubs had been used in robberies and murders where they were used to split people’s skulls. On rare occasions there were mass killings where golf clubs were used. Whenever these attacks occurred they received near endless discussion where it was granted that there were proper uses for certain golf clubs, the drivers and woods while the attack irons only have one use, splitting skulls. Nobody needs those evil irons to play a round of golf; the woods and a putter were all one would ever need. The irons, though having some varied uses such as sand traps, were able to be utilized to split skulls rapidly and do so quickly while the woods were not so useable. In schools they would set aside one week every year where the dangers of the irons were demonstrated using melons and coconuts. The children were filled with horror stories of how these attack golf clubs, the irons, were used to murder groups of innocent people where they were wielded to split open their skulls. Would anybody be surprised of some unbalanced young person on psychotropic medications took a bag of golf clubs, threw out the woods and took the irons and killed a number of people in a no golf irons zone like a school or movie theater? Then would we not hear how those attack irons have no place in a civil society and golfers could play their ‘game’ using woods and have no real need for those dangerous irons. Would you be surprised? Then why are we surprised guns are misused as often as they are when that is how the youth are taught they are used. Be very careful what you teach as what you teach so shall you reap.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.