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Patanjali Sokaris

Pondering the universe

Right to bear arms

The United States has a distinct aversion to limiting their citizen's ability to bear arms, regardless of how much damage is, or can be, done using guns, because the Second Amendment enshrines that, yet on the international stage, they want some nations to be restricted from having nuclear weapons, even though they are a relatively minor threat to them.

It's all relative ^

While a nuclear weapon is much more dangerous than a gun, relative to a nation, it is less dangerous than a gun is to a person. A nuclear bomb may destroy a lot of a city, but a gun can kill a person.

When the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, relative to their nation, it was a 'flesh wound', and so the Japanese ignored it. With the second bomb, they saw that it wasn't an isolated incident, and not knowing how many more there were, surrendered. It was the threat of eventual 'mortality of the nation' that changed the emporer's mind.

Conversely, for a nation, an equivalent weapon to a gun would be able to wipe out several nations in quick succession. Even the largest nuclear weapon cannot wipe out the largest nation, but a single bullet can wipe out the most powerful person on earth.

The United States did more damage dropping incendiary bombs on Japan than did the atomic bombs. The non-nuclear firepower that the US has sold to dubious regimes in the Middle East is likely to exceed the total damage that North Korea or Iran could ever inflict by their nuclear weapons, so the hippocracy of current arms debates is blatant.

While some may want to distinguish between nuclear weapons and guns, the comparison highlights the contradictions in the international and domestic policies of the United States. US citizens are allowed to carry the equivalent, at a national level, of enough firepower to wipe out most countries on earth, yet a couple of nations are not allowed to have the equivalent, at a personal level, of a few slingshots.

Lead by example ^

Until the US, and other nuclear-equipped nations, are willing to stop risking the lives of people all over the planet for their own benefit, they will have little effect upon those so-called rogue nations that want a piece of the same action.

In all this, I am not defending the actions of North Korea or Iran, or any other aspiring nuclear club member, but trying to get some perspective on the whole inconsistant and hippicritical stances taken by nuclear-priveledged nations in trying to keep others out.

The only rational way out of this is for all the nuclear nations to seriously cut their own nuclear arsenals, and stop supplying bulk arms to dictatorships with dubious human rights records and histories of supporting terrorists. Otherwise those nuclear nations are the terrorists they feign to oppose.

Distractive thinking ^

As many gun-proponents point out, it is people who perpetrate the mass shootings, but is that just a distraction from making effective changes now?

Any democracy is trying to strike a balance between allowing as much freedom as possible to their citizens while protecting the society from those who would jeopardise those freedoms.

That means that government generally works by being reactive to change, rather than being pre-emptive, which risks unnecessarilly restricting some freedoms.

It would be very difficult to reliably detect who would be capable of murdering others without a large mass-scale mental evaluation of all citizens, which would be very expensive and be very unlikely to be acceptable to the public. Also, trained people with malicious intent can be difficult to detect without similarly disruptive mass screening.

The real problem, even with mass testing, is that we don't necessarilly know what and when some people will be triggered into a breakdown that would lead them to murder. The obvious action is to restrict what those people can get their hands upon when they do flip, but that does not help if they already have the weapons.

The obvious people to keep weapons from are those who are paranoid and crave lots of destructure firepower. Well, that applies to terrorists, but unfortunately also to a lot more pro-gun lobbyists. After all, prior to 9/11 2001, it was paranoid right-wing anti-government nutters that were responsible for the worst US domestic terrorism.

Unfortunately, the 'must have guns' mentality has allowed such obviously stupid thinking like allowing a 9 year old to handle an automatic weapon that is outside their ability to control. Mental problems are one thing, but with such inappropriate thinking being considered a right, the problem is much greater than just those having ill-will.

The second amendment was designed to allow people recourse to protect themselves from errant government, but it is also encumbent upon government to protect its citizens from the stupid and dangerous thinking of other citizens.

Given the difficulties of pre-emptive detection, the only recourse is to restrict what weapons are available, and who is allowed to have them.

Constitutional amendments ^

Amendments allow changes to the constitution, as the assumption is that the constitution is meant to be able to be updated according to the needs of the people.

However, amendments are also not set in stone, but themselves can be subject to being repealed if they are no longer needed, either because they were found unworkable -- as in the case of the 18th Amendment, banning the manufacture and sale of alcohol, being repealed by the 21st Amendment -- or no longer represent the aims of society -- as with the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.

In regard to the 2nd Amendment of the US constitution, many seem to think it is so set in stone that opposing it is being unpatriotic. The fact is that it is an amendment, and can be repealed. Therefore, opposition to it is a right of every citizen, as how else could they start the process to get it repealed, so that anyone claiming that such opposition is unpatriotic is themselves being unpatriotic.

That also makes laws that oppose publicly-funded research into gun violence seem contrary to the public interest, as people need to know how laws affect them in order to make informed judgements about them. A government's due diligence is to evaluate its own laws.

The whole gun debate is continually distorted by a false sense of entitlement funded by a powerful lobby with a vested interest that regularly politically blackmails politicians into doing its bidding.

The 2017 Las Vegas shooting had seen bipartisan support for the possibility of limiting the most dangerous of personal weapons. Even the NRA has suggested that enabling fully automatic operation of weapons may need to be limited. But it is still all rather removed from decisive action against people being able to walk around with a mass lethal capability.


TS: art-a 3ID: 2017-11-12-00-00-00Now: 2020-07-03-14-05-39Powered by: Smallsite Design©Patanjali SokarisManage