Thursday, January 31, 2013

At this article at Clareified, Dawn talks about gun control.

I responded in two comments, and tried to post #3. #3 won't apply, so I'll post it here in the next article.

Comment 1:

But what do I know, the framers of the constitution would argue I’m not even a whole person.
I know you know this (or at least should), but for the peanut gallery: The House of Representatives was set up for 1 representative per X people in the state (and was originally meant to grow without limit). The South wanted to count slaves as a person, and that way they would have an immediate majority in the House. The North wanted slaves to not count, so that they would have an immediate majority. The Founders had to compromise, so that the North and South would have a balance. (Immigration, especially of the Irish, quickly tipped the balance to the North, so the compromise wasn’t needed, but that’s in hindsight…)

We can make too much of our heroes, and too little. Washington was generally kind to slaves, and regularly allowed them to “escape” or buy themselves out. He also chased some down and kept some from being able to leave legally. Jefferson was the strongest thinker against slavery, and probably helped bankrupt himself buying up slaves who couldn’t work. OTOH, he made little effort to free slaves at his death (again, probably because he was broke), and certainly someone in his family was sleeping with Sally Hastings.

Like a certain “I didn’t inhale/what does ‘is’ mean?” politician, they aren’t gods among men, they’re men who had good ideas and mediocre execution.

Now, if you want to talk about “not a real person”, go read Dred Scott v. Sandford. One of Taney’s key arguments against recognizing that Scott could be a citizen was the horrors of black people (like Scott) having the right to own firearms. Even the justices who agreed with Taney’s legal reasoning wouldn’t agree with his opinion for the racism and the overreaching.

We cannot appeal to “King would own guns” or “King would NOT own guns”, because Dr. King isn’t here to tell us what he’d do now (this is the real call to authority fallacy). We can look at history, however. Dr. King DID own guns, and did attempt to obtain a concealed carry permit at least once. OTOH, he also believed that Christian martyrdom requires passive resistance(*), and towards the end of his life he ceased to act in personal defense AND believed that his violent death would be an act of martyrdom(**). Both are consistent with a single self-defence theory, and are consistent with changing one’s mind. I’ll leave the listener to decide which.

(*) Luther wasn’t the only person ever to describe the principle, but he did it clearly. A Christian may defend himself and others when faced with violence not targeted because of the person’s belief. You may defend yourself from the robber or the base murderer, for example. However, injury faced because of your faith must be endured without violent reprisal.

(**) I AM implying causation here, but I won’t strictly hold to it if pushed.
Quote 2:
This is the first time I have ever heard the argument that Dr. King committed suicide by assassin, but okay.
*blink* OK, let’s try this again, slower and with fewer run-on sentences.
Dr. King believed in Christian passive resistance throughout his life. At the beginning of his struggle, he also believed in defending himself with guns. He owned them. He employed armed bodyguards to protect him. He even attempted to obtain a concealed carry permit (and was denied it for racist reasons).
Towards the end of his life, he ceased to take steps to defend himself with firearms (no bodyguards, etc.) while simultaneously believing that he would probably die a martyr’s death for his beliefs and actions.
I personally believe that the latter (believing he was going to die a martyr’s death) caused the former (ceasing to defend himself with firearms). This would be consistent with Luther’s Christian self-defense theories. However, my saying so is a “correlation means causation” fallacy: we only know both occurred at the same time. As far as I know, Dr. King never explicitly spelled this out. (If he did, feel free to correct me on this.)
Now that we’re past that, I’ll come back to the point I actually was going to make before getting distracted. (Yes, the entire post above was me being distracted. With so many ideas packed into one post, it’s easy to get distracted. I could have even called it a target-rich field, but I’m trying to avoid those evil shooting metaphors. Only liberals are allowed to use shooting metaphors, after all.)
Let’s assume for the moment that possessing guns is a right. (Based on your post, I don’t think you really believe that it is, which is why I will make this an assumption.) Now, you are calling on the rest of us to take significant limitations upon our right for everyone’s safety, by saying that we don’t need said right.
That seems fair and proper. Excluding the potential of a self-defense situation(*), then I as a city dweller have very little need at all for the firearms that may or may not be in my possession.
However, you are opening a very dangerous precedent here. People don’t need any rights to live, and rights cause governments all kinds of inconveniences and difficulties.
Imagine how much easier prosecution will be if we can identify the bad guy *because* we have his urine in a cup. You don’t have anything to hide, and you trust the government, so there’s nothing wrong with peeing in the cup on demand, right? The government has the technology to listen to your phone calls, but you’re not a criminal. They can listen to you, right? The FBI will never ever stoop to using intelligence like this for blackmail, so you’re fine. Oh, and let’s throw in governors on cars so that no car can ever go over 70 MPH or 4000 RPM. Speeding and high torque are dangerous, after all. How about swimming pools? More kids (not in gangs) die in swimming pools than die from gunshots in the US. They’re death traps; the federal government should demand their immediate filling with concrete.
Why should we not do any of these? By your logic, we the people have every obligation to restrict these rights too, to make things easier on the government or safer for ourselves. What is the difference?
One final aside: We have a National guard, a coast guard, an army, a marine, an air force, police forces, FBI, secret service, sheriffs, marshalls, private security firms, mall cops. We’re good on regulated militia.
You forgot the Inspector Generals office of the Department of Housing and Human Services. They just put in an order for a couple thousand guns and several hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo. 43 different federal agencies or departments have people with badges, real assault weapons and machine guns, and lots and lots of ammo.
You need to go read the Federalist Papers. These government agents are not the regulated militia. They are the standing armies that the Revolutionary War people fought against. Standing armies were bad, and would inevitably lead to the loss of rights and tyranny. The well-regulated militia, a standing army of the entire citizenship (barring only the conscientious objector and the infirm) was considered necessary so that the people could both defend themselves from external enemies and rise up and defeat the standing army when a tyrant turned them against his own people.
(History quiz for the house: General Gage sent out soldiers to secretly take what items from the colonists at Lexington and Concord?)
(*) Considering that between 10x and 1000x(**) more people defend themselves every year using legally owned firearms than are shot without justification in the US, this is a BIG gift to you. I can prove that firearms are a net benefit to US society WITHOUT considering the rights issue at all (John Lott already has).
(**) Depending on whose numbers you believe and how you count a justified shooting. 10x is if you believe the smallest number of defensive gun uses (the DOJ’s non-anonymous survey) and everyone being shot as unjustified (even those shot in said defensive gun uses). 1000x weeds out gun suicides and shots that are neither homicides nor accidents, compared to Kleck’s 2.1 million per year count. The truth of course is somewhere in the middle.

No comments: