Meandering Political discussion thread-you've been warned.

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Post by starbug » Apr 11th 2003, 5:07 am

candygirl wrote:
You wouldn't believe all the extraneous paperwork we have to submit to the school for outside grant proposals

:wink:
Yeah, I've seen some pretty ridiculous paperwork from my own Higher Education establishment. Honestly, next time you have a spare 9 years, try submitting a proposal to the European Union. I've seen grown academics cry over those...
:sad2:

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Post by mglenn » Apr 11th 2003, 11:55 am

Ok sorry I've been in a cold med induced stupor for several days and I still am, but I'll do my best to respond.

First on the journalist being killed. In a gun fight any gun fight, when you are shot at you first seek cover then assess the target and return fire with your goal being to stop the action, i.e. someone trying to kill you or those around you. In war/combat you do the same thing only you attempt to gain what is called fire superiority. You do this by bringing the biggest weapon you have to bear to prove to the other guy that this is not a fight he wants to have. In a civilian gunfight you have to address more issues like background and such to make sure that you are not creating a more hazardous situation that you are trying to stop. In war/combat this is not the case. It’s a free for all because the enemy is going to bring his biggest weapon to bear on you if you do not bring yours to bear first.

But what I am hearing is that there has to be rules for our side (which I assure you there are rules of engagement) but that the Iraqis have no rules. This is a prefect description of the Vietnam and is one of the key reasons we lost it. If one force is under so many rules that they cannot fight then the other side will learn to use those rules to its advantage and will win. Plane and simple! The journalists were told to leave! They stayed! They took the responsibility on themselves for their lives in a combat zone. And despite what you have seen in the movies people die in combat zones.
Nor is it fair what happened to those journalists and their families.
Fair????? Who ever said war was fair??? Who said the world in general was fair??? Neither the war nor the world is fair! The attempt to make it so is called Socialism and it has never worked. Its too easy to corrupt and as such will be corrupted! Once we can agree on that we can then move on with a whole slew of other topics.
The administration and the right repeatedly preach responsibility, they need to practice what they preach.
Do you know anything of WW2? Do you know how its air campaign was fought? We carpet-bombed everything within a five-mile radius of any target. The idea was to take not only the factory building tanks out, but also to take out all the people building the tanks as well. The plan was to enact such devastating loses to the populous that they would be unwilling to continue the fight. That’s how wars were fought. We dropped 1800 to 2400 bombs to kill one tank on average. In this war we drop one. We are practicing what we preach.


Their needs to be accountability at all levels of our society.
You state the above but remove all accountability from the journalist for being in a place that they were told would be dangerous. Where is their accountability?[/quote]
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Post by mglenn » Apr 11th 2003, 12:44 pm

Ok now for the gun reply:

The Car argument I'm going to leave it seems to have been discussed and I'll only add that more people are killed by cars every year than by guns. (I'll address the exact numbers in a bit).
So by that logic, drugs should be legalized, right?
Are they working? Have they even made a dent in they availability of drugs on the street? To answer you question yes I am all for legalizing some drugs. Is it a perfect solution, No. But then this isn't a perfect world.

So what is the explanation for the vast differences in gun related deaths between our country and others with stricter laws?
Here are some numbers for you, every year in the US there are on average 32,000 gun deaths( from the Brady Campaign website, they are antigun). And half of those are suicides. So you have 15,000 deaths that are not a direct result on someone’s own actions. Now on the other hand studies show from the low end of 300,000 to Gary Klecks claim of 3.4 Million defensive gunuses a year with the users saying that around 15.7% of those using a gun for defense believe that someone would have been killed or seriously injured had they not defended themselves. If we use the low end number of 300,000 Defensive uses and look at the studies results we see that 47,100 lives were believed to be saved and that’s with the lowest number of Defensive uses. If we look at just Klecks numbers we'd see 300,000+ saved every year.

So to top this off what you are saying is that its ok to kill those 47,100 people because we'd be saving those 15,000? Does that make sense to you?

As for the exact reason for the differences I would suggest you look at the number of suicides which was removed from my numbers and see if you start seeing a populationally proportional number of deaths.

Heres the thing if you take away my guns then every other right I have is now GRANTED to me by the government. It can be taken away at their leisure. With a gun I can defend that right. This is exactly why every citizen should be able to own a fully automatic weapon. The idea of the second amendment was to ensure that the government never got the idea that the could take away the rights of the citizens.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Understand why its there and what it means and it all becomes clear. You say too many people die from guns. I say far more will die if our freedom is taken away.
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Post by TomSpeed » Apr 11th 2003, 1:30 pm

mglenn wrote:Heres the thing if you take away my guns then every other right I have is now GRANTED to me by the government. It can be taken away at their leisure. With a gun I can defend that right. This is exactly why every citizen should be able to own a fully automatic weapon. The idea of the second amendment was to ensure that the government never got the idea that the could take away the rights of the citizens.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Understand why its there and what it means and it all becomes clear. You say too many people die from guns. I say far more will die if our freedom is taken away.
Thanks for pointing this fact out to people who might not understand what the right to bear arms means to Americans. The American government's authority comes from the people. The American people have the sovereign right to overthrow their government if it does not represent their interests. The right to bear arms protects our ability to take away the authority we grant the government to rule. Without the right to bear arms, our Constitution would be a sham. Think of the American colonists breaking away from England if you want to understand why this right is vital to all Americans.
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Post by fnordboy » Apr 11th 2003, 3:07 pm

This is part of the problem. I thought that it was obvious why we have the right to bear arms. It is exactly what mglenn said, so that we have the right to overthrow the government if it does not act within our best interest.

Unfortunately this is not something that can be done easily, and like communism, is great in theory. We will never be allowed to use that right to its full advantage, as the way the gov't is set up doesn't allow this to easily occur.
I understood your arguement until this point. If it is my understanding, there have been quite a few 'militias' that have been forcibly removed because they opposed our government and the rules it applied to the militia members. It didn't matter how many guns they had, if the US government wants you out, they'll bring as much force against you as necessary.
You are missing the point that these are 'militias', they are small numbers that do not represent a fraction of the rest of the populace. Doesn't make the gov't right in some of its tactics against the groups it doesn't agree with.

Maybe there is a general fear throughout the gov't of a potential overthrow, knowing that it is "technically" within our rights. Maybe that is why cluster-Fs like the Koresh compound fiasco happen.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 11th 2003, 3:45 pm

mglenn wrote:
So what is the explanation for the vast differences in gun related deaths between our country and others with stricter laws?
Here are some numbers for you, every year in the US there are on average 32,000 gun deaths( from the Brady Campaign website, they are antigun). And half of those are suicides. So you have 15,000 deaths that are not a direct result on someone’s own actions. Now on the other hand studies show from the low end of 300,000 to Gary Klecks claim of 3.4 Million defensive gunuses a year with the users saying that around 15.7% of those using a gun for defense believe that someone would have been killed or seriously injured had they not defended themselves. If we use the low end number of 300,000 Defensive uses and look at the studies results we see that 47,100 lives were believed to be saved and that’s with the lowest number of Defensive uses. If we look at just Klecks numbers we'd see 300,000+ saved every year.
Another admittedly smaller factor (but a factor nonetheless) is population. Just looking at sheer number of deaths per country isn't fair if you are comparing the United States to say, the UK or any other country with a much smaller population. I mean, great if only one person per year is killed by a gun in Lichtenstein, but when you look at the population of a country like that, it isn't really comparable (statistically speaking). That's comparing apples and oranges.
fnordboy wrote:we have the right to overthrow the government if it does not act within our best interest.
We are guaranteed the right to bear arms because of what happened in the American colonies. Our forefathers were able to break free and establish a new country not on will alone - guns played a major role.

Why do you think that other countries (such as Iraq) manage to keep horrific meglomaniac leaders in power? Because their citizens do not have the power to overthrow the government - they don't have access to weapons.
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Post by starbug » Apr 14th 2003, 5:27 am

candygirl wrote: Another admittedly smaller factor (but a factor nonetheless) is population. Just looking at sheer number of deaths per country isn't fair if you are comparing the United States to say, the UK or any other country with a much smaller population.
I take your point. But I worked it out. UK has a population of about 60 million. America is what? 350 million ish.
so the UK has about 17 percent of the population of USA. Statistically speaking then, we ought to have 17 per cent of your gun homicides. ie the UK should (working on the same presumption as the USA) have 1955 gun homicides per year. In fact we have about 70. Per capita, that's 28 times more than the US. When you break it down like that, you have to admit you have more of a problem than the UK.

I would like to say thanks to Mglenn though, for pointing out why it is that Americans hang on to their guns: to defend their rights (other rights, not the gun right) against the government if they attempt to take them away. This isn't something I understood before. I thought it was because you just thought you had the right to bear arms because it was in the constitution. I didn't really think WHY it was in the constitution.

So, I get it. What I don't understand is why it is that it's considered that the average citizen (or even 1000 of them, or even 1,000,000 of them)with their home-grown weapons arsenal stands a chance of dealing with the military might of the US government. Seriously. What do you think is going to happen? One day the government decides it's going to take your land away from you or something... Imagine it's just you and not the whole country. So you're there on your doorstep with a machine gun. The government has enough firepower to blow up your house with you in it. There's no equal fight here; you just get yourself killed making a point. Laudable, but your right to bear arms hasn't made a blind bit of difference to the outcome.

As has been pointed out, the government is slowly eroding your rights through ridiculous backdoor legislation. Although I believe in democracy, I also believe power corrupts. That's why there are checks and balances and democratic redress. I've studied UK constitutional law and it's different from the USA no doubt... believe me I understand the idea that the government can instantly criminalise everyone by making breathing in and out a crime, and punish people accordingly. I understand that the democratic right to election can be legitimately removed in the blink of an eye (according to UK law this is true). What I truly don't understand is how you think that being able to personally own a gun makes any difference practically in a modern society.

In countries in Africa (I'm thinking particularly of Zimbabwe) the citizens there are permitted to carry arms. It doesn't stop their government behaving like demons. Practically speaking, the citizens (although armed) can't do a thing about it, though they're trying. The only way you're ever going to stop a rogue government is by convincing another nation with bigger firepower to enter on the citizens behalf and help them. As the USA is showing, it has the ability to win any war against any other nation. Therefore wouldn't it be true to say that the citizens of the USA would be in the most danger from the power of their own government than any others? Owning a gun isn't going to help you. No other nation on its own (maybe even several banding together) is going to be able to help you. They're going to have a darn good think before they even try. What makes you think that you and your machine gun are going to be successful?

I could almost buy the counter-argument here that US soldiers wouldn't fight a war against their own people... maybe. I'm not convinced. Hitler managed to convince the germans to kill the jews. Their own people.

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Post by mglenn » Apr 14th 2003, 9:59 am

starbug wrote:What I don't understand is why it is that it's considered that the average citizen (or even 1000 of them, or even 1,000,000 of them)with their home-grown weapons arsenal stands a chance of dealing with the military might of the US government. Seriously. What do you think is going to happen? One day the government decides it's going to take your land away from you or something... Imagine it's just you and not the whole country. So you're there on your doorstep with a machine gun. The government has enough firepower to blow up your house with you in it. There's no equal fight here; you just get yourself killed making a point. Laudable, but your right to bear arms hasn't made a blind bit of difference to the outcome.
This is another point that often comes up when I get into discussions like this. The issue is that the US Government or those in power and the US Military are not the same thing. Just because so outta control leader is attempting to subvert the constitution doesn't mean that the average US military soldier is going to attack his own people. Do you really believe that an airforce officer is going to drop a MOAB on a heartland american trying to defend his freedom with a 1000 of is friends and family? Contrary to the media displays the American Military is not heartless and brutal. And this is why it would work.

Also as a sidenote the study of war is not a simple subject. You say that the an overwhelming military force can not be matched. But history doesn't show that.. look at Vietnam and other similar conflicts. The reasons that for these failures are many and complex and we could spend years studing situations like that.

Iraqs problem was that their control was very very centeralized and the US took out their command and control very early. That left those in the field with no plans and a group of unmotivated soldiers. (Threatening to shoot someones wife, son, or daughter does not make for a well motivated soldier. They may be motivated in the short term but they will quickly turn against you.)
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Post by starbug » Apr 14th 2003, 11:56 am

mglenn wrote: This is another point that often comes up when I get into discussions like this. The issue is that the US Government or those in power and the US Military are not the same thing. Just because so outta control leader is attempting to subvert the constitution doesn't mean that the average US military soldier is going to attack his own people. Do you really believe that an airforce officer is going to drop a MOAB on a heartland american trying to defend his freedom with a 1000 of is friends and family? Contrary to the media displays the American Military is not heartless and brutal. And this is why it would work.
I take your point. But as I said, you'd be surprised what people can be convinced to do. Look at Hitler. Eventually he had some serious military might behind him. His aims were wholly outrageous. I truly hope this situation never comes up, but the USA does seem like a fairly racially volatile nation sometimes... wait for an economic recession, some right-wing racist blaming it on immigrants... I really hope Joe Public America could not be persuaded to repeat the holocaust but you have to admit it happened; hitler convinced the military to follow through on his disgusting aims. That war lasted 4 years; hardly a quick turnaround for the morality of the SS. The fact is they were defeated militarily.
mglenn wrote: Also as a sidenote the study of war is not a simple subject. You say that the an overwhelming military force can not be matched. But history doesn't show that.. look at Vietnam and other similar conflicts. The reasons that for these failures are many and complex and we could spend years studing situations like that.
Again, I take your point. There are loads of reasons wars are won and lost and I certainly don't know enough about military strategy to even begin an analysis. All I'm really saying is that the USA has the most powerful military in the world. The military isn't the same as the US government, I admit. But still, I fail to see how (if you take my point that people can be convinced to do all sorts of things they wouldn't normally dream of) you having a gun is going to help you in that situation. Particularly because in the scenario I raised, nations would be fighting on US home soil.

:? Cripes, this argument is starting to read like a bizarre futuristic Sci-fi novel. Or is it? Eek.

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Post by fnordboy » Apr 14th 2003, 3:26 pm

starbug wrote: I truly hope this situation never comes up, but the USA does seem like a fairly racially volatile nation sometimes... wait for an economic recession, some right-wing racist blaming it on immigrants...
Heh, did you ever listen to any American AM talk radio? :shock: I don't think there is one right-winger...oops I meant compassionate conservative :wink: ...that doesn't call for the borders being locked down on the air these days.
starbug wrote: But still, I fail to see how (if you take my point that people can be convinced to do all sorts of things they wouldn't normally dream of) you having a gun is going to help you in that situation. Particularly because in the scenario I raised, nations would be fighting on US home soil.

:? Cripes, this argument is starting to read like a bizarre futuristic Sci-fi novel. Or is it? Eek.
I will agree, there is really no way that an overthrow of the government would ever successfully happen. Times were different when the constitution was written, the country was a very different place. I completely understand why it is in the constitution, and I think it should be.

I just know that I feel a whole lot better knowing that the only people with guns aren't just the cops, criminals and people in charge.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 14th 2003, 9:37 pm

starbug wrote:What I don't understand is why it is that it's considered that the average citizen (or even 1000 of them, or even 1,000,000 of them)with their home-grown weapons arsenal stands a chance of dealing with the military might of the US government. Seriously. What do you think is going to happen? One day the government decides it's going to take your land away from you or something... Imagine it's just you and not the whole country. So you're there on your doorstep with a machine gun. The government has enough firepower to blow up your house with you in it. There's no equal fight here; you just get yourself killed making a point. Laudable, but your right to bear arms hasn't made a blind bit of difference to the outcome.
Overthrowing the government is usually not one man with a shotgun vs. the army. As Mike said, the government and the army are two different things. In addition, heart makes a big difference. The British military (well armed and well trained) with their Hessian mercenaries should have been able to suppress an uprising in the colonies.
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Post by lance » Apr 15th 2003, 11:15 am

candygirl wrote:
starbug wrote:What I don't understand is why it is that it's considered that the average citizen (or even 1000 of them, or even 1,000,000 of them)with their home-grown weapons arsenal stands a chance of dealing with the military might of the US government. Seriously. What do you think is going to happen? One day the government decides it's going to take your land away from you or something... Imagine it's just you and not the whole country. So you're there on your doorstep with a machine gun. The government has enough firepower to blow up your house with you in it. There's no equal fight here; you just get yourself killed making a point. Laudable, but your right to bear arms hasn't made a blind bit of difference to the outcome.
Overthrowing the government is usually not one man with a shotgun vs. the army. As Mike said, the government and the army are two different things. In addition, heart makes a big difference. The British military (well armed and well trained) with their Hessian mercenaries should have been able to suppress an uprising in the colonies.
Should have been able to, except for those pesky French getting in the way all the time :wink: First they aid a tax revolt in a British backwater colony, next thing you know the oppose Dubya's war campaign. Gosh, the nerve of these people.

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Post by mglenn » Apr 15th 2003, 12:12 pm

This is one of those things that sounds great in theory, but not so good in practice. Not all children who attend public school are religiously observant. Having attended public school (see previous thread) I can firmly attest to the power, good and bad, of peer pressure. Those children who refuse to say the pledge, for what ever reason, can become the objects of scorn, ridicule and bullying.
Lance maybe you could expound on this a bit cause it doesn't really make sense to me. As I read it we should remove the pledge totally because a child may subjected to peer pressure for not saying it?

To which I would respond that removing the pledge would not make childhood any easier for anyone.

I would also ask that you show me in the constitution where there is a seperation of church and state. The only reference I have ever seen is in the First Amendment which states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
Which means that the government can not say that one religion is state or national religion, like for instance The Church of England. Nor can they make a law that prohibits the free exercise of any religion. It doesn't not say that the government can not say a prayer, or mention God or religious morality.

When I was in fifth grade my parents put me in a small private school that had just formed in my town. There were only 4 kids in my class total and as such we got to do alot of interesting things. Since the school was right next door to the County Court house one of those things was to got over and watch court cases. We saw one a month ussually. During that time one of the judges sat down with us after a drug case and answered questions for us and talked to us. The one thing I've always remembered from that talk was him telling us that if we obeyed the Ten Commandments we would never be a defendant in his court room. It made quite an impression on me. And I've never understood how it was wrong to live your life by such rules.

PS: I attended public school for all but 2 years, 4th and 5th grade. I had alot of issues with school, still do as a matter of fact. I did not get along well with teachers who could not deal with a child that was always ahead of curve and questioning them. The teachers that could deal with such students were the ones I learned the most from and also seemed the happiest doing their jobs. Where as the ones that I was constantly introuble with seemed to me to always be unhappy at their jobs. I'm not trying to talk myself up here. School was an unhappy time in my life. I graduated around 100th out of 750 in my class and I didn't care one bit about school.
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Post by lance » Apr 15th 2003, 12:37 pm

mglenn wrote:
This is one of those things that sounds great in theory, but not so good in practice. Not all children who attend public school are religiously observant. Having attended public school (see previous thread) I can firmly attest to the power, good and bad, of peer pressure. Those children who refuse to say the pledge, for what ever reason, can become the objects of scorn, ridicule and bullying.
Lance maybe you could expound on this a bit cause it doesn't really make sense to me. As I read it we should remove the pledge totally because a child may subjected to peer pressure for not saying it?
Mglenn,

Not a problem, as a student of history yourself you may be aware that many of the founding fathers left the Constitution sufficently vague so that succeeding generations wouldn't have to rewrite the thing every time a new government came into power or to cope with societal changes in attitudes and opinions on the subject of the day.

I am Catholic and therefore a Christian, but not every child who attends public school is. What I am saying is that all roughly 42 million American public school students shouldn't be forced to recite a pledge that they have problems with because: they don't believe in A God or the the God worshipped by the majority of their classmates.

The Bill of Rights says that the US shall have no state religion, which means that public schools shouldn't be in the business of promoting or looking with favor toward those practices that emphasize one particular religious point of view or another.

May have been wandering here a bit but I hope that helps.

Best,

Lance Man

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some good news

Post by lance » Apr 15th 2003, 12:44 pm

Some good news:

According to my brother it looks like 3rd Infantry is going to get rotated home for a well deserved rest.

More later,

Lance Man

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