Meditations In an Emergency (2015 edition)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm generally dismissive of over-wrought lamentations that our world is doomed; that the kids these days are terrible; and that we're all just victims of some nefarious and mysterious conspiracy. That said, I think there is compelling evidence to suggest its time for us, as American citizens, to start asking ourselves just what sort of a civil society we're building for ourselves.

    For your consideration:

    Eleven mysterious shootings on Phoenix freeways in the past two weeks. In any other country in the civilized world, this would be front page news. Investigators would be closing in on the madman responsible. But at ground zero of Gunsville, USA - the poor cops have no idea where to begin. They have no clue if this is just a pure chance outcome of having ten million firearms jammed into a sprawling metro wasteland. If its just kids playing silly games. Or if its a dangerous maniac bent on nihilistic terrorism. None.

    That heartwarming military reunion at a professional sporting event? Not quite what it seems. When a hundred thousand people get hoodwinked into giving a red-white-and blue Sieg Heil to the offspring of billionaires, we've crossed a line that shouldn't have been crossed.

    Black Lives Matter is a "hate group" - at least according to the nuttier fringes of the neofascist cabal that is the Republican base. But when you see what happened to a totally innocent retired tennis star in the lobby of a Manhattan hotel, its time for America's police officers to face up to the fact that they - collectively - have a problem with institutionalized violence.

    Too many guns. Too many violent cops. And too much corporate ******** masquerading as patriotism.
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Bad times.

    They may change for the better eventually, but the conditions as they exist today point to a prolonged period of unpleasantness.
     
  3. Praxis91 macrumors regular

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  4. Renzatic Suspended

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    #4
    Preach it, brother! The way things are going, I think it's going to be illegal to be white within 10 years.
     
  5. Mousse macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Seems pretty clear to me what kind of society we're building: one similar to the Roman Empire. Panem et circenses (bread and circuses). So long as we are feed and entertained, we don't care who's in charge.:mad:

    People getting killed in the next town is less newsworthy than the latest faux pas by a A-list celebrity.o_O Bread and circuses.:mad:
     
  6. jkcerda macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    nice post. :D
     
  7. 0007776 Suspended

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    #7
    The difference between that cartoon and reality is that the criminal has to get the gun from somewhere, and usually that is either by buying it legally or stealing/borrowing one from the law-abiding citizen. While there are some 3D printed guns out there making your own gun at home is still pretty hard to do.
     
  8. Praxis91 macrumors regular

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    #8
    Products like the ghost gunner are just going to get easier. :D

    It's not the DIY you have to worry about. The criminal element is usually tied to the drug trade. Where do all the drugs come from (despite them being more illegal than guns). There are more drugs than guns in this country. They are smuggled from somewhere (southern borders).

    Ending the failed war on drugs would do more to decrease violence than anything short of gun confiscations (which would be funny to watch the gov try).
     
  9. APlotdevice macrumors 68040

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    #9
    You almost hear an echos of early Calvinism in conservative arguments. That people just ARE either "good" (law abiding) or "bad" (criminals).
     
  10. 0007776 Suspended

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    #10
    The drugs are grown and refined illegally either in the US or Latin America. The guns associated with it on the other hand tend to originate in the US and flow south to the cartels since it is much easier to get ahold of them in the US than it is in Mexico or other Latin American countries.
     
  11. jkcerda macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    THEY have plenty of places to get them from, anyone who buys illegal drugs can get their hands on a gun, how many would you like?
     
  12. jkcerda macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    ha, the ones that were sold under the fast & furious mess made it back to the U.S.
     
  13. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Just to give people an idea of the influx of guns, in 2013 there were a total of 10,844,792 guns manufactured in the U.S. Of those nearly 11 million firearms, only 393,121 were exported.

    https://www.atf.gov/file/3341/download

    The number of guns manufacturered in the U.S. has risen dramatically in the last few years ...

    2000 — 3,793,541
    2001 —2,932,655
    2002 —3,366,895
    2003 —3,308,404
    2004 —3,099,025
    2005 —3,241,494
    2006 —3,653,324
    2007 —3,922,613
    2008 —4,498,944
    2009 —5,555,818
    2010 —5,459,240
    2011 —6,541,886
    2012 —8,578,610
    2013 —10,884,792

    Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 12.49.41 PM.png
    https://www.atf.gov/file/89561/download

    Add to those numbers the millions of guns imported into the U.S. ...

    2000 — 1,096,782
    2001 — 1,366,896
    2002 — 1,629,237
    2003 — 1,466,502
    2004 — 1,910,859
    2005 — 2,106,675
    2006 — 2,432,522
    2007 — 2,743,993
    2008 — 2,606,386
    2009 — 3,607,106
    2010 — 2,839,947
    2011 — 3,252,404
    2012 — 4,844,590
    2013 — 5,539,539
    2014 — 3,625,268

    https://www.atf.gov/file/89561/download

    For the year 2013 alone, the U.S. saw an influx of nearly 16 million guns.
     
  14. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    According to those figures, the number of guns manufactured and imported has more than doubled since the election of Barack Obama. I don't think that is a total coincidence. I also don't think that says very good things about the reasons people buy guns.

    Are we doing twice as much hunting as we did in 2007? Are we shooting twice as many burglars as we did back then? Doing twice as many shifts in the local militia? Do twice as many people own a gun of their own?

    The answer to the last question is: No. The overall number of households owning guns has declined, steadily, since the 1960s. The phenomenon of gun ownership is that fewer people own more and more guns.

    Which begs the question: Why?

    The pro-gun people tend to see things in a very black/white perspective. If you don't agree with them on pretty much everything - it means you are a rabid gun-grabber.

    Personally, I look at guns in a similar fashion as I look at many other recreational items: Fun to play with - but not really a useful, let alone necessary, tool. Sort of like dirt bikes.

    I don't mind people owning dirt bikes. If people want to own three or four dirt bikes, and use them on their own property or appropriate tracks - fine by me. I don't want to get run over by dirt bikes in the street, or when I'm camping with my family. I don't believe dirt bike riding is the difference between freedom and slavery. Dirt bikes won't keep ISIS or Mexican drug cartels at bay. I wish dirt bike enthusiasts didn't dominate every discussion of politics and society with loud shrieks about their freedom to deafen and annoy the rest of us. The rules for riding dirt bikes ought to be different in the wilds of Arizona than they are in midtown Manhattan. And if thirty thousand people were getting killed; and a hundred thousand injured, by dirt bikes every year - I'd hope dirt bike riders, dirt bike makers, and State and Federal Government could agree on ways to lessen the carnage.

    Substitute "guns" for "dirt bikes" in the above paragraph, and you're pretty close to my personal feelings on guns in the USA.
     
  15. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    The NYPD just released surveillance video of an officer tackling retired tennis player James Blake outside a Manhattan Hotel earlier this week.


    No attempt to identify himself as an officer. No effort made to form a perimeter with other officers. No effort to speak to Blake. Just charge at him, grab a totally innocent civilian by the neck and wrestle him to the ground.

    And this happens hundreds, if not thousands of times a day in the United States. Often to totally innocent people - like James Blake. The humiliation. The risk of injury. The fear of some unknown assailant blindsiding you.

    Bear in mind also: Blake didn't resist arrest. He wasn't disrespectful, or combative. He didn't have a weapon. He was just standing outside his hotel.

    The suspect the cops were looking for wasn't an escaped maniac; a cop killer; a child molester; a terrorist; or a drug kingpin. He was a guy they suspected of buying a stolen cellphone.
     
  16. 0007776 Suspended

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    #16
    Hopefully this cop is disciplined for this, the sad thing is if he hadn't been a sports figure this likely wouldn't have made the news at all.
     
  17. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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    #17
    That cop had 5 complaints against him in 2013 alone according to WNYC. I'm starting to think police unions are the real problem here.
     
  18. 0007776 Suspended

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    #18
    It's possible, does anybody know if there is less police brutality in areas where the Republicans have gotten rid of public sector unions as the bad cops might be less likely to keep their jobs there?
     
  19. hulugu macrumors 68000

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    #19
    I submit the simple fact that in 2005 to 2006, Dale Hausner and Sam Dieteman committed a series of crimes throughout Phoenix, including shooting people, horses, and dogs from their car. They also stabbed a man to death and set fire to two Wal-Marts.

    In contrast, so far no one has been seriously injured in the 11 incidents—one girl was apparently hit by flying glass.

    In part, I also think that the kind of weapon has changed. People are shifting towards military-style rifles with the full "mall ninja" accessories. In part, I think this is a consequence of the NRA-ILA (and others) ginning up paranoia, but it's also the consequence of being a nation at war for nearly 14 years. We have soldiers returning from combat who want to carry similar weapons, and a culture that has accepted firearms as part of normal life.

    One thing about the meme that with gun laws, only criminals will have guns, but that's an extreme position posing as a rational argument. The current problem is in part a lack of serious regulation and limitations when it comes to gray market weapons.

    As this article from The Trace notes, research suggests that the "flow of firearms, not the volume of firearms" is the key factor in gun crime.

    The article notes that in Chicago, some gang members reported that restrictions on ammunition sales meant that 10 rounds for a Beretta semi-automatic might cost as much as $50.

    The article also notes that the lack of gun laws means that a gun sold legally flows quite quickly to a murder scene, indicating again, that unrestricted legal sales from outside Illinois fuel gun violence in Chicago.
     
  20. hulugu macrumors 68000

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    #20
    No one goes after police unions.

    For example, in Wisconsin Gov. Walker made sure to protect the unions that had backed him in his election.

    As the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported:

    The Wisconsin Troopers Association, for instance, is one of the few labor unions to support the governor in his 2010 campaign, his 2012 recall election and his 2014 re-election race. Its members played a key role in guarding the state Capitol during massive labor protests four years ago and state troopers also staff the detail that protects Walker and his family.

    Almost all other state worker unions had their bargaining authority stripped under Walker's signature legislation known as 2011 Act 10 and then had their members' take-home pay reduced by roughly 10% because of cuts to health care and pension benefits.

    The State Patrol union was spared both of those blows and still negotiated a roughly 17% pay increase for its members in a contract with the Walker administration. But Walker flatly rejects questions about whether he helps the unions that help him, saying that many police unions have opposed him and still done better than other public employees.[/QUOTE]

    And, while the police and fire unions opposed Walker, he was careful to except them out of his "Right to work" bill.

    In reality, Walker and other politicians have tried separating the unions into different camps, lauding police and fire unions while cutting public employee and teacher unions to pieces.

    We can see this still with arguments about how, for instance, EMTs make less than $15 per hour and therefore, fast food workers cannot be worth a wage hike of $15. Of course, smart people suddenly wonder why the hell EMTs only make $14.50 per hour, but others engage in a wage-based schadenfreude.
     
  21. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21


    Since the US began combat operations in Afghanistan, approximately 2.5 million people served in the air force, army, marines, or navy deployed to either Afghanistan or Iraq. Even if every single one of those returning veterans bought themselves an AR-15 upon discharge - that wouldn't account for the tenth part of the growth in the number of such weapons in civilian hands since 9/11.

    I do also have to note that the US officially ended combat operations in Iraq more than five years ago (August 2010) - and that the US ended its combat operations in Afghanistan in December of 2014. And yet there has been no slowdown in the market for AR-style weapons. Rather the inverse, in fact.

    Although I think you are correct about a military aspect to this phenomenon: The "wannabe" soldier.
     
  22. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

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    #22
    I think some sort of non public and only accessible to federal authorities with court permission, type of national registry would help. Without some sort of official count. Gun manufacturers will stay getting away with supplying far more than the official demand.
     
  23. 0007776 Suspended

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    #23
    Interesting, I had assumed that at least Scott Walker had gone after them. In general I think that unions are good things, but at the same time I wouldn't mind seeing an experiment where there weren't unions to protect the cops that get complaints and see if that does anything to reduce the amount of police brutality. The only problem with trying it as an experiment is that if it doesn't work it would be very hard to get the union back and all of the good cops would be in trouble because of that.
     
  24. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

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    #24
    I agree about the failed war on drugs, but better control of guns is entirely possible. And it starts with making them unpopular, as they did. Our present attitude, a combination of fear-mongering and an almost sexual admiration of weapons, is untenable.
     
  25. hulugu macrumors 68000

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    #25
    I agree, an outright ban isn't workable, instead we need to shift the culture.

    I like the idea of insurance companies using firearms as a reason to raise rates for health and homeowners insurance rates, and it might be possible to add taxes to the sales of bullets.

    I also think we need legislation requiring gun stores to submit their records electronically, while increasing prosecution rates for people who fill out background checks knowing that they are ineligible. We should also increase penalties for straw purchasers, and consider new laws on the transfer of guns.
     

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