Another mass shooting... Orlando Fl.

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by DistinguishedPapyrus, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    Law enforcement technology has come a long way in the same period of time, and it's paid dividends. License plate readers, coordination of records on things such as gangs and violent offenders, closed circuit cameras, etc.

    Also, you've got things like funding for initiatives to combat poverty and combat urban blight which are both well known breeding grounds for crime and especially violent crime.

    If I wanted to drift into more speculative waters, I'd even say that basic things like expanded access to cell phones has helped, where people can more easily report disturbances before they escalate to the point of violence.

    Likewise, since I'm feeling particularly bold, I would bet all the lawless cities people bring up (Chicago, etc) have a lack of all or some of these things. You frequently see things like ineffective leadership or law enforcement, increased poverty (which includes people with no phone, limited access or they just assume the police won't do anything anyway) in these same places, and the gun laws are tossed in as a bandaid to systemic problem. Gun regulations are useless with no or poor enforcement... in fact it has the opposite effect because people assume (rightfully) they can get away with anything.

    That's all beside the point, because "mass shooter" type situations (you know, like what we're here to discuss) don't follow that model at all. Just like they also don't follow the blanket "violent crime" stats people selectively decide to put out there.
     
  2. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    You point out the world isn't ending with actual statistics that show violence is decreasing and get condescending bullsh1t in response... this is why I never bother to post in here :facepalm:

    I should have known better.
     
  3. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    No harm meant. I didn't hear anybody saying the world was coming to an end, so the statistics being injected at the point in the conversation when they were came across a certain way. I also had the window open and was adding to my post over time, so I hadn't seen you clarified your remarks.

    My apologies if I sounded snarky or like I was attacking you. I misread the conversion.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Technology is a tool that either side (law/crime) can utilize.

    Also, this is not just directed at Drew, but I see "Correlation =/= causation" repeated a lot lately, often in contexts where it's not really an argument. If someone claims something causes something else, and someone else posts a reverse correlation of such, it's absolutely pertinent to the discussion.

    The origin of the "correlation =/= causation" meme is actually "Correlation does not imply causation." In technical speak, this can be generalized as "if A is related to B, B does not necessarily follow B." So, more correctly, "Correlation is not sufficient information to necessitate causation."

    The converse of this statement is another matter, because causation does imply correlation.

    So if I say "guns cause violence," then, it implies that more guns should correlate to more violence, all else equal.

    Can we at least all agree on that - just the simple logic involved, notwithstanding other variable's influence?

    Sorry to become that guy who tries to correct usage and grammar, but once I see it for the second time in one day, I have to bring it up, even if I've brought it up before, on another day...
     
  5. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    Well, by all means, please explain how violent crime has outpaced law enforcement in its use of technology.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    It's not outpacing law enforcement, and I didn't say it was. If anything, on average, the two are keeping up with each other. I also did not add the qualifier of violent crime, but I'm game for adding that to the discussion, since it is relevant and you brought it up.

    One prime example of criminals using technology to enable nonviolent crime was the Silk Road and the Dark Web, with the use of bitcoins to buy illegal contraband, including weapons. Because law enforcement had put a lot of technical resources into tracking serial numbers on US currency and watching the internet, yet criminals took existing backdoor sites and existing cryptocurrency and decided to use it to enable criminal activities that made law enforcement technology obsolete.

    As a broad example of violent crime using technology: drugs used by rapists, cell phones (or, more specifically, GSM relay devices) used as detonators, plastic handguns that are more difficult to detect with conventional metal detectors, and such are used by criminals to enable their crimes or to avoid detection by law enforcement and/or security.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    :lol: Sorry man. I tried to come back with some legitimate information to add to the discussion, and I hope it didn't come across as condescending. Apologies if it did. :yesway:

    I'm going to make a similarly suspect correlation leap, though - if you look at a list of countries with highest per-capita gun ownership, you get:

    United States 112.6
    Serbia 75.6 2
    Yemen 54.8 3
    Switzerland 45.7 4
    Cyprus 36.4[9] 5
    Saudi Arabia 35 6
    Iraq 34.2 7
    Uruguay 31.8 8
    Sweden 31.6 9
    Norway 31.3 10

    I deleted a few notes here - the biggest being the Switzerland total includes guns owned by members of the militia, and per capita ownership drops from 45.7 to 25 without them, and Norway, where only 6.5% of the population owns guns, but they seem to own a LOT of them. I pulled these numbers from the wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

    Anyway, you generally only see levels of gun ownership comparable to ours in countries that ARE war zones, surrounded by war zones, or ruled by completely unstable governments. The top ten per capita gun ownership countries are essentially those countries, the USA, and countries with mandatory military conscription. So, while on one hand it's a little bit of an unfair comparison, on the other, there really aren't any other countries in the world which are at peace, surrounded by countries at peace, and have similarly high levels of gun ownership in civilian hands. So, it's not that you're wrong that Bagdhad and Austin are very different environments, at all, it's just we're kind of exceptional in the rate at which we allow civilians to buy guns, so it's kind of hard to make better comparisons than that.
     
  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Not to be intentionally somewhat obtuse, but wouldn't using the internet and paying up in cryptocurrencies to engage in nonviolent crime ALSO cause a reduction in violent crime, which is what Techno had originally brought up?

    Also, to be fair, "correlation =/= causation" is just shorthand - I'm a nerd, I own the XKCD correlation t-shirt, I'm pretty clear on the formal definition, it's just a lot faster to write that. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    In the old days, we called it "jumping to conclusion."

    I know you are a usage and grammar nerd yourself, which is why I was clear in pointing out that my post was not directed so much at you.

    I'm not sure what, precisely, you're getting at with your first statement, but if people can hire a hitman or purchase a weapon off of the dark web using bitcoins, then I'm not at all seeing how one should expect a decrease in violent crime as a direct result of that.

    As far as Switzerland is concerned, the militia supplies a weapon to each member to keep forever, and enlistment is compulsory, so, basically, everyone not excused from militia service should have a weapon. It's really a different system from everywhere else.

    I don't think you are going to really draw a lot of comparative statistics on different countries that are like the USA in all ways except one, because we don't live in that sort of world. Every place on Earth is unique for more than one reason. That said, the statistics are still valid for discussion, but a grain of salt is prudent.

    Again, the debate always goes:

    Anti-gun person: We should ban guns, because here are statistics that prove my point.
    Pro-gun person: .... you, the Constitution says I get a gun!

    There's no common wavelength here. None. You won't get anything accomplished with this debate. No one will agree. Maybe the statistics say you'd be safer without a gun - but, does that address the Constitution? Of course not. And maybe the Constitution says people can own weapons if they want to, but does that address the statistics? Of course not.

    To top it all off, really, the statistics do not definitively say what the anti-gun people are saying it says. Basically, sure, but definitively, no. And the Constitution doesn't say people can have any damn weapon they want, like the pro-gun people make it out to say, but does it say that the federal government can't take away people's weapons? You're damn straight it does.

    So it's like arguing if a zebra is black or white. Both are correct for all practical purposes, but you can always point out that there is a little tiny bit of beige in the white and a tiny bit of brown in the black. Arguing that back and forth won't get you anywhere, whether the statements are contradictory or not. Or you can get into all kinds of minutiae that totally miss the more important stuff.

    Maybe this is just an exercise in rhetoric for both sides.

    Anyway, murder is bad, mmkay, don't do murder, mmkay.
     
  10. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    I think you're half right.
     
  11. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre Listen to physics.

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    Stepping in again:

    Lets say we not only allow guns, but we also make them an over-the-counter item. Nobody can legally be refused the right to own a gun immediately with no background checks whatsoever, which is, frankly, where the logical conclusion of the NRA's position seems to be.

    What, after that is set in stone and the earth of that discussion burned and salted, do we then do if everyone having guns, DOESN'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM?
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Which half of it is wrong and why?

    The first step of solving any problem is to define what the problem is. If we are referring to murder as the problem, I don't think anything will solve the problem short of the complete extermination of life on Earth, because murder exists, simply stated. No place on Earth with a population of 2+ people is necessarily murder-free.

    If the problem is people using guns in murders, then, obviously, the only solution is to destroy all guns on planet Earth. But, few people who own guns will volunteer to be the first to destroy theirs, so that isn't ever going to be obtained. I'd even argue that guns will exist on Earth longer than living humans.

    If the problem is something else, then we need to define what it is and go from there.
     
  13. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    Am I the only person here that thinks that this is a gross oversimplification of both sides of the argument? (To be sure, I *have* encountered some people online whose attitude is basically the pro-gun stance you're describing, but I hardly think it's fair to pigeonhole the entire pro-gun-rights population that way.)
     
  14. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    I appreciate that you argue in a mostly coherent and non-argumentative tone, but all of your posts in this threads are constant counterpoint to the point of being meaninglessly cryptic. I get it, you want to poke holes in emotional or farcical arguments, without explicitly expressing any of your own. Message received but, for all the seemingly smart things you say, I hear a whole lotta nothing.

    I think we'd all benefit from your contributions to this discussion a lot more if you weren't going out of your way to dance around whatever your flavor of bias happens to be, which it's obvious there is, but you seem to refuse to express explicitly.
     
  15. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    If it's an oversimplification or not, both sides are not even having the same argument.

    If it aids the discussion, I have no problem with that.

    I personally believe that people who have not been convicted of violent crimes should have the right to own weapons, within limitations. I happen to think that fully automatic weapons *could* be used in home defense, although I would qualify that by stating that if you needed a fully automatic weapon to defend your home, it would be a no-win situation - more importantly, knowing that people may own automatic weapons is still a deterrent of certain behaviours, which, I believe is what the framers of the US Constitution had in mind. I do not believe people should have access to weapons that are more aggressive than that, for the reason that something like a bazooka is not a defensive weapon, except the very specific instance that a tank happens to be attacking your home.

    I'm not married to this philosophy. If the government took away everyone's weapons, I would not immediately pack my bags for Canada, or such.

    Perhaps my greatest downfall in contributing to this discussion is that I can sympathize with the main point from both sides: gun violence is out of control. I agree. Taking people's guns away could, IMO, decrease gun violence. BUT, it's not going to end gun violence.

    I do not own a handgun and I do not own any sort of automatic weapon. I have no desire to purchase one. I do kind of like having the option of doing so, in case things go completely sideways and I cannot retreat somewhere else.

    I think that the point that countries in war zones have more guns says a lot. The USA is sort of the country that was always prepared to go to war, if necessary, but didn't want to. (That's kind of an early 19th century thing, now) It's similar to the idea behind Switzerland. You might say Switzerland is a peaceful country. They are. But, they are in the middle of Europe. In the past, Switzerland was in a very dangerous place as a tiny landlocked country smack in the middle of a bunch of big countries that were perpetually at war with each other. How did they remain peaceful? They stayed out of other countries' crap, and they kept a strong militia. This militia was optimized for defense, not attack. If someone else tried to invade Switzerland during, say WWI, they would have had way more trouble than it was worth.

    That philosophy used to be what the USA did in the 19th century.

    Well, now we are involved in every other conflict in the world, it seems (I know, not really, but you get my point), so things have changed. And are we better off for it?!

    So, in short, I guess I'm a moderate. I'm anti-gun-ban, pro-gun-control, and I think that the problem of mass murder lies not in the weapon used, but in the insanity of the people who use them. Sadly, the more crazy people we have on the loose, the crazier our world will be.
     
  16. SD83

    SD83 SS.org Regular

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    Which is pretty much exactly the opposite of the USA which is between only Mexico and Canada which are way inferior in terms of military strength and wasn't at thread of invasion from overseas since not very long after they won the war against Britain. The Swiss militia might be pointless these days, the ned for a militia in the US seems to be rooted a bit in paranoia to me.

    Totally agree with that, also with the "as long as there are people, there will be murder" argument. You can not entirely stop that. But you could reduce the numbers. Guns are not THE reason, they are not THE problem, but at this point to say that they are not part of the problem (which some, though maybe not around here) seems to make as much sense as to insist on the sky being green with red dots.
     
  17. Womb raider

    Womb raider ESP Addict

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    I found an interesting article that outlines Russia, whose population owns far less guns than the US, had almost twice as many murders. The statistics are a few years outdated so take from that what you will. I don't know how much of that is attributed to terrorist or military operations considering they are in a pretty volatile location. But point being more guns = more violence is not always the case.
    With Murder Rate Far Beyond US Levels, Russia Legalizes Carry of Guns for Self-Defense - Breitbart
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah, Canada is basically a peaceful place. It used to be part of Great Britain, mortal enemy of the early USA, with many towns just minutes walk from the border.

    Also, the early USA was very mistrusting of governments.

    Also, guns at that time were far less capable of destruction.

    Also, duelling was a thing.

    Times are very different now, but not permanently.

    Guns enable violence, that's silly to deny, but the threat of violence in retaliation for violence can determine violence, as odd as that sounds. Look, violent criminals almost always target people they see as nonthreatening. If grandma's packing a 38 in her purse, she's not so vulnerable anymore. The point is that if an attacker knows some grandmas are armed and most are not, he will think twice before trying to assault her. That is maybe slightly dubious, but the gist of it is true.

    And since the US legal system is so hopelessly buggered, with violent criminals either skating or getting out in a couple months and no one reforming unless they are on death row, the USA is a dangerous place. I've seen it firsthand in Detroit, and in Indianapolis, and now here in rural Vermont, even. Detroit has gotten better since they started concealed carry (I don't know if it's the cause of it getting better), and there is not much violent crime here (it might or might not have anything to do with the small population, but in case it is pertinent to anyone, Vermont is an open carry state), but what little violent crime there is, 90% of it is perpetrated by people known to be insane, many who have been in and out of prison before.
     
  19. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    I think it'd be interesting to see the statistics of historical "rampage" random attacks, detailed by country and per capita, and most importantly, before the invention of useful firearms. I just would like to see what kind of damage people did in a world where guns didn't exist. It'd be next to impossible for any country to completely remove every firearm in citizen's posessions'. Even from those who comply with the idea... My whole point here is I am curious as to how more or less common and/or successful would random attacks be in a world without guns, which ended after the invention and industrialization of the firearm.
     
  20. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    Something I find interesting is the apathy surrounding the volume of firearms in circulation. So many things that can be done and undone, but when it comes to firearms, I hear almost universally that the ones on the Earth today are going to be here until the end of human existence and beyond. Is that belief unique to firearms or are there other manmade things people are universally convinced we're stuck with forever?
     

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