Comparing policies internationally: Ted Cruz on gun control

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by estabon37, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    To start, I'm not trying to open the gun control debate on this forum again. I have nothing to say that I haven't said before, and I dare say the conversation wouldn't be significantly different from the other times we've looked at it. My interest in the topic this time round is that it seems that US politicians are using the method I always used when we talked about gun control here by using Australia as a 'case study' to make suggestions on how the United States might move forward. The weird thing from my perspective is that it seems when somebody actually taps the experts on the shoulder for information, they say it's a bad comparison.

    The Washington Post article: Fact-checker - Ted Cruz

    The (Australian) ABC article that highlighted Cruz's claim: Ted Cruz claim is wrong

    The short version of the story is that Obama and Clinton have actually been bringing up the Australian gun reforms of 1996 (I've linked a funny and informative three-part Daily Show perspective on the comparison in the past, as have others), and Cruz is weighing in by claiming that rape and sexual assaults skyrocketed after the gun reforms 'because women couldn't defend themselves'. The short version of why this is a blatant lie is that carrying guns around in public for personal protection has never really been a thing in this country, and because the gradual rise in rape and sexual assaults seems to be a result of higher awareness and reporting, not necessarily a raise in incidents.

    The main reason I bring all this up is that I was a little shocked to find myself agreeing with this quote from the ABC article:

    I'm fairly sure I've essentially attributed good changes in Australian crime rates to the buyback program (as does the Daily Show) by pointing out that we've not had any huge massacres involving assault weapons since the ban (though we've obviously still had public incidents involving firearms). Whenever I've made these comparisons in the past, the primary argument against me has been that the two countries are not comparable, but I didn't give it much credit in the past. While I'm not second-guessing my stance on gun control, I'm definitely changing in my opinion that international comparisons are intrinsically valid.

    If nothing else, check out the WP article above, because it's an interesting analysis.

    What do we think? Do international comparisons on crime reform hold up? Do international comparisons on policy in general hold up?
     
  2. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I think that many international comparisons would not hold up due to lack of diversity in the people living there (when compared to America). I feel like Australia would be like one of the few international comparisons that might be reasonable to do.

    Just curious how much of Australia is white?
     
  3. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Minimum wage in the US is less than $8.00/hour, which is unlivable in many parts of the country (though there are cities and states that impose a higher minimum wage within their boundaries). We don't have a universal health care program. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is larger than most, if not all, other first world countries. The public education system is skewed to favor wealthy neighborhoods to the extent that poor children, often minorities, do not have the same access to quality education as their wealthier counterparts. Hell, they don't have anywhere near the opportunities available to them that their wealthier counterparts have. University tuition is 10's of thousands per year here, with the student having to pay their own living expenses as well. Etc., etc.

    Until the socio-economic conditions are the same between the countries being compared, there is not a way to accurately compare the gun issue between countries because we cannot control for these other variables that are so interactive with and have such a strong affect on each other (including the gun issue.).
     
  4. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    It's kind of tricky to answer that question because Australia had a set of policies specifically designed to restrict immigration from non-white non-English-speaking countries until the 1970s, commonly known as the White Australia policy. In the aftermath of WWII these laws were relaxed, but still favoured immigration from European countries (I think Italy, Greece, and The Netherlands in particular). These days, immigration tends to come from Asian countries, such as China, India, and Pakistan.

    All that said, even though I think we're culturally closer to America than we are to most other nations (many Australians would argue that point), I think our politics tends to revolve around welfare, social support, and infrastructure, with little influence from identity politics, so racial diversity doesn't often extend beyond discussions on migration.

    These factors are far more influential I think. Until rather recently, I thought the prevalence of the gun culture in the US was the central factor in violent crime, but now I'm not so sure. When a fairly large percentage of any population is poorly educated, poorly paid, and financially excluded from actively improving their health and pursuing education, there are going to be huge problems.

    I still favour gun control, but I now see it as an essentially self-contained argument. Improving health, education, and / or welfare in the US might in all likelihood have a huge influence on gun violence, whereas reforming gun laws isn't likely to have more than a cursory impact on other issues.

    So ... how comparable are social policies such as health, education, and welfare? I think these are a little more obvious, but I'm second-guessing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  5. FILTHnFEAR

    FILTHnFEAR Infidel

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    What's this?

    I thought gun threads weren't allowed, Max.

    This is a guitar forum for ....s sake.
     
  6. mongey

    mongey SS.org Regular

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    even before our stricter gun laws Australia never had a gun culture like the US ,especially handguns

    through my life I have had many friends with gun licenses and not one of them would site personal protection as a reason for having a gun . they are either hunters or live on a farm and need a gun to control pests

    as much as we are similar in Australia and the USA I think there is a fundamental difference in how society see's the use of guns. I don't say that as a positive or a negative to anyone,its not my place to judge . its just different
     
  7. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    I hadn't heard about a ban on gun threads, but I didn't spend much time on the site last year, so I may have missed a big change. The forum rules don't say anything of the sort, but I remember the last few conversations getting kind of heated, so I understand if there's been a change.

    Sure, but it's the Politics and Current Events sub-forum. When I clicked the 'back' button and scrolled down the list of threads, I only saw a few that were related to music at all, including one on the social status of 80s metal fans (not necessarily guitars) and one on Chthonic's singer running for government (not remotely guitars). If you object to the topic, that's fine; hit the 'report post' button, state your case, and I won't object if the thread is removed or shut down.

    Hopefully we can continue having a civil discussion about policy; the topic just happens to be gun control, and I posted because I was particularly interested in the section of the article that suggested neither Democrats or Republicans should compare the US to other countries when creating policy, and equally interested in the fact that Ted Cruz seemed to go out of his way to portray my country as being particularly rapey when it's both untrue and irrelevant to the point he was trying to make.
     
  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Then use the report button. :rolleyes:
     
  9. asher

    asher So Did We

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    I'm normally all for the "economic-drives-socio-drives-[x]" sorts of things, but I think that's not right here. Because to me, if you follow that thinking, it seems to me that you arrive at the "a person who would X with a gun will find another way anyhow."

    And in the majority of gun deaths that's not the case.

    Because the majority is suicide, and I'm pretty sure accidents are next. And studies repeatedly show that most suicides are spur of the moment, and also that the majority of them - when not a gun - fail. It just takes one moment with a gun and they're far more lethal. Most of them are not pre planned. And without guns, gun accidents necessarily go away.

    More later off my phone.
     
  10. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Sure, but if we were able to identify those people who need psychiatric help, someone who is depressed and becoming suicidal, for example, and get them the treatment they need so that they are no longer suicidal, we've not only addressed their short term issue, but likely provided them with the tools to better deal with any future depression they may encounter. And if that depression were the result of having lost a job and being unable to provide for the family, having a support system that not only provided short terms financial help, but also required the individual to attend some type of trade school or university in order to increase his knowledge, skills and abilities in exchange for that short term assistance could help prevent future unemployment (and depression related thereto).

    As for the criminal activity that results in shootings, providing more opportunities provides alternatives to the criminal lifestyle, and many criminals would choose one of these alternatives if were available to them.

    As for accidental shootings, reducing the number of guns would reduce the number of accidental shootings. But at best we are reducing, not eliminating. I think proper training, background checks, etc. would be of more benefit in this area for those suitable to own guns (as determined by more stringent background checks), but admit that this is a numbers game, too.

    But on the whole, I think that focusing on the removal of guns is a matter of treating the symptoms of the illness rather than treating the illness itself. We have to look beyond the symptoms in order to identify and treat the causation of the illness. And when we eliminate the illness, all the symptoms disappear along with it.
     
  11. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    :agreed:

    Vilifying an object is so much easier than looking in the mirror and owning up to the flaws in yourself, in this case society in this country.

    We treat minorities, the poor, the ill, and pretty much anyone who isn't white, well off, and speaks English like animals and then we're shocked when there's violence.
     

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