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About Klaus!

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    On The First Rung

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  1. I agree with you on this. The greatest strengths of this country--optimism, confidence, innovation--also have their massive downsides. Optimism can turn to ignorance of reality, confidence to arrogance, and innovation into a sense of complacency. We're at a place in our history where this has become true. But I also love my country--in particular my state.
  2. The insults you're leveling at Vicky can go both ways guys. Europe isn't without it's crippling demographic issues, massive debt, and unemployment.
  3. I'm not disagreeing with you in principle vennie. My point is that the different culture surrounding firearms here in the US makes it a futile task. The NRA is incredibly well-funded and has powerful backers politically. You won't make any headway against such things to institute European-style gun laws. So it's important to understand this and then decide what course of action to take. It may be smarter to limit ammunition rather than guns. After all, you can own a machine gun, but without bullets, what are you going to do with it? Club someone? As I said before, I am a gun-owner as well. I would not like for my rifle to be taken away from me. However, I don't keep ammunition in my home. I purchase it at the firing range when I go shooting. I only go shooting a few times a year. I like to take apart my gun and clean it more (I love watches for the same reason). So, ammunition restrictions would work for me. But then again, my rifle is also a bolt-action Soviet-made rifle from the Second World War. It'd be hard for someone to take it and go on a CT style shooting spree with it. I wasn't saying that the 2nd amendment was some kind of catch-all. I was trying to explain the history behind it and the culture that fostered it. The reasoning for the amendment has changed significantly over the past century, as I mentioned in my previous post. Adam Lanza's mother owned the weapons. The police found two handguns and a Bushmaster hunting rifle on him at the school. I live two towns over from Newtown, CT. I know people who teach in the Newtown school district and I indirectly know some of the victims and their families. Around here, hunting is a big sport. It's not uncommon to hear scattered gunfire over the weekends in between October and December. The Bushmaster is a common hunting rifle used to hunt deer and ducks. The weapons he carried weren't military grade. Granted, a semi-automatic rifle seems overkill for hunting in my mind, but I'm not a hunter so I can't tell you why it's used.
  4. Wow, you're kind of an entitled asshole. Are you implying that if news networks covered children dying of starvation on a daily basis, no one would care? Perhaps people are showing an outpouring of sympathy because they're reading and hearing about a terrible event covered by national news networks. Remember last year when they got the story about Kony in Africa? Remember all the facebook "bleating" about that, then? A lot of this is driven by what people see and hear on a daily basis. It's not a hard concept--people are busy running their lives and the only news they get, is news like this that shows up on the morning news show before they head out to work. If they were covering Sudan 24/7, there would be sympathy for that too. Cute. Really edgy. If you apply a little bit of critical thinking, you'll find that it's pretty simple why this event has gotten a lot of media attention: 1) it's a domestic event 2) it's lethality is terrible 3) news networks cover what will get them more viewers and subscribers. Given number three, an event where a small, peaceful town was torn apart by a shooting spree is going to garner much more viewers than news stories about children in a far away place. Whether or not that's right or wrong is irrelevant. I know we've all been pretty big on painting with as wide a brush as possible, but let's not get carried away. I have a BA in history and a MA in European history and yet I, too, am a gun owner and do not want my rifle taken away from me either. I will agree with you that unlimited access to firearms coupled with the US crime rate adds to an increase in fatalities. That's a given. However, to imply that strict gun control is the answer (strict control of ammunition would be wiser anyway), is to miss the underlying causes of the issue. We should be addressing the societal trends that are causing people to go on shooting sprees like this. We're going through some pretty large transitions here in the industrialized world that we haven't had to do since the onset of the industrial revolution. During the late 1800s, there was a large increase in bombings and assassinations associated with social change. We're going through the same thing now. We need to address the problems that make people feel like they want to shoot things, not take away their means to do so. If you look carefully, you'll see that mass knifings are actually pretty common in Chinese schools. Restrictions on firearms in China have cut down on the number of fatalities given that these attackers are using knives--however, these attacks are still taking place. Think about it. While it's all well and fun to poke fun at Americans for being backwards and ignorant, it's not quite productive. American culture regarding guns is significantly different than European gun culture. Gun ownership was considered a fundamental part of American society going back to the 1700s. The men that founded this country felt that a populace that was armed was a good deterrent to the tyranny they felt they were fleeing in Europe where few owned guns. While things have since changed in ways that they could not have foreseen, the culture of gun ownership has not. Europeans look down on Americans these days for owning guns. It's crude and backwards and all that. Interestingly enough, if you read travel diaries of Europeans in America during the 1800s, you'll note that they look down on Americans for owning horses. Horses were the prerogative of the landed class in Europe. In America, anyone could own one. Different times, different cultures. It's worth taking a step back to think about.