Can America be fixed?

Dozer

Heavy machinery.
Staff member
From the outside looking in, America seems to be becoming more neanderthal as the years go by. The elephant in the room is clearly the addiction it has to the second amendment and the constitution making it okay for people to grab a gun to wear as a fashion statement, to shoot at animals or to just wake up one day feeling it's your time to express yourself by demonstrating America's flaw's in it's system to randomly shoot other people just 'cause.
There's some horrific reading out there that basically says the NRA (the National Rifle Association) seemingly bribes politicians with cash to make sure they support the NRA and make it clear they can attract voters by saying so. Fuck thats rough, thats real rough. I get that the arms industry in the USA is a big industry and keeps people employed etc etc blah blah blah but is this something that can be sorted out, revised, removed, changed to stop people getting killed for just existing?
Of course there's two sides to every story (I haven't figured out the other side yet.............) but after visiting North America a few times and hearing and seeing people expressing their masculinity in regards to them being the powerful tough guys throughout the world 'cause they've got a tough ARMY and they have got billions of young and old dudes in the industry of protecting America and they can buy guns to shoot cans and deer and headlights and kids it makes me realize that they are just addicted to something that is nothing more than chest beating.
This has been said a few times; potentially more than ten or eleven times: You don't need a gun to defend yourself from another guy with a gun....................if neither have a fucking gun.
How can America change? Is it more than just politics and acting like tough guys? Is it something bred entirely into American people that they need a gun as much as they need to eat and drink and sleep?
 

scblack

Leucocholic
Your general American is like us, and does not like the gun culture. At least that's the attitude of the many I know, and I work for an American company at a fairly high level. I've only been in the USA for two weeks, but did not see one gun in that time in: Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Las Vegas and New York (other than on a cop). Personally I have not had any American bragging about how powerful they are to me - but I am mostly dealing people working for a multi-national company who travel more than the average American. Thus they are well educated and have seen the rest of the world to some degree. I guess they are not the ignorant local yokel who cant spell their own name.

There was a decent Facts thing on ABC a few days ago and some memorable snippets were:
  • 50% of their guns are owned by just 3% of gun owners.
  • Average American gun owner has nine guns.
  • Americans killed by guns in America number 1.5million, greater than their deaths in EVERY war America has ever fought in, being 1.4million.
  • Mass shooting death numbers are dwarfed by the deaths by general shooting deaths. I understand that's mostly gangers killing each other.
  • They cant even stop a person on a terrorist watch-list from buying guns.
Many yanks are like us and would like politicians to have some spine and reduce guns. But I guess the NRA is very powerful.
 

Zaf

Gearbox Frother
Their constitution is probably the single most beautiful article of writing ever made, and we should stand in awe of it, not seek to re-write it.
This is just going to turn into an echo-box for hoplophobic sentiments and will never be a true discussion.
 

Dozer

Heavy machinery.
Staff member
This is just going to turn into an echo-box for hoplophobic sentiments and will never be a true discussion.
From memory, hoplophobic is basically the saying "Guns don't kill people, people kill people"?
That could be part of the big problem though, the tough guys with guns can't see why people have issues with seemingly anyone being able to buy a fully automated gun from a sports store "to go hunting".
I've shot guns, I've done it at a shooting range in America too. I shot all sorts of guns at paper targets and really enjoyed the challenge to mastering it in what little time I had but geez I wish I had my bloody glasses on! When we left the shooting area and came back out pastthe secure area, we could buy some things at discounted prices. You could buy a gun, the ammo, all the gear that makes you look like a Marine and you could get a target for your next shooting session for half price. The targets were mannequin's of apparent enemies of America. I could make out Bin Laden and Hussein but was pretty alarmed at the other ones that I assumed were other enemies of America. They pretty much had a mannequin of every race of people and you could shoot it up and keep it to hang on your lounge room wall.
I was happy shooting at a circle with rings on it and left feeling rewarded for my half arsed marksmanship but pretty dejected at the barbaric shit you could buy.
 

Zaf

Gearbox Frother
I was telling myself I wasn't gonna get dragged into this type of discussion again...but it's not working.

Firstly, that's fairly reductive way of arguing, but guns aren't the problem.
The Second Amendment has nothing to do with "sport or hunting".
What would you say the percentage of legally own firearms are ever used in the commission of a crime?

If the first thing you think of when holding a firearm is the damage you can inflict on other people...you're probably someone who shouldn't be owning or operating them.
 

moorey

Pagophagic
If you think guns aren’t the problem, you’re living in a dreamworld. It’s not just the guns, it’s the mentality about gun ownership and the right to carry it in a theater, kindergarten, shopping mall or a school.
Do you realise how many people are killed by toddlers who’ve just picked up a gun left laying around the house? I don’t have them on me, but heard it recently. The numbers are mind boggling.....
 

Binaural

Eats Squid
The idea of the US as an open society with the rule of law is beautiful; its constitution isn't objectively that great compared to other federalist systems, such as those based on the Westminster traditions. To be fair, it was written 300 years ago in a far different world to today, but this is why constitutions must have plausible means to evolve over time. The US constitution was last meaningfully amended in 1971.

The biggest problem that the US faces, far beyond gun crime, is the distribution of wealth. It is absolutely obscene how concentrated wealth has become there, and how influential this wealth is on politics. There is essentially no correlation these days between the wishes of the public (as determined by surveys etc.) and the legislation proposed and passed by Congress. Between that and issues like gerrymandering and demographics, the US political class has ceased to represent the common people.

hoplophobic
This is an really silly pseudo-medical neologism.
 

Tubbsy

Party Pooper
Staff member
So the most recent school shooter legally owned his AR-15. My understanding is this is basically a military weapon designed to kill a lot of people as quickly as possible.

I'd be curious to know what would happen if they limited the legal options to handguns and long range rifles that don't re-load as quickly - certainly you'd think mass shootings wouldn't be as easy for the constant stream of nut jobs perpetrating them.
 

rangersac

Likes Dirt
I don't work for an American company, but I work with lots of US colleagues (including my office mate who is desperately trying to secure residency here), have traveled and worked there several times, and keep in regular touch with one of my primary school buddies who has married a Seppo and now lives in California. Like @scblack has said all of the Americans I know actively dislike the gun culture and despair at the political inertia surrounding the issue. However I think there are larger problems that require change in America (noting here that I total agree with gun control) which if resolved I'm willing to bet would drastically reduce gun deaths (particularly point 3). They are:

1. Excessive Nationalism/ Patriotism. American society actively promotes the idea of 'doing good for your country' without necessarily questioning what you are doing (which is kinda ironic given the levels of mistrust in government that exist there). By way of example demonstrating your love of country by having a career in the military is viewed as an honorable profession, and is actively promoted to minorities and poor communities as a road to life improvement. Without wanting to offend anyone, and with the possible exception of access to specialist training and jobs (e.g. helicopter pilots) I would suggest that most people see serving in the military in Australia as an option only when other career doors have closed.

2. Religion: Religion wields an unholy influence on politics, and ergo American society at large. Any aspiring atheist US politician has buckley's chance of progressing beyond local representation, leaving predominately the bible bashers (or at least those who espouse those views) in charge at the top. Again without wanting to offend anyone, religion by and large is not noted for its progressive attitudes to gender equality and modern progressive societal values. I'm sure there will be 'burners who will disagree with me, but given the attitudes and ideals promoted by messers Abbott, Abetz, Bernadi and Cormann over the past decade here, how would you fancy an entire government comprised of that crowd?

3. Social Inequality: ALL of my US colleagues remark favourably on the fact that Australia has 'socialized' healthcare, unemployment benefits, education and taxes, and workplace laws that mandate retirement savings, and the allocation of recreational and family leave entitlements. And Australia is socialism lite, in comparison to most European countries! Yet politically suggesting the introduction of 'social' policies in the U.S. is pretty much an automatic road to being painted as a Commie sympathizer.
 

Calvin27

Eats Squid
How can America change?
In terms of their general problems, they need to lose a war and lose badly. We have really good examples like Germany and Japan who have amazingly peaceful cultures (relative of course) and great industries.

In terms of gun culture, it is a war of attrition. It has to move towards more regulated control but this will take a long time, especially when there are a lot of other issues in the US machine. What we have is pairing of issues and policies that are not necessarily related - essentially how identity politics works. If you are able to break down issues at an individual level, you'd be surprised how much of a majority you'd get (i.e. SSM).
 

Zaf

Gearbox Frother
So the most recent school shooter legally owned his AR-15. My understanding is this is basically a military weapon designed to kill a lot of people as quickly as possible.
Perhaps you can list a single military that has ever used an AR-15 platform for its battle rifle, main or otherwise.
I hate to come down so hard on you, but half the problem is that your understanding about firearms isn't good enough to be legislating to others what's safe or not, and it's generally the case from people who are so adamantly against private ownership of them (and the "shoulder things that go up").

I know everyone is very quick to dismiss the "people kill people argument", but everyone over the age of 18 in Switzerland owns, operates and maintains an SiG552, has share most (if not more) of the basic rights Americans do with regards to open carry and general operation.

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2011-2015.xls

Also, just going to point out that no matter how scary the AR-15 looks, long rifles are responsible for fewer homicides each year than Knives, or Blunt objects (bats, hammers, etc), or even fists/feet. And by no insignificant margin, I'd observe a factor of half even in the best numbers you take. If you actually cared about saving people's lives, you'd target handguns...but that's not what anyone does.

There is a yawing gap between the perceived fear and the actual threat these firearms pose. And there's an even larger gap between the political agenda and the expected outcome because of it. It's exactly why the Clinton's Federal Assault Weapon Ban had no tangible effect on any of these numbers...why would it? You're trying to fix a leak in the sink by tightening a bolt on the bathtub.
 

hifiandmtb

Sphincter beanie
In terms of their general problems, they need to lose a war and lose badly. We have really good examples like Germany and Japan who have amazingly peaceful cultures (relative of course) and great industries.
I've never considered that direction. But by God, it's got some sense to it...
 

Tubbsy

Party Pooper
Staff member
but half the problem is that your understanding about firearms isn't good enough to be legislating to others what's safe or not, and it's generally the case from people who are so adamantly against private ownership of them (and the "shoulder things that go up").
Absolutely, I know very little about the specifics of the gun. From what I've read they're accurate in the middle-distance, fire quickly and and can be fitted with pretty big magazines.

I'm not suggesting that I'm capable of legislating on the matter, that's why I said "I'd be curious to know" what the impact of limiting access to this kind of weapon would have on mass-shootings. Could the guy have done the same with a pistol? I don't know, I'm posing the question.

We've had this chat before; I'm not adamantly against private ownership of guns, although personally I don't see much point in it. That doesn't mean I think my opinion trumps all others'.

but everyone over the age of 18 in Switzerland owns, operates and maintains an SiG552, has share most (if not more) of the basic rights Americans do with regards to open carry and general operation.
I grew up in Switzerland and my dad had whatever the equivalent was in the 70s/80s. I remember him cleaning it on the kitchen table.

It's not true to say that everyone over 18 has one; compulsory military service has given way to optional military service these days (you can choose community service if you object/aren't capable.

I would suggest that being part of the military reserves would put you under greater scrutiny than the average punter buying a similar weapon in the US.

Also, Switzerland's per-capita gun homicide figures aren't great. I'm not sure where the SiG that reservists own fits with the stats though.

I hate to come down so hard on you
My main point was about whether the availability of the assault rifle made the school shooting easier than a couple of pistols, Travis Bickle-style...

I have no problem with your style, fire away ... :eek: I think it's an interesting topic, nothing personal.
 

danncam

Likes Dirt
In total there have been 290 school shootings in the US since 2013.
There is no doubt having guns around increases gun deaths. The stats on suicide by gun in the US is similarly staggering, as is kids killing kids (many by accident no doubt).
What will it take, perhaps a un-gerrymandered system that brings in a demo landslide across both houses, and a very very very brave president . I think it will never happen and if just one state secedes it may lead to a domini effect that gives us to different countries. One with smart gun laws and one without.
 

Zaf

Gearbox Frother
Another name for the AR-15 is the M-16, which is used by more than 80 countries worldwide.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M16_rifle
It's not another name for it at all, you're talking about an entirely different variant that is a select fire weapon that has ACTUALLY been deployed by militaries around the world.

And even then...way to miss the point.

My main point was about whether the availability of the assault rifle made the school shooting easier than a couple of pistols, Travis Bickle-style...
A question for Anders Breivik surely?
Also sorry if it looked like I was directing frustration at you, tensions immediately rise with this kind of content, and tone is hard enough to read in text to begin with.
 

Binaural

Eats Squid
It's not another name for it at all, you're talking about an entirely different variant that is a select fire weapon that has ACTUALLY been deployed by militaries around the world.

And even then...way to miss the point.
Since you want to be that blatantly dishonest, here's the first line of that link.
The M16 rifle, officially designated Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16, is a United States military adaptation of the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle.

An adaption doesn't make it a different rifle, especially since most armies use the standard semi-automatic mode anyway. Are you really going to argue otherwise?
 

Zaf

Gearbox Frother
You're trying to call a pencil a pen, and remaining to miss the entire fucking point.

But seeing as you want to argue symantics, you have failed to comprehend the difference between a select fire capability, that is only available for military use, and a civilian pattern that resembles it. I'm guessing the Ar-10 is also the same rifle in your world because it shares a basic design?
There is a reason they put different identifying numbers on them...that usually has a little more to do with it than marketing.
 
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