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Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:40 AM

Good opinion piece re: gun culture

While I realize there are laws that require change, I'm more focused on the gun culture on which the NRA feeds and which leads to legislation. Imho, this is a thoughtful, intelligent opinion piece from March 2013:


The challenge for this generation of Americans is to address not only our own fears by curbing access to guns, but also to reassure the country's most devoted gun advocates that their government is not after them.

One obvious step is to start changing the image of government. Too often, the overwhelmingly needed and successful services of federal, state and local government are overlooked by a culture that focuses on the unusual failures — so much so that the failure of government appears to be the norm, not the exception. We need a new effort to remind people about the many constructive services government provides, everything from food safety and public education to trade promotion, environmental stewardship and basic retirement for seniors through Social Security and Medicare.

Local and national authorities need to find ways to assure Americans that a safe society is one in which well-trained law enforcement is the best answer to controlling crime and assuring safety.

But we also need to listen and consider those legitimate fears of government that do need to be addressed as part of an effort to reach consensus. Have the drug-war police become too militarized? Is the post-9/11 intelligence state too big and too intrusive? Have the rights of property and business owners to be left alone eroded too far?



READ MORE: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/03/05/americas-gun-culture-needs-to-change-column/1965495/



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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Good opinion piece re: gun culture (Original post)
OneGrassRoot Jul 2013 OP
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2013 #1
OneGrassRoot Jul 2013 #2
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2013 #3
OneGrassRoot Jul 2013 #4
Igel Jul 2013 #8
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2013 #12
Anymouse Jul 2013 #9
bluedeathray Jul 2013 #5
OneGrassRoot Jul 2013 #6
SunSeeker Jul 2013 #7
Anymouse Jul 2013 #10
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2013 #11
MicaelS Jul 2013 #13
OneGrassRoot Jul 2013 #14
MicaelS Jul 2013 #15

Response to OneGrassRoot (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 12:06 PM

1. What is this gun culture of which you speak?

 

Millions of Americans own firearms. There is nothing to indicate that the NRA is a factor in all of their lives or even most of their lives. Here's the results of the latest Gallup Poll regarding gun use by party affiliation:


http://www.gallup.com/poll/20098/Gun-Ownership-Use-America.aspx

According to the most recent Gallup poll on the issue of self-reported gun ownership by Democrats, gun ownership has been increasing and is now the highest since 1993.


http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/Self-Reported-Gun-Ownership-Highest-1993.aspx

It also appears that there is a record-low of 26% in favor of a handgun ban.



http://www.gallup.com/poll/150341/Record-Low-Favor-Handgun-Ban.aspx

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 12:17 PM

2. FEAR....the culture of fear, that's what I'm speaking of.

The NRA absolutely, positively stokes fear -- fear of "Obama's coming to get your guns!!!" and this is never more evident than after a visible tragedy such as Aurora and Sandy Hook. The sales in guns spike tremendously after each such event.

As the graphic you shared shows, "protection" is a key reason people are armed.

I'm not advocating a ban on guns; I believe there are instances in which -- given that it will never be a perfect world -- protection is helpful to use in one's home. Marissa Alexander is one such example, yet the Stand Your Ground law worked AGAINST her.

What I am asking for is a rational discussion about a gun culture which simultaneously buys into fear -- fear of the government and of one another via CCW laws and lack of regulations, which I realize differs from state to state -- yet simultaneously sends a very mixed message about gun ownership, often glorifying it while confusing the issue and seriousness by almost trivializing guns thanks to capitalism, with Hello Kitty AK-47s being sold and other "accessories" for the gun owner who wants to look cute.

When real guns look like toys and real toys look like guns, that's a societal problem, imho.


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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 12:33 PM

3. Marissa Alexander? The same Marissa Alexander who innocently fired a "warning shot" through a

 

wall and was unjustly, according to some, convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon?

If she was truly firing a warning shot, why didn't she fire a warning shot at her ceiling?

If she was truly engaging in self-defense, and relying upon a stand-your-ground-defense, how is it that the person that she shot at was in another room and she claimed that she was firing a warning shot?

The jury seemed to think that her claims were logically inconsistent.

Excuse me, but I see no reason why her claimed warning shot should be a cause célèbre.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 12:50 PM

4. Deflect much?

My point is that Marissa Alexander is an example of someone who I can understand would want to own a gun, legally, for protection, though her ownership and use of the weapon to defend herself worked against her -- and, quite frankly, it's likely because she is a woman, A BLACK WOMAN.


More on Marissa: http://www.letstalkaboutit.info/2012/05/different-views-on-marissa-alexanders_11.html

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 01:51 PM

8. Marissa Davis is a bad poster child for anti-SYG purposes.

She violated the terms of her restraining order and went into the house of the man against whom she'd taken out the restraining order. She had no legal right to be where she was. SYG fails.

She left the house to go to her truck to get the gun and returned to where he was. She didn't stand her ground. She went back to reclaim it. SYG doesn't apply.

She fired a warning shot. That's not self defense. That apparently is illegal. Shoot at an aggressor or don't shoot.

She wasn't attacked. One claim is that the man and the kids were putting on their shoes. Regardless, she had no reasonable fear for her life. SYG doesn't apply.

She fired the warning shot at a wall. It ricocheted and hit the ceiling. It could have ricocheted and hit her kids. Or, if her aim was bad, since her kids were in the general direction of the wall, she could have just shot her own kids. That's reckless endangerment.

If he had pulled out a gun and shot her dead on the spot, he'd have walked during a pre-trial SYG hearing.

She was offered a plea bargain. The penalty was essentially time served for accepting a reduced charge. She didn't take it. There was no need for the trial, but she wanted it. Or found the plea bargain unacceptable.

Now, since this will be seen as attacking an innocent person with the facts or defending somebody irrelevant by pointing out her mistakes, I'll give the usual disclaimer: I think that the sentence imposed was excessive, but I also note that it was the minimum required under sentencing guidelines.

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Response to Igel (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 02:23 AM

12. It probably didn't help her cause much that, a few months after being released on bail,

 

she went back to the shootee's home and gave him a black eye.

“A few months after Alexander was released on bail on orders to have no contact with Gray, she got into an altercation with him at his home that gave him a black eye, Corey said. Alexander was charged with battery.

“Instead of her trying to work toward a resolution, about four months into this thing, claiming to be so afraid of this man, she went barging to his house and attacked him,” Corey said. “So it didn’t show much of her being remorseful of what happened and being a peaceful person.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/marissa-alexander-prosecutor_n_1504428.html

It probably also didn't help much that her attorney first claimed that she fired a warning shot into the ceiling but the initial point of impact showed that the bullet
"struck to the right of an archway between the kitchen and living room, where Gray (her husband) and his two young sons were."

Her husband, for some reason, seemed to think that she had shot at him.




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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)


Response to OneGrassRoot (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 03:58 PM

5. Our entire culture of government control

Seems based on fear. We're fed a steady diet of attempts at fear inducement from our "leaders".

Plus there are plenty of examples of anti-social behavior, sociopathic behavior, and violent government intrusion into our lives.

Maybe the solutions the author puts forth can work someday. But today, right now, the police cannot offer better protection to me and mine than I can myself under many situations.

There is no such thing as total security. And the government, acting as puppets from their masters, create the environment that gets us to argue these points rather than seek leaders who put forth and support real solutions.

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Response to bluedeathray (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 04:02 PM

6. There's a lot of truth in what you said...

I hear you and agree.

That said, moving further toward all decisions based on fear (as citizens and as a nation) isn't good. At least having a conversation as to the root causes of the fear seems like a healthy way to proceed.

Without a doubt, corporate media and Big $$ work hard to keep us in a state of fear.

I think we could call the various systems and "complexes" (military industrial, prison industrial, Big Pharma, etc.) Institutionalized Fear.

Yep, we have Institutionalized Fear. So, I'm not blaming anyone for feeling this way, I'm just saying it's not good for anyone.

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 04:57 PM

7. K & R

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 01:07 AM

10. Not all of us live in cities . . .

. . . and our sheriff's department is miles and miles away.

It doesn't matter how well the sheriff is trained: he has one deputy and one car between them, and this is a mighty large county (Morrill) with very few people.

Unless his car has warp drive he ain't gettin' here any time soon. Fortunately the last crime here was an illegal poker game in a boxcar in 1936, but in the next county over (Garden), a tourist some years ago murdered a restaurant owner in a knife attack after eating his meal. It took the sheriff there over an hour to get to the crime scene after he was notified (they have the same problem as us: very rural, large county, one sheriff's car).

In Arthur County (which also has one sheriff and is larger with fewer people) the sheriff moonlights as the sole school bus driver (I'll bet the kids are very well-behaved on Arthur County's school bus).

While I am not a supporter of our Stand Your Ground law here (I prefer retreat if possible), the fact is here we really do have to protect ourselves - forget trained police, we don't have any police.

But a pistol is mostly useless: you want to be sure you get him, you need a shotgun.

Even the gun shop owner here does not belong to the NRA though. He thinks it is far too political.

(Note: I deleted my post and put it here, because I attached it as a reply to the wrong part of the thread)

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Response to Anymouse (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 01:57 AM

11. Welcome to DU.

 

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 12:15 PM

13. Dallek has the same mindset as the late Richard Hofstadter.

I once read that Richard Hofstadter felt America's biggest failure was in it's "failure to come to terms with guns". Which is simply a code phrase that means severely restricting or an outright ban on guns as other countries have done.

http://www.americanheritage.com/content/america-gun-culture

Well Dallek, just like Hofstadter, does not understand that the only people who have "failed to come to terms with guns" are the political, intellectual, economic and social (PIES) elites who do not understand, do not like, and even outright hate, that the average adult American can be armed.

It is the same mindset that seeks to limit what people can drink, or eat, or smoke in the name of "doing it for people's own good." Of which Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC would be the poster child for all of the above, including gun bans and mass stop and frsik of anyone who looks the slightest bit suspicious.

The PIES Elites ALWAYS know what is best for the common man or woman, and are angry and offended when the common person pushes back against what the PIES view as perfectly logical and rational, and which the common person views as utter arrogance. An arrogance displayed in Dallek's piece.

To successfully deal with our fears, we have to acknowledge and deal with the fears of those who most fiercely oppose gun control.

But changing people's minds is essential if the nation is to find common ground on reducing gun violence and lifting the pall of fear that drives so many into an unholy alliance with guns.


In other words, if we just LISTEN to them, as if we were frightened children, and do exactly what they tell us to do as if they were adults correcting a frightened child, things would be just fine. We then would and should just all give up our guns and live in peace and harmony.

Of course the PIES Elites would write into law the ability for themselves to have armed private security guards, firms and even outright private security armies guarding gated compounds which would be there solely to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property while leaving the rest of the common people to depend solely on the "good graces" of law enforcement.

EDIT: And the latest incident of the "good graces" of law enforcement is reported over here:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/23/59593.htm

OS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to a family's call for help by breaking into their home and beating the hell out of them, then lied about it in official reports, the family claims in court.


DU thread over here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=3320020

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 01:02 PM

14. ^^^ To all the gun advocates ^^^

I'm not suggesting a ban on guns (though gun advocates are the ones who make me entertain such a thought, even briefly).

I only mentioned Marissa Alexander because she came to mind first as far as an example of someone whom I understand feels they need a gun for protection (abused women).

I also understand people would want a gun for hunting and for sporting purposes.

All that said, I do think it would be good if we -- as a society (not involving government at all) -- had a conversation about the roots of WHY people want guns.

That was why I posted this article because it speaks to having a conversation regarding the reasons why many people want guns, and those reasons are often -- not always -- steeped in fear.

This is often true as to WHY people want anything other than a handgun (protection); a rifle (hunting/sporting purposes).

Fewer Americans own weapons, yet the number of weapons owned by an individual keeps increasing. Other than fear of government and those who collect guns, I do not understand that.

In my opinion, there is a lot of fear at the core of why people buy weapons. The reasons for those fears should be explored, as a national conversation.

Done here.

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