20 thoughts on “General debate, December 15, 2012

  1. Coal… Natural Gas… Yes… and it isn’t likely that the natural gas is actually improving the result in the USA due to the fugitive emissions problems with their infrastructure. There are still loons working against the future of human civilization. Some are in the German Green party. Others are economists, or Republicans in the USA… and we have elected our own species of imbeciles… (nice country… ANYTHING can be PM, even a lying weasel).

    It will take a while to start, but it WILL start eventually, as Mother Nature starts whupping ass and the hubris and idiocy succumbs to reality. We will get taxes and tarriffs that bite.

    I don’t expect apologies for their mistakes. Honorable suicide seems more likely from some. Others (the weasels) won’t feel guilt because psychopaths just don’t.

  2. On the gun control issue, the over-riding issue is security.

    At the public level – assault weapons pose a threat to public safety. Thus have to have a form of ban/limited right to own (and each weapon having to be licensed)

    At the private level so do hand guns. Homes where there are guns are less safe. Murder rates are higher and so are suicide rates.

    The person issued with the licence to own them should have to be obliged to keep them secure from other users (demonstrate means to do so). Thuis reduces risk from family memebers with mental health problems.

    Any use of a range of medications should be a trigger for review of a gun licence.

  3. As series of articles on the BBC site on the rising use of coal.

    Coal use is to surpass that of oil by 2022.

    Only the USA is tracking down – the UK will do so because of shale gas.

    But in Germany they are moving from nuclear back to coal for power.

    China uses about half the world’s consumption and India will surpass the USA as the next user.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20770245

  4. Given the prevalence of gun related mass murder in the US, I suspect an armed citizenry makes no difference.

    No, it DOES make a difference. It makes the guns more accessible and the carnage much greater. Someday, if this continues for long enough, there will be an instance of some armed member of the public taking down the nutjob before he can kill everyone in sight. That single instance will be seized on by the gun enthusiasts as justification and every single massacre leading up to it will be ignored. It is an ideological point of view, not a logical point of view.

    The licensing, training and responsibility of gun owners is a matter that is fairly well dealt with here in NZ and ignored in the USA. It is a problem for the USA because it has its 2nd Amendment and the issues around that make it impossible to simply legislate a change nationally.

  5. At the very least a ban on semi and fully automatic weapons. A buy-back scheme can surely only do good?
    I’d like to see ammunition control. How about you can only buy ammo from the police and have to show a license and the relevant gun’s registration before any sale.

  6. Frankly Gerrit, I do not much relish the idea of being at the mercy of the least stable, least intelligent and most inebriated members of the population, having to be on my guard 24×7 with the hair trigger reflexes and perfect eyesight of my youth available to me through my entire life so as to defend myself against all comers.

    That fantasy world, the Archie Bunker solution, is not one I regard as desirable.

    Civilized countries are those in which such things are NOT normal, required or expected. I have better things to do than develop my shooting skills.

    I’ve seen the way it “works”. It doesn’t.

  7. Trouble has only been in the last fifty years when the biggest change has been the public abdicating personal protection to the police. Coupled with rapid fire weapons development.

    I would suggest the biggest differences have been the militarising of the police (and hence the criminal fraternity) and easy access to automatic weapons and ammunition types (both sidearms and “civilian” versions of military ordance) to the general public as opposed to any silly notion of citizen’s abdicating “personal responsibility”.

    Be interesting if the recent mass murder in Norway could have been prevented if members of the public were armed and capable of defending themselves and society.

    Given the prevalence of gun related mass murder in the US, I suspect an armed citizenry makes no difference.

  8. “Would a assailant think twice about attacking a school where teachers were armed?”

    Given most of these sort of attackers are suicidal, I don’t think this would be much concern. ‘Personal protection weapons’ is a nice euphemism, but basically you are talking about giving a much larger number of people guns, and encouraging them to carry them. Which means more unstable people with guns as well. And an awful lot more accidents or “I thought I was being threatened” incidents.

    The other trouble with arming “members of the public” is that most people don’t shoot people, even if it might be logical in the circumstances. Soldiers are put through intensive training to overcome this.

    Lots of well-trained armed people may possibly be a deterrent to the logical criminal indulging in armed robbery or the like, but I don’t see it as a way to prevent the unstable/fanatical hell bent on a massacre. And personally, I just don’t want to carry a gun around all day – there are some people who would probably relish the prospect of going around tooled up, though – and they are exactly the sort of people who probably shouldn’t be allowed to be.

  9. dbuckley,

    Wrong reasoning, The mentally unstable dont need to make a gun, just have access. So if there are no “legal” guns, the chance that an illicit gun being around and being used, is just as valid.

    Latest shooter was from a gun owning and colecting family. Chances of them having an illicit gun, if legal weapons were not available for their collection and shooting use, is to be taken into account.

    There is an argument for allowing ordinary citizens to be armed. Would a assailant think twice about attacking a school where teachers were armed?

    or a shopping centre were most members of the public were armed and ready to defend themselves?

    Personal protection weapons have been around in the USA since the constitution was first penned.

    Trouble has only been in the last fifty years when the biggest change has been the public abdicating personal protection to the police. Coupled with rapid fire weapons development.

    Maybe (taking a devils advocate role here) it is time we (USA and NZL and others) allowed personal protection weapons to be carried in public?

    Be interesting if the recent mass murder in Norway could have been prevented if members of the public were armed and capable of defending themselves and society.

  10. Gerrit

    The guy with a knife would have to outrun a lot of kids, fend off a herd of teachers, and break barricaded windows and doors with his hands. He COULD certainly still kill some, but he’d be taken down more easily and the carnage would be less than is possible with semi-automatics and multi-round magazines. Look at the stats. Kids DID get hurt with the knives in China, but a lot fewer were killed…

    Gun enthusiasts have some of the least well reasoned arguments in the world when it comes to this. I like the way NZ does it… MUCH better than the way the US does it. The conditions to create this sort of carnage are simply more difficult to find in NZ.

    … and nothing is perfect. The right to have guns isn’t something we want taken away… but the open-slather in the US is so incredibly stupid that it tempts overreactions. When the “right to keep and bear arms” was put into the Constitution three things were true.

    The first is that there was NO SUCH THING as a fully automatic or semi-automatic weapon with a multi-round magazine. Reloading flintlocks took time.

    The second was that carrying a whole bunch of guns around to be able to shoot more would have been damned conspicuous and difficult.

    So basically a nutcase would get in a couple of shots and then everyone would be gone. So this problem didn’t exist, it wasn’t even considered at the time.

    The third of course, is the unmentionable portion of that amendment. “A well regulated militia”… which has no relationship whatsoever to what is going on in the USA today.

    It is of course, a very popular idea with people who have that notion in their mind that Darwinian principles should be applied to society in general. Never mind that this doesn’t work well for societies and seldom rewards people who deserve rewards for their work nearly as well as it rewards people who obtain rewards due to good fortune.

  11. Whereas it is possible for joe public to machine up a gun, that requires a considerable amount of forethought and planning. Picking up a convenient gun and then using it requires less.

  12. Was anybody talking about banning guns and knives altogether Gerrit?

    A lot of gun crimes are spur of the moment, meaning that if somebody had to spend the time to make a functioning gun they have time to consider what they’re about to do and are less likely to do it. Also the mentally unstable aren’t likely able to make a functioning gun.

    Of course we need better systems and medications for people with mental illness, but we also need better laws to stop guns getting into the hands of the unstable.

    Obviously knives are not ass effective at killing people as guns, so that is where your argument falls down. If the people had guns instead of knives in those links of yours more people would be dead… It’s as simple as that.

  13. The simple answer in controlling guns is not going to stop the killings.

    In China (where there is very tight gun control) many attracks on school children are carried out by knife weilding assailants.

    Latest one here

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1106490/knifeman-attacked-children-henan-school-unhindered-30-minutes

    The paper also reports elsewhere

    ….recent and similar attacks in the region. In 2010, eight children were killed and five were injured by a knife wielding assailant outside a primary school. In the two months following, eight students were killed and fifty seven were injured in four similar (perhaps copy-cat) knife attacks and two months ago three children were killed and thirteen injured by a man swinging a machete in a daycare center. China has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Perhaps they also need to ban knives?

    The common trait in these rampages is mental illness. Perhaps we need to better study that aspect and get better control of depression medication and their side effects?

    http://psychiatricfraud.org/2011/04/the-real-lesson-of-columbine-psychiatric-drugs-induce-violence/

    Banning guns and knifes wont work, it is very simple to machine up a full auto AK47 type weapon even here in NZL. Back yard illicit guns will be made. Knifes are even easier to make from industrial hack or circular sawblades.

    Though I know of only one gun drill in NZL capable for making long barrels, short barrels are easily bored and rifled on any decent lathe.

  14. bjchip

    The time to stop a crime is before it happens.

    Exactly! That statement is very relevant and can be applied to so many things. One way of stopping that kind of crime is to ensure our gun laws are adequate to keep weapons out of the hands of those who are mentally unstable.

    Lessons to be learned from tragedy

    The gun lobbyists are obviously completely nuts. Surely it’s better to have laws in place that don’t allow guns to fall into the wrong hands in the first place. A proper storage safe along with other required reforms might have ensured this latest tragedy didn’t occur.

  15. One notices the timing of the news from the school in the states juxtaposed with the call for the police here to carry guns.

    Somehow I do not think there will be much traction for the latter.

    There is much more to be said for making the theft useless through changes in our distribution of money, than for making the neighbourhood more dangerous through changes in the distribution of lead.

    The time to stop a crime is before it happens.

    The time to catch a criminal is not when he is wired on adrenalin and carrying a deadly weapon that he probably doesn’t know how to use properly in the first place.

  16. It means here is a place to discuss anything you wish, as opposed to threads started with a specific theme, as most are.

    We get a general playground about once a week. Some are full of tosh, others highly insightful.

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