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GUN CONTROL

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by

Timothy Merritt

on 19 August 2013

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Transcript of GUN CONTROL

THE FACTS
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America has more private gun ownership than any other country in the world (between 270-310 million guns). The combined total of military and police firearms is only about 4 million. Last year, Americans spent $11.7 billion dollars on guns and ammo. But numbers this big are too abstract. Let's put things into perspective.
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Gun violence has prompted a heightened debate about America's gun love and its impact on our society. We will attempt to clarify the issues, and investigate their underlying ethical meaning.
The Debate
The recent tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Aurora theater shooting, and the death of Trayvon Martin all fuel the ever growing debate about guns and gun violence in America.

It's inferred that violent crime is increasing, and that guns are responsible. But what do the statistics say?
MOUNTING TRAGEDY
THE NUMBERS
AN ARMED POPULACE
According to a study conducted by criminologists for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, "...the consistent international pattern is that more guns equal LESS murder and other violent crimes."
(http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/1413)
HOWEVER...
Laws passed by gun lobbyists
have forbidden the CDC to release any research that would promote increased gun control, so data remains scant and often inconclusive.

(http://www.livescience.com/26253-government-stifled-gun-research.html)
And while being armed against those who are already armed might level the playing field, is arming EVERYONE really the best answer? What about disarmament? The problem here, especially in the US, is that the 2nd Amendment is not likely to ever be overturned, so we need to find a solution that allows private ownership while still keeping the peace. Yet while any mention of (possibly) infringing on 2nd Amendment rights is met with hostility both by gun advocates and most politicians, other Amendments less tied to industry seem to be more open for alteration.
A HISTORIC RIGHT
FOREST FOR THE TREES
MOTIVATIONS & CLARITY
There are two main sides to the gun control debate: that we either need more restrictions/bans, or we need to keep the currents laws/extend more freedom towards firearms. In essence, this is a "for or against" argument.
OR IS IT?
As mentioned in the earlier video, gun violence is only part of a larger socioeconomic problem. Areas with high violent crime rates also tend to have high levels of poverty, unemployment, and lack of education that feeds and reinforces the prevalence of gun violence and crime.
The media portrays the issue as only two sided: either guns are good, or guns are bad. Either more guns will solve the problem, or less guns will. Since much of the media is privately owned, they have a responsibility to perpetuate the views of their shareholders, or ignore adversaries. But when they lead the public to believe the gun debate is either/or, they funnel discourse and encourage division.
FAIR AND BALANCED
In reality, the debate is something much less definitive. Our species as a whole continues to fight against one another, just as we’ve always done, and as long as we continue to do so we will continue to injure and kill one another--whether with guns or without.
UPRIGHT APES
The public has always been reactionary to the media and its claims. Terrible tragedies like Sandy Hook stir up emotive responses from the public, who see a madman with a gun and make a leap of logic. Similar reactions happened after 9/11, where a nearly unanimous public demanded stringent security measures to be put into place at all airports. But only a year or two later, confidence in agencies like the TSA waned, and it became commonplace to disdain and dismiss the extraneous security measures as useless.
The debate is polarized to manipulate the very public who is at odds because of it. “Facts”, polls, and rhetoric are constantly skewed or spun towards one agenda or another—whether for or against guns, the basis of most of the rhetoric is political, which is inherently slippery.
“Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” - George Orwell
WE KNOW WHAT'S BEST
This is the kind of thinking that moves the gun debate into the “either or” argument, and moves it away from the bigger, more ethical quandary: Why do we kill each other? But more specifically, what causes gun violence (and therefore, gun homicides) to rise?
NIETZSCHE'S MASTER/SLAVE
DICHOTOMY
It’s no secret that poor urban areas are the center of the country’s violent crime statistics, and that much of this crime stems from gangs that prey on crumbling communities. These are the areas that veritably define Nietzsche’s Master/slave dichotomy, where historic racial segregation led to a disenfranchised population that was at a major disadvantage than more well-to-do areas.
“Slave morality always requires first an opposing world, a world outside itself. Psychologically speaking, it needs external stimuli in order to act at all. Its action is basically reaction.” – Nietzsche
Let’s take a look at one of the most notoriously violent neighborhoods in America—Compton, California. The center of early 90’s Gangsta rap, and once the nation’s murder capitol, Compton has seen a reduction in unemployment and violent crime rates (a 25 year low), not only because of federal gun laws like CA's assault weapons ban, but also because of community policing and activism.
CALIFORNIA LOVE
“The city now pays about $18 million for 79 deputies and a 38-man gang force; the precinct's strategy is to target the toughest gangs but devote significant effort to community policing. The policy has paid off: from 1985 to 2000, Compton averaged 66 murders a year. In the early part of this decade, that figure had dropped to 44. Last year [2008], there were 28 murders.”
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/03/23/straight-into-compton.html
FLIP FLOP
OUT OF THE CAGE
The gun control debate will continue to be a heated and controversial one. Owning guns is part of our American history, and a right in our Constitution, yet they serve only one purpose—to kill and maim. The areas most devastatingly affected are poor, urban areas where resources are nullified and violence prevails, yet they also remain the least commented on (aside from pejoratively) in the media. Outrage is usually reserved for incidents that occur in more affluent areas where violence is less common, and therefore a bigger shock to the community.
Only when we stop seeing gun control as an “either-or” issue will we begin to make any real progress. Like education reform, we have realize that gun violence is only a symptom of a much larger socio-economic problem that can’t be uniformly fixed by *only* restricting guns. Debate needs to widen to other areas where deficits have created disparity as well, so that we might move forward towards a more comprehensive solution not just for those being shot at, but for all those who’s disenfranchisement and disadvantage might lead them to become the ones who are doing the shooting.
(gunpolicy.org)
How much is $11.7 billion?
22 million cows for needy families in third-world nations. It could also completely fund every project on the Heifer International’s website, which includes projects that will fight hunger and poverty in Arkansas and Central Appalachia, help develop communities in Asia, strengthen agriculture in Haiti, and empower women in Cambodia.
$11.7 billion could buy...
$11.7 billion could buy...
It could buy meals for 200,000 families in Costa Rica for 458 years .
$11.7 billion could buy...
11 years worth of the drug AZT for 333,000 HIV-infected people.
It could purchase 183 million purification tablets for countries with dirty water. Or 458 million measles vaccinations. Or 5.7 million emergency tents for shelter.
$11.7 billion could buy...
And that's just what we spent on guns last year.
In America, we have...
5,724 Hospitals
In America, we have...
14,098 McDonald's Restaurants
In America, we have...
36,569 Grocery Stores
And we have...
Federally Licensed
Firearm Dealers
129,817
(http://www.aha.org/research/rc/stat-studies/fast-facts.shtml)
(http://abcnews.go.com/US/guns-america-statistical/story?id=17939758)
In 2010, there were
5,459,240
guns manufactured in the
United States.
https://secure1.heifer.org/gift-catalog/heifer.html
http://riceandbeansministries.com/?p=416
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1993/06/28/78019/
https://secure.unicefusa.org/site/Ecommerce?FOLDER=1172&store_id=10961
Full transcript