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A hard progressives take on the current gun debate

Basically this is an assembly of a few posts I wrote on the Voices facebook group in a gun ban discussion.

Summary - my key point is at the bottom, that republicans will just use a gun ban as a political football to appeal to the independents, the centrist dems, and to motovate their base. They will use gun bans as a key issue in the elections, may win, and will just overturn gun bans. They did it before.

So, a gun ban hands them a political opportunity, and plays to  their strengths.

I think we should instead impose heavy pigouvian taxes on guns, by class, with the heaviest taxes on military style weapons.

We should police gun crimes and gun incidents much more severely and strictly.

We should criminalize gun mishandling. Letting minors access guns unsupervised should be considered a crime. Gun accidents should be treated as crime.

We should be teaching gun wisdom and gun awareness, probably thru a series of well designed PSA's and television shows and other venues. Try to reduce the fear and paranoia, rather than increase it.

All of these things are constitutionally allowed, and will appeal to the rights love of punishment and morality theatre.


Excerpts from the group discussion

The problem is, simply repeating the well known arguments doesn't really further discussion, and has no effect on the issue.


Why not try to write a synthesis proposal? Or model out some parts of a synthesis?


It just seems a waste of an opportunity to simply repeat the existing arguments.


Ot does raise some difficult issues. the core of the right's argument, particularly with regards to military style weapons, is that private ownership is constitutionally guaranteed as a deterrent to tryanny.


One has to face the question of wether or not this is a legitimate interest and legitimate concern.


If it is a legitimate interest, then the conversation is entirely different than if it is not deemed a legitimate interest.


Then there are the problems of rage and paranoia - we talk about violent video games and movies - but don't talk about the rage and paranoia which is so deeply engrained in our culture.


And, we don't talk about war, and the casual way we accept the killing of other people's children but are shocked and horrified when our children get killed.


Anyways, it's probably a waste of time, chances are good we can't escape the limits of the tribal war.





I have my doubts that a collective boycott of fantasy violence is in any way likely.


(said in response to the suggestion that we could collectively boycott (as a nation) violent movies and video games.)


As a culture and civilization, we have a very poor sense of the roles violence places in our psyches and economies - and repression by taboo does not work very well.


My position is, we need to integrate the violence and violent impulses, try to raise the problem up into the light, not push it down into the darkness where it will fester and pop up at the worst possible times.


We, the best educated people in the world, presumably with the best developed and integrated psyches in the world, are uniquely positioned to lead and guide and facilitate this discussion.


But, well, we may have the most integrated psyches in the world, but that is just by comparison, our psyches may not be integrated enough to handle something primal like rage, paranoia, and violence - let alone lethal violence.


And, doomsday preppers is NatGeo's top rated and most profitable show, lol - talk about an eruption of rage and paranoia.




I think the statistics argument that Karl makes is a good one - what amount of average risk are we willing to accept, in exchange for a perceived good?


One of the comments often heard (after Sandy Hook), in some corners, was the irony that we happily accept the many many gun murders of brown kids in schoolyards parks and cities, none of which get much media coverage, as a cost of our drug war and violence-and-guns fetish - but we get really worked up when it's a bunch of affluent younger white kids, in a much smaller number collectively, but all shot at once, with huge media coverage.


How many mexican kids have been killed be