Friday, April 20, 2007

How to Solve Several Problems at Once

Let's rattle off several of America's (if not mankind's) biggest problems:

- Insane gunmen kill tens in a single go (VT being the latest).
- "Terrorists" killing thousands
- Insane people running loose killing people.
- Criminals robbing and killing.
- Unwanted, uneducated and poorly-raised homeless children abound.
- Drugs are destroying our society.

What do these problems have in common? Why we need more "control".

- Insane gunmen can be stopped by outlawing guns.
- Insane killers can be stopped by incarcerating anyone that acts suspicious.
- Criminals can be stopped by surveillance cameras at every corner.
- Homeless children can be stopped by requiring permits to have children (heck, you even need a permit to have a *dog*!)
- Terrorists? Well, apparently we take care of them by blowing up unrelated countries. But that doesn't fit into the model of the discussion here, so being inconvenient we'll just ingnore that one.
- Outlawing drugs and couple that with severe prison sentences.

Ok, well the outlawing guns things can only be expected to work as well as outlawing murder has. Granted, it would make it harder to get guns, but we've outlawed all manner of drugs wholesale. Heck, we've filled the prisons with drug violators and we now have more citizens in prison than any other developed country. A crime syndicate in Japan just shot and killed a mayor (!) and guns have been outlawed there since then end of WWII.

Throwing anyone that acts wierd into a mental instutution to keep them from harming people didn't work out because for the few we did catch, thousands more lost their rights as they rotted in asylums for no reason other than someone else thought they were "wierd".

Requiring licenses for people to have kids is basically eugenics. Any eugenics fans out there?

Surveilance cameras have been a huge success and have led to the immediate capture of 2 suspects of the 20 millions crimes committed annually in the US (I made those numbers up, but you get the point.)

So what do we have? Basically, giving up our liberties produces no real gains.

Didn't Franklin say something about this?

I agree (as do many) that automatic weapons don't belong in the general populace. Reasonable gun control laws can help. But there's no gun control law out there that can stop gun violence. Yet there a many laws out there that can severly limit the rights of innocent citizens for very little safety in return.

Ironically, I'm even more inclined to resist mandatory gun permits since seeing the scary job W has done to America. We're now closer than ever to a dictatorship with his support for torture, rampant corruption, tapping phones without warrant, firing federal prosecutors for failing to attack his political foes sufficiently and his wholesale violation of the constitution through signing statements (who needs line item veto when you can just ignore any bit of the law you don't like?)

What's stopping a president like that from saying, "Ok, knock on the door of every person with a gun permit and take away their weapons. My next political move isn't gonna be popular and I don't want any trouble from 'voters'."

Reminds me of a bumper-sticker: "The only people that fear an armed citizenry are dictators, criminals and politicians."

Not completely accurate, but close.

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