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Katherine Coble

"To argue that putting guns into our communities leads to a reduction in crime makes no sense."

Ah! Those SILLY constitutionalists with their "freedoms" and their "rights"! They make no sense at all. Crazy bunch o' kids, the lot of them!

I don't have the time to farm Google for a data-riffic response to Helmke, nor does this blog accept hotlinked comments.

So allow me to point out that:

1. Mr. Helmke is now paid to advance the cause(s) of the Brady Center. He is hardly an impartial source. I on the other hand get paid bupkus by the Founding Fathers for endorsing the Second Amendment.

2. The overall economic picture of the nation has vastly improved since 1994. That can be credited with some of the drop in crime. Florida is a state with a very shaky economy thanks to the weather. Hence their higher crime rate.

3. The effect of personal gun ownership on the violent crime rate should be of no consequence. It is the constitutional right of every citizen in this country--barring a felony conviction--to own firearms.

Granted, we'd have a lot less violent crime if we'd do away with that whole pursuit-of-happiness thing. But seeing as people keep giving their lives for this concept of Freedom, it makes no sense to define those freedoms downward for the convenience of a few.

alex

Catherine, all that money they're paying Helmke must be giving him an advantage when it comes to crafting an argument because his is certainly making a lot more sense to me.

From where I sit, it appears that the gun industry has done an incredibly good job of marketing its list of talking points to the citizenry. But I have yet to hear anyone articulate a good reason why anyone should be allowed to own an AK-47 except "because it's my right, damn it."

Reasonable gun control laws like background checks and restrictions on only the most dangerous weapons are all that the Brady people ever wanted as near as I can tell, although it's been hard to receive the message through the cacaphony of NRA ditto-heads yelling about the Second Amendment.

I'd say the gun control people are pretty temperate in their position and I don't find it unreasonable at all. When they start proposing that all gun owners should be subjected to a psych evaluation, that's when gun owners need to start worrying.

Barry

Alex,

From where I sit, it appears that the *media industry* has done an incredibly good job of marketing its list of talking points to the citizenry. But I have yet to hear anyone articulate a good reason why anyone should be allowed to print bad things about the President or this country "because it's my right, damn it."

Reasonable media control laws like submitting articles to the government for review and restrictions on only the most dangerous thoughts are all that the media control people ever wanted as near as I can tell, although it's been hard to receive the message through the cacaphony of ACLU Al-Frankensteinheads yelling about the First Amendment.

I'd say the media control people are pretty temperate in their position and I don't find it unreasonable at all. When they start proposing that all media owners should be subjected to a psych evaluation, that's when media owners need to start worrying.

What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms..." don't you understand, homes?

The 2nd Amendment is arguably even more important than the First Amendment.

Katherine Coble

"But I have yet to hear anyone articulate a good reason why anyone should be allowed to own an AK-47 except "because it's my right, damn it." endquote

Let me at least try, although given your stance that personal rights are an inarticulate reason I wonder about my chances.

The right of a citizen to bear arms is to guarantee freedom from tyranny. Tyranny happens when the tyrants have better armaments than the citizens. They can use the threat of death as a control for the populace.

BUT when the populace is equally-armed, the threat is neutralised. Back in 1787 "equally-armed" meant muskets and minie balls. Now, in 2006, "equally-armed" seems to mean that the government and the criminals get to use whatever guns and bullets they choose, but the average man-on-the-street has only the right to one repeating rifle OR one shotgun OR one pistol.

This school of thought permeates the culture. An example: I was watching "Criminal Minds" on CBS. The FBI was attempting to take down members of a murderous cult. At one point an FBI agent is shown to have a sidearm and a dropgun in an ankle holster. Two guns. All the characters took that as a given. Of course a cop has at least a sidearm and a dropgun. No big deal.

Then they start talking about the murderous cult. It has "over 200 members" and "around 450 guns". In the language of TV, that's extreme. 450 guns!!! Oh my gosh! But you do the math. That's just a little over 2 guns per person. Just like the FBI.

So the culture is into demonising an armed citzenry and legitimising an armed police.

But frankly I'd like to be able to be at least as well-armed as any police who might decide to take over this country. And while I hope this remains an academic argument, it is a valid one to have.

At what point should the constitution STOP applying to free men? And when it does, are they still free?

Katherine Coble

Forgot to add: I am not a member of the NRA.

alex

What part of the Second Amendment do I not get?

Well, Barry, I never get the "well-regulated militia" part from the NRA and its dupes, only the "right to bear arms" part. From Mr. Helmke I get both parts and therefore the whole picture.

And as for the police trying to take over the country, Katherine, I'm just not that paranoid and neither are most people. Why would they?

Andrew Kaduk

Alex,

I don't think the police are the ones we have to worry about. I can speak from personal experience that departments even in neighboring counties haven't the faintest clue of the protocols and policies of one another, whereby making it a virual impossibility for any police to act en masse.

As the Federal Government tightens its grip on our rights as free citizens and begins to change the verbiage of the constitution to fit the whims of whichever of the look-alike parties may be in charge at any given time, the rest of us march blindly behind them assuming that somehow we're headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, the public as a whole is also generally blind to the possibility that the military is an instrument less of the people, and more of the "Commander in Chief." Ditto the FBI and the Attorney General or the National Guard and the Governors. Incidents like Kent State university massacre, Ruby Ridge, the Branch Davidians...these may be isolated incidents involving some unfortunate circumstances relvolving around some fringe factions of some non-conformist type folks, but the escalation is what is scariest. The government is so quick to rush past diplomacy and to literally put down certain types of resistance that they may step beyond their authority and it is the right of the individual to defend themselves against this kind of trespass. With the instances I just named, the government has behaved in a regrettable fashion, and volumes have been written on the mistakes made.

Go Kat. You're on the money.

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