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Bruce Kay

Gym climber
May 5, 2013 - 09:08pm PT
I don't consider America to be on par with any other country. We're exceptional.

Believe me I hope this is still true but if you consider Brazil to be a true liberal democracy on par with Australia or other half assed wanna be Americas then you may want to reconsider. It is just as corrupt and viscously ruled by the one percent as America is trying to be but like you say its nice to think you guys are still too exceptional to allow that to happen.

Anyway, I get your point. Its tricky to compare but if you dare to, comparing America to australia is a fair cop. If those rednecks can do it, so can you.

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
May 5, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
How would you account for a law banning guns having one effect in somewhere like Great Britain, while the exact same law on the books in some place like Mexico has the exact opposite effect?

I'm saying it isn't the law ( or absence thereof ) that makes a safer society.

May 5, 2013 - 09:21pm PT

"Chicago has exactly equal social/economic status with the US, and extremely harsh gun prohibition."

Guns are outlawed in Chicago?

Because even that wouldn't be "extremely harsh gun prohibition."

England, for instance, will send you to jail for 5 years for simple possession of a handgun.

And I wouldn't even call that ":extremely harsh".

Wanna try again?

May 5, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Chaz -- "I'm saying it isn't the law ( or absence thereof ) that makes a safer society."

One guy gets it.

The rest just plain stupid ......
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
May 5, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
I somewhat agree. And again direct comparisons are perilous, but relative comparisons may be reasonable.

Something, whether it is law, religious edict or lightning bolt, needs to change your cultural need for guns. I'm not advocating elimination just a reasonable and realistic acceptance of legitimate role and acceptance of the true risks that guns present. This will take a monumental shift in culture, as great as half of your country not too long ago shifted to accommodate civil rights.

As Ed pointed out above, your culture is so addicted to guns that you passed legislation that outlawed scientific study of how gun culture effects your society which speaks volumes of how close to third world you guys really are ( North Carolina maybe?)

Hell don't ask me and I sure wouldn't ask you either. If you guys were smart you would unleash the great intellect of american science on it to at least get your numbers straight.

Yeah right - as if thats ever going to happen!!!!
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
May 5, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
ah now that the duck see's fit to chime in with his usual one sentence tripe, I would add one other thing. Laws represent your moral principle, which gets right back to my point about are you idiots a civil society or not?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
May 5, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 5, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
there are swimming pool barrier regulations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and probably any state that has private swimming pools...

good thing the Bill of Rights didn't have an amendment

A well regulated fitness being necessary to the serenity of a free state, the right of the people to possess and use swimming pools shall not be infringed.

We'd be having a debate about the attacks on it imposed by state governments regulating their access...

as for drowning in containers, it is a serious problem for children... and one also subject to regulation... there is the Bucket Drowning Prevention Act of 1993 that requires a label warning of the risk...

This was because research showed that there had been 400 accidental drownings of children between 1985 and 1993.

In 1999 alone there were 214 unintentional gun deaths of children (0-19 yrs) and 73 gun deaths to children under five years old, yet no action on the part of the Congress... just taking those 73, it's a higher rate than the deaths due to drowning in buckets...

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
May 5, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
are U a one tooth hill billy?

May 5, 2013 - 09:48pm PT

"Are U FRENCH??"

Translation: "Please dumb it down for me, guys, so I can join in."

May 5, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
The Bruce -- "you idiots a civil society or not?"

We can easily see that you are uncivilized.

Excessive laws to force control.

Mistreatment and slaughter of all living entities only to satisfy your lusty tongue.
Sredni Vashtar

Social climber
The coastal redwoods
May 6, 2013 - 01:31am PT
To clear this up as its inaccurate, only certain firearms are illegal in England & Wales (although UK, N Ireland and Scotland have their own firearms laws). There are plenty of guns in the UK but you have to be in posession of a license to own one. Semi autos larger than a .22 rimfire and all handguns are banned. Shotguns are easier to obtain than rifles. I grew up in the country, plenty of guns about there.

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
May 7, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
All your Rights can be infringed by the Gov. at any time you morons, to say that you have any right that is unrestricted is totally at odds with history, the law, and reality.

There Are No ‘Absolute’ Rights

by Michael Tomasky
May 5, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

Nearly every idea in the Bill of Rights comes with restrictions and limitations. To think that the Second Amendment should be any different is absurd, writes Michael Tomasky.

Every time I write a column on guns, the howl arises that I am talking about a right that is enshrined in the Constitution, buddy, and I better watch myself. The howl then transmutes into an extended harangue that this right is absolute, and no libtard fascist, whether me or the Satanesque Dianne Feinstein, is going to limit the right in any way. The first soldier to charge across this rhetorical veld is followed by hundreds harrumphing their assent. The only problem is that it’s an ahistorical, afactual, and barbaric argument. No right is absolute. In fact, the Second Amendment arguably has fewer restrictions on it these days than many of the other first 10, and there is and should be no guarantee that things are going to stay that way. In fact, if we’re ever going to be serious about trying to stop this mass butchery that we endure every few months, they cannot.

Let’s begin by going down the list and reviewing various limits placed on nearly all the amendments of the Bill of Rights (I thank Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center for helping me out here). The First Amendment, of course, guarantees the right to free speech and assembly, and to worship as one pleases. There haven’t been that many restrictions placed on the freedom to worship in the United States, although there is a steady stream of cases involving some local government or school board preventing someone from wearing religious clothing or facial hair or what have you. Sometimes a Christian school or church is denied a zoning permit; but more often it’s the freedom to worship of a minority (Muslim, Sikh, etc.) that is threatened.

As for free speech, of course it is restricted. Over the past 50 or so years in a series of cases, courts have placed a number of “time, place, and manner” restrictions on free speech. To restrict speech in general, the government must meet four tests. But this is always being revised and negotiated. Here’s one restriction on the Bill of Rights that I’d wager most conservatives would happily approve of. In 1988, the HHS under Reagan promulgated rules prohibiting a family-planning professional at a clinic that received federal dollars from “promoting” (i.e. telling a woman about) abortion. This was challenged partially on free-speech grounds. In Rust v. Sullivan (1991), the Supreme Court held that these rules did not violate the clinicians’ free-speech rights. So far as I can see, this is still law. It’s just one example from many free-speech restrictions that have been imposed over the years, as you can see here.

Let’s skip the Second Amendment for now. The Third Amendment—my personal favorite—proscribes the private quartering of troops. Not so relevant to life today—in fact, the Supreme Court has apparently never considered a Third Amendment challenge. Onward.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and of course there are loads of exceptions to this right, the most notable being that whenever an officer of the law has reason to think an imminently dangerous situation exists, s/he may invade a citizen’s privacy. Then there’s the question of the “exclusionary rule,” by which evidence deemed to have been improperly obtained can be excluded as evidence. Jurisprudence on this question goes back 100 years, and this very interesting paper notes that it has been two decades since the court upheld the application of the exclusionary rule in a search-and-seizure case. Since then, the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts have ruled six times—every time for the government, i.e., limiting the constitutional protection. (Funny, isn’t it, how many of these other, non-gun limitations on the Bill of Rights are championed by conservatives?)

The Fifth Amendment most famously protects against self-incrimination. Kendall notes that there have indeed been almost no restrictions placed on this right—inside the trial courtroom. Outside the courtroom, however, limitations are rife, having to do mostly with circumstances of interrogations and confessions made within them. This amendment also provides for due process, and that means Miranda rights, and again here, we know from recent news stories that not everyone is immediately read them, and we also know that it’s conservatives who have always despised Miranda in the first place and seek to limit or overturn it today.

The Sixth Amendment provides the right to counsel and a speedy trial, and here again, our time is witness to a slow watering down of these rights by the court’s conservative majority, as in 2009’s Montejo v. Louisiana. The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a trial by jury in civil cases, and this contains a blatant restriction: the court has never “incorporated” this right to apply to states, where the majority of civil cases are tried, so most civil cases don’t include this right. And the Eighth Amendment, against cruel and unusual punishment, has been much contested with respect to issues like juvenile crime. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments don’t enumerate specific rights as such and so aren’t relevant.

Now, back to the Second Amendment. I’m sure that pro-gun extremists know very well about Scalia’s famous opinion in Heller (2008), which dramatically expanded gun rights. But even in that decision, Scalia himself said that Second Amendment protections could apply only to weapons “in common use at the time.” Chris Wallace asked Scalia in 2012 about semiautomatic weapons and extended magazines, and he said: “What the opinion Heller said is that it will have to be decided in future cases. What limitations upon the right to bear arms are permissible. Some undoubtedly are, because there were some that were acknowledged at the time. For example, there was a tort called affrighting, which if you carried around a really horrible weapon just to scare people, like a head ax or something, that was I believe a misdemeanor. So yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed.”

Now I don’t trust him to rule that way as far as I could throw him, but if even Scalia is saying that, then yes, limitations are both possible and reasonable.

Imagine what conservatives would think of a group of liberals who insisted, while threatening an insurrection, on a pure and absolute interpretation of the Fourth or Sixth Amendment—and imagine how ridiculous they would look to average Americans. Hunters, sportsmen, collectors, and even defenders of their homes (misguided as they may be, according to the statistics) certainly do have rights to keep and bear arms that are reasonable and should not be trampled. But the idea that any right is unrestricted is totally at odds with history, the law, and reality. And the idea that a group of Americans possesses an absolute “right” to own and keep weapons that can—and in practice do—kill numerous innocent people in seconds, destroying families and communities and tearing at the nation’s collective soul, is barbaric and psychotic. As the old saying goes: if you want to shoot an assault weapon, go enlist.

For civilians, meanwhile, we’re one Supreme Court justice away from getting some sanity and balance to interpretations of the Second Amendment, and the only thing I can’t decide is whether it would be more delicious for Barack Obama to appoint that judge or for Hillary Clinton to do it.

Social climber
So Cal
May 7, 2013 - 08:49pm PT

Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show.

Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.

In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.

The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%.

That's what it's really about. It's not about hunting weapons; it's not about the "National Guard" (which isn't a militia). It's about everyday law-abiding citizens having the ability to resist a tyrannical government. And with that deterrent in place, we've managed 230 years without our government descending into tyranny (though it's come close).

And that's why Progressives hate it. Deep down, progressives (i.e. socialists) are not populists. Deep down, progressives despise the majority of their fellow citizens, and don't trust them at all. They love America but hate most of the Americans. Progressives are entranced with the possibilities presented by a benevolent dictatorship. They ignore the peril, that it can mutate into a malevolent dictatorship because they believe in their own virtue. They're sure it won't happen if they're in charge. As to Democracy? It's a burden, a barrier; it gives the vote to all the rednecks and knuckle-draggers who have been mislead by the evil capitalists (remember the Doctrine of False Consciousness? Pernicious claptrap, that one, but it has a lot of currency on the left) and will resist the Progressive program even though it's Obviously the right thing to do.

If only Progressives, as an enlightened elite, had the ability to impose their program on the rest of us, eventually we'd come around to their point of view. But that means they need dictatorial power, and Democracy prevents that.

And the last and strongest barrier against the creation of a benevolent dictatorship by the Progressive enlightened elite is that damned Second Amendment, and all those firearms owned by the rednecks and knuckle-draggers.

So let's be clear: Progressives don't fear guns in the hands of criminals, or not very much. It's not about school shootings, either. It's guns in the hands, and homes, of law abiding citizens that Progressives hate. Those are the guns they wish were gone; those are the guns they will try to eliminate if they can. Because those are the guns which stand in the way of them taking over.

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 7, 2013 - 10:09pm PT
I dare you...

Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen

Hell, some here think it has dramatically dropped and risen at the same time!

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
May 8, 2013 - 06:01am PT
"All your Rights can be infringed by the Gov. at any time you morons, to say that you have any right that is unrestricted is totally at odds with history, the law, and reality."

more importantly, he displays (gleefully and self-righteously, i imagine) his ignorance of the founding principles behind the declaration and the constitution and the perils of atheism

see, f, your joyous pronouncement of the power of government is precisely why tj wrote the declaration and why we now have the constitution

see, f, tj and the other founders understood that we have rights (life, liberty, etc.) given to us by GOD, not the gov...they also knew the only reason to have a gov is to protect those rights from others and the reason for the constitution is to protect those rights from the gov

and f wants more government
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
May 8, 2013 - 07:08am PT
From now on you guys can all bring your guns to Yosemite park. Maybe I 'll need one now, for self defense.
Dave Kos

Social climber
May 8, 2013 - 07:37am PT
see, f, tj and the other founders understood that we have rights (life, liberty, etc.) given to us by GOD

What is this three-letter word you emphasize with capital letters?

I don't see this word anywhere in the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution.

Did you even read these documents, the ones you use as a basis for your nonsensical claims?

BTW, what did "jm" have to say about GOD?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 8, 2013 - 08:46am PT
in the preamble it reads:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

the power to do so, quite explicitly, comes from the People...

and notice the order of the established principles:

1) form a more perfect Union,
2) establish Justice,
3) insure domestic Tranquility,
4) provide for the common defence,
5) promote the general Welfare, and
6) secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

though that may be reading it a bit too literally... and who does that?

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 8, 2013 - 08:50am PT
Interesting Kos. It seems like if the founding fathers REALLY were Christian and REALLY wanted a Christian nation they would have mentioned the Christian god, or at least Christianity, in AT LEAST ONE of the early LAWS that govern this nation.

Maybe this is just another case of the liberal "War Against Christianity?" Maybe a conspiracy? We should ask Glenn Beck.
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