Editor's Note: BFG

BFG

The Escapist weighs in on the hot topic of gun control, but adds its own personal twist.

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Those against guns (digital or otherwise) point to one, single immutable fact as justification for their crusades: Guns have no other purpose but to deal death. This is true. All talk of "target practice" and "home defense" aside, there really is no other point to a gun but for its ability to kill. Target practice is, in effect, practicing the efficacy of killing and home defense involves wounding or killing those who would do you (or your home) harm. Whether or not one should have the right to own one, it's inescapable that guns equal death.

I simply cannot make the connection between my marksmanship competition gun and killing anything. "Target practise" is me trying to get better at winning competitions. My gun is not in any way equal to death.

The connection is just as impossible with guns in games. Real guns should be restricted, though. Guns sold freely, to anyone who wants one, is a scary thought. Games sold freely isn't as scary.

In a perfect world there would be no need for guns, anywhere. But the society we live in is far from perfect and while guns may be seen as a huge problem in actual fact they are only part of the problem. Guns don't kill people, people do.

Sure it happened here in Ireland, there was a big gun amnesty and whoever had guns illegally or not could hand them in and receive money for them, no questions asked. Needless to say guns were less prominent and gun crime when down. What happened though was knife crime went up, waaay up. And as far as I know a similar situation exists in the uk, where guns are outlawed but knife crime is extremely high.

I'm not entirely sure where I am going with this, but essentially there will always be crime, and when crime exists there has to be a way to combat that, ie. police officers having guns. So in a way guns are both important to have for protection but extremely dangerous. Gun control should be a lot stricter I believe at least from what I have heard in the USA.

In a world where crime doesn't exist and no one kills each other and everyone gets along, there will be no need for guns, but considering how far fetched that society is, I don't see guns ever going away.

Sorry Mr. Pitts, but saying target practice is equal to killing practice is like saying a guy practicing his swings with a baseball bat is also practicing how to crack one's skull in a more deft fashion or a demolition derby member driving around on his ATV or motorcycle is honing his skill of escaping policemen. Anything can be turned towards a malicious purpose when misused. Granted, guns were originally created to deal death, however, that doesn't mean they can't be rehabilitated towards recreational purposes.

Not that I didn't like your article.

The thing is, in both situations, that imposing restrictions will not solve the 'problem'. Imposing restrictions on the sale of firearms has been proven to do nothing to keep weapons out of unlawful hands, and stopping the sale of games to minors just means that their parents will, god forbid, have to see what their children are playing.

It is a very rare case in which the regulation or restriction of something actually changes anything. Look at illegal drugs. We have entire federal agencies solely dedicated to stopping the flow of narcotics into the US, and yet drug use and crimes related to drugs are rampant. The same would apply to gun control laws. Criminals can't get them legally? No problem, because they were going to use them to commit murder anyway. They'll just get them on the D-L. As for video games, I've been playing M-rated titles since I was 13. Mommy just went into the store with me and purchased them. Whether it's a loophole or a downright failure of enforcement, restriction is not the answer.

Education is a much more useful tool. Teach kids that drugs do bad things to their minds and bodies, and you've stopped a few from using who might have otherwise. There will still be those who use, and there's no stopping that. Some won't use at all, no instruction required. Again, the same applies to firearms and video games: teach the proper use of firearms, and suddenly accidental deaths fall. There will still be firearm crime, but the basic right remains intact. Tell people what the ESRB rating system means, and fewer high-horse mothers preach of 'murder simulators' and 'teaching our children about violence'. Flaws and anomalies will still surface in both, but they will be fewer. Far fewer than with a blanket restriction that does nothing but piss off those who abide by the law and common decency.

Russ Pitts:
Editor's Note: BFG

The Escapist weighs in on the hot topic of gun control, but adds its own personal twist.

Read Full Article

I'll never fully understand the "moral right" and this obsession with violence in entertainment. That's not the worst issue at hand, by far, yet they skip over the others and solely seek to tackle this one.

First of all, violence in entertainment is not a problem because:

1) Violence is an instinctive human tendency. We seek to control our environment, and other people are simply a part of that environment. We must learn, as people, to view others as independent people and work to mutually beneficial ends. That's all morality is, really, and it has been preventing a lot of violence for a very long time. Video games didn't invent violence, they don't instruct it, and removing them won't get rid of it.

2) Kids can be taught (by the parents) good coping skills for dealing with anger (and other negative emotions), so that they do not turn to violence. This is the core issue. It's not about what they "learn" from video games or TV. It's about what they're NOT learning at home because they are sheltered and ignored. This creates a "learning vacuum" in their minds, which is the only reason certain ideas from video games have places to take root in the minds of some particularly sick kids. Teach them the right ways to deal with anger/sadness/etc., and a few shoot-'em-ups won't undermine that.

3) Seriously. Everyone blames the Pied Piper for leading the kids away, but who ever stopped to ask where the hell the PARENTS of those kids were? Even if video games could lead your child astray, it's only through your own negligence in teaching them what's right or wrong.

Second of all, why focus on violence? The bigger problem in entertainment is the over-sexualizing of everything. We use sex to sell SOAP, for God's sake. Why? Because it works. And we, as adults, want our sex-laden media, so we kind of downplay the fight against "too much sex," instead pointing the issue toward "too much violence." Let's look at why sex in the media is so much worse a problem:

1) Sex is sneakier. It starts with your Hannah Montana stuff--girls that aren't just displaying talent, but getting all dolled up and "pretty." This starts the pattern of "It's not enough to be good at something, you've got to draw the EYE, too!" And after awhile, a little eyeliner doesn't quite do it, so the next logical step is to start shrinking the wardrobe... This gets into kids very early on, and those roots grow.

2) Sex is legal. You don't go to jail for having sex (under most circumstances). You go to jail for decapitating someone (under most circumstances). As such, it's harder to fight against without feeling you're just being a stick-in-the-mud.

3) Sex results in MORE people, while violence results in LESS people. Hey, it's a side point, but valid nonetheless.

4) Kids are FAR more likely to imitate sex. It's cheaper than guns. Hell, it's cheaper than games ABOUT guns. You're more likely to find a willing partner for sex than decaptitation. As stated in #2, you're less likely to go to jail for it. And it's EVERY DAMNED WHERE.

If some of these parents would spend HALF the time teaching their kids about "responsible use of sex" as the pro-gun-rights parents spend teaching their kids about "responsible use of guns," there wouldn't be an issue. If we were half as willing to push the over-sexualized stuff into "late night TV" or truly "18+ only" video games as we are to tightly restrict violence, we'd see some major change.

In summary, we're tackling the wrong problem, for the wrong reasons, with the wrong methods. For both of the problems, the solution rests with the PARENT, not the entertainment industry. It's up to the parent to decide how much sex/violence are viewable in THEIR OWN HOMES. If they refuse to be more discriminating, and to be more mindful of their children's development, they should be willing to take the consequences.

To all those proponents of america's gun policy, I give but this article in response:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1240433/Boy-killed-bullet-fired-2-miles-away.html

There can be no justification for this.

I agree with most of what you said, however:

dastardly:
It's up to the parent to decide how much sex/violence are viewable in THEIR OWN HOMES.

This is simply not so, and I would like to quote someone witty and astute to get my point across:

dastardly:
1) Sex is sneakier.

4) And it's EVERY DAMNED WHERE.

Yes, I would like to protect my children, 6 and 10, from being exposed to both sex and violence that they are not ready for. No, my powers to protect are not as great as some people seem to believe they are. I can't monitor them 24 hours a day. They go to school, and they visit their friends. There is this thing called the internet, and this other thing called peer pressure. My son is 10 and his friends are good kids from stable families, but as the wise poster said... it's 1)sneaky and 2)everywhere. My son came to me the other day and told me about the disgusting things he has seen, and how it was to sit there and pretend he wasn't revolted. All I could do was let him talk, process and build strength to handle the next time these things crop up. Parents can't censor the world for their children. They can only help them cope.

AnnaIME:
((In response to your other post, which for some reason is not visible here, but I received via notification...))

I didn't mean to imply that parents have complete control over what their kids see. Part of the point of my statement is that sex is far more pervasive in our culture than violence, by a wide-yet-ignored margin, and I certainly stand to that. And when it comes down to it, for all the reasons I've listed, "too much sexuality" is a much, much bigger threat to our kids than "too much violence." It's just more tempting, more available, more permissible, and more subtle.

I do mean to say that parents are responsible for taking what steps they DO have available. For one, not sheltering kids from the possibility of every negative emotion, as many parents do. Now, it's hard to follow this, I know--no one WANTS to have their child go through negative, hurtful experiences, and I'm not advocating we CREATE them... but they are an integral part of growing. The longer we wait to allow our children to experience this stuff, the wilder (and more consequential) their initial reactions will be--which is part of how we get these teen gunmen shooting people who called them names or excluded them.

And you mentioned one of the biggest culprits in this. The internet. The internet is a sewage pipeline leading into your house. It allows the "dark alley" (where you would never let your children play) to exist in your living room. The internet is a lawless society with its borders wide open for any to happen by. But we can't censor the internet. It is not subject to the laws of one land or another.

All we can do is monitor our children on the internet, use filtering software to try to block the worst of it, things like that. There was, for a time, a cell phone available for kids that could ONLY call home or 911--there wouldn't be a problem of "sexting" with those, right? Similar programs should be available for children--like a browser that can only go to approved sites, instead of approving everything until each offender is blocked.

But the battle STARTS with the parents. There is no need to block the stuff from ever being made, when instead it's just about making sure only the people responsible and mature enough have access. Don't crusade to have all violent video games removed from the world, just watch what your kids buy, what you buy for them, and what they're playing at home.

Outside of your house, sure, you can't prevent the chance encounter here and there. However, if you (as a responsible parent) are teaching your child right-from-wrong, and how to manage negative feelings, and how to respond to peer pressure, it's unlikely that these 'chance encounters' will be enough to completely undo good parenting.

These parents who act as though ONE violent video game will be the undoing of their child's moral fiber and sanity... seriously, either start parenting better, or get your kid on some meds if they're just THAT weak-minded...

It's really these arguments I'm making:

1) Sex is a bigger problem than violence, yet folks don't tackle that because we really like our sex.

2) Good parenting can overcome most, if not all, of the "evil influence" of these violent games. They only influence children in the absence of better, wiser, and more frequent influences (the learning vacuum). The parents behind these initiatives are, in general, trying to "censor the world," so that they will not be responsible for teaching the children to cope.

3) Parents should look for tools and means by which THEY can better monitor what their children do, instead of demanding that the government do it for them. Child-friendly browsers, not buying games for their children without first researching, not letting the kids buy or play games unattended, talking with the parents of the kids your child plays with, limiting the amount of time spent playing/browsing altogether, all that stuff.

(Edit: Yeah, I'm all over the map with this post. Apologies, a bit scattered today.)

Target practice means if the gun has to be fired it goes the right place, ie a deer or violent criminal, not through your neighbors yard instead. Most of the things people fear bout guns are there to make them safer. Thumbhole stocks left you control the gun better but scare some people they are tools not less nothing more. Firearms primary purpose is to kill or wound, but they make a great deterrent against crime and tyranny. I think everyone should be trained to use firearms from a small age and anyone who wants one should have to go through a safety course. I'd say make everyone register but since cops are people too thus they get scared as well they will fine an excuse to remove those who keep the scary guns ie the ones that look scary.

Hey hey..

Right, I live in England, and I carry a knife around everywhere- *supposedly* a serious offense. The reason for this can best be summarised by something I saw not long ago, on a gun advocate poster obviously speaking to americans.

"Gun Control: The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.

YOUR CHOICE. If you don't feel like owning a gun for your own protection, that's your choice. Don't presume you have the right to choose for me."

That's why I carry a knife. I'll carry after the first time I'm caught. I'll carry if it costs me my computer, my home, my pets, my friends. I'll carry because the only thing carrying a knife will absolutely not cost me is my life, which neglecting to carry one absolutely could.

/end

I used to laugh at the idea of thought-crime ever occurring.

Now I'm waiting for it.

Pirate Kitty:
I used to laugh at the idea of thought-crime ever occurring.

Now I'm waiting for it.

It's already here.

The PURPOSE of the law is to protect people from other people. Property law, that's the purpose. Social law, that's the purpose. Trade law, that's the purpose. The right to bear arms, that's the purpose.

So why, if you put a graphite rod to a piece of paper and sketch something resembling an anime chibi in a sexual encounter, can you then be arrested, registered as a sex offender, have all your stuff confiscated indefinately and go to prison?

Who got hurt? Whose rights were being infracted, and how are they being protected by this course of action?

It's bullshit. The idea that you're not allowed to draw something, to express an idea- however repugnant- outside of your own body, is fascistic hideousness as bad as anything that's ever been written about draconian societies.

Edit: And it's probably just the start.

When I did my Army training I was told, in no uncertain terms, that the rifle I was handling was designed and used for the express purpose of ending the life of another human. To say you only shoot for target practice does not reduce the fact firearms only serve one function. Destruction. What peeves me is the 'realistic' argument. FPS are not realistic, not one bit. There is no instruction of trigger pull, sight picture, breath control recoil and release, loading drills, IAs, stoppages, wind adjustment, target designation... the list goes on. You could no more learn to shoot with MW2 than you could learn to fly with HAWX. The concussion wave from a .50 rifle will tear flesh (and limbs) from a body if the round passes within about a metre of the target. And you will not feel better once the red screen goes away. Med packs in the field are few and far between, and it usually takes about 8 weeks till you can stand up again after being shot. Shrap from a grenade is lethal within about 6 metres, and will render you combat ineffective (read 'bleeding mess') within about 10.
Grrr. Uneducated and mis-informed....
To conclude, I support gun control, not everyone needs or should have a firearm. A

fat tony:

To conclude, I support gun control, not everyone needs or should have a firearm.

I'm going to argue with that, although as an englishman I have nothing at stake in the gun control debate, I think the principal of 'the right to bear arms (of some kind)' is fought over in all societies- it's certainly something of an article regarding knives in Britain.

Out of all context, nobody *needs* a weapon. Sure, I'll go with that. On the other hand, anybody who would say that "in any context, there are those who would *never* need a weapon" are bonkers. Either intellectually void, or just insane. Or speaking about pacifists, a group comprised of people who are always both intellectually void *and* living in rainbow cloud cuckoo land.

The fact- the FACT- is, that it doesn't matter what you make illegal to the common man on the street. Anybody who really *wants* a weapon to do 'bad shit' with is going to get one. You can get a gun in London if you know who to talk to. You can get a knife if you're over 21 and don't look too scruffy at the store.

The only people you make more vulnerable with gun control and knife control is the law abiding citizen. No question, no buts, no arguments. People get hurt and killed who might otherwise not have been hurt and killed *because* of that law. If you tighten up gun control, the only difference in cases where a legal gun user has gone sniping innocent people is?

Who the sniper would have to talk to in order to get his weapon.

That's it. That's the only difference.

... That should be the end, but I can't hold it.

/rant

Let me tell you what I *need* if someone is breaking into my home and I'm lucky enough to wake up, rather than getting my throat cut in bed: I need a phone, and a weapon. I want the best weapon I can get my hands on; right now that's a knife, but I'd love to have a gun instead.

I need a weapon because the homebreaker may be armed. Simple as that. I don't care if he isn't- good, I stand a better chance of killing him then. He shed his rights the moment he crossed from 'outside' to 'my house' without my consent.

I have a right given to me by nature (a law higher in my esteem than any devised by the British government, or any government) to confront an intruder in any way I damned well please; that includes armed, to, the, f*cking, teeth.

You're free to tell me I don't need a weapon in that case... with the understanding that when it's *my* home, *my* opinion is the only one that matters. You're also free not to have a weapon for your own defense in the same situation. I might comment that you're unwise to bear no arms, but I won't interfere.

/endrant

Candidus:
snip

I understand your rant, but many times when someone does have a gun in the house or on the streets it gets used against them. Or other things can happen. There was a suicide in my school where a mentally unstable teen used the password on the safe that held the gun his family owned and shot himself. Many of those school shootings you've (probably) heard about that happen here in the US were made possible by stolen guns.

Most common people who buy guns don't intend on using them for violence, yet there are times where individuals in certain circumstances will freak out and shoot someone (see suicide example above). Common criminals generally aren't murderers unless they're involved in a gang or something similar (although gang violence is, in the US, the number one "cause" of murder). The harder access to guns is made, even though there are holes, the less willing individuals will be to try to own one, for "bad stuff" or otherwise.

I can understand why they would need guns in rural areas, though.

On the article, the 2nd amendment may or may not guarantee gun rights depending on how you interpret it.

Cat Cloud:

I understand your rant, but many times when someone does have a gun in the house or on the streets it gets used against them.

Actually, I wondered whether this would be mentioned. I agree that if you don't intend to use a weapon, then carrying one around- perhaps even owning one- is foolish in the extreme.

I started to carry a knife because I had the tip of a screwdriver skittering around on my abdominal muscles during a fight years ago. I was fortunate that the guy involved was fighting me from the ground when he decided to use the weapon, and hadn't ever stabbed anybody before; he obviously wasn't expecting the sort of resistance you feel punching something so technically blunt into a body, so he didn't do it hard enough. Stopped the fight though- an excellent example of the deterrent power of weaponry, just a shame he was the bad guy.

It was, and I'm not kidding, the single most painful experience *I will ever have*, unless I'm stabbed again. I can say that with confidence.

I'll just briefly visit something I said in passing earlier: pacifism is an aberration. There are times out of the home where violence for your own sake, or for someone elses' sake, becomes necessary if you're a decent human being. It's in our nature, and if you don't understand violence, don't have ready access to it, can't channel it and be cool headed using it, then you're a broken human being who needs professional assistance (so that you CAN bring a weapon and use it effectively for your own protection in the future).

There will be occasions, no doubt, where even under ideal circumstances, the victim loses control of their weapon and is subsequently dispatched by it. That's damned unfortunate, but it is not an argument for controlling distribution of defense systems: knives, guns, pepper spray, handheld sirens and other sonic weaponry, everything from super-lethal to non lethal, the lot.

The facts are that two predators leave each other alone because neither wants to get cut. Everybody with that disposition wants to plunder a nice fat wallet from a biteless gimp who relies on his terror stricken legs and the often distant-when-you-need-them police to keep him safe. Gun control means their prowling grounds get a lot richer. It's pedestrian common sense; a lot fewer working, earning people are potentially armed.

The robbery and burglary profession becomes safer.

No matter how many mistakes, no matter how many "over the top reprisals by victims" (I deny the existence of such a thing), no matter what is pointed to, there's no good argument for disarming the law abiding citizen in my view... Never allow anybody else, certainly not the government, to take control of your safety. If you live through an attack because you kill the aggressor, at least you're alive to face the music and make your case. Be brave, and smart, and be armed outside *and* in your home.

Even in Canada, one can hear the echos of this debate. Fortunately we were founded without too much bloodshed[1] so we don't have that right to bear arms. Here it is a privilege, only allowed to those who know how to use a firearm safely and knows all the rules. It still echos though, with the whole Gun Registry thing going on.

[1] I'm not saying none at all mind you. The quick displacement of the First Nations couldn't have happened without loss of life.

I need a gun because everyone else has a gun.....
What a tired, circular and pointless argument.
Deterrence value has a shelf life, two people get in a fight, one pulls a firearm, so the other pulls a firearm. Someone now has to shoot. If neither of those people were armed in the first place, there'd be a lot less violence.
But my drive was that FPS are useless as weapons training tools.

fat tony:
If neither of those people were armed in the first place, there'd be a lot less violence.

This appears to imply that gun control is a satisfactory way of keeping both parties unarmed.

It's easy to say "two people get in a fight, nobody should be armed"... Two people. We're not really talking about anybody or anything there are we? It is very convenient for the anti-gun march to strip the world of all contexts, it allows them to make an idea that applies to almost *no* violent situations suddenly apply to violence in general. Seems good enough for some lawmakers too, sadly for us.

There are areas in everybody's country where you're at risk of coming under random attack by habitually lawbreaking, tough, intimidating thugs who're quite likely to be armed whether the law says they ought to be or not! Try *any* city.

I'm not saying "I need a gun because everybody's got one". I'm saying- and I'm right- that circumstances exist within the contexts of which any individual should be entitled to bear arms.

Gun control is a way to curb escalation. There are people who will obtain weapons no matter what (I meet them regularly) and they can be countered only by overwhelming force. I don't deny the average citizen has the right to defend themselves. But what I am saying is that assault rifles, large calibre weapons and armouries to rival a FOBs do not belong in the average citizens house. I'm also saying that if everyone had a firearm, everyone would use them. You'd shoot people who drove off without leaving their details after hitting your car, you'd shoot people who threw litter onto your lawn. And if you doubt that, come to my work, I'll introduce you to those offenders.
I'd prefer it if no-one, AT ALL, had firearms. But they're out there, and they need to be kept by people who are responsible, trained, and have sound judgement. There are few crooks who foot that bill, that's not in doubt. But there are a lot more law enforcement officials.
I don't understand your second paragraph; I'm talking about a two person fight, the most common type. What do you think I've missed in terms of context?
If someone is robbing you, they have no entitlement (or right, depends on whose constitution we're working from) to bear arms to do it. You have no entitlement (or right...) to carry weapons on the off chance you'll get jumped. You have the absolute right to defend yourself, but I have found time, and time again, that people who carry to 'defend themselves' are the primary mis-users of any weapon system.

I agree, if someone's robbing you they've got no right at all to bear arms, and if the government or whoever wants to tell me I shouldn't be armed in the day-to-day could gaurantee that they wouldn't be, I'd accept what I was being told: "no arms on the off chance", okay. Until that assurance can be made, I just don't see it.

I'm not sure what constitutes misuse of a weapon system, because legally, where I live, just employing a weapon system in defense of yourself, inside or outside, is usually considered to be "misuse", by virtue of it being illegal.

Obviously, that perception of misuse is nonsense.

I'd say misuse is shooting or stabbing at someone who cuts through your garden, sure.

If everybody had a weapon, would everybody use them for that? I know you say so, and I know you say your work involves people who have- I've got no reason to disbelieve you work with people who have, but from my perspective, those people are just another sort of criminal. Not the sort of person I'm talking about protecting with the right to bear arms.

I've carried for years without stabbing people I've *fought* with, let alone stabbing people who've dropped a sweet wrapper on my grass, and I'm certainly not alone as a weapon-bearer who is strict with himself about when it comes out, that would be preposterous. The source of the illusion here, from my perspective, is that only the misusers get on the radar- because of the very nature of what they wind up doing.

Until that assurance can be made, I just don't see it.
You should be part of the society that works to make it so, rather than another fear-monger.
I've carried for years without stabbing people I've *fought* with
Define fought. You've not once mentioned the number of times you've been robbed. You only carry because of a fight you were in. Fights are voluntary, assaults are not. Either Wales is just this side of purgatory or you need to change your lifestyle.
Misuse means application of unnecessary and excessive force. As I described. I believe in defending yourself, just not through the carriage of weapons. Ironic I know, I'm a soldier turned policeman, all I know is weapons. The first thing every martial art and self-defence system teaches you is to disengage and run the hell away. I think the average civilian is not capable of the judgement and restraint required to own firearms. That's my opinion. I've had enough experience to make that my opinion, and that's after reading studies and all that crap that just bored me anyway. I also believe the average person isn't smart enough to drive a car or be trusted to walk down the street in a straight line, but that's just cynicism.

 

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