Author Joel Rosenberg Arrested

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psrdirector:
what does this have to do with video games? oh right nothing. im sorry but this is jsut the editor trying to force his own political views down the throats of the fans of this site. im opposed to the nra, and if i get so much as a warning for disagreeing with this article i know the escapist cares for the first amendment as much as the nra cares about reducing gun violance, none.

What? Do you not see all the things on this website that aren't gaming related? Hell, Moviebob's three weekly features are tangentially related to games at best. On the front page right now is an article about the Heavy Metal band GWAR, another about the British Government considering black listing porn, like the Australian government wanted to do... The mods just publish stuff that interested them, and they think may interest others.
Yeah, it's likely Pitts himself wrote up the story because it interested him, but it wasn't him "trying to force his... views" on us. At least, I didn't feel that way.
OT: If it is true that he wasn't breaking the law (and it certainly sounds that way, what with both him and his attorney's track records) then he'll get off. Pretty annoying he's going through all this though.

He might be a famous writer and all, but walking around with your guns in a public place makes you a retard in my opinion. I see no reason why he should not be sued.

Hrmm...first Wikipedia now fucking novelists, when will the dictatorship end!

I don't totally get it. Carrying a firearm is legal in the US, but carrying a firearm in City Hall can get you in jail for multiple years? Regardless of whether Rosenberg was allowed to, what is the reasoning behind all this? Why is carrying a firearm in a public place just as harmful as, say, robbing some banks or doing something else that actually involves aggression? Or am I missing something? Could someone please enlighten me?

Also Russ, I'd love to hear your arguments about your opinion on guns. I'm not condemning anything, nor am I planning to start a discussion about this, but I'd just like to hear what makes you (or other members of the NRA, for that matter) tick. As someone living outside the US I've always found it a mystery why Europe differs so drastically from the US when it comes to firearms.

And he should know; in addition to being a fiction author, he's also the author of a number of non-fiction books, one of which is entitled Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota.

I lol'd

Weapons charges are BS anyway. Mere possession of a weapon does not hurt anybody. It's as lame as drug charges and "disturbing the peace" -- all just blanket excuses that law enforcement can use to punish someone who doesn't worship them.

PlasticTree:
I don't totally get it. Carrying a firearm is legal in the US, but carrying a firearm in City Hall can get you in jail for multiple years?...

...As someone living outside the US I've always found it a mystery why Europe differs so drastically from the US when it comes to firearms.

I'm from Minneapolis, Minnesota but I live mostly in Europe (currently Russia but I've been all over). I spent the nine years I lived in Minneapolis working for one of the local police departments (as a civilian security supervisor, I'm not entirely comfortable with the modern police's focus on law enforcement rather than safety and the move from "protect and serve" to "arrest and convict." Also, since I refused to cut my hair, I had little chance of getting hired as an officer). The MPD have a rep for being worse than LAPD, even among other departments, so this episode doesn't surprise me. As an earlier poster said, it's not because he broke the law (he didn't), he made MPD look bad and now they're going after him.

When it comes to guns, I am a supporter of a citizen's right to arm themselves in self-defense. There is no country in the world where it is the duty of the police to defend you and your family, they're there to respond to crime and to catch and prosecute the criminals once they've done something. I've never owned a gun myself but I think the right to ownership is a fundamental western value (not just American). In the history of western culture the distinction between a serf/slave and a citizen was the right to own weapons for both hunting and self-defense. For most of western history, even slaves were legally allowed to arm themselves (and were often given weapons by their owners) even though they had no guaranteed right to do so. Just because we live in safer, more civilized times doesn't mean we should accept legal restrictions which move us closer to feudalism and further from democracy.

All that said, I'm not a member of the NRA, however. I view the matter more as a historian than a politician. Originally the NRA was a solid organization but it seems like they've gone over the brink into irrationality in recent years even if they still do a lot of good on a local level. There are many good members who are not far-right extremists (Russ Pitts and Michael Moore are both NRA members).

In my experience following weapons-related news, most western countries have very similar per-capita weapons ownership (I've seen reports over the years from Gemany, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Russia, Canada, the US, etc). The only difference is the ratio of legal vs. illegal. The US has relatively lax restrictions and high legal ownership. Germany has tight restrictions and high illegal ownership. The US doesn't actually have a significant problem with gun violence itself, our driving habits, eating habits, and medical practices are actually more dangerous than our guns. What we do have is a deeper social problem related to issues of wage disparity and a lack of social welfare infrastructure. Our politicians love debating guns and other "hot button" issues because it lets them ignore important issues like education, healthcare, and jobs.

(My internet connection is so slow today that I can barely use my RSS reader and even Google is timing out so I can't provide much in terms of links. So feel free to distrust everything I say and hit Google to read things for yourself.)

Ensiferum:

psrdirector:
what does this have to do with video games? oh right nothing. im sorry but this is jsut the editor trying to force his own political views down the throats of the fans of this site. im opposed to the nra, and if i get so much as a warning for disagreeing with this article i know the escapist cares for the first amendment as much as the nra cares about reducing gun violance, none.

The Escapist covers all sorts of "geek-related" news, not just news pertaining to video-games. The editor isn't trying to "force his own political views" down anyone's throat. You want to cry first-amendment? Then the editor is also entitled to share his own opinions via the first amendment, or more specifically in this case, the site's guideline's for contributors which must allow them to include their political views in the material they submit to the site (because many of them do include said views, albeit subtly). On top of that, if contributors who hold to more left-wing views such as Yahzee and contributors who hold to more central views such as Bob Chipman (that's simply based on my observations of their submissions mind you) are allowed to contribute to the site, why not in all fairness shouldn't those with right-wing views be allowed to contribute? You're being hypocritical by slamming the editor of this article for his views yet attempting to hide behind the first amendment to avoid criticism yourself.

Well, I do agree with you on this. And as much as I don't like reading anything about those maniacs actually defending giving everyone and their mother a gun, I believe they are entitled to that opinion. What gave me the shudders in this article though, was the fact that it was so very one-sided. If I were present in that city hall that day, and the police were arresting someone who had entered the building with a concealed weapon, I would be glad they took it from him and pressed charges.

As for the author of the article here on escapist, its only stupid going around "bragging" about being a member of the NRA, or that this man is simply protecting his rights. He is not. He's actually just being a **** in my opinion. Listen to this:

He knows he can be in trouble for carrying it, but does it anyway. Then, when he gets arrested, he complains and confronts them, even though he knew they probably would do this. Afterwards, he claims its making him suffer some sort of emotionel distress (or some bullcrap like that). In my opinion, if I met the guy, I'd say something like: "Welcome to selfish-ville, population: you."

PlasticTree:
I don't totally get it. Carrying a firearm is legal in the US, but carrying a firearm in City Hall can get you in jail for multiple years? Regardless of whether Rosenberg was allowed to, what is the reasoning behind all this? Why is carrying a firearm in a public place just as harmful as, say, robbing some banks or doing something else that actually involves aggression? Or am I missing something? Could someone please enlighten me?

Many states maintain lists of "restricted areas" where carrying firearms is prohibited. Among them are commonly schools, court houses, mental institution and detainment facilities such as jails and prisons.

The rationale (which I'm inclined to disagree with in some cases) is that there are some places where there is already proficient security staff (thereby obviating the need for self defense) and there are people who are, by their nature, more at risk (because someone may want to shoot a judge, city council member, or a mentally ill person just plain shouldn't have access to a gun).

In the particular case of city hall, I'd imagine Minnesota simply wants to prevent small-scale assassination attempts. In the case of my home state, City Hall may be a restricted area simply because in many cities, it also serves as a court house and we have had a situation where someone shot at the judge and prosecutor at his own trials -- and even killed a bailiff (long time ago, though... and that guy had a hard time convincing a jury he didn't do it after that).

It's also worth noting that while many states do issue permits to carry weapons, such laws are not uniform throughout the US. Some states do not issue permits to carry while others make it incredibly difficult to obtain one.

Thanks for the explanation, guys. To be honest, I'd give someone a few years in jail if they actually shót a judge of whatever, not when they are simply carrying a gun in his presence.

PlasticTree:
Thanks for the explanation, guys. To be honest, I'd give someone a few years in jail if they actually shót a judge of whatever, not when they are simply carrying a gun in his presence.

Yeah, most legislation is just there to give politicians an excuse when they're confronted by the histrionics brigade. They write a law so they can say "Hey, I did my part to help prevent horrors like these from happening! Vote for me again and I can do my part even harder."

Booze Zombie:
They want to crush him because he embarrassed them, but it's funny, because they set themselves up for an even greater fall now.

There's nothing hard about kicking a man when he's down. They had a month to study up--they know he doesn't have the money to defend himself. It doesn't matter if you're right or not--so long as you can't defend yourself in court, you won't win the case.

The cops won this a long time ago.

psrdirector:
what does this have to do with video games? oh right nothing. im sorry but this is jsut the editor trying to force his own political views down the throats of the fans of this site. im opposed to the nra, and if i get so much as a warning for disagreeing with this article i know the escapist cares for the first amendment as much as the nra cares about reducing gun violance, none.

I think your fellow community members have addressed your points better than I could, but I will address one misconception under which you seem to be operating.

To wit: The Escapist is not public property, therefore your rights to express yourself using The Escapist Forum are not governed by the Constitution of the United States, rather, the Code of Conduct of The Escapist.

What does this mean? It means that your right to express yourself is based on your agreement to the terms under which we operate this Forum as defined by us, and not your inalienable rights as a human being as defined by the authors of the US Constitution.

The Constitution of the United States of America, on the other hand (specifically the 1st Amendment, and the first article in what is commonly referred to as The Bill of Rights), grants American citizens the right to express themselves in whatever forum or media without fear of prosecution by Local, State or Federal law enforcement officers. In other words, the Government of the United States (or any of the various governments within the United States) does/do not have the legal right to punish an American citizen for speaking their mind except in a relatively few, straightforward instances such as speech that would be slanderous against or harmful to others.

Therefore, as an American citizen, one may not face legal prosecution for, say, disagreeing with the Editor-in-Chief of The Escapist in The Escapist Forum, or theoretically, for posting videos on YouTube ridiculing the Minneapolis Police Department, but The Escapist can reasonably and legally ban you if you violate our code of conduct, and YouTube could pull your videos if you violate theirs. Whether or not we would ever do such a thing (we wouldn't) is irrelevant.

As far as me "forcing [my] political views" on anyone, get over it. I have opinions. I will share them. Feel free to disagree with them. I think it's a testament to how sensitive this particular issue is in some circles that this relatively even-handed news article can generate such a virulent objection.

MrScandinavia:

Ensiferum:

psrdirector:
what does this have to do with video games? oh right nothing. im sorry but this is jsut the editor trying to force his own political views down the throats of the fans of this site. im opposed to the nra, and if i get so much as a warning for disagreeing with this article i know the escapist cares for the first amendment as much as the nra cares about reducing gun violance, none.

The Escapist covers all sorts of "geek-related" news, not just news pertaining to video-games. The editor isn't trying to "force his own political views" down anyone's throat. You want to cry first-amendment? Then the editor is also entitled to share his own opinions via the first amendment, or more specifically in this case, the site's guideline's for contributors which must allow them to include their political views in the material they submit to the site (because many of them do include said views, albeit subtly). On top of that, if contributors who hold to more left-wing views such as Yahzee and contributors who hold to more central views such as Bob Chipman (that's simply based on my observations of their submissions mind you) are allowed to contribute to the site, why not in all fairness shouldn't those with right-wing views be allowed to contribute? You're being hypocritical by slamming the editor of this article for his views yet attempting to hide behind the first amendment to avoid criticism yourself.

Well, I do agree with you on this. And as much as I don't like reading anything about those maniacs actually defending giving everyone and their mother a gun, I believe they are entitled to that opinion. What gave me the shudders in this article though, was the fact that it was so very one-sided. If I were present in that city hall that day, and the police were arresting someone who had entered the building with a concealed weapon, I would be glad they took it from him and pressed charges.

As for the author of the article here on escapist, its only stupid going around "bragging" about being a member of the NRA, or that this man is simply protecting his rights. He is not. He's actually just being a **** in my opinion. Listen to this:

He knows he can be in trouble for carrying it, but does it anyway. Then, when he gets arrested, he complains and confronts them, even though he knew they probably would do this. Afterwards, he claims its making him suffer some sort of emotionel distress (or some bullcrap like that). In my opinion, if I met the guy, I'd say something like: "Welcome to selfish-ville, population: you."

I'm sorry, did you even read the article? He wasn't arrested that day, he was arrested a month later after he posted an unflattering video on YouTube. He knows the person that wrote the law in question, and that person is quite certain he wasn't breaking it. He was arrested and is now trying to defend himself, there are no lawsuits involved.

That basically fits nothing of what you said at all. Why did you even post if you didn't read the article?

PlasticTree:
Also Russ, I'd love to hear your arguments about your opinion on guns. I'm not condemning anything, nor am I planning to start a discussion about this, but I'd just like to hear what makes you (or other members of the NRA, for that matter) tick. As someone living outside the US I've always found it a mystery why Europe differs so drastically from the US when it comes to firearms.

This is not really the forum for that kind of thing, but suffice to say I was born and raised in Texas, a state with a long-standing tradition of independence and self-reliance instilled in its citizenry for historical reasons too broad to go into here. In Texas, owning a gun is about as unremarkable as owning a hat anywhere else. I was raised by a family of responsible gun owners, and I grew up to become one myself. It's basically that simple. Where I'm from, that is just the way things are.

As far as the NRA, just like any sufficiently large organization, it is comprised of members who fall all over the ideological map on a number of issues. The reasons I am a member, for example, may differ wildly from the reasons anyone else may be a member. I'm not ashamed, afraid or otherwise reluctant to declare my membership in the NRA, but I don't always agree with all of its policies or find common ground with all of its members. I do, however, believe that their work on behalf of upholding one of the fundamental rights granted to American citizens by the framers of the US Constitution is worth supporting.

The founding fathers believed this issue was so important that it came second in their minds only to our rights as free humans to speak ours. That, to me, means something, and I'm happy to contribute my money and time to help those who agree. I understand that a lot of people don't like guns and would prefer to never see them or hear about them. I understand that. I believe it is their right to decide for themselves whether or not they will exercise their own rights, but it is not their right infringe upon mine.

It's incident like this that continually remind me why police officers in general are not to be trusted any further than any other human being, which is to say not even as far as I can throw them.

If it were not necro-ing I'd post a link to this on a recent topic basically asking "why do so few excapist users respect and trust the authoritah of the police?", this here is a prime bloody example. Bending and re-interpreting the law to suit their own ends, this is not an isolated incident nor its limited to one locale, its regular and its everywhere.

Im a scot but for everyone who says 'hell mend him, I'd never carry a weapon he deserves jail' that is your choice but who are you to remove rights from others without due cause?

Russ Pitts:
snip

Fair enough, thanks for your response. For pretty much anyone I know (= Dutch people) a right to carry firearms sounds very..surrealistic, so I always wonder how it is possible that so many people across the ocean have such a drastically different opinion about it. Culture is a strange thing.

PlasticTree:

Russ Pitts:
snip

Fair enough, thanks for your response. For pretty much anyone I know (= Dutch people) a right to carry firearms sounds very..surrealistic, so I always wonder how it is possible that so many people across the ocean have such a drastically different opinion about it. Culture is a strange thing.

Agreed. This reminds me of what a glorious and wonderful world it is in which we live that so many people with so many seemingly opposite points of view can nevertheless find common ground and become friends. Culture is indeed a strange thing, but tolerance is a magical and wonderful thing. ;)

ZephrC:

MrScandinavia:

Ensiferum:

The Escapist covers all sorts of "geek-related" news, not just news pertaining to video-games. The editor isn't trying to "force his own political views" down anyone's throat. You want to cry first-amendment? Then the editor is also entitled to share his own opinions via the first amendment, or more specifically in this case, the site's guideline's for contributors which must allow them to include their political views in the material they submit to the site (because many of them do include said views, albeit subtly). On top of that, if contributors who hold to more left-wing views such as Yahzee and contributors who hold to more central views such as Bob Chipman (that's simply based on my observations of their submissions mind you) are allowed to contribute to the site, why not in all fairness shouldn't those with right-wing views be allowed to contribute? You're being hypocritical by slamming the editor of this article for his views yet attempting to hide behind the first amendment to avoid criticism yourself.

Well, I do agree with you on this. And as much as I don't like reading anything about those maniacs actually defending giving everyone and their mother a gun, I believe they are entitled to that opinion. What gave me the shudders in this article though, was the fact that it was so very one-sided. If I were present in that city hall that day, and the police were arresting someone who had entered the building with a concealed weapon, I would be glad they took it from him and pressed charges.

As for the author of the article here on escapist, its only stupid going around "bragging" about being a member of the NRA, or that this man is simply protecting his rights. He is not. He's actually just being a **** in my opinion. Listen to this:

He knows he can be in trouble for carrying it, but does it anyway. Then, when he gets arrested, he complains and confronts them, even though he knew they probably would do this. Afterwards, he claims its making him suffer some sort of emotionel distress (or some bullcrap like that). In my opinion, if I met the guy, I'd say something like: "Welcome to selfish-ville, population: you."

I'm sorry, did you even read the article? He wasn't arrested that day, he was arrested a month later after he posted an unflattering video on YouTube. He knows the person that wrote the law in question, and that person is quite certain he wasn't breaking it. He was arrested and is now trying to defend himself, there are no lawsuits involved.

That basically fits nothing of what you said at all. Why did you even post if you didn't read the article?

Just gonna answer this quickly... Yes I read the article, and I know that he wasn't arrested the same day. But he was arrested because of the incident of carrying the firearm in the given situation, not because he made a video. I didn't mention any time he was arrested, simply that it was the triggering incident.

Second, how could the officer know that the guy he arrested, once again for bringing a firearm to a place where normal commonsense dictatets that you shouldn't, knew some guy who had written that specific law? Try using that as an excuse the next time you get pulled over for anything.

And as for the whole suing thing; you really think that somewhere along the line here, that is in the future, you really don't see this guy suing someone for the trouble of being arrested if he's cleaned of the charges he's facing? This is America we're talking about. Less strange things have happened.

[start trolling]
He could say he was going to do some LARP rather than murdering young virgins for a satanic ritual that all fantasy and DND fans are known engage in.
[/end trolling]

Russ Pitts:
...it is not their right infringe upon mine.

Amen. And I'm not even that religious. Some of us dig the editors opinions Russ, keep em comin!

sibrenfetter:
He might be a famous writer and all, but walking around with your guns in a public place makes you a retard in my opinion. I see no reason why he should not be sued.

Then you don't realize he did nothing which he could be sued for (let alone jailed).

To the contrary, he correctly cited the law which allows his possession of a firearm in a public building. The officer was reliant not on knowledge of the law, but of a posted notice which itself was in violation of the law.

If Rosenberg wins his court case, it's likely he's going to be the one doing the suing in civil action afterwards. That's easy money.

Hopefully he'll get some jail time just for being a passive aggressive git.

Guns aren't jokes. Using them in such a confrontational manner is childish at best. 90 days in jail, off to see a shrink, and hopefully he'll just stay home and shut his damn mouth. This article is presented way too one sided also.

MrScandinavia:
Just gonna answer this quickly... Yes I read the article, and I know that he wasn't arrested the same day. But he was arrested because of the incident of carrying the firearm in the given situation, not because he made a video. I didn't mention any time he was arrested, simply that it was the triggering incident.

Second, how could the officer know that the guy he arrested, once again for bringing a firearm to a place where normal commonsense dictatets that you shouldn't, knew some guy who had written that specific law? Try using that as an excuse the next time you get pulled over for anything.

And as for the whole suing thing; you really think that somewhere along the line here, that is in the future, you really don't see this guy suing someone for the trouble of being arrested if he's cleaned of the charges he's facing? This is America we're talking about. Less strange things have happened.

Police shouldn't be arresting people for doing things that aren't illegal. It doesn't matter whether you think it's common sense. It doesn't even matter if it is common sense. Common sense is often wrong, and anyway, the police should know the law before they try to enforce it.

How would you feel if you ended up losing your job in this economy for doing something perfectly legal? And then complying with an officer that was trying to enforce a non-existent law? Do you really want to live in a country where the police can destroy your life over whatever made up crap they feel like enforcing that particular minute?

Don't get me wrong, most police officers are decent people doing a dangerous job with very little appreciation, but bullshit like this only makes their job harder and them even less appreciated. Idiocy like this needs to be stopped for the benefit of law enforcement. If you don't like the way the law works you get it changed. You don't let dickheads make up their own rules and give the police a bad name. And since they didn't arrest him until a month later, it wasn't the officer that asked him not to bring his gun in that was even the problem, really. He was just trying to do his job while misinformed. It's the petty idiot that waited a month and then had him arrested as soon as he made them look bad that deserves to be fired over this shit.

Considering he's a fantasy author, I was totally expecting this case to be about him owning swords or something of that sort...

burntheartist:
Hopefully he'll get some jail time just for being a passive aggressive git.

Yeah, because we should be locking up people just for irritating you personally. Rather even LESS cause than we lock people up in Gitmo for.

Guns aren't jokes. Using them in such a confrontational manner is childish at best.

Aaaaaand if Rosenberg had been playing a joke OR using a gun confrontationally, you'd have a point.

Russ Pitts:
I do, however, believe that their work on behalf of upholding one of the fundamental rights granted to American citizens by the framers of the US Constitution is worth supporting.

The founding fathers believed this issue was so important that it came second in their minds only to our rights as free humans to speak ours.

This might come as a shock to you, but people in other countries don't actually tend to place much value in the supernatural power that Americans ascribe to the founding fathers and their magic documents To be frank, your argument is an archaic and regressive appeal to a kind of literalism that is as invalid when considering a constitution or a bill of rights as it is when considering the bible. Or indeed, any other text.

These documents are endlessly reinterpreted, most of all by the people who claim a fundamental, literalistic, or originalist view of them. Conservatives in particular are notorious for banging on about their preferred rights (and the popular interpretation of the second amendment is a classic example of this), while they commit appalling breaches of even the most basic rights when it suits them. The notion that these documents of historical figures are somehow relevant or valid beyond the value ascribed to them by modern context is absurd.

Do us all a favour, take responsibility for your own beliefs, appealing to the credibility of a bunch of historical figures might pass muster in the increasingly comical faux-democracy you live in, but you only have to look at America's actual record on the treatment of it's citizens and other people around to world to see what little real merit or power these documents have. If anything, such bizarre myth and melodrama clearly serves to obscure the actual dysfunction of your extremely overrated form of government.

Yes, Americans get to own guns. They can even wave them around in public. Do they have functional health care, education, or regulation in any sector? Of course not, they're a democracy, and democracy is about tax cuts for the super rich, cheap gas, stupidly large military budgets, and strutting around public buildings with a nickel-plated surrogate cock on your hip. Good lord, of all the terrible things police officers do, forcing this jackass to disarm was certainly not one of them.

That, to me, means something, and I'm happy to contribute my money and time to help those who agree. I understand that a lot of people don't like guns and would prefer to never see them or hear about them. I understand that. I believe it is their right to decide for themselves whether or not they will exercise their own rights, but it is not their right infringe upon mine.

And it's not your right to infringe upon theirs by contributing to and offering political protection to such a dangerous industry. Are you aware of how many Texan guns find their way south across the border every year? And how many people die as a result? American states sharing the border aren't just involved in drugs coming north, and money going south- guns go south as well, and a great deal of them aren't stolen or covertly purchased, they're simply bought. These weapons arm the gangs and enforcers that are inflicting such a terrible death toll, and they're certainly far better armed due to their proximity to the good old US of A.

If you or those like you cared about other people's rights and indeed their lives, then your first, last, and only agenda for the foreseeable future would be far tighter regulation of guns sales in your state to prevent those tragedies from occurring. Instead, your agenda is backing up some crank in Minnesota who has taken as his cause a similarly self-serving 'right' which is in truth nothing but a bizarre cultural affectation.

PS- The NRA was pivotal in turning video games into scapegoats for school shootings.

PPS- I'm sure you'll use your pre-packaged legalism from above to infringe upon my free speech as presented in this post, but for the record, if you have a principle, and believe that people have a right, you work uphold that right even when you aren't required to do so by law. That's the difference between an american establishment-style constitutional right, and an actual, functional, meaningful right.

PPPS- Sorry about the rant everyone but between this and moviebob bleating on like Penn Gilette about GM foods and an outright sociopath about starving people being less important then a mars colony, I'd reached my limit of idiotic Americans for the month. I get enough of that shit elsewhere on the net without putting up with it here, and if that's what's going to pass for content then people should be stating their opinion about it.

are your cityhalls so unsafe?
Why the heck should i carry a gun into a city hall? are there rapists, murderer etc?
i dont know. i´m from germany, we´ve repressive laws and i am happy with it. our capital crima rates are low, and i think that may be a side effect of this law.
Ot:

happyelf:

Russ Pitts:
I do, however, believe that their work on behalf of upholding one of the fundamental rights granted to American citizens by the framers of the US Constitution is worth supporting.

The founding fathers believed this issue was so important that it came second in their minds only to our rights as free humans to speak ours.

This might come as a shock to you, but people in other countries don't actually tend to place much value in the supernatural power that Americans ascribe to the founding fathers and their magic documents To be frank, your argument is an archaic and regressive appeal to a kind of literalism that is as invalid when considering a constitution or a bill of rights as it is when considering the bible. Or indeed, any other text.

And its meant to be. A group of individuals framed the argument many years ago in terms of "god given" and "inalienable" rights so that no one then or in the future could attempt to ply changes to our rights whether through carefully worded law or force of arms.

happyelf:
These documents are endlessly reinterpreted, most of all by the people who claim a fundamental, literalistic, or originalist view of them. Conservatives in particular are notorious for banging on about their preferred rights (and the popular interpretation of the second amendment is a classic example of this), while they commit appalling breaches of even the most basic rights when it suits them. The notion that these documents of historical figures are somehow relevant or valid beyond the value ascribed to them by modern context is absurd.

No argument here. If the US could actually break the two party system with a choice that ascribed to all of the tenets of the Constitution and its amendments, I believe great change might actually happen. But I doubt I'll see it in my lifetime.

happyelf:
Do us all a favour, take responsibility for your own beliefs, appealing to the credibility of a bunch of historical figures might pass muster in the increasingly comical faux-democracy you live in, but you only have to look at America's actual record on the treatment of it's citizens and other people around to world to see what little real merit or power these documents have. If anything, such bizarre myth and melodrama clearly serves to obscure the actual dysfunction of your extremely overrated form of government.

Painting with a pretty broad brush aren't we? First off, the freedom that you will find many Americans enjoying does not come from the "extremely overrated form of government". If anything if you're hearing something outside of the US talking about how great its government is, you need to find some new news sources brother. The line of folks that are displeased/dissatisfied/disgusted with our government is long and loud. We are, in a word, unhappy. But when you let Mary Shelly's monster loose with less than half its original brainpower and double the greed of Scrooge McDuck, changes will be exceedingly slow.

It started as a republic and quickly became a democracy. No faux about it, every political topic is perverted into a popularity contest... winner take all. And while its very popular to bash its treatment of its citizens, understand that there is a super majority of residents who want to be left the hell alone when it comes to Uncle Sam. Taking responsibility for themselves, their beliefs and a (yes I'll say it) bull headed stubbornness to do things without help... All because of the merit and power of those documents.

happyelf:
Yes, Americans get to own guns.

As long as they are citizens, they aren't felons, they aren't judged mentally deficient, or they aren't currently on the run form the law. That's the ownership responsibility on the Federal level. All 50 states then have some additional regulations from the lowest regulations (following the federal rules) to positively draconian (Kalifornia, Massachusetts)

happyelf:
They can even wave them around in public.

No they cannot. That's called brandishing and its no different if you began to wave a sword, knife, baseball bat or wrecking ball around. Its dangerous. Like most things, if you can't act responsibly, you might not get to keep it.

happyelf:
Do they have functional health care, education, or regulation in any sector? Of course not, they're a democracy, and democracy is about tax cuts for the super rich, cheap gas, stupidly large military budgets, and strutting around public buildings with a nickel-plated surrogate cock on your hip.

All penis projection jokes aside, I have had functional government provided health care for the past five years, I'm almost done with my Bachelor of Science degree (which is taking me nearly 17 years to complete through every fault of mine and mine alone) and nearly every part of my life is regulated from gasoline tax to how I'm allowed to walk across the road. The federal code alone is ten thousand pages and you better hope you don't break that! State laws and rules, county zoning and statute, city ordinances... regulation is the cornerstone of how government (in this country) rides the coattails of the economy. Personally, I don't mind tax cuts whether they are actual tax cuts or if, like the latest ones, they aren't a "cut" at all... just a mandate to continue status quo instead of going back to pre break levels. It usually means a game or two under the tree next year for yours truly. I'm below fed poverty level, but it means financial breaks for the poorest of the poor too. Gas here, by the way, is not only not cheap, it sucks. The stuff you can get in say... the UK? Oooh that's good burnin stuff. Ours is overfilled with "alternatives" meant only to propel a now defunct system of subsidies and corn fields. I miss real gas. Good lord, of all the terrible things police officers do, forcing this jackass to disarm was certainly not one of them.

happyelf:
And it's not your right to infringe upon theirs by contributing to and offering political protection to such a dangerous industry. Are you aware of how many Texan guns find their way south across the border every year?

I believe the correct question is are *you* aware? The ATF and both the US and Mexican governments have stopped publishing numbers related to seized weapons and traceable guns due to faulty facts. Simply claiming they are coming from the US then showing a fully auto M60 on top of a pile of confiscated money, drugs, and guns looks great, sounds great for the press and the public... however, insofar as class II, III, and NFA regulated (yes I said regulated) firearms, there are *NONE* that come legally from US sources. Before you dig into past articles examine very closely what I've written there. There may be a number of straw purchases for semi auto weapons, shotguns, and handguns. But those cartel boys are using full auto MP-5's. They don't just give anybody one of those, let alone enough to outfit entire groups of men. Guns come from many more places than Texas.

happyelf:
If you or those like you cared about other people's rights and indeed their lives, then your first, last, and only agenda for the foreseeable future would be far tighter regulation of guns sales in your state to prevent those tragedies from occurring. Instead, your agenda is backing up some crank in Minnesota who has taken as his cause a similarly self-serving 'right' which is in truth nothing but a bizarre cultural affectation.

Sorry you see it that way Elf. But the horrible thing about having a monster for a government is if you give it an inch, it will eat you alive.

happyelf:
PS- The NRA was pivotal in turning video games into scapegoats for school shootings.

And they threw gun owners under the bus in 1993 also, they don't have any of my money.

happyelf:
PPS- I'm sure you'll use your pre-packaged legalism from above to infringe upon my free speech as presented in this post, but for the record, if you have a principle, and believe that people have a right, you work uphold that right even when you aren't required to do so by law. That's the difference between an american establishment-style constitutional right, and an actual, functional, meaningful right.

And (bolding emphasis mine) that's exactly what the author in question is doing in this situation. Functional, meaningful, actual, working to protect it. I have no problem with your right to speak, why do you have something against his right to work to uphold the law? Unless we're going to drift into another "nickel plated" penis fantasy I think you're making his point for him.

happyelf:
PPPS- Sorry about the rant everyone but between this and moviebob bleating on like Penn Gilette about GM foods and an outright sociopath about starving people being less important then a mars colony, I'd reached my limit of idiotic Americans for the month. I get enough of that shit elsewhere on the net without putting up with it here, and if that's what's going to pass for content then people should be stating their opinion about it.

No problems here, I can't stand moviebob either. ;)

(Apologies in advance if the formatting is wonky)

While I'm fond of guns, and love firing one. I don't think there's a real need for the average citizen to carry one (I'm an Englishman living in Canada which explains that a little). That being said I'm kind of torn about this news. On the one hand our writer protagonist is obeying the law and the police are, assuming the article is correct, in the wrong. On the other hand he entered this situation knowing what would happen in order to make a point and antagonize the police. Now he wants Joe public to help pay for his stunt. That doesn't seem right to me.

On a lighter note. The fact I now know Russ Pitts is armed to the teeth makes that strip I was writing about how bad his 'Top games of the year' choices were seem like kind of a bad idea.

I'm trying not to escalate thiss or drag us into nested quote hell so i'm only going to tackle a few points.

darkknight9:

happyelf:
And it's not your right to infringe upon theirs by contributing to and offering political protection to such a dangerous industry. Are you aware of how many Texan guns find their way south across the border every year?

I believe the correct question is are *you* aware? The ATF and both the US and Mexican governments have stopped publishing numbers related to seized weapons and traceable guns due to faulty facts. Simply claiming they are coming from the US then showing a fully auto M60 on top of a pile of confiscated money, drugs, and guns looks great, sounds great for the press and the public... however, insofar as class II, III, and NFA regulated (yes I said regulated) firearms, there are *NONE* that come legally from US sources. Before you dig into past articles examine very closely what I've written there. There may be a number of straw purchases for semi auto weapons, shotguns, and handguns. But those cartel boys are using full auto MP-5's. They don't just give anybody one of those, let alone enough to outfit entire groups of men. Guns come from many more places than Texas.

I'm not suggesting that there aren't other sources of weapons, but despite your dismissal of 'that one news story with the m60' the reality is that this continues to be a serious problem. Yes, i'm sure that under the Obama administration, the US government, the ATF, the Mexican government, and indeed the pope and Jesus christ themself are all shying away from such a right wing wedge issue with gusto. That's pretty much all they do; run scared and apologise for being voted for by liberals.

And no doubt errors were made- just like the occasional error is made in everything from climate change science to biology. But that doesn't mean we should accept the counterarguments made when they are so clearly shaped by the powerful interests behind them.

No offence, but anyone looking at the US in depth, as I have, should recognise that the powers at play are corperatist, conservative, and yes, selectivly authoritarian. If you haven't figured that out yet, I don't know what to say to you. We can talk again in 20 years about how your health care has worked out for you and your friends and family. Or how employment or hoising or much of anything is going in the 'self reliant' nation you live in. What state are you in anyway? Because apart from Texas, there aren't many conservative states that don't take more than their fair share of federal taxes, despite their claims about self reliance.

You talk about regulations riding the coat-tails, but it's the poorly and deliberatly de-regulated* financial market that tied your economy to the back of their armani suits, jumped into a hole, and then got back out again with no strings attached thaks to their buddies in the GOP, who didn't shout nearly as hard against bailout and stimulus as they did against tighter regulation and stronger terms for the huge loan the american taxpayers gave to the ultra-rich who have just been given yet another tax cut to the massive detriment of the deficit. And then they go back to raging against what few social services you have left.

*And yes, i'm aware who did that, albeit with the help of Newt's Republican revolution. I'm not fan of the democrats, either.

That's the state of play in the US, and it's certainly the state of play when it comes issues relating to firearms.

If you honestly think that there isn't a serious problem with the guns trade in southern states, then you need to read up more on the way in which industries, ALL SORTS of industries, contribute brazenly to illegal actitivy through direct, legal sales. One example, you know meth? Big problem in the US, and elsewhere? Meth is created through the purchase of drugs available over the counter, and has become such a big buyer of these drugs that recent studies suggest as many as half the sales of such drugs in the US go to people providing raw materials for meth labs.

That's one example. There is a wealth of quasilegal activity taking place in pretty much any major industry, from bribing regulators, to obstructing scrutiny, to outright hazardhous sales of legal material. And corrupt, disfunctional regulators on both state and federal levels are hard pressed to even give a shit that it takes place.

The same goes for guns. As a gun advocate, you probably think that regulations governing guns are at worst suitable, at best, draconian. But the actual tracking and sale of guns is not nearly as clear cut as you are suggesting, and preventng solid tracking methods is one of the key agendas of the gun lobby.

There is an enormous quasi-legal trade of guns in the US, in no small part due to their popularity, volume, and protected legal status. Certainly this trade in southern states on the border is a serious issue, and it's unwise for you to brush it off in line with information you find pleasing, information which has been no doubt prepared specifically to appease people like you and put your concerns to rest.

Remember, I don't have a stake in this- I live in Australia, and we've got a lot of problems, but after a particularly nasty shooting spree in tasmania we heavily tightened gun laws and we've been safer as a result. Does US gun lobby propaganda paint us as safer? No actually, they present the act as causing a crime spree. Is the information you've read from similarly compromised sources any more valid in it's rebuttal of the trade of guns and drugs in southern border states? No, not really. They might state facts, but they state facts about australian crime too(violent crime was up in a slice of that timeframe, but that was taken out of context, and overall crime remains extremly low, and the rise corelates with the rise in organised and regional crime), it doesn't make their argument any more valid, and their assesment any less deliberatly misleading. But that's fine for me, I can sit here and laugh at the plight of the world if I want to. I have friends, even american friends, who do it as a hobby. We can all sit and watch things slide slowly into a hole, particularly those of us in a country without a health care cartel.

But you do have a stake in this, and you owe it to yourself to cast aside the propaganda that obscures to many issues everywhere in the world, but particularly in the US. And don't imagine for a moment that the propaganda or persecution involved in this issue is two way, or left wing- whatever half-assed efforts the other side has been making, it pales in signifigance compared to the Gun lobby. As you mentioned yourself, the NRA has grown powerful and influential enough that it doesn't even really need to keep it's base-gun owners- happy anymore. And to be frank, this is about a lot more than guns, and to be even more frank, guns are just a thing that powerful people use to distract guys like you and russel from real issues, and from the problems within you own areas of the political spectrum.

happyelf:
If you or those like you cared about other people's rights and indeed their lives, then your first, last, and only agenda for the foreseeable future would be far tighter regulation of guns sales in your state to prevent those tragedies from occurring. Instead, your agenda is backing up some crank in Minnesota who has taken as his cause a similarly self-serving 'right' which is in truth nothing but a bizarre cultural affectation.

Sorry you see it that way Elf. But the horrible thing about having a monster for a government is if you give it an inch, it will eat you alive.

And using that kind of logic, that anti-government screed, conservatives wooshed into power under George Bush, and embarked on one of the most monsterous periods of brutality, waste, and warmongering that your nation has ever seen. And they'll probably do it again in 2 years, and then again in 12 years or so. And in between, the democrats will hold the left hostage for fear of what the gop will do. And then they'll all go out to the same dinner parties and laugh about what suckers you all are.

You're just playing your part in the big game. The 'I hate the government' myth is created to disengage you from political action, and encourage you to oppose desperatly needed regulation, taxation, and social services. You talk about self reliance, but you're really practicing self-disenfranchisement.

The only way that people can remain free in the face of opression by the powerful, is to band together and form functional, but also powerful democratic institutions. It's not enough to have a government, you have to have a strong government, because if you don't, you even up with a corrupt, disfunctional, incompetent government that spends it's time bailing out the super rich and invading the middle east. A ddemocracy must be strong, or it's not a democracy. And please, don't talk about how american is a republic or a democracy or blah blah blah. From where i'm standing, only half your country votes, and you don't even have a preferntial ballot. Your idealised reverence for the bill of rights and constitution has if anything, aided in the calcification of your system, and suporting it is just another myth to keep you under control.

And it's not as if liberals don't have their big myths, too. The democrats are built on such myths, and retain power with them- power over the party, and power over the left. The virtue of centrism, the positive power of the free market, the meritocracy of wealth, the triumph of incremental reform. The spoiler effect, which can be real in some races, but certainly was not a reason to blame Ralh Nader for losing to george Bush. And on, and on, it's clear
you're all been suckered. You all have your own myths, wether you get them from fox news, or the new york times, the daily show, or the economist.

And yeah, we get plenty of BS over here- horrible, racist policies, suicidally wasteful neglect of major issues like climate change, all sorts of stuff. But in most democracites, lobbying and propaganda are a million dollar industry. In the US, it's worth billions. And in one of thoee billion dollar firms, there's a team of brigh young go-getters working very hard to make sure you keep believing in your self reliance, and the monsterous nature of government, and the importance ofyoue gun rights. They've probably got a whole building dedicated to it somewhere along k-street.

It's not the government that is monserous, it's the people running it, and the people controlling them.

happyelf:
PS- The NRA was pivotal in turning video games into scapegoats for school shootings.

And they threw gun owners under the bus in 1993 also, they don't have any of my money.

I'm not suggesting that the NRA is actually serving the interests of gun owners, they have clearly risen to that lofty height where their Purpose is no longer really relevant. But then again, you aren't really serving your best interests by putting time and money into this issue. There are real problems in your comunity- in all our comunities, and false issues, wether they be gun rights in the US, or Boat People in Australia, serve to distract us, and come at too high a human cost for us to tolerate.

happyelf:
PPS- I'm sure you'll use your pre-packaged legalism from above to infringe upon my free speech as presented in this post, but for the record, if you have a principle, and believe that people have a right, you work uphold that right even when you aren't required to do so by law. That's the difference between an american establishment-style constitutional right, and an actual, functional, meaningful right.

And (bolding emphasis mine) that's exactly what the author in question is doing in this situation. Functional, meaningful, actual, working to protect it. I have no problem with your right to speak, why do you have something against his right to work to uphold the law? Unless we're going to drift into another "nickel plated" penis fantasy I think you're making his point for him.

Because as i've said, wether you accept it or not, your rights come not only at a human cost, but at a political cost. The more you put into the myths like gun rights and states rights and property rights, the less you'll be able to protect your Actual Rights.

happyelf:
PPPS- Sorry about the rant everyone but between this and moviebob bleating on like Penn Gilette about GM foods and an outright sociopath about starving people being less important then a mars colony, I'd reached my limit of idiotic Americans for the month. I get enough of that shit elsewhere on the net without putting up with it here, and if that's what's going to pass for content then people should be stating their opinion about it.

No problems here, I can't stand moviebob either. ;)
(Apologies in advance if the formatting is wonky)[/quote]And I apologise for any typos i left in this since i typed it in a rush.

As for moviebob, I don't mind his movie stuff, but a dude can't just outright say 'my fantasies about mars missions are more important than world hunger' and expect people to pat him on the back for being such a jackass. Not that it stopped a bunch of people from doing just that.

I fail to see a valid reason for the arrest. Rosenburg fully complied with the officers request as required by laws in that jurisdiction. Personal vendettas aren't reason to arrest someone and neither is his posted video that shows improper handling of the departments actions.

I find many of the comments that people are making about police officers to be in poor taste though. I come from a family full of police officers and know the trauma that they go through on a regular basis.

The things that are made apparent in the world are not the good, but the bad. You hear on the news about murder and war, but rarely about the good that people do in a community. The reasons behind them make at least some sense though, if your cities police department were to bust a major drug smuggling ring or weapon traffickers that isn't shown.

What I am trying to say is don't lump all police in with the bad ones. For every corrupt power hungry cop there are 10 trying to make their community a safer place for their families and those they care about. The systems themselves may be corrupt and sometimes royally screw things up, but the individuals go through more then most people can bare.

Starke:
[quote="Russ Pitts" post="6.252030.9357464"]Russ Pitts is the Editor-in-Chief of The Escapist, a long-time fan of Joel Rosengberg's work and a member of the NRA.

I seriously would never have guessed that.

Really? I'm not suprised, although I actually had him pegged as a Libertarian.

happyelf:
I'm trying not to escalate thiss or drag us into nested quote hell so i'm only going to tackle a few points.

Agreed. I got damn near lost in my own earlier, so I'll do away with most of it in this one.

As for 'that one news story' its really about *every news story where the most ferocious looking are the ones paraded around. And an important distinction must be made. Fully auto or true assault (select fire) weapons are prohibitively expensive and heavily regulated in the US. Zero crimes have been committed in the US with legally owned NFA (National Firearms Act) weapons. The closest one could draw to a crime being committed with one is after being fired by his local police department, a former LEO stole a sub machine gun from his former employer and murdered a few folks. The typical initial background check for a first timer buying a machine gun, silencer, etc is six to eight months. You agree to be at the ATF and FBI's beck and call 24/7 and allow them unfettered access to your weapons. No warrants. No Lawyers. Heck they don't even have to knock on your door if they don't want to. (You will find they are courteous enough to at least call the day before in most cases). Do this, and they will allow you to keep them until your next inspection. Do it not and your 10, 20, 30 or even 100 thousand dollar plus toys become property of the government. To date, none confiscated have been returned.

Now, I grant you, people try to buy guns and are denied through the check system. They are then reported and if the local sheriff has time, he'll look into it. And they have family buy for them through straw buyers. That carries a hefty fine and federal prison time but rarely gets prosecuted because like most laws in my country its meant as an add on to other crimes to increase the likely hood that you'll settle or plea bargain your way out of the charges. The myth that the law is actually pursued and that people are brought to justice before the guns are gone is just that. A myth. As for the thought of the individual dealers breaking the law and selling them illegally, I can tell you that the BATFe agents make their names and get promotions based on how many of these guys they catch... and its the only glory or newsworthy leverage they have in the political thunderdome of appropriations. Nothing says "more tax money please" to the senators in Washington than 'that one news story'. As such, crooked dealers are few and far between.

Remember that while some weapons are making it through, the murders are being perpetrated by gents with fully auto AR15's, MP5's and AK's. Ones that arrive by the crate and are either stolen/acquired from Mexico's army... or smuggled in just like any other country might get a crate of brand new MP5's. In all honesty I hope folks reporting these crimes and singing songs of gangsters in Mexico start paying attention to where these things come from. It would be interesting to find out which weapon dealer is shipping them German and Chinese made arms...

happyelf:
And no doubt errors were made- just like the occasional error is made in everything from climate change science to biology. But that doesn't mean we should accept the counterarguments made when they are so clearly shaped by the powerful interests behind them.

Ok, I lied. I wanted this quote in here because its hits home for me. I'm less than 12 months away from graduating (knocking on wood) with a degree in Applied Science with focuses in Nanoscience and Materials Science after having lived life a little first (yeah I'm in my thirties). The principle of reexamination or of errors is.... not unknown to me. :) I rarely accept arguments from either side unless I cant easily dismiss them, or if I can see why someone *wants* me to believe them vs showing me why I should.

There is no doubt that this nation, the US, is run by, guided by, whipped by, led by and relegated by the almighty dollar. Some folks won't even get out of bed in the morning if they don't think they can get a buck from someone. And the subject of guns being a problem along the southern border is as tenuous as the issue of immigration. There are just as many folks screaming about needing to stop immigrants coming into the US as there would be yelling about the cost of fruit going up if we were able to stop them. :) I'm quite aware of the quasi illegal business going on in the US... Billions of dollars that would break industries large and small if they were enforced, prosecuted and punished. There are, in the money is king society, other things more important to both government and society. Unfortunately. :(

I live in Wisconsin by the way, where it gets entirely too cold for those freeloading Canadians to attempt a multiple mile hike in the Wilderness to come here...

I'M KIDDING, about the Canadian part, not about the cold part. :)

The sad truth of the American situation is the pendulum of the two party system. It is under full swing now, as we'll no doubt only get a brief respite from the election cycle before the ads for the next presidential race start running in less than a year. We need to be able to tell all comers that we are free. We know of those items in the past we have sacrificed to have it and cosmic forces willing more and more of the unwashed masses will finally realize that things like the Patriot Act are horrible and illegal. If any of our rights were granted a one wish and its cured scenario, I would cure that, and hopefully all of its sub laws (Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.R.2417.ENR:
etc.
Can't be free unless you can speak, write, create, perform, and play video games without worrying about upsetting delicate sensibilities. Heck, every new idea is wild and crazy until its accepted. Or until its unsuccessful.

I don't 'hate' the government. I wouldn't have health care if I didn't have my government. But, I *do* hate people who swing the arm of the government for personal gain, glory, power, or ego. I honestly haven't shaken any politicians hadn since the 80's and with one or two exceptions, its more than likely going to stay that way for the rest of my life. I'd stand up for Joel's right to carry because I follow the law to the letter personally and I don't believe that anyone should restrict that right if its not spelled out by law. On that note, I support lawful carry, lawful driving, lawful flying (no I will not go up in another homebuilt ultralight again thankyouverymuch) lawful assembly and lawful speech. However, if you're not ready to tow the line or die for the things you believe in, you don't deserve to participate. You're right, very few of us vote compared to the rest of the world for a myriad of reasons. And alot of the folks that do turn out say their vote doesn't count. Enough people don't vote because you honestly have the choice in most national and state races (no so much local races) of a Douchbag or a tuRdsandwich. (Or, as Lewis Black puts it, two bowls of sheeet.)

The monster is indeed the flesh and blood of the elected that warm seats, kiss babies, and steal lollipops. And we put them there. Mostly because there is/are very few people left who want to try and tame the colossus it has become.

I would like to find out what exactly you think "Actual Rights" are if they are not linked to local sovereignty, property rights, use rights, self defense, or unregulated speech.

And after watching two different reviews of movies by moviebob, and listening to him whine on and on and on and... you get the idea. I won't risk trying anything else he's done.

Thanks for your thoughts, darkknight. I don't want to keep going back and fourth here, because i think we've both said our piece. As for rights, I live in a country without a bill of rights, that probably should have one (and it's not as if reform i hurtling along here, either, and there are some appaling exceptions to the rule, mostly relating to visitors from overseas) but i'm quite confident in saying that Australians have more and better freedom of speech than Americans do.

And frankly I think there are rights your nation neglects, like the right not only to work, but to posess a funtional welfare state- after all, it's the people who pay tax, tax should serve them. America is bad at the kind of rights taken for granted in every other genuine democracy in the world, and it adds rights that the rest of us kind of scratch our heads at- with good reason, since they clearly havne't made you any more free, or even been enforced in a genuine way.

I'm a student of american politics, and I know, know that when people use terms like 'states rights', or 'property rights', they're very often using a code word for a desire to infringe on other people's rights.

Property rights should not trump, and to be frank, are trivial, compared to the rights that all workers and consumers should have. The wealthy should not have the right to exploit people as much as they do, and nine times out of ten when somebody says 'property rights', well you know they're not talking about your right not to get police knocking down the door- they're talking about the right of the wealthy to infringe the rights of the people they have power over. Hence 'money is speech', a so-called principle bandied about a lot in campaign finance discussions, to give one example. Property rights are used to opposed taxing the ultrarich, even as they boosted with corperate welfare and bailouts. When it comes to forming policy, Property rights are a code word for rule by the rich.

States rights, and i'm going to trust you enough to be completly frank here, have a long history as a cover for racist and other bigoted agendas. The notion of states rights can be traced to the civil rights era, and in particular to key strategists in the era of nixon's republicans who, and on record I might add, stated that their strategy was to avoid the kind of overt racism that cost them votes, while channeling those sentiments into a republican base in the south. There is a notorious quote by one of nixon's strategests in which he says almost word for word, "if you sit there saying, N*, N*, N*, people are going to drift away, you can't form a solid base like that. But if you talk about cutting welfare and so fourth, we all know who's going to be most effected by that, and that's something people can get behind". That's not propaganda, that's an actual quote from these guys. And that is still a solid plank of the states rights concept- the prevention of social justice and similar reforms.

Certainly, there are other cses where states rights might serve other goals, even leftist goals- but precious few advocates of states rights are complaining about the amount of federal money that flows from large, urban, left leaning states, to small conservative states. Likewise, you would be hard pressed to find an advocate of states rights that genuinly oppose say, health care companies suing states for trying to set up public options, or the amount of money conservatives in utah channeled into advertising when california voted on gay marriage.

People who endorse states rights from a right wing background can say they'd be happy with a nation where for instance, the northwest liberal states got to keep their federal money, and set their own immigration policy, but people like that also claim to want to balance the budget- and they never, ever do.

Self defence is a complex issues. To be frank, I don't think america's gun culture makes it safer. And I emphasise the culture in general. For every person who might use guns lawfully, there's a chance that some jackass will take an assault rifle to a protest, or shoot up a school, or just get their guns stolen. I'm not a fan of police, at all, but the key to public safety is police reform, even if that means police play a more overt, protective role. But to be frank? There just isn't that much violence crime, in either of our countries. And likewise, there aren't that many incidents of the misuse of guns.

But I literally frequent a forum, a reasonably popular and wel traficked one, where the protected subforum dedicated to us style gun ownership has at one time given advice on amunition to a metally disturbed man who then commited a spree killing. Sure, some people in the thread kinda realised how crazy it was for a guy who had wandered into the forum from an asbergers support group site to be talking about getting shotgun shells to punish a group of gangbangers for damaging his haloween pumpkins, but there were still plenty of guys who found it very important to tell him that he'd need something a lot heavier than bird shot. Then he shot some people, including his neighbors and himself.

The same forum had a regular who was an obnoxious supporter of gun rights, who photographed his guns on his dining room table, casually mentioned that he kept them in plain view most commonly, mocked (along with half the forum) the (mostly liberal non gun owning) people who argued that his firearms should be in a safe, and then had them all stolen. Did he learn from this? Of course not. He just bitched about the 'kind of people' who rob people's houses, and complained about the expense of replacing everything.

Every culture and subculture acts to perpetuate it's norms. Basically any such soncial construct can lead to people acting irrationally, and perpetuating mistakes and poor behaviour. Every culture and subculture has a few jackasses in the mix. But your jackasses, your cubculture, have guns.

So that's it for rights and that should probably be it for this conversation. Feel free to reply and I will read it, but I don't want to keep going with this, i think we've stated our point of views, and if we kept backing and fourthing, sooner or later I fear we would get to fussing and feuding.

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