• S
    10.2k
    The US Senate has rejected plans to tighten gun controls, including the rejection of sales to people on terrorism watch lists. — BBC News

    This is shocking. The report goes on to say that Democratic and Republican senators voted along party lines, blocking each other's bills, and that senators strongly disagreed about how to prevent more attacks happening in future. This is surely strong evidence of a failed political system in practice. If the US Senate can't even pass a bill rejecting firearm sales to people on terrorism watch lists, then what hope is there of progress? Furthermore, it is damning that these bill proposals were only brought before the Senate in response to the Orlando nightclub shooting. Too little, too late - and even recent events, in addition to a notorious history of similar shootings, were not enough for the US Senate to cooperate enough to make the least bit of progress on this pressing issue which won't be going away anytime soon. They have blood on their hands.
  • Michael
    7.8k
    According to the BBC, their reasoning was "without enough 'due process', law-abiding Americans wrongly named on watch lists would be prevented from buying weapons."

    I'd comment, but I think it obvious what any reasonable person should think of that.
  • Baden
    8k
    Should we sell war-grade assault weapons to suspected terrorists? Oh, difficult question - let's wait until one of them massacres dozens of innocent people and then still come up with the wrong answer.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    war-grade assault weaponsBaden

    What are you talking about here? This language seems calculated to spread fear and has little basis in reality.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    If the US Senate can't even pass a bill rejecting firearm sales to people on terrorism watch lists, then what hope is there of progress?Sapientia

    There are two reasons at play, one a principled one and the other an interested one. The principled reason is that, according to one interpretation of the second amendment (one I don't agree with, by the way), individual private citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. Being on a terrorist watch list only means you are a potential terrorist and criminal, not that you actually are one. It would, therefore, infringe on such a person's constitutional rights to prohibit him to purchase a firearm simply because his name was on said list.

    The interested reason is that this particular interpretation of the second amendment is endorsed by the gun manufacturers themselves, who, rather than out of any concern about constitutional rights, endorse this interpretation and push lawmakers and judges to as well out of financial reasons, since they worry about their profits.
  • S
    10.2k
    My diagnoses for the two reasons you stated are, respectively, wrong priorities and corruption. Then there is the failure of cross-party cooperation.

    The overall failure is probably due to a combination of all three factors.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    425
    "The US Senate has rejected plans to tighten gun controls, including the rejection of sales to people on terrorism watch lists."
    — BBC News

    This is shocking.
    Sapientia

    Why is this shocking?

    Doesn't the NRA, as they have always done... like any "good lobbist" has done, simply buy the votes of the Senate for their own interests?

    This looks a bit sensational (probably biased), but maybe it should be sensational (as it is probably all biased)? https://medium.com/@CAPAction/here-is-how-much-money-the-senators-who-voted-against-gun-reform-received-from-the-nra-63607c42093b#.mdwc4krqs

    Nothing shocks me about "My United States of Whatever"...

    Meow!

    GREG
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    The sacraments of the Conservative Church of The Gun are buying guns, shooting guns, and voting for reactionary Republicans. The First Church of The Gun is not an ancient institution. The NRA has roots in the 19th century, but it mutated, flowered and fruited in the second half of the 20th century, especially after 1970.

    Gun ownership was conflated with various conservative priorities (which had nothing to do with hunting ducks). Gun ownership, which was once a necessary option for hunters, was conflated with the needs of external military and internal police defense against communists, hippies, homosexuals, feminists, terrorists, recreational drugs, criminals, minorities... Protect the American Way -- get a gun, and use it if necessary.

    Yes, there is an arms and ammunition industry whose stake IS private gun ownership, but these companies aren't huge as industries go -- none of them are in the S&P 500 (largest corporations). Smith and Wesson is capitalized at only $1.2 billion. The biggest gun interest is Walmart -- the largest gun retailer -- capitalized at $220 billion. (That said, I'd do away with the lot of them.)

    There is a disconnection between The People, of whom an overwhelming majority favor limitations on gun commerce and possession, and elected officials -- whether they be Democrats or Republicans. The disconnection point is the ballot box, which is often avoided for local and state elections, and sometimes for national elections. "Why" is a whole nother thread.

    The NRA, and its Conservative Church of The Gun is mobilized for legislative action. The opposition to the Conservative Church of The Gun is fretting about gun violence at home. No one has developed and fielded an organization devoted to mobilizing the majority to achieve rational gun policies.

    It isn't that "Americans are crazy." We are no more crazy, or lazy, than any other electorate. What we are is the victim of our--for all practical purposes--one party system. Strong liberals haven't been nearly plentiful enough to outvote the wishy-washy liberals and committed conservatives. We are not crazy, we are stuck with a bad political system.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    True, the NRA is a major contributor to the reelection campaigns of Senators and Representatives. But they are only one of many. It takes a lot of money to get into office, get a reasonably good committee assignment in Congress, and get reelected.

    Nothing shocks me about "My United States of Whatever"...Mayor of Simpleton

    The US isn't exceptional, and neither is Austria, Switzerland, or any other State you might like to compare it with. People are pretty much equally corruptible, venal, and violent OR ethical, virtuous, and peaceable, everywhere. The modern history of Europe will show you that.
  • S
    10.2k
    Well, it's shocking for a number of reasons, and if it isn't, then it should be. Otherwise the status quo will be strengthened, since perceived normalcy leads to inaction. But I get your point: unfortunately, it is to be expected to an extent. Nonetheless, for a country that is so vocal against terrorism, it just shows you where their real priorities lie.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    425
    True, the NRA is a major contributor to the reelection campaigns of Senators and Representatives. But they are only one of many. It takes a lot of money to get into office, get a reasonably good committee assignment in Congress, and get reelected.Bitter Crank

    Indeed...

    ... here's a bit of info about Austria and election.

    Each political party in the Parliament is allowed a maximum of €7million for their election campaigns. That is, €7million for ALL campaigns combined - local to national elections, every post to be filled and whatnot.

    If you come with a new party, you cannot just come to the table with €7million of private funds to run a campaign. Indeed the limitations are very restrictive, as well as the procedure you have to go through to make sure the political party is indeed in line with the Austrian consititution. (a "Tea Party" would be considered unconstitutional as they wish to establish a law of god which would violate both separation of church and state as well as not providing religious freedom which can only be guaranteed by a secular state)

    Here's something rather odd...

    ... about 65% of the money for election campaigns comes from tax euro and only 35% maximum comes from private or lobby comtributions. There are no anonymous contributions or foreign contributions allowed. No fund are allowed to be directed to a particular candidate or politician. Private contributions are sent to the party central and the distributions is very carefull watched.

    In short... it is impossible to buy a vote in Parliament. The few times this has occurred there has been jail time involved. In short... what the NRA does would be illegal in Austria.

    Now if the gun lobby in Austria (there is one) can manage to talk a politician into voting otherwise, then that is allowed, but is cannot be done with a bag of cash or other items of monerary value attached.

    The US isn't exceptional, and neither is Austria, Switzerland, or any other State you might like to compare it with. People are pretty much equally corruptible, venal, and violent OR ethical, virtuous, and peaceable, everywhere. The modern history of Europe will show you that.Bitter Crank

    Well, that might be the case when taken into a broad perspective, but we are not speaking of a broad perspective here, but rather are addressing how elected officials vote on specific policies.

    As I mentioned above, we have rules here that the USA obviously does not have or simply does not enforce.

    Elections cannot be simply bought and neither can votes via such a practice as the NRA employs. Such a practice is illegal.

    Modern Europe has it's problems, but the problem in question is not one of them. This is indeed the advantage of a social democracy, which is the government structure of modern Europe.

    Is there a difference... certainly!

    Well, it's shocking for a number of reasons, and if it isn't, then it should be. Otherwise the status quo will be strengthened, since perceived normalcy leads to inaction. But I get your point: unfortunately, it is to be expected to an extent. Nonetheless, for a country that is so vocal against terrorism, it just shows you where their real priorities lie.Sapientia

    The reason why I am not shocked is the same lack of shock I have over much of the USA business practices, because they function upon the lines of Objectivism.

    Some things that caught my eye in "Atlas Shrugged":

    - A great businessman is marked by his ability to sneer at the idea of public safety.

    - Bad people get their way through democracy; good people get their way through violence.

    - The government has never invented anything or done any good for anyone.

    - Any and all natural resources are limitless.

    - Crime doesn't exist, including in areas of extreme poverty.

    - All that matters in life is how good you are at making money.

    The USA is run by and large by these objectivist principles. Input more than not dictates output, so why should I be surprised?



    Meow!

    GREG
  • WhiskeyWhiskers
    151
    According to the BBC, their reasoning was "without enough 'due process', law-abiding Americans wrongly named on watch lists would be prevented from buying weapons."

    I'd comment, but I think it obvious what any reasonable person should think of that.
    Michael

    I don't think there's anything wrong with this reasoning per se. Due process is critically important in all matters of law, especially when constitutional rights are being revoked. One could be cynical and say it's just an excuse "cuz muh guns", but that would be too easy, cheap, and uncharitable. The only criticism of that reasoning I would make is that it throws the baby out with the bathwater. The bill might have had a very positive impact if passed (I don't know all of what the bill does), and to throw it out because of the extraordinarily small possibility that some small number of people might have their rights illegitimately taken away is being rather wasteful of otherwise good legislation. If they do not intend to pass it on these grounds, then they need to amend it immediately so that due process is properly observed.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Your information on Austria is interesting and depicts a sharp contrast, indeed.

    It would seem that Austria's political and governmental system is organized to provide tightly controlled stability. In the context of European history and social democracy, there are worse things to endure. A glance at some of the activities that Europeans were up to a few decades ago in Germany, Austria, and elsewhere (and more recently in the Balkans) would suggest a need for tightly controlled stability.

    One of the things that tightly controlled stability means is that the folks running Austria are quite secure in their offices.

    The people who run the United States are quite secure, as well. Different means, similar result.

    Objectivism and Business

    Retired commie pinko faggots like myself make poor representatives for the Big Business (or business in general), but characterizing business in the US as Objectivist is a rather gross over-generalization.

    There are some people who mouth sentiments along objectivist lines, true enough. But to say that

    • a great businessman is marked by his ability to sneer at the idea of public safety; bad people get their way through democracy; good people get their way through violence; the government has never invented anything or done any good for anyone; any and all natural resources are limitless; crime doesn't exist, including in areas of extreme poverty; all that matters in life is how good you are at making money... The USA is run by and large by these objectivist principles...

    is the conclusion of a disappointed idealist.

    There are a lot of disappointed idealists over here, too, who are appalled by the maneuvers of the right wing and super-PACS and the compliance of the "liberal" wing. The machinery exists for various political organizations to dominate the government. The well-funded right wing operatives have ascended because they paid attention to the machinery. They have worked at electing conservatives in state houses which determine reapportionment, and have gained electoral advantages--legally. They have dismantled law which has enabled them to ensconce themselves in large numbers in Congress (and state houses).

    The left wing, aka liberal democrats, are perfectly capable of doing the same thing, and have done so in the past. One of the elements that makes it possible for either political wing to get their way when they put their minds to it is low voter turnout. When you have to worry about only your 25% of the electorate, the other half not bothering to vote, it's much easier to win.

    50% of the American electorate have no one to blame except themselves for this state of affairs. They don't participate in the political system. IF they did, the results would tend to be more moderate.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Mayor: I'm starting a new thread: Can American Business Be called 'Objectivist'?

    I really don't want it to be true (American business is bad enough as it is) and hopefully you and others can shed some light on the question.
  • swstephe
    109
    I think it is amusing when you compare the almost concurrent call for "ban on Muslims" ... even though a small minority might be a threat, "just until we understand the problem better" -- with the call for a ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles, to people on terrorist watch list, because a small minority might be innocent. Somehow Muslims are more dangerous than people on terrorist watch list. I had reservations about the terrorist watch list and smaller "no-fly-list". When it was implemented under Bush, many people said it was unconstitutional, and there were lots of errors. The name matching algorithm flagged names like "David Anderson". (I knew some of the people who worked on that algorithm -- it was not designed for flagging guilty people, but by matching names that might have been misfiled). I realized the "liberal" side of the push is actually being quite accommodating by allowing the use of those tools of the Bush era for partial gun control -- and only then do the "conservative" fear the list might be a mistake.

    I've been thinking of some possible super-compromises. As a Muslim, I wouldn't have any problem with a ban on all gun sales to Muslims. I think it would be interesting to see the conflicting emotions between doing anything to single out Muslims, and their desire to maximize gun sales.

    Actually, I'm surprised nobody has suggested that we take the list of people who voted against those gun control bills and put them on the terrorist watch list. If they are so bent on enabling terrorist to buy automatic weapons, maybe they are one of those secret terrorists who have infiltrated all levels of the government I hear so much about. Like the right wing talking heads say, just put them under investigation until we understand what is going on better.
  • Saphsin
    141
    Some articles on the matter:

    http://gawker.com/the-democrats-are-boldly-fighting-for-a-bad-stupid-bil-1782449026

    https://theintercept.com/2016/06/22/dramatic-house-sit-in-on-guns-is-undercut-by-focus-on-secret-racist-watchlist/

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/22/gun-control-terror-watchlists-muslims-discrimination

    From what I understand, the bill does little to regulate guns and will more or less effectively expand the ability of the FBI and Surveillance State to harass Muslims.

    I'm all for gun control. Some good immediate measures may be universal background checks, legally required waiting periods, magazine length regulations, licensing requirements, banning of semi-automatic rifles, etc. Anything but the current bill.
  • S
    10.2k
    Thanks. I just read some of the Guardian article. I find the views expressed there to be irritating. In my view, it's linking two very important issues in a way which has terrible consequences. Yes, the watch list may well be problematic, but that's a battle that should be fought for separately, otherwise progress on gun control is hindered. If someone has already been wrongly listed and has been negatively effected in some way, then that's a problem in itself. Taking away their so-called right to bear arms should be relatively inconsequential, and, most importantly, could save lives.
  • Saphsin
    141


    The terrorist watch list is overwhelmingly used by those in power for their own interests. You have to think about the consequences that it will likely lead towards rather than the effects we'd ideally like to imagine it to have. The manner in which "terrorist" is used in legislation is very loosely defined (or else America would technically be considered a terrorist state) which is why half the people on the list have no designated terrorist affiliation and are just on the list because they're Muslim. And once you're on the list, it's very hard to get off it.

    I would support universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, licensing requirements, magazine shortening regulations, banning of semi-automatic weapons, and others. This bill I would guess would have minimal effects on actually curtailing gun violence unlike the other policies I just mentioned and would do more to expand the power of the FBI and the Surveillance State to harass minorities.
  • S
    10.2k
    If a disproportionate number of those listed are Muslim, and that is a problem, then argue for reform. If even one of those people listed carries out a shooting, then it's people who think like you do who are to blame. We're not talking about other gun control measures. We're talking about this gun control measure which was just recently brought before the Senate. Taking away guns from suspected terrorists, even if innocent, is not a bad thing! It's not going to make them any less victimised (presuming innocence) by being on the list in the first place. They'll remain on the list regardless of whether their access to purchase firearms is revoked.
  • Saphsin
    141


    The idea of a terrorist watch list with respect to gun reform in of itself is strange. If someone is really suspected and identified as being a terrorist, the government will do much more than simply putting them on a list for them not to be able to buy guns. They'll be constantly monitored and of course, they'll be forcefully handled if they're observed to buy guns in preparation to use them.

    It's a racial discriminatory measure, not a security one.

    And no, I wouldn't support a bill that leads to questionable progress in one area (I suspect almost none) and lead to a regression in another area. It's not a question for me of not supporting progress in gun reform, because I listed many examples of gun reforms above that I support which would have much more significant effects without the negative parts.
  • S
    10.2k
    I can guarantee you that there is no racial discrimination in the legislation, so your problem must be with how it's used in practice. So argue for reform! I'll even argue with you. But in the meantime, let's not give those listed a free pass to buy a gun and potentially use it to murder people. Don't you think that there's probably another Omar Mateen somewhere on the list? You can't just think of those wrongfully listed and presume innocence. You can fight against suspected institutionalised islamophobia without granting suspected terrorists access to firearms. And, I'm sorry, but you'll find little sympathy from me if they feel so discriminated against by not being alowed to buy a gun. It's a weapon designed with the sole purpose to kill, after all. Those people should not be so selfish, and learn to distinguish their fight against real discrimination from the issue of gun control, instead of mixing them up and playing right into the hands of the NRA.
  • Saphsin
    141


    Just because racial matters aren't explicitly written in the legislation doesn't mean it's not a racist policy if it has that intention behind it's execution. The same way how Nixon's initiation of the War on Drugs had fundamentally racist intentions (the whole purpose was to target the black population and anti-war Left) despite not being explicitly written that way in its measures.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nixon-drug-war-racist_us_56f16a0ae4b03a640a6bbda1

    Also there is this confusion here that the terrorist watch list is about simply preventing people on the list from buying guns. It's about legitimizing and expanding a practice (putting people on the terrorist watch list) that allows the FBI and Surveillance State to harass innocent people. Have you read the other articles I linked? I'm also not very sympathetic with the supposed "right to have guns"

    The rest is just a repetition of points I made before. I don't think it's wise to support a piece of legislation that has negligible effect on the progress of one issue and what will be for certain backwards effect on another issue, when there are other pieces of legislation for the former issue that will be more effective plus without the negative parts. Not sure how to say it in a way that'll allow you to make the leap to my side, but we'll have to leave it at that for now.
  • S
    10.2k
    Be sure to mention those other pieces of legislation the next time there's been a shooting, when it's already too late. Hopefully next time it won't turn into a platform to excuse suspected terrorists from legally arming themselves, or some similar obstacle to gun control progress, but then, no matter how many shootings occur, nothing seems to change.
  • Saphsin
    141


    Well those in power always use concern for security scenarios for near non-existent cases for justification for policies that take away the civil rights & democratic principles of the public. But my take from history is that the harm done is far greater from whatever small measure it achieved.
  • discoii
    196
    Catered, comfy sit-ins, so emblematic of the Democratic Party's approach to the world. :-d I mean, I think the whole attempt at introducing these gun control bills is entirely wrong and will solve nothing, but that's nothing new with the Democratic Party USA.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    I just learned from a video posted on Facebook that more US citizens died from being accidentally shot by toddlers with guns, than from terrorist attacks, in 2015. Perhaps we should ban toddlers.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    Like many issues in a representational democracy, the problem of gun control is tied in with the need of legislators to be reelected, which takes a ton of cash. Democracies allow persons to have direct redress to the legislative and executive branches of government.

    This right of redress, to lobby, is a basic right in US Constitution. But it has morphed in our time into a way for legislators and members of the executive branches of government to have a fall back positions in place in case they are not reelected.

    Just two weeks after resigning from the House, Cantor joined the Wall Street investment bank of Moelis & Co., as vice chairman and managing director, starting with a $400,000 base salary, $400,000 initial cash bonus, and $1 million in stock.
    (6-9-2015)

    The law states that Congressional Lobbyists must wait 1 year prior to formally registering as a lobbyist. I think that should be longer. It is also clear that just because these people can't register, there is nothing to stop them from calling their prior colleagues and giving their informal views, which may have ulterior motives.

    The NRA is such a successful lobby because it puts its money not just with legislators who take their viewpoint, but also because it funds people who are running for office and subscribe to their view. The effect of this sort of lobbying is, I think, a form of bribery.
  • Mongrel
    3k
    What struck me recently is that those who present the obstacle to gun control apparently aren't feeling the consequences of their actions. It tends to always be somebody else feeling it.

    NRA members should be required to visit families who have experienced loss.... or something like that.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    I agree. I think Wayne LaPierre has a lot of blood on his hands, but in his dystopian, paranoic vision of the world, it is the 'price you pay for freedom'.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    NRA members should be required to visit families who have experienced loss.... or something like that.Mongrel

    Maybe they should be required to reside in neighborhoods with high levels of gun violence.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Well, they all think they do, and some of them really do, and it doesn't help at all - as far as they're concerned, that is why they have to own guns!
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