Not Just Picking a Fight

Discussion in 'The Study' started by bushidomartialarts, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    So I've noticed something in the political discussion lately, and - as the title says - I'm not just picking a fight. I'm honestly interested to hear what folks have to say.

    It seems like many of the people who are against the legalization of marijuana are also against gun control. (This is not a new observation, I know). Both issues are value decisions: I'm for legalization of marijuana and against gun control because I believe our personal freedoms outweigh the extra societal safety banning both would provide. I also understand folks who are for gun control and the continued ban of marijuana.

    The following statistics are from the CDC:
    Deaths per 100,000 population due to gunfire: 10.2 for the US as a whole.
    Deaths per 100,000 population due to marijuana (direct and indirect): <1.

    So how can marijuana be too dangerous to allow in our society, but stricter gun control isn't worth it?

    Again, I'm not (just) picking a fight. Inconsistency isn't necessarily a bad thing. I find it's our inconsistencies that tell us the most about our values.
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    One is a civil liberty. One is not. Nothing to do with relative danger.

    Also, if you want to discuss relative danger, tell me how many times a man armed with a joint has stopped his family from being robbed or murdered? There are stories every day of people armed with guns who do so. So if we're going to talk 'danger', then let's tell the whole story.
     
  3. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    Bill (and somehow I knew you'd join this thread)...the civil liberty argument is a good one. There isn't a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the "right to fire up a righteous spliff."

    I'm not sure I agree with the self-defense argument, though. Armed men do sometimes stop muggings, but more armed men commit muggings. And, although accidental firearm deaths aren't as common as some would have us believe - I haven't read about a single case of a man dying because his doobie went off while he was cleaning it.
     
  4. girlbug2

    girlbug2 Master of Arts

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    The armed men who commit muggings are the ones carrying illegal firearms (mostly). That wouldn't be stopped by stricter gun control.
     
  5. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    Exceedingly few legally owned firearms are used in crimes. Only illegally owned marijuana is used in crimes...
     
  6. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    Well put.

    However, far more legally owned firearms are responsible for deaths...and yet they are legal while marijuana is not.

    It's also worth noting that the accurate statement is that Exceedingly few legally owned firearms are used in crimes by their legal owners.
     
  7. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    True, but how does "no need for stricter gun control" equate to "strong need for banning a demonstrably less dangerous substance"?
     
  8. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    How does making new gun control laws = repealing drug laws?
     
  9. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    That's the point of my thread. I'm not advocating for new gun laws. I'm against both gun control and the banning of marijuana. It just seems odd to me that somebody would be for one, but against the other.

    So I'm curious how people deal with the apparent contradiction...
     
  10. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    Oh, I see, this is the same kind of dumb question, like, "How can someone oppose abortion and be for the death penalty."
    OK.
     
  11. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    I was going to enter into this thread but I think I'd better stick a 'nudge' in instead, with my Mentor hat on.

    Bushido is making an honest question and doing so politely. Let's give him the courtesy of answers in a similar timbre.
     
  12. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    In fairness to Big Don, questions like this do carry a strong risk of devolving into wankery. Although in the years both he and I have been on this forum, I'd think I would have earned better than that.

    The question isn't meant in an aggressive "how could you (you idiot)" way that such things are often intended. As I said in the original post, exploring inconsistency can tell us a lot.

    For example, Bill's assertion that the constitution promised us guns, not weed, is interesting and valid. I find that sort of stuff fascinating, and I'd love to hear Big Don's (who has posted many wise thoughts over the years) thoughts.
     
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  13. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    A point of view that supports the rule of law, is not inconsistent. Marijuana is, by federal law, illegal, privately owned firearms are not.
     
  14. Archangel M

    Archangel M Senior Master

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    I can't get all "fired up" over a discussion about comparing legalizing a recreational plant that you smoke to the necessity of being able to own one of the most powerful equalization of power implements ever devised and made available to the "common" man.

    You can live without one, you may very well die or be subjugated without the other.
     
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  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I did not have an opportunity to reply in full last night, as I was on my way to the dojo. But I also wanted to make note of another issue implicit in your argument.

    We do not base our laws on the relative risk or damage or cost in money or lives done by the activity in question. This makes the comparison moot.

    If we did, then it would also be perfectly legitimate to demand that people stop eating junk food, stop smoking, and begin exercising immediately. Because heart disease, which is largely preventable, is the number one killer, bar none.

    We could certainly ban alcohol, which kills both directly and indirectly in large numbers.

    On a lesser risk, but also clearly identifiable, we could legally ban all sports which carry the risk of serious injury or death.

    In other words, if we based our system of laws on identifiable risks to life and limb, we'd be forced to live in a society in which personal choice and responsibility for one's actions are subordinate to the state's need to protect us from ourselves and to protect taxpayers from the costs associated with people's legal but risky choices.

    We don't live in that world - by choice. Our laws do not reflect the relative danger to our health or well-being, but our desire to order our society as we see fit. This means that some people will find things legal which they believe should be illegal, and other things will be illegal which they believe should be legal; but so long as civil rights are not violated, the people still have the right to override the will of the minority in such cases.

    Call it the tyranny of the majority if you must, but the alternative would be the tyranny of the minority; on balance, I'd prefer that majority rule, even when I'm not in favor of the rule in question.

    Yes, guns kill more people than marijuana. That is unfortunate, but it is irrelevant to the question of whether or not either ought to be legal. Eating blowfish, I am told, also kills a lot of people; but in a society such as ours, the question is not the lethality, but whether or not society thinks people ought to be able to make such choices regarding their own lives.

    I will add this; your argument will gain more weight as we begin the process of moving into a more socialized medicine system. Under any private insurance scheme, a person can at least theoretically remove themselves from any insurance pool that forces them to bear the cost of people who make poor choices regarding their health. Under a state scheme, the citizen has no choice and must pay for the poor choices of others. This, many argue, give society the right and the duty to regulate the conduct of others in order that costs be kept under control. In other words, we'll soon see laws amended with regard to the relative cost to society, and your argument will have more validity.
     
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  16. Empty Hands

    Empty Hands Senior Master

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    Both are intolerable incursions into our freedom of bodily integrity. Neither can be justified rationally from a rights standpoint, although it is easier to do so with gun control. However, one issue is associated with one branch of the political spectrum, and the other issue is associated with the other branch. Thus, one will be justified and one will be opposed, depending on the political views in question. It was ever thus.

    Political views and positions are more about emotional needs than they are about rational and consistent applications of principle. The widespread response to these two issues demonstrates that amply.
     
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  17. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    I look at it like this:

    Its easy to argue for and against things like Pot, Booze, etc... those are issues that we deal with in society that have no realy protected status.

    IMO Anyone who argues *for* Gun Control needs to also throw away other Consititionaly protected liberties. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom from State Regulation of your Religion, Womens Right to vote etc... those are all covered by the same protected status.

    Despite arguments to the contrary, the Second Amendment is VERY CLEAR. "The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed"

    "Shall Not Be Infringed"

    Not, "Shall Not Be Infringed unless someone is afraid of what might be done with a gun or a knife by someone using it in a criminal way" or "Shall Not Be Infringed unless your state decides to" or not "Shall Not Be Infringed if we don't like the number of foreign made parts on the weapon" etc...

    People make the false argument "But Zombie, we restrict other rights all the time, you can't just yell "Fire" in a crowded theater" or "your right to swing your arm ends where my face begins" but those, however, are false arguments.

    I absolutely CAN yell "Fire" in a crowded theater, and if the theater is on fire, I might be a hero. I wont be jailed for it. HOWEVER, if I yell Fire in a theater that is not on fire and cause mayhem and harm, I can be charged with that. This equates with Gun ownership in the following way. I can own a firearm and its perfectly legal, as long as I dont use said weapon to commit a crime there is no argument needed. If I do, then I face penalties for commuting that crime with the weapon.

    The same applies to swinging my arms. If I smack you in the face intentionally and maliciously, then I have committed a crime; if you walk into it and its genuinely an accident, I did not... in neither case the act of swinging my arm was restricted, rather the results of my doing so and my intent.

    Those false arguments do not hold up when it comes to second amendment issues.

    Pot isn't protected. Booze isn't protected. The right to bear arms is. Sucks if you don't like it, but that's the way it is.
     
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  18. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    Oh, and FWIW, I am for the legalization and taxation of Pot. I'm not on opposite ends of the argument, I believe in both.
     
  19. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think you made some excellent points, even if I'm not for the legalization and taxation of pot.
     
  20. RandomPhantom700

    RandomPhantom700 Master of Arts

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    Not to nitpick, but if you're swinging your arms around on a sidewalk or somewhere that risks injury, you could be nailed for battery, even if you didn't have any intent to harm. Just sayin'. :D123
     

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