Sam Harris On Guns + My Own Thoughts

Anybody interested in the problem of gun violence and America’s unique relationship to firearms (should be all of us), should take the time to listen to this podcast by Sam Harris. It’s probably the most sane and level-headed analysis I’ve heard on the subject in a media landscape dominated by hyperbolic zealots on either side of the spectrum. It’s one-and-a-half hours well spent.

Let me share, briefly, my own feelings on the subject. To set things straight from the get-go, let’s agree to the following: It is indisputable that America has more guns per capita than any other western civilized country we care to compare ourselves to. It’s also indisputable that we have more gun deaths (total and per capita) than any other advanced¬† nation. It is much easier to get hold of a gun in America than in any other modern, first-world nation. The correlation between the number of guns in our society and the high occurrence of gun violence can hardly be denied. If we cannot agree on these things, don’t bother reading further; you are not a reasonable-minded person.

Still, a few years ago, for whatever reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to own a pistol. The local gun shop in the neighboring town of Monroe informed me that the state of Connecticut requires one to have a gun permit in order to buy a handgun. They kindly offered to provide the training necessary to get the certification. After a six-hour course, including firing a total of twelve shots (the only shots I had ever fired in my life at that point) with a .22-caliber revolver at a shooting range, and passing a 30-question written “test” (open-book, discussion with the other people taking the class allowed, and self-grading of said test), I was given a diploma certifying that I had fulfilled the state-mandated requirements. At the local police station I submitted my application and finger prints for a criminal background check and after about six weeks received notification that I could pick up my pistol permit at the state police facility in Bridgeport. I now had the state’s blessing to own and carry a gun in public.

That very same day I headed off to a gun shop and, on the advice of the store clerk, bought a 9mm Springfield XDM semi-automatic pistol with a total capacity of 19+1 rounds (legislation passed after the Sandy Hook massacre now prohibits me from loading it with more than ten rounds when not on my property, which is rather good news for the 11th person I plan on killing).

Next stop was the shooting range where I had previously “qualified” by shooting a revolver twelve times. The inadequacy of this qualification soon became apparent when I discovered that I didn’t know how to load the magazine of my newly acquired pistol; small wonder as this was the first time I’d ever held a semi-automatic pistol in my hands. Let me repeat this since it’s not insignificant: I was licensed by the state to own and carry any kind of legal firearm, yet I had never operated, and did not know how to load my pistol.

No matter how hard I tried I could only stuff a couple rounds into the magazine before it jammed. I finally sought the help of the range officer on duty, and after he also failed to load up the magazine, he finally discovered the problem: the store clerk had sold me two boxes of .40 caliber ammunition to go with my 9mm pistol.

What I’m trying to say here is that even in Connecticut (and even after Sandy Hook), the requirements to own and carry a pistol, are woefully inadequate. It is absolutely crazy to allow somebody with the training I received to own, buy and carry, openly or concealed (which is the law in CT) any kind of firearm.

I agree with most, if not all, of what Sam Harris said in his podcast, and have become more convinced than ever that what I said in a previous post is true: we need to repeal the second amendment of the US constitution. Or rather, repeal and replace, since I don’t want to ban guns. But the way 2A is worded makes it very difficult to come to any kind of consensus as to what it actually means in practical terms. The gun nuts (the Ted Nugent fan boys) will always point to “the right of the people” and “shall not be infringed”, while the gun grabbers (Bloomberg et al.) will emphasize “a well regulated militia”, and they will both be right. My own vision for a revised 2A might include words to the effect that gun-ownership is indeed an individual right, but not any gun for anybody at any place, and the power to regulate requirements and limitations is given to congress. I believe Sam’s analogy to the requirements to get a pilot’s license is appropriate and sound. I say this knowing full well that any member of Congress who proposes a repeal of the second amendment will have committed political suicide more effectively than declaring an unbelief in Jesus.

 

2nd Amendment Rights – How Technology Defines Them

2nd amendment rights virgin post in a brand spanking new category here on OGNDY.

My SEO plugin (WordPressSEO by Yoast) suggests that I should put my chosen key word/-phrase at the beginning of the article, which is why I just shamelessly and blatantly did it in the 2H heading (also suggested by the plugin) above (still flags it as yellow, though, go figure (OK, I think I got it now)).

Enough about that! I’m trying out a new category tentatively called “Transcribed From The YouTube”, reason being I’m very uninspired in a creative sense these days (didn’t write much about the election, see?), but I still need to keep my blog going with fresh content on a regular basis so as not to die off in the search engines, should I ever figure out a way to monetize the site.

So right off the bat I’m letting you know that I’m transcribing videos, or parts of videos, that I stumble upon on YouTube. I don’t think I violate anyone’s copyright (or 2nd amendment rights for that matter) in doing so, but if you disagree and think I’m unlawfully taking advantage of the fruits of your intellect, take a number, get in line and call my lawyer. What I’m saying is, sue me.

So as this shall not turn into a completely meaningless endeavor, I will only transcribe from videos that for some reason pique my genuine interest, be it because they have something important to say, that it’s said in a particularly artful manner, that it’s something stupid, something I agree with, disagree with, whatever; it is something I for some reason thought was worth sharing. I may or may not overtly express my reasons (figure it out for yourselves) and I will not identify the video. I will, however, offer a one million dollar prize to anyone who recognizes the transcript and can send me a link to the source video. (I don’t actually have a million dollars, so if you win and I don’t pay (I won’t), take a number, get in line and call my fucking lawyer.)

I’ll make this inaugural post without further comment other than to say that the guys in the video are concerned about their 2nd amendment rights.

“(…) Of course, this is one of those things that gets thrown in our faces all the time as gun owners, but, you know, back when the 2nd amendment was actually conceived and drafted and signed and everything like that, and the whole constitution and all this, our founding fathers, you know, we had all, all of the civilians and military had all the same firearms. You know, it wasn’t uncommon for a male to go and serve in the military to grab his rifle off the, off the mantle and go fight, ’cause that’s all he had.”

“Oh yeah.”

“So you know, the peo…, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed…”

“Well, that’s what it says.”

“…and, so I mean, they mean the same technology as the military, because, back then, that was the height of technology.”

“That was the height of technology that time and it should not be any different nowadays, I mean, a lot of folks out there think the 2nd amendment only applies to hunters. OK, no! Not at all! If I want to grab the AR off my mantle and go to battle, then I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna grab it and go!”

“Right.”

In the future I may attach my own views to the transcript and make it into a true opinion piece, making it more legitimate than just shamelessly fishing for SEO brownie points, but for now it’s just a way to get free content easily, while also being a training exercise in search engine optimization (something I’ve been putting off since ca 2002).

Below is an image of the original transcript in yours truly’s hand.

An image of a handwritten document concerned with 2nd amendment rights.

This image of the handwritten transcript that is the subject of this posting is included for no other reason than to provide 2nd amendment click bait for the search engines.

Post script:

Here is the analysis the SEO plugin made of this article:

The keyword density is 0.45%, which is a bit low, the keyword was found 4 times.
The copy scores 67.3 in the Flesch Reading Ease test, which is considered OK to read.
The keyword / phrase appears in the URL for this page.
Keyword / keyphrase appears in 1 (out of 2) subheadings in the copy. While not a major ranking factor, this is beneficial.
The images on this page contain alt tags with the target keyword / phrase.
This page has 3 outbound link(s).
The keyword appears in the first paragraph of the copy.
You’ve never used this focus keyword before, very good.
The page title contains keyword / phrase, at the beginning which is considered to improve rankings.
In the specified meta description, consider: How does it compare to the competition? Could it be made more appealing?
The meta description contains the primary keyword / phrase.
There are 893 words contained in the body copy, this is more than the 300 word recommended minimum.
The page title is more than 40 characters and less than the recommended 70 character limit.

 

Virtual State Of The Union Speech – The Right To Self Defense

Food for thought. Not vouching for the statistics he quotes, but nevertheless interesting and a crafty way to state your case. I personally find it hard to disagree with a lot of what he says.