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Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
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archangle Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
(10-27-2015 05:05 PM)zonk Wrote:  Drugs like opium, ice, etc ... are much bigger problem than guns

I think safer to have a nice cup of tea, you cannot hurt yourself with a tea bag
[Image: Tea-Pot.jpg]

I don't know. Tea sort of caused the Brits to invade China.

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10-27-2015 05:16 PM
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Post: #12
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
and they paid for the tea with opium
10-27-2015 05:20 PM
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Post: #13
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
I really didn't want to get in a debate about this stuff, i just wanted to offer a personal perspective on gun control, and it is a personal one, and to some extent, a medical opinion (you are right, it is outside the Surgeon's General purview, I just wanted to make the point that it is as much a problem of public health these days as anything else).

Nevertheless,
(10-27-2015 04:25 PM)archangle Wrote:  For instance, how do you account for the deterrent value of an armed population of citizens? How many criminals would do violent home breakins, but refrain because of the risk of being confronted by an armed homeowner?

Well, I would answer that there is no correlation - if you go to countries where anyone can be armed and often is, the level of violence, break-ins and murders if unbelievably high(these are mostly third world countries, mind, but it certainly shows that when everyone can shoot first, they do, and the result is children die, and so do the persons who were having violence directed at them, even if they put up armed resistance). Countries that dwarf US per capita statistics, like Uruguay, Swaziland, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, South Africa and Jamaica, show that the idea of relaxing gun controls to non-existence breeds security is an utter canard. There is no real evidence that an extensively armed populace is any deterrent at all, not a single shred. But there is considerable evidence, statistically ,that a well armed populace will have a higher body count than a less well armed one. Anyone intent of committing a violent crime does not care if there is a gun on the other side or not. Most of the crimes, save for crimes of passion or accidents, committed with guns in the US, are related to poverty, gang and/or the drug trade, and these people are all living already hopeless lives knowing full well they have death sentences on their heads. That is why capital punishment, for instance, is not a deterrent and never will be.

Why I called it a pandemic is simple - 312 mass shootings in 2015 up to Oct 25th alone - that is more than one per day, and certainly that is very unusual in a wealthy, westernised nation. In 1044 days it was 999 such incidents in the US. Mass shootings is defined as 4 or more people shot in one incident, btw. Even the very Conservative Wall Street Journal reported (Oct 3 2015) on the US being the world leader in mass shootings and cites researchers showing that there is a link between gun ownership and the number of incidents, but that it is difficult to do comparisons. Deaths are another issue and not addressed in the nomenclature.

When we then address the actual deaths from such incidents, the numbers change in terms of their importance in the mortality rate. Mass killings (where 4 or more people are killed) account for about 1% of all the murders (by guns or other means) in the US. Public mass killings like Newtown are rarer than you think and make up around 1 in 6 of the mass killings (by any means) in the US, the bulk being crimes of passion (break-ups, estrangements, family arguments, although non-related people may be caught in the cross fire). More often than not, in these case, the guns involved, if there are guns, and often are, are hand guns.

In terms of other forms of violence, I don't recall mentioning in my initial post anything on that term, I only addressed gun violence - beatings, muggings, stabbings, et al, are common anywhere there is crime, poverty and drugs, and as prevalent in the inner cities in Europe as they are in the inner cities in the US. But it is a lot harder to kill someone by stabbing them than it is to take ten steps back and pull a trigger, plain and simple. Moreover, accidental fatal stabbings are very rare, accidental fatal shootings are not, in comparison.

In all this, I want to stress this is in no way any judgement on the United States or the citizens within, but an opinion on what seems to be a possible correlation between the easy availability of such weapons and the ever-increasing scale of the violence, prompted by the reaction to the OP. I also think that the societal safety net that could prevent much of this has utterly failed. Many cases, outside of violent crime, could have been prevented had people seen the problem and set about to help the eventual perpetrator(s) before things came to a head, but we live a far more alienated society today than the one of even fifty years ago, even here.

In that sense, the real problem is not gun control but our loss of our close knit communities and our old tendencies to look out for one another and meddle in each other's lives. We live now in a society that is distant, uninvolved (in comparison) and self involved, and many people get sucked into forms of media that ratchet up their problems and stoke their fires of alienation and self righteousness until they burst, with sadly predictable results. That is what happened in Sweden, that is what happens in the US, and what happens here, too.

But, that said, getting a better handle on who has guns, and why they have them would be a great help already. We have such registers here, but they are Kantonal (state) and one Kanton's system doesn't talk to the others. And so we also have our tragedies, although rare in comparison to the US, even on a per capita basis. We are trying to fix that, but here it requires a nation wide vote, that is a slow process and the results are not guaranteed, even for a no-brainer like "wouldn't it be a good idea to share between the Kantons the list of gun owners, given that our entire country could fit into the hip pocket of most US states?" But, like the fractious relationship between the states in your country, our kantons can't get along at all. Heck, we still don't have a way of sharing medical data nationwide, so if I get a patient from Bern, it takes a ton of hoops for me to get the patient history from, say, the Inselspital in Bern, and it doesn't come electronically, meaning I have to get it entered into our system by hand. For some things, it is a mere inconvenience, but when the problem is time sensitive, lives are suddenly on the line.

All that is a way of saying that these are issues that will consume us for some time to come, and wiser heads than mine in most very country are trying to figure them out. I just see the bodies, and try to patch them up or close their blankly staring eyes. I see it from another perspective. It will always be that way.

I have held guns, fired them, including at people, have had to train on them once or twice a year for a big chunk of my life, I have dug bullets out of people, and I have had to tell crying families that (s)he didn't make it. A gun shot wound more or less ended my surgical career. So I see things from another perspective than many here.

It is not about debate, it is not about judgement, it is simply a statement of position. It is also a meaningless one, because I am not a US citizen, so I have no influence, political or otherwise on US policy, nor any say whatsoever. Call it an outsider's perspective, or a doctor's perspective, and leave it at that.

And I, too, am glad this can be so civilised, given the high emotions this sort of discussion usually elicits.

And to PaytonA, I am glad your parents were no longer living there to experience the distress that they surely would have felt. And I am sorry that you feel such distress in you old home neighbourhood. It is a sad day for you, and for everyone in Roseburg. My heart goes out to all of you.
10-27-2015 05:59 PM
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Post: #14
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
(10-27-2015 05:05 PM)zonk Wrote:  Drugs like opium, ice, etc ... are much bigger problem than guns

I think safer to have a nice cup of tea, you cannot hurt yourself with a tea bag
[Image: Tea-Pot.jpg]

Do you know how many people our A&E has to deal with because of accidents with tea bags? Not as safe as you think, mate.

And while drugs are a bigger problem (I agree wholeheartedly), it is the trade in drugs that exacerbates the gun problem, alas. The dealers and movers of the drugs use guns to enforce whatever they need to enforce. Now, if they duked it out instead, this would be a better world, but no, guns it is....
10-27-2015 06:02 PM
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Post: #15
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
Nothing is safe these days, not even the humble tea bag Smile
It seem everything can kill you, I was making ham and cheese toasted sandwich, my wife said shouldn't be eating ham, can cause cancer
Well, it was on the news all day yesterday and today, according to some UN report
Eating sausages, ham, bacon, etc ... cause cancer and red meat too

I say ... a little of what you fancy does you good
Food is not just only about nutrition, also about joy, pleasure, and happiness
You cannot celebrate anything without food and someone to share it with
(This post was last modified: 10-27-2015 07:11 PM by zonk.)
10-27-2015 07:09 PM
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Post: #16
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
Zonk, the odd ham sandwich is one thing, every day for 40 years is another, so go ahead and enjoy yourself. what the report did not address is the levels needed for cancer initiation, it only made a comparison between, more or less, vegetarians and meat eaters over long term (that is a lies to children explanation of the study, btw, but it will serve), and frankly it is not anything we didn't suspect before, now it has been confirmed that there is a causal relationship, but that is all. Very few people will get lung cancer from smoking one ciggie in their lives, but we know 20 a day bloke is pretty likely, and even way more likely to die of a heart attack before lung cancer ever does him in.

Call it an advisory rather than anything else - a statement that there is a risk, we don't how big, nor if the benefits outweigh the risks, but just be aware and informed before you tuck in. More than that, really, is not intended in the report or the new classification.
10-27-2015 07:28 PM
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archangle Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
(10-27-2015 05:59 PM)DocWils Wrote:  I really didn't want to get in a debate about this stuff, i just wanted to offer a personal perspective on gun control, and it is a personal one, and to some extent, a medical opinion (you are right, it is outside the Surgeon's General purview, I just wanted to make the point that it is as much a problem of public health these days as anything else).

Yet, you continue to debate.

I understand your points, however, I doubt the validity of your rhetoric.

Before anyone screams "namecalling," remember that "rhetoric" is not a negative term. Look it up.

I could go through and refute many of your arguments, but I doubt it would convince you. Many of your arguments are repeating the emotional and unscientific anti-gun sentiments of others. Very well worded, by the way.

Many in the pro-gun crowd make similar arguments.

(10-27-2015 05:59 PM)DocWils Wrote:  There is no real evidence that an extensively armed populace is any deterrent at all, not a single shred. But there is considerable evidence, statistically ,that a well armed populace will have a higher body count than a less well armed one. Anyone intent of committing a violent crime does not care if there is a gun on the other side or not. Most of the crimes, save for crimes of passion or accidents, committed with guns in the US, are related to poverty, gang and/or the drug trade, and these people are all living already hopeless lives knowing full well they have death sentences on their heads. That is why capital punishment, for instance, is not a deterrent and never will be.

Nice emotional argument. However, I could say "There's no real evidence that an armed population is NOT a deterrent, not a single shred."

(10-27-2015 05:59 PM)DocWils Wrote:  In terms of other forms of violence, I don't recall mentioning in my initial post anything on that term, I only addressed gun violence - beatings, muggings, stabbings, et al, are common anywhere there is crime, poverty and drugs, and as prevalent in the inner cities in Europe as they are in the inner cities in the US. But it is a lot harder to kill someone by stabbing them than it is to take ten steps back and pull a trigger, plain and simple. Moreover, accidental fatal stabbings are very rare, accidental fatal shootings are not, in comparison.

I consider other forms of violence to be relevant because one of the reasons many people in the US want guns is to protect themselves from other forms of violence.

I say we also need to remember that we're not debating whether to get rid of the guns in the US. We're debating whether to enact various anti-gun laws. Would more anti-gun laws reduce gun violence? An argument can be made both ways. Many drugs are illegal in the US, yet they're readily available to criminals.

The US is a violent place by many standards. A lot of people want to blame the guns. It's not clear that's right. It's definitely not clear that stricter gun laws would improve the overall rate of violence in the US.

We need to reduce the rate of violence in the US. There's little evidence that gun laws are going to help. Draconian drug laws don't seem to be reducing the rate of drug crimes, why would we think that gun laws will work better?

Why are we so violent in the US? That's another emotional argument. I think there are many causes. I think a lot of it comes from the gangster culture from alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century. We didn't learn our lesson then and are repeating it with the war on drugs.

I think we're also still suffering from the aftereffects of slavery and US apartheid.

We're also still a young country compared to many parts of the old world, and we're still defining ourselves. However, we shouldn't look too highly on the old world. Europe's had a pretty good time of things after WWII, but there's a lot of really bad history before then. Is Europe really that much better, or are they just having a stretch of good luck that won't last? Don't forget Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, Milosevic, Leopold II, etc.

The US has a large population of the hopeless and unemployable. The Republicans tend to say they're lazy and don't want to work. The Democrats say they want to help, but many people think that they usually make things worse rather than better, with a permanent welfare class. I also like to quote Ralph Nader when he said that " The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference."

I'm concerned that our government is becoming so non-functional. I wish I saw a reason for hope. The Republicans are being taken over by morons like Ted Cruz who are going full retard. The Democrats are still in the same old welfare state stuff. Either way, talk about putting the idiots in charge of the asylum.

One thing I am sure about is that gun control laws aren't going to be the panacea that the proponents think they are. No more than the drug laws were. Or forced busing, welfare, education reform, urban renewal, and all the other government programs that were going to save us turned out to be.

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10-28-2015 01:54 AM
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Post: #18
RE: Roseburg, Oregon Shooting
Archangle,

I certainly understand your points, and they are well argued. As I have said, wiser heads than ours have been broken on this question, and will continue to be. I do believe that reasonable methods of restriction, such as waiting periods, a national registry of firearms and restrictions on weapons that can have no possible use to the populace, such as assault rifles make some sense, and do not impinge on the freedom of gun owners or fanciers. Banning guns outright would be of course a no-go in the US, and probably unenforceable anyway, but knowing who has what is not the worst idea in the world, nor would, for instance a hand gun exchange for "smart guns" be a dumb idea either, if only to prevent the guns from being used by third parties.

I think it is an interesting point about the gangster era's continued hold, I would have pointed to the cowboy myth myself, but I am pretty certain the levels of violence on TV and in the cinema that young people are exposed to is a greater culprit - Gotham is an unbelievably violent show, for instance, yet goes out a 8 pm in the US and is watched by young people. We know that the easy access to porn online has started to skew the minds of young people in their expectations of what sex is supposed to be, why would violence on television be any different? We may be, and have been, in the US, raising generations of increasingly violent people, or at least inured to violence and more prone to solve their problems with it. It may also be hog-wash. Difficult to say, but we do know that in Europe, where watching such violence is far more restricted, that those who took part in mass shootings regularly watched heightened violence in films or other media. We know that social media and other forms can easily turn otherwise innocuous people into terrorists by playing on their fears, weaknesses, alienations and inferiority complexes, as the flood of Europeans to fight (on the wrongs side) in Syria attests. So I feel somewhat confident in putting some of the responsibility in the careless way that violent solutions to social problems is propagated in the US media for people who are not fully formed yet.

But I would also maintain that poverty and racism remain the main factors above all in the US, and pretty much everywhere. How do we address this problem? Do we let unfettered capitalism find the solution, or enact laws of high quality universal education and employment? Do we embrace a neo socialist approach, or is there another method? All such approaches have been tried, one need only look around the world to see that, yet, none seem to really work. I doubt the US will be able to adopt the national mentality of the Japanese that helps to keep crime in check in that nation, so social engineering is probably out. I do not believe either the Democrats or the Republicans have the answer, certainly not the Tea Party, which is an unwitting stooge of a few very rich men, not sure if Nader is a bright bulb either. It seems that the best way to combat all of this in on the local level, in families and communities. Surely it is the erosion of community and family that has had the greatest impact on this problem, and it is where we must begin. And, although I am scientist and not a religious man, and rather suspicious of a lot of organised religions, I do believe that religious institutions on the local level must also take a strong hand in this, to be a force of community, cohesion and caring. Well, it would be a start, anyway.

As for Europe having an easy time of it, it has been anything but, and it is about to get a lot worse, as the flood of immigrants threatens to overwhelm the sense of community that many regions have. A war within Europe is unlikely to ever happen again, but a rise in racism is already well under way, West vs. East, and the next decades may be ugly here.

We could debate this sort of thing until the cows come home, but instead I choose to do things, like my father did before me, helping the community, working with young people, engaging in the democratic process, and as you know, reaching out to greater communities through international service, some of which will start in two weeks less two days.
(This post was last modified: 10-28-2015 07:30 AM by DocWils.)
10-28-2015 07:28 AM
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