A comparison (another gun thread)

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snoqueen
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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby snoqueen » Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:22 pm

This gets way too long, but hey.

Bludgeon wrote:You've got a fundamental misunderstanding about the experience of history. That's the problem with the progressive view of the country - it only understands its existence in the context of these bad things. You don't see all the Natives and Europeans who got along and lived and died and shared their lives together... Do you not realize the harm you do your own understanding of the world when you choose to view history only in terms of what amounts to a politically sanctioned and approved ethnic slur against historic European culture in America?


I was with you until that last sentence. But let's start at the top. (I shortened the quote for readability but I am referring to all of it.)

Once we had the white-guys version of American history: Columbus found America, the settlers beat back the savage Indians and brought civilization to the frontier, etc.

Then we got the revised version, which I tried to represent in my first post in our dialogue.

It's not unreasonable to expect the next version to settle somewhere between the two. I'm willing to grant that while many of Europeans' contacts with the native people were warlike and took the form of invasion, at times we also had mutually beneficial contacts which included trade, some intermarriage, and occasions where the native people taught or helped the settlers. The record shows these things occurred.

The native tribes' version of the same history mostly describes invasion, relocation, the taking of children to "Indian schools" where they were separated from their culture and forbidden to speak their own languages, the loss of land, and treaties that were only intermittently honored. Their version is equal in value -- not superior, not inferior -- to the European version.

Similarly, from other parts of your comments: yes, we have had a complicated relationship with Mexico that includes land being claimed by both sides in turn and includes war. Europeans in Mexico and native people in that area had relationships as complex as in our part of the continent, and the Mexican experience overflowed in to the SE part of today's US and is still part of our lives.

We should acknowledge all the historical realities, the positive and the ugly. I am freely willing to acknowledge the positive, but I can't sit here and allow the negative to be brushed aside. Don't forget history is written by the victors. Efforts to rebalance that history are long overdue.

The following was the most interesting part of your remarks, to me:

The place and the pride of gun culture in America is the range and the voyage west, and the sacrifice they made to do it, essentially venturing out into a land with no government, no law, no protection, but the firearm on the road made every mortal equal.


(see the original for the entire comment]

OK, now I get that your view of gun culture comes from frontier times.

I'm going to leave the part about slavery to another post, since it's got its own set of complications far beyond what we might say about the frontier.

Similarly, every mortal being equal seems to have applied mostly to whites, since you are not showing much interest in defending the right of the native people to be equal with the frontiersmen. Why not? We know about the Europeans' courage and suffering but less about the native people's, and they are of equal importance because they are both human.

In the interests of trying not to make this too long, I'll move on to your view that possession of a gun made each frontiersman equal with the next. This refers to equalization of power.

I think this mostly comes from cowboy movies, but if it's the mythology then we have to deal with it.

Please remember, though, that the great frontier legends about Dodge City, about bringing justice, and all the rest were about controlling the guns, not glorifying their unfettered use. We had sheriffs, we had justices, we had courts, we had jails. We were seeking to tame the land (or the society being transplanted onto the land), not let the rule of the gun remain paramount. That's what frontier stories are about, not about how glorious it was when all we had to do was shoot each other and take what we wanted. People who did that were outlaws, and the story of the west was about bringing them to justice, not just seeing which side could dominate the other without any rules beyond whoever shoots the other first, wins.

The idea wasn't that guns made everybody equal, but that the power of the gun was so dangerous it had to be controlled and kept in its place as towns and frontier justice were established.

I don't mean to dishonor those who did that. It took skill, organizational talent, courage, and dedication. It took the military, it took individual action, and it took all the talents humans have at their disposal. But to promote the myth guns were what made everyone equal and the era when guns ruled was some kind of high point isn't true to what happened. Guns were one of the tools the frontiersmen used, along with horses and oxen, the plow, the axe, and finally the railroad. I think if anything made people equal, it was the risks they were all taking: weather, animals, attacks from other humans, starvation, fire, disease, accidents. Anything could happen out there.

If you want to know what I think made settling the frontier possible, I'd focus more on metallurgy (tools) and the horse, neither of which was available to the native people before European arrival. Both those changed the frontier hugely. If Europeans had brought horses and tools but had used atalatls and arrows instead of guns, I think the changes they brought would have been just at dramatic and their deeds just as historic.

I've got no problem with glorifying the frontier era, but glorifying it on account of the power of the gun is pretty limited thinking.

You know, this is a big continent - white people were not the only people to go travelling over boarders. Why is the wandering band of what were called American Indians meant to be forgotten, and all we see is this caricature of these greedy, stereotypical 'crackers' carpet bagging the whole continent? That idea is simply ignorant.


I have no interest in denigrating the frontiersmen, nor in forgetting what American Indians did (which included making war on one another and traveling across the land). We need all the facts, not just some of them.

It would be easier to see progressives as more than just hopeless if their entire concept of American history amounted to more than just a bigoted cultural slur. Too often, progressives' idea of history warps down to what amounts to be essentially just an offhand list you might find in a pamphlet called, 'Bad things white people did'...


OK, I can accept that you don't like to hear about bad things white people did in the absence of a parallel list of good things white people did. That's fair enough, and I can even go so far as to agree it's a revision that has been rolled out (over the past many decades) in a manner inconsiderate of how it was received by those who preferred the old version. It probably seemed more confrontational than a simple clarification. There are reasons for this, but they are part of another discussion. It really had to happen, though. The "old" history was only part of the story and as we gain distance (time, that is) we get a wider vista.

When it comes to good things white people did and brought, I also like to think of engineering marvels: railroads, bridges, buildings, the telegraph, and the like. I'd secondarily focus on writing and on books. These things caused their own set of problems, but nobody can say European culture didn't bring some big changes to the Americas.

...and from my frequent conversations with them I can tell you as you likely know, a lot of people don't mind just adlibbing the rest. I mean, we're talking about the entire lives of millions of people from start to finish, for ten, even twenty generations. Why for the sake of any ideology would any person want to impair their view of history with this repeating theme of anti-Europeanism? What purpose does that serve?


I see this process as one of bringing balance to a couple centuries of history-writing that focused on all the positives of Europeanism while discounting the positives of other cultures and the losses they sustained. If the process of bringing that balance offends some of your ideals, I can respect how difficult that is but we can agree it's not going to stop or disappear or go back into its bottle. And I do see the value in highlighting instances of cooperation and positive good. In addition, I very much admire the intent to remember all the everyday lives that passed during this period of history, lives made of hard work, learning, cooperation, and what we might call normalcy.

But all that doesn't mean frontier times and guns on the frontier ought to be the model for settling the gun disagreements and problems we face in 2013. That, I don't get. We want to rise above justice-at-the-point-of-a-gun, not treat it as an ideal. The price is too high, as Kurt's graphic showed. Something is missing if we're using 1848's lifeways as the standards for 2013.

Still, I got a lot out of reading your post and I do feel I understand some of the underlying mythology of the American gun culture a little better. I had no idea frontier times had such a formative influence on the thinking of some 21st century Americans.
Last edited by snoqueen on Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Roy » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:34 pm

Just go buy a shotgun.

Image

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:42 pm

So Sandi, take a position on reasonable firearm regulations. What do you think about universal background checks for gun sales, including gun shows? You seem to have a fondness for polls. Americans have supported those checks in overwhelming numbers for years.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Dangerousman » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:22 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:So Sandi, take a position on reasonable firearm regulations. What do you think about universal background checks for gun sales, including gun shows? You seem to have a fondness for polls. Americans have supported those checks in overwhelming numbers for years.


It's nice, Henry, how you just take as a given the reasonableness of proposed firearms regulations, when that is an unfounded assumption that needs to be examined. But why don't you explain how a universal background would have had any effect on the Navy Yard shooting. After all, the guy in Sandi's graphic, Aaron Alexis, passed the background check when he purchased his shotgun. And hell, I don't know of any background check that could have prevented him from stealing the other gun that he used. Alexis believed he was being affected by electromagnetic waves. And I'm sure there are other people with similar beliefs-- most of whom will never go on a violent killing rampage or perhaps commit no crimes. So what would you do to make your universal background checks actually make a difference? Have everyone who seems delusional automatically unqualified to pass a background check-- without regard to whether there is evidence that they present a danger to others?

Is this how you think it should be? "You have some crazy ideas, therefore your rights have been restricted."

Or are you willing to accept that we have to live with the idea that there are going to be some crazy people among us, and a few of them are going to be dangerous, and there's little we can do but be prepared to deal with them at the time they begin to act in a way that threatens life and limb?

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Roy » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:29 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:What do you think about universal background checks for gun sales, including gun shows? You seem to have a fondness for polls. Americans have supported those checks in overwhelming numbers for years.


I think universal background checks are just fine ( including gun shows ). However they would make little, if any difference in most of the headline grabbing shooting disasters.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:41 pm

Sandi wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:What do you think about universal background checks for gun sales, including gun shows? You seem to have a fondness for polls. Americans have supported those checks in overwhelming numbers for years.


I think universal background checks are just fine ( including gun shows ). However they would make little, if any difference in most of the headline grabbing shooting disasters.

Yes, regulations on rapid fire high, capacity guns would also help. What say you?

The American public also supports that.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Roy » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:06 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:Yes, regulations on rapid fire high, capacity guns would also help. What say you?


I say it wouldn't help much. Next you will say removing guns will help.

Besides, hunters are not going to give up their semi-auto guns, and I certainly don't blame them.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:45 pm

Sandi wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:Yes, regulations on rapid fire high, capacity guns would also help. What say you?


I say it wouldn't help much. Next you will say removing guns will help.

Besides, hunters are not going to give up their semi-auto guns, and I certainly don't blame them.

I didn't say hunters should only have single shot, bolt action guns (although they seem to be the most accurate for hunting). But they certainly don't need high capacity weaponry, as that is only useful in killing people. Game will scatter after the first shot or two.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Roy » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:57 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:I didn't say hunters should only have single shot, bolt action guns (although they seem to be the most accurate for hunting). But they certainly don't need high capacity weaponry, as that is only useful in killing people. Game will scatter after the first shot or two.


Yes, like people, game will scatter. Whether the gun holds 9 or 19 ( or even 90 ) shots has no bearing on the discussion. Yet you seem to think that a shooting maniac would not use a high capacity clip anyhow. In spite of legal or not, they can easily be made larger without much skill or finesse.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:06 pm

All the recent mass shootings were with high capacity weaprony. That has everything to do with this discussion.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby DCB » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:12 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:All the recent mass shootings were with high capacity weaprony. That has everything to do with this discussion.

Its their preferred weapon. Its right there in the 2nd amendment:

the right of the crazy people to terrorize the public shall not be infringed.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Dangerousman » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:23 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:All the recent mass shootings were with high capacity weaprony. That has everything to do with this discussion.


There was no "high capacity weaponry" at the Navy Yard shooting. Just a standard capacity shotgun and a standard capacity pistol taken from a cop.

Not going to answer my earlier question Henry?

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby DCB » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:53 pm

Dangerousman wrote: So what would you do to make your universal background checks actually make a difference? Have everyone who seems delusional automatically unqualified to pass a background check-- without regard to whether there is evidence that they present a danger to others?

Yup.

If you're not coping with reality, you shouldn't be carrying a gun.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Roy » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:17 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:All the recent mass shootings were with high capacity weaprony. That has everything to do with this discussion.


As I said above, a clip is easy to modify. So is making it fully auto as Adam Lanza did in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

Like a dedicated student, Lanza asked numerous questions about how to convert certain semiautomatic weapons to fully-automatic killing machines.


Jacob Tyler Roberts used a stolen weapon in the Clackamas Town Center, Oregon shooting.

Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minn. According to police, Engeldinger acquired two guns legally about a year before.

I could go on and on, but you can read for yourself. Shootings from 1999 through 2013. Most mass shootings are not done with fully automatic, or large clip magazines.

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Re: A comparison (another gun thread)

Postby Bludgeon » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:35 am

snoqueen wrote:OK, I can accept that you don't like to hear about bad things white people did in the absence of a parallel list of good things white people did. That's fair enough, and I can even go so far as to agree it's a revision that has been rolled out (over the past many decades) in a manner inconsiderate of how it was received by those who preferred the old version. It probably seemed more confrontational than a simple clarification. There are reasons for this, but they are part of another discussion. It really had to happen, though. The "old" history was only part of the story and as we gain distance (time, that is) we get a wider vista.

Briefly.

History is not an ideology. There are no valid 'versions' of history. People say history is 'written by the victors', but it's not quite like that. History is a living thing; it's there to be read by anyone with eyes no matter which 'side' they're on. I get aggrivated the way people tend to get lost in these political themes, always brushing over everything. The history of the west, the history of anything, is much more than these vast overtures; the same way that classical music is more than just Beethoven and Mozart - more than just composers - more than just symphonies - more than just musicians - more than just voices - it's everything together; every single note; the invention of the musical scale; the language of notation. So I don't favor these big clumsy statements.

People think of a gun and see all these 'connotations' - that's anthropomorphising an object. What it is is a pinnacle of invention that characterizes a specific place in history leading up to the modern day. We're not here to 'revise' history, our duty is to interpret --- the --- details. The specifics, the individual experience. What is the meaning of this and the impact on the potential of life? There are no 'connotations', outside of the mind.

Too many partisans view history through an ideological prism that has no place at the table. Progressives in particular trend to view the history of the west through this negative prism. They tend to strike up these big, basic themes, and substitute that for an argument.

"How could you forget about slavery!" "How could you forget about the 'Trail of Tears'"?

But it's ridiculous - so elemental it's like saying how could you forget about a letter in the alphabet? Answer, I haven't, but there's a lot more to it; the truth is in the details, and in really understanding.

Sigh: "Old history". Again, history is not a settled thing where there are simply 'many versions' of, and we all get to pick which one we like. It's neither an 'official' thing, where there's one sanctioned version that we all have to agree with. It's not an ideological story we use simply to enforce our world view. Nor is it a matter of, whoever's in control gets to redefine a new history. It's the legacy of every man and woman, from then to now, settler, tribesman, slave, trader, explorer or nomad; and the heritage of everyone alive here today, even immigrants. Beyond all these few huge, sweeping themes lies an infinite complexity that tells the true story, of the real state of the past and the real state of this present.

But I love your posts snow, it's always a welcome change from all the damned pointless rhetoric that surrounds it.


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