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Kate Jones

Partner, Institute for the Advancement of Service

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The time is NOW for people to stand up and say 'No More Assault Weapons" and not wait for the government to legislate the change.

Change starts when people change, not when governments legislate change. Think back to the days when driving drunk was socially acceptable, no matter who died in the process. Then Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) formed. The rest is history.

The time is 'now o'clock'. We will change our resopnse to violence and stop purchasing violence video games as gifts for our children, and stop patronizing films that promote violence, mayhem and murder. Glorifying the horrific has become the norm.

What happened in Newtown, CT should never happen again.

Remember Mahatma Ghandi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world". The time is now o'clock!

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    Dec 21 2012: What we face here is a fundamental choice between a feeling of freedom and a feeling of security. Freedom inevitably comes with insecurity and security inevitably comes with loss of freedom. Do we prefer to take care of ourselves or do we like the "master" to make choices for us? I'm sure, we will never like the choices made for us like nobody likes to take off shoes and empty pockets in airports. Why can't we live with a sense of insecurity?

    This is also a dilemma between trust and fear. Why do we fear people with guns? Why do we fear that everyone else is going to harm us? This is where our ability to reason breaks down. We make conclusions about things we don't know (which are uncertain and lead to fear and insecurity) by assuming that they are or will be like things we know (e.g. we think the sun will rise tomorrow, because it has done so for million years in the past). This is the only way we can operate in this world. This makes science possible. This gives us an illusion of "being in control". But this very principle is responsible for people making unjustified and ultimately wrong conclusions. This is how superstitions are born. This is how innocent people are punished for the crimes they don't commit. This is how racial and religious stereotypes are born.

    Shall we succumb to fear and worry and make our life miserable or shall we trust each other and have faith that we will survive? People cannot cooperate without such trust. To do that, we must accept the possibility that other people may hurt us.
    • Dec 24 2012: There is a strict difference between not trusting people and irresponsibility. If we give guns out to people, we are not granting them freedom; what we granted is the right for them to use a new weapon. Whether they choose to massacre or choose to sport, it is no longer within our power to control. In other words, we are giving away our responsibility to keep others safe. This is not trust - if we trusted them, we would be allowing people to buy missiles, rocket launchers, or even nukes - but we are not. Since we don't trust them with nukes, rocket launchers, and missiles, we don't trust them at all. Since we don't trust others, by allowing people to purchase weapons with little or no restriction, we are simply being irresponsible.

      Now a few may view restriction on gun trade as restrictions on freedom. I argue other wise. What freedom can you gain from having a gun in your home? Suppose you lock it up nice and tight and only take it out for cleaning once a year, then not having a gun is not a restriction on freedom at all. Suppose take that gun with you wherever you go, and you incorporate the gun into your daily lives. Well unless you are a police officer, your freedom with your gun has limited others' freedom of expression. Thus by allowing your freedom, you have silenced other's right to object to your view. This means the ownership of a gun cannot grant more freedom without taking away freedom from others - a gun does not give freedom.

      Since a gun is only making the society irresponsible, and it does not grant any freedom, there is no point for anyone to get one.
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        Dec 24 2012: Jisong, nothing but your own actions should be in your "power to control". This may be a strange concept but the more you try to hold on and control the more you lose your grip.

        I see you say there is no point for anyone to get a gun. Well, case closed, you just tidied that right on up. Only, see, lots of others feel the need to have a gun. They enjoy it, they are curious about them, they hunt with them to feed their families ( no supermarket, what? ), they feel secure when their loved ones are sleeping at home that if, god forbid, someone or some people, came to bring them harm that they would have that fighting chance to protect them.

        Outlawing guns will not make psychos go away or make our streets safer. I do not know for sure what will, but outlawing guns or assault rifles is not the answer. And believe me, criminals will get guns, as long as there is a market. If there is a buyer there is a seller.
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        Dec 24 2012: Jisong, second amendment is not meant to give freedom. It's meant to protect freedom. Guns give power. If we don't trust people with power and do not trust that people will make responsible choices, we should not give people the right to vote either. Your arguments can be used against democracy verbatim. I'd say, owning a gun imposes responsibility rather than gives freedom. This is why I don't have a gun. By the way, I disagree that gun ownership always makes people irresponsible. Often it is to the contrary. But often power corrupts. Power often results in temptation to misuse it. This is why U.S. constitution has checks and balances. Second amendment is one of them.

        It is an illusion that we have responsibility to control other people's behavior. Not only we don't have such responsibility, we cannot do it. By the way, if you feel a need to control other people's behavior, you should get a gun :-) Fear of guns is fear of ourselves.

        I may agree with you that before people are trusted with guns, there must be measures in place to make sure that they can be trusted with guns - like driver's licenses are given to teenagers after a student's permit and a test. Perhaps, gun owners themselves must implement these policies.

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