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Bob Dohse

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What gun-control or gun-rights reference is YOUR preferred source of factual information on the subject?

What published gun-control or gun-rights reference is YOUR preferred source of factual information on the subject?

Everyone, it seems, has an OPINION of guns and the limits of their legitimate use within society (if any). But upon WHAT is your opinion based? And WHY is that referenced source important for YOUR opinion.

Please share a published source of your choice, so others might better understand why you chose YOUR opinion.

And please share WHY that information is important to YOUR opinion.

The conversation is in English, but not limited to only the current debate within the United States.

Facts from around the globe are welcomed, but please don't presume that every nation or citizen must accept YOUR nation's laws, culture, or political process.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation in a considerate exchange of information. :-)

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Closing Statement from Bob Dohse

It was interesting to read the different opinions people have on issues related to guns, and also their perspectives which help shape their opinions.

While we might not all agree on every point, I think we demonstrated that it was possible to have an agreeable discussion. That could possibly change in a situation where winners and losers were picked, but we avoided that problem with a TED "question" and not a TED "debate".

Perhaps there's a lesson in this ... that we might possibly be more agreeable citizens if we can somehow (as much as possible) search more for agreement and less for victory. Granted that this is not always possible, it's still a thought to ponder.

If I can keep a gun and find a way to keep my neighbor (who is not a gun advocate) happy, then we both end up happy. Conversely, if I can easily and willingly do something that addresses my neighbor's concerns (perhaps a gun safe to insure safety for children), then we are also both happy.

As a parting comment ... many thanks to Matt MacBradaigh, who provided links to other articles he's written and, thus, shared yet another avenue to exchange information.

And thanks to all for a pleasant dialog without rants and rages.

Warm regards.

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  • May 3 2013: For legal context in Second Amendment debates, I prefer to reference Supreme Court rulings. The landmark case, D.C. vs Heller (2008) in particular www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf I find to be useful. The subsequent, McDonald vs Chicago (2010) is also useful for legal insight http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1521.pdf An earlier landmark case, U.S. vs Miller (1939) is also quite useful http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0307_0174_ZO.html Miller sets precent that is upheld in Heller. It also establishes precedent that has stood for decades.

    I have written several articles, published on PolicyMic.com regarding the Supreme Courts ruling (to answer where you ask about my opinion) http://www.policymic.com/articles/24557/9-things-you-didn-t-know-about-the-second-amendment

    and here http://www.policymic.com/articles/24210/gun-control-myth-the-second-amendment-makes-clear-guns-aren-t-just-for-the-military

    and here http://www.policymic.com/articles/24091/dianne-feinstein-s-assault-weapon-ban-would-be-unconstitutional

    I believe that Heller is quite beneficial for the debate in understanding the law as it is now, the law in its historical context, and the historical context of the words used & their meaning at the time of ratification. The caveat is that this applies to just law in the United States. Since gun control policy is debating the creation of law, gun control in the U.S. must consider U.S. law. The Supreme Court is the authority and provides excellent historical context by which our opinions may be informed.
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      May 3 2013: Thanks for the references to the Supreme Court decisions, Matt, and your explanations of why they are important to you.

      And thank you, also, for sharing your articles with us.
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    May 11 2013: My opinion concerning gun control is based on principals. Though I would proudly cite the US Constitution as an argument against gun control, I don't feel I base my opinion on any legal code. I simply feel that the right to own weapons is essential for a free society.

    So I find the statistics irrelevant, sorry if that produces some face-smacks. One could lay out a solid case that a complete gun ban would absolutely eliminate gun-homocides, and I see a powerless population truly vulnerable to martial law.

    Also, I'm skeptical of positions that are pro gun-control, because they're often based on misinformation or deliberate propaganda. How many times have we seen the AR-15 referred to as the "assault rifle" that Adam Lanza used? Often immediately afterwards there's a scene of the police marching with AR-15's. Sandy Hook Elementary was surrounded by dozens of AR-15's when the police arrived. Yet it never catches the eye. It's an incredibly standard rifle, semi-automatic yet the media loves to push the image that its a machine gun with no legitimate purpose. 30 round magazines are referred to as "extended"... they're standard. The AR-15 isn't an assault rifle at all. It's an "assault weapon", a rifle that bares the same cosmetic features as an assault rifle, a political term coined for Clinton's FAWB. More propaganda.

    When I look at the general population's attitude towards gun control, I see much higher support for gun control in countries that really have it. The more gun control a country has, the higher the public's support. For me that's more evidence that there's little legitimacy to gun control, and that Statist opinions often come from people who have to cope with powerful States.

    And lastly, I'd like to believe I base my opinions on solid logic, or at least seeing through faulty logic. I don't see human beings as would-be mall shooters just waiting to get their hands on a gun. And I don't see gun control stopping the very, very few people who are.
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      May 11 2013: Thanks, Fred.

      As many owners know, the AR-15 is very useful in a variety of settings. There's an article floating around that gives a good overview of its versatility for clearly legal usage (hunting, etc.) ... I'll try to find it and post it here. I think you would enjoy reading it, and it would perhaps answer some of the other readers' questions about the weapon.

      And, yes, an "assault rifle" has a specific meaning as defined in US and NATO military manuals. The term "assault weapon" was created to collectively refer to a select group of weapons in a now-expired ban passed by the US Congress in the early 1990s. Outside of that old designation, the term is vague and not useful for detailed dialog. It generally creates more arguments than understanding.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective.
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    May 9 2013: "On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
    - Thomas Jefferson
    That our founding fathers could not see the future seems doubtful when I read the Federalist Papers. The first time I was amazed. Ah, if we had leaders with this intellect and who embraced freedom without a lust for personal gain. What a country we would be.
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      May 9 2013: That's an amazing statement from a very visionary person, Kathleen. Welcome.

      "let us conform to the ... (atmosphere) ... in which it was passed." :-)
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    May 8 2013: I use the same sources as Matt MacBradaigh. These are updated year to year and are consistent for basic information. But I'm the non-gun-owner who believes in the Constitution.
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      May 9 2013: Thanks for joining and sharing, Amy.
  • May 4 2013: I second Everrett Hills comments about primary sources.

    I prefer the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for crime related data, like homicides, and the CDC primarily for other public health data, like other causes of death, accindental and suicide, etc. I have also referenced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On some points, I cite the Dept of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    FBI - UCR, Table 8 (homicides, by weapon type)
    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

    FBI - UCR, Table 1 (long term trends)
    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1

    CDC - Mortality Multiple Causes
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/deaths_2010_release.pdf

    Suicide
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

    Injury
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm

    Leading causes of death
    http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/LeadingCauses.html

    CDC, Non vital statistics report, Death-final 2009
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_03.pdf

    NHTSA
    http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

    I find these particularly useful in the gun control debate for raw data. Of course, interpreting the data is what we all do, but the foundation is the raw data by which we can draw conclusions.

    The FBI and ATFwebsites also have a plethora of data available for a variety of topics related to gun control like gangs and current firearms laws, such as requirements of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to run National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) on every purchase, regardless of whether they are at a gun show or retail store location http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/brady-law.html#licensee-gun-show-sales and the NFA legal requirements http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/national-firearms-act-firearms.html

    It's data and the law without spin put on it yet. Quite useful for obtaining factual information.
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      May 9 2013: Matt - as always, you nailed it. All great references and I think some of the best for actual stats. Mine is my "heart" statement but is why I keep going to the others - to back up what a long dead, intelligent and passionate man once said.
      I think all of these support the founding fathers fears and failsafes that they put into place.
      It is a shame we have to prove everyday they were right.
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    May 3 2013: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
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      May 3 2013: That's a GREAT place to start, Ed. Thanks.
    • May 3 2013: Hi Ed,

      I agree that is and should be the foundation for American discussion of gun control.

      It is also why I believe the SCOTUS rulings are so relevant. For instance, one sometimes sees gun control advocates reference the "well regulated" part as justification that more laws (i.e. regulations) are constitutional. However, the Supreme Court states in Heller in the context of providing the historical context of the words as they were understood at the time of ratifcation that "well regulated" means:

      "the adjective “well-regulated” implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training." (p. 23)

      This enlightens us to know that the words "well regulated" as they can be used today, didn't have the same meaning then, and therefor the basis for the rationale that gun control laws are constitutional *because of* the words "well regulated" is unfounded. It's not a caveat, it's state of being.

      This is just an example. But it highlights the importance of deep understanding of the law and the historical context for the law.
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        May 3 2013: A very complementary thought ... the original text and the relevant Supreme Court decisions that focus like a laser upon the parts that society misunderstood, providing explanations and definitions on the Constitution's meaning.

        Thank you both, Ed and Matt, for your contributions.
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        May 3 2013: Thanks Matt. I very much appreciate your thoroughness. I assume your references are accurate and properly cited. I am amazed that anything other than exactly what the words say can be put forth as a valid argument against the right of citizens to own firearms. I understand the morphing of meanings over time is what is happening, but, still, it seems 100% unambiguous in the original wording. I am better prepared for the next argument because of what you have shared regarding the meaning of "well regulated". Shame on me for not knowing that before, but thanks again! Be well.
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    May 10 2013: Bob, I chose history and the Constitution. I have served in the military (retired) and in law enforcement. I know some really good people and some really bad people. Weapons have been used by both for good and bad purposes. The biggest and most dangerous criminal are those with a pen, a position, or the technical knowledge to take advantage .... We send Berney Madoff to prison for insider trading but send Nancy Pelosi to Washington for the same act, insider trading making a fortune on the VISA issue.

    To disarm everyone is lunacy. To not have effective controls and harsh punishment for crimes involving a weapon is stupidity.

    The problem is that this issue has become so large there is no room for discussion ... your either with me or against me. Those lines are part of the problem. Also part of the problem is to invoke emotions ... The trial in Phoenix Arizona involving a killer girlfriend went national ... the trial of a abortion doctor who killed women and children has not received much media attention ... one involved a gun ... and one didn't. However, the gun incident was one man ... the doctor killed many. Is the media bias?

    I believe there should be dialog on the subject and improvements made. Currently the only proposed solutions are extreme one way or the other ...

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      May 10 2013: Thanks, Robert. Good point on the comparison of the Arias trial with the other trial. I also thought the media coverage was biased, and the other trial had many important angles to cover on current social issues. The Arias trial was just about a passion killing that the killer tried to cover up.

      I appreciate your service (both ways). I am also retired from the military, and several family members have served in law enforcement. Both are honorable professions, I believe. I picked the "related" TED VIDEO for precisely that reason.

      Warm regards back to you, Robert.
  • May 9 2013: When looking at sources, I try to look at those who have as little stake as possible in the debate itself, such as the accounts of defenseve gun use in newspapers the next day or live 911 tapes. I look at documents written directly by the founders and that they quoted extensivly. However, if you want to rid the US of firearms, repeal the 2nd amendment.
    If you are from another country, how would you know what it is like in the United States if you have never been here. Why get into our buisness?
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      May 9 2013: Good points, Aaron ... following up on the news accounts and getting the impartial source data actually drills down to the real facts very quickly.

      Thanks for adding that insight.
      • May 11 2013: Alot of the info on defensive gun uses and stuff is availible online. not that hard to find.
  • May 3 2013: I find FOX news and MSN to be incredibly reliable sources of information on this topic.

    Okay, that was sarcasm, I admit it. I actually find that any report provided by the media outlets needs to be questioned. Where possible, I like to go back to the source that they cite and reference it. For any topic, not just firearms related issues. As most media sources, while reliable, are quoted in such a way as to provide their source of the story.

    For violence or "gun death" related source, I go to the CDC and FBI national crime statistics. I also cross check other sources across the net that are .org or .gov sites and see if the material is similar or conflicting. Where there is conflict, I look for primary source documents to reference.

    I greatly appreciate this question because most people do not dig deeper into the actual facts and data behind the commentary of the mainstream media.
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      May 4 2013: Thanks for adding the issue of referencing primary sources instead of just quoting a summary or an interpretation from the media. I like your technique, Everett.
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    May 4 2013: "And please share WHY that information is important to YOUR opinion." Thanks for the question.
    I have a story to share that supports my opinion, that I will present at the end.
    When I was a child, living near the city of Gdansk where the system change in Poland began, there were unrests and uncertainty. Special forces sent to control the crowd (ZOMO and ORMO) did not use guns, but batons. Guns were not allowed for the citizens either and grey zones were impossible to be established due to gentle control. There were still justified unrests, struggle between the forces and the people that Lech Walesa put a stop to, which he won a Nobel prize for.
    All this and other stories and situations I've mentioned here on TED led me to the following conclusion - the more forces with no guns and the better the control of the production and distribution of guns, and the forces - the better for both the forces and citizens. Maybe I'm naive, but that's just my opinion. I'm not applying it to the topics mentioned in the conversation, I'm just sharing.
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      May 8 2013: Anna,

      Thanks for sharing your personal history and perspective.

      I tried to design a question with no "right" answers, so that an opinion like yours would fit in perfectly. I don't think it's necessary for dialogs to always lead to mutual agreement on every issue, and ideas about guns are one of those topics with many varied opinions.

      I do think it is good to understand how other people feel about things that are important to them, and I think it is helpful when we understand why they feel how they feel. I think personal histories are a very good way to share the context of how or why people formed an opinion.

      So, again, thank you for sharing. It added a unique perspective that I enjoyed reading.
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        May 8 2013: To share a bit more...

        "...the bullets scream to me from somewhere..."

        NRA - it'snot guns that kill people, people do... but I think the gun helps - E.Izzard.

        Best wishes, Bob.
        • May 9 2013: Anna,

          While I can appreciate your personal story shared above as an anecdote, anecdotes aren't very useful in looking at the larger picture, because by definition, it's a small personal snapshot of one event.

          The question is what "source of factual information on the subject" do you find useful. Do you have a factual source of information, outside of your personal story? Or not? Because sharing quotes from Eddie Izzard doesn't really qualify. He's a funny guy, but not a credible, authoritative source on the gun debate.

          By all means, if you have something substantive to share, feel free. But otherwise, I think the clever slogan quotes don't do any service to the debate or in taking the question seriously.
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        May 9 2013: Hi again Bob,

        I can add another comment if you're interested in perspectives, although this one is not really unique, it dominated the media in Norway some time ago.

        You probably heard of a tragedy that shocked Norway and the world in 2011.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Norway_attacks

        This occured very close to where I happen to live. The terrorist aquired the rifle legally - for hunting. Had this been regulated/controlled more effectively and with proper risk assessment, the teenagers camping on Utoya-island would still be alive.

        It's not the bombing I'm referring to now but what happened after it, everything's in the article.
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          May 9 2013: Thanks, again, Anna.

          I was raised part of my life in the mountains of Wyoming, near Yellowstone Park, so my heritage is different from Norway. In my part of the world, people generally have a weapon nearby because wild animals (bears, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions) might attack us or our animals. So guns are a part of our daily life.

          That is also a big tourist area, so there are many camping places and other sites where a recreation event (similar to the site of the 2011 Norway attacks) might have happened.

          Had the 2011 Norway attacks happened in that area of Wyoming (and in many other places in America), then a citizen would have used their available gun to stop the killer.

          That - personal defense of self and others - one of the two reasons the US Supreme Court says the Second Amendment exists.

          The other reason for the Second Amendment, according to the Supreme Court, is "deterrence of tyranny". You probably know better than I, but we have some movies and stories here in America about the freedom fighters in Norway who fought against the Nazis. That represents the 2nd example.

          We are having in America a big discussion about guns, and one big complaint is that we don't pay enough attention to helping people with mental health problems or feelings of hatred and isolation. I think the 2011 Norway shooter was in that last group - hatred of others and isolation from people who thought differently than the shooter.

          So we have some similarity of the issues between our nations, and we also have some differences in culture and heritage.

          I do appreciate your perspective, and I thank you for sharing it with us. I think it's important to have peaceful dialog between people who have differing ideas, and your comments help add to that.

          I think we also have much in common ... wanting a better and peaceful life, and a nice place to live without the craziness of these terrible events.

          So we continue to talk ...

          Thank you so much, Anna, for joining and sharing with us.
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        May 9 2013: Hi Matt,

        I see your point.
        My additional comment was just a reply, I didn't concentrate on factual information in this one, as I did in the first one. Still, although what I wrote seems to be an anecdote, there is some truth in it, you cannot dismiss that.
        Best wishes. Please see my other comment too.
  • May 4 2013: Look how great Prohibition was.
  • May 3 2013: I trust no sources to provide "unbiased" facts.

    This is a bit off the original topic, but I think it is very important.

    I consider it petty and misleading to quibble about the exact meaning of words and phrases in the Constitution.

    Consider the first amendment:

    "Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of
    the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
    grievances."

    The language of the first amendment plainly states "no law." But SCOTUS has upheld exceptions with respect to each of the above rights, in some cases because rights can and do conflict. For example, it is illegal to perform religious human sacrifice. The Constitution must be interpreted in a way that is practical and meaningful for the current times, and not according to our current conclusions about the framers intentions, as though any amount of historical research could determine their actual thoughts. The framers had no single intention. The Constitution was the product of compromise.

    The second amendment must be interpreted within the context of the current times. The framers could not possibly imagine modern weaponry, and could never have had any intentions with respect to regulating modern weapons. SCOTUS must do the best it can, with its very limited wisdom, to decide each case in the context of modern society and modern technology. People will continue to be killed by guns because freedom has a price. The decision is, how much freedom is worth how much killing.
    • May 3 2013: Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your input here.

      I would note that these ideas - that there have been restrictions legally upheld & that the weaponry that exists now didn't exist in the 18th Century - have been addressed by the Court.

      The 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) restricted firearms, which ended up the subject of the 1939 U.S. vs Miller. The Court upheld the restriction, in that case on short-barreled shotguns (SBS) on the rationale that a SBS would not be found in a military or militia unit. Instead the Court ruled that "weapons in common use at the time" are protected by the Second Amendment.

      D.C. vs Heller concurred with the Court's earlier assessment on both "weapons in common use at the time" and upholding restrictions on "dangerous and unusual weapons" that are regulated by the 1934 NFA. In Heller the Court also addressed the issue of modern weapons:

      "Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivo­lous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not in­terpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding." (p.8) www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

      Even to those that were not in existence at the time of the founding is what the Court says. Weapons in common use is the standard by which they legitimize protected use.

      The Court also addressed the meaning of "well regulated" (see comments below).

      That is not to suggest that the Court hasn't upheld restrictions - it clearly has, including in Heller. But they are clearly defined, as is what is clearly protected.
      • May 4 2013: Perhaps I was not clear, because you are making my main point, that the Court has and will continue to make rulings based on the current context of changing times. The most important characteristic of a good judge is wisdom. When balancing one person's right to carry a weapon, against another person's right to live without fear that their children will become victims of that weapon, there is no simple answer.
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          May 4 2013: Thanks for the responses and thoughts to consider, Barry.

          I'd add to your last comment that the Supreme Court uses the standards of strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny for simplifying the determination of these cases.

          Although there is no simple answer to the overall social questions concerning gun use, there are relatively simple standards for the scrutiny the courts apply to Second Amendment cases.

          Perhaps one of the bigger issues surrounding the Second Amendment is determining which standard applies ... strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny. That affects the burden of proof the lawmakers must use in defending a Supreme Court challenge ... which brings us directly to the facts necessary to make the case.

          Thanks, again, for raising a challenging point of discussion.
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          May 4 2013: The Cornell Law School's definitions of Intermediate Scrutiny and Strict Scrutiny ... the two standards used by the Supreme Court in Second Amendment cases.

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/intermediate_scrutiny

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/strict_scrutiny
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        May 4 2013: Thanks, Matt, for sharing more primary source information and links.
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    May 9 2013: Hi Bob,

    Just a quick response:
    "I think we also have much in common ... wanting a better and peaceful life, and a nice place to live without the craziness of these terrible events."
    I agree but I'd like to stress that the more peaceful your life is, the broader the perspective should be with focus on what is humane. We have different perspectives but if they come together in a dialogue, not aggression, it can help everybody, not just local communities. I was never threatened by wild animals, "only" by a bomb nearby, so our experiences differ.
    "I think the 2011 Norway shooter was in that last group - hatred of others and isolation from people who thought differently than the shooter."
    I was actually hoping to not be having to hear too much about it again, but here goes - the terrorism described as Norway attacks was more a combination of self-love, lack of awareness and confirmation bias which together led to a terrorist act. The Oslo-bombing falls under category terrorism, not any other areas or defence against risks you're mentioning.
    See this talk:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/jonas_gahr_store_in_defense_of_dialogue.html
    Dialogue requires awareness and understanding for greater good, not just with an intention to support your own interests.
    Freedom-fighters you're referring to used gentle methods, other means were not available from what I remember and situation there cannot be compared to what is still going on in other countries. There is no data in this comment, it's just a response/reply and an opinion, but I hope it helped.
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      May 9 2013: I think we might be agreeing on a lot of the same basic ideas. I don't doubt that the Norway incident was anything but terrorism. The news media seems to usually equate that with religious warriors, but I think it only means people who try to terrorize other people for some purpose. We had terrorists here in America. The Atlanta Olympics bombing was terrorism.

      I'm very far removed from your news, but I suspect that man had built a mental paradigm that said "others" were bad because of certain events that supported his paradigm. Contradictory thoughts were probably excluded as "lies from the enemy", so he never had to think about any real truth ... only his "exclusive world" (of "the right people") that was under attack by "the bad people". But in that mindset, everyone who disagrees with you is "bad".

      I've lived through several bomb blasts and attacks in other countries, so our experiences aren't that different after all.

      I think your description was accurate ... " a combination of self-love, lack of awareness and confirmation bias". That describes many of the people who do these type of things.

      I didn't mean to imply that the real freedom fighters were anything like terrorists. The name is accurate - fighters for freedom - and they are usually guided by their culture's norms for what is justice under the law. During the 1940s, some fought with guns to defend their homeland, but many others resisted oppression by taking care of other people in many non-violent ways.

      My point was that one of America's Second Amendment purposes was to guarantee the right to defend against tyranny with "arms" (weapons). Other nations might have different cultures and different laws, but the heritage and laws of America guaranteed the right for people to resist potential tyranny by keeping and bearing arms.

      Sorry that a bad memory has been refreshed, but thank you for sharing your perspective with us. It is good for everyone to hear perspectives from around the world. Thank you.
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        May 10 2013: Opinion:
        "man had built a mental paradigm that said "others" were bad because of certain events that supported his paradigm. Contradictory thoughts were probably excluded as "lies from the enemy", so he never had to think about any real truth ... only his "exclusive world" (of "the right people") that was under attack by "the bad people". But in that mindset, everyone who disagrees with you is "bad".
        I think your description was accurate ... " a combination of self-love, lack of awareness and confirmation bias". That describes many of the people who do these type of things.

        I agree, but in this case it was more complicated than just that, for a variety of reasons. This was a lone wolf, taking cosmetic surgeries while trying to be succesful in business selling fake diplomas and trying to have a perfect bride found on internett-pages. He can hardly be compared to Timothy McVeigh and my description doesn't apply to the latter, as you may know. Both were anomalies in the system, but also created by it in more or less subtle ways. The first one organised military training on his own, the second one didn't from what I remember, this makes a difference. I don't know enough about Oklahoma-incident to have an opinion.
        To defend against tyranny - tyranny is, among others, "a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force" or (another definition) "the office, authority and administration of a tyrant". If there is no tyranny, there is no need for defence, then again - we still have personal feelings about what tyranny is and the confirmation bias when trying to use dialogue that I'm a supporter of
        I hope you can be liberated from biases when reading my comments and not take any of them out of political, cultural and other contexts.
        "... but the heritage and laws of America guaranteed the right for people to resist potential tyranny by keeping and bearing arms."
        Heritage is one thing, power balance/crime prevention is another.
        Thank you for your question.
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          May 10 2013: Anna ... I reached my weekly limit on "Thumbs Up" for you, but I'm appreciating your comments. I try to read them without any bias but, of course, I'm still the person that I am. But I think it's very interesting and informative to hear your perspective, so thank you again for sharing. I didn't know those background things about the Norwegian guy. Thanks for adding that information.