> Damien Broderick wrote:
> > Mike, you can't imagine how wildly weird this sort of
> > thing sounds in Oz. How pathologically dangerous the
> > society must have become to permit a rational man like
> > yourself to regard such fears as natural and attitudes
> > as righteous.
> That's amazing; such views are very common in the US. Is
> it the basic notion that someone might try to defend
> himself that seems wildly weird? Or is it specific to the
> use of guns?
Here in the UK, we have *very* restrictive gun laws so I'll
try to shed some light on the different perspectives between
here and the US. Firstly, Hal, I think Damien was referring
to notion that someone would *need* to defend themselves.
This highlights the difference in perspectives: Most of the
Americans on this list are Libertarians; they look at the
gun "problem" in terms of an individuals need to protect him
or herself from intruders. The common perspective in the UK
is to look at the effect of guns on society as a whole,
without regard to the individual. The point here is, that
while the average Briton or, it would seem, Australian
thinks, "there are only x number of violent crimes a year"
an American (or Libertarian, at least) would think, "there's
an x chance of a violent crime happening to me". Clearly
the latter view leads to the adoption of a pro-gun attitude
whereas with the former view this isn't as obvious a choice.
RE: Smart Guns
The value of these devices can again be considered from a
social point-of-view (i.e. how many people are killed by
guns accidentally or by having their guns used against them
vs. the number of extra deaths likely to result from the
type of scenarios Michael Lorrey has mentioned) or an
individualist point-of-view (i.e. will this prohibit me from
adequately protecting myself?). I'm not sure of my own
opinions on this matter (if I had my way, I'd let the market
decide, but that's another discussion entirely).
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