Re: "smart guns" from Australia

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Fri Apr 07 2000 - 22:04:37 MDT

At 09:05 PM 7/04/00 +0100, Bryan Moss wrote:

>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.

Good post. Yes, this is about it. As I said to Hal off-list, what I found
weird is the basic notion that a civilised society can take it for granted
(apparently) that every household and member is in imminent danger of rape
and death. And that the preferred way to deal with such a perilous
situation is to threaten lethal-force mayhem back - even if it works, even
if it's reached a kind of malign stand-off stability.

I do realise the general availability of firearms in the USA, which clearly
can't be recalled this far down the track for all kinds of reasons historic
and ideological, provides the basis for such a tragic Mutual Assured
Destruction way of life (even if this is usually only droning away in the
background outside the urban blights).

I gather that in Oz some crimes of violence have increased after gun
recall, but as far as I know there's less chance of death or major
impairment when you're hit by a heavy stick or even a knife in a brawl or
robbery. I have no figures on this, so maybe it's my wishful thinking.

The points added by James and John (this is getting very Biblical,
appropriately I suppose) don't persuade me, but I do see their case. In
principle, I'm aghast at the notion of vigilantes blowing away `trash'
(partly because American and Australian whites both seem to have logged up
quite a hearty score in dead black `trash' over the years). But I read
enough Heinlein in adolescence to approve secretly of the idea of citizens
assembled deciding that enough's enough and chucking sociopaths out of the
airlock. And when I see egregious criminal scumbags roaming free, I wish I
could reach for a gun and blow the fuckers away. And that's one reason why
I'm very, very glad that I *can't* reach for a gun, in Oz, and by and large
that neither will the scumbag...

I'm out of this discussion now. If I find any stats on the NRA claims, I'll
pass them along.


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