Re: Guns and Transhumans (Was:The End of Privacy ?)

den Otter (
Fri, 03 Jul 1998 12:47:57 +0200 wrote:
> In a message dated 7/2/98 11:46:42 AM, neosapient wrote in reply to:
> (not sure who wrote - was snipped) >>
> >>that gun ownership is an important extropian theme.
> >It certainly is. Guns are very useful pieces of technology. By carrying
> >a gun (and training yourself in it's use) you empower yourself
> >considerably, having an edge over most thugs you encounter. Objectively
> >speaking, a gun is a great transhuman tool, but get's discriminated
> >against because it's related to a "touchy" subject (killing people).
> >Personally, I wouldn't lose any sleep over shooting an (armed) attacker.
> >
> That doesnt sound cohesive. Losing sleep is not the issue here.

Yes it is; not only do many people on this list seem to dislike guns for PR reasons, but also for *personal* reasons. There seems to be an attitude, which I also detect in this posting, that only primitive rednecks have guns, not "civilized" people like "us".

> Pro-gun survivalists are seen by the public as right
> wing religious nuts.

Even a retard would see right away that transhumanists aren't *religious* nuts. Besides, it isn't too bad PR to advertise responsible gun ownership, and the other more "mainstream" facets of transhumanism aren't great PR anyway.

> If you can make sweeping generalizations about the crime-
> views of entire continents, assume that others will readily categorize a pro-
> gun activist as slightly less evolved than Cro-Magnon.

It's a fact that Europeans are generally less pro-gun then Americans, has to do with remnants of the frontier spirit and such.

> What transhumans represent, public-relationswise, through the messages they
> most prominently convey, was the concern, I believe, of the gun thread.

I think you mean the "people threat", because, lame as it may sound, guns don't kill people by themselves. What we want is greater personal safety, not gun control. To achieve this, the criminal elements have to be removed from society, and one way to do this is by giving the "good" citizens better means to protect themselves (like guns and video surveillance).

> Violence, through it's primitive and primal connotations, is a value that most
> so-called "advanced" civilizations move away from as they evolve. This appears
> to be as they become more rational, they use their reasoning powers instead of
> the testosterone surges to measure correct actions.

All nice and well, but *all* temporary societies are full of people that act on impulse, and care little for the well-being of others and even their own. Even the once glorified primitive (island) societies (like Samoa or whatever) have turned out to be at least as violent as any other.

> The old saw "the pen is mightier than the sword" - may be replacable these
> days with "cultural prevention is more effective than violent retrobution."

Obviously *both* are needed. When prevention fails (and it often does), tough punishments are needed to deal with crime. Serious violence is often the work of a minority of hard-core criminals. Remove them from society (in the case of murder by execution), and crime rates will drop considerably. As for prevention, nothing beats audio/video surveillance and armed "victims". To unite two good things: how about a gun with an integrated small camera that's activated whenever you draw it (the gun)? It could help to prove your self-defense case. The information can be beamed away to a remote storage site, and/or be stored in the gun itself. Good for cops too.

> What the original post said about extropians (and any other sane, rational
> person) supporting *freedom* to carry a weapon - i totally support, but the
> claim that guns are somehow for discrimination, since you chose that word, it
> primarily carries the meaning "to differentiate" - "to recognize as being
> diferent" and violence, in all it's forms is something I believe a Utopian
> society can clearly, rationally and freely try to set itself apart from.

We don't live in an "utopian", crime-free society and maybe never will (as long as there are multiple, free-willed entities there exists the possibility of violence). In order to deal with the *reality* of crime one should seriously consider carrying some kind of weapon, and at the moment a gun is the prime tool for self-defense.