Re: Justice's Return (Was: Re: The End of Privacy ?)

den Otter (
Tue, 07 Jul 1998 11:20:25 +0200

Dwayne wrote:
> den Otter wrote:
> >
> > Dwayne wrote:
> >
> > > I would assume, myself, that it has more to do with the fact that
> > > zillions of europeans aren't shot to death by guns every year and
> > > so they can see for themselves how not living in a country armed
> > > to the teeth is healthier, despite whatever bullshit surveys the
> > > gun nuts care to trot out.
> >
> > Do you ditrust the people of your good country *so much* that you don't
> > want them to have the means to defend themselves?
> I distrust *everyone* who is better armed than myself, and I only
> have my hands. It has nothing to do with my countrymen, it has to
> do with the fact that humans, at this stage, are an inherently
> violent species. I would have thought that here, standing on the
> edge of the 20th century, people would realise this, instead of
> carrying on as if killing other people was some sort of god-given
> right, when it is merely an ability, and something one shouldn't
> take too much pride in.
> > Sheesh! Better take
> > the knives & hammers away too, not to mention cars (now there's a
> > projectile that can kill over great distances) before anyone hurts
> > himself.
> Get a grip. None of these things can project force beyond
> themselves. Guns can. If someone attacks you with a knife or a
> hammer, you are able to defend yourself much better than against
> someone with a gun. I've never seen anyone throw a car at anyone
> else, that would be pretty impressive.
> > Let me guess, you (and a significant portion of other Aussies)
> > have gotten hysterical about guns due to that freak Tasmanian killing
> > spree, right?
> Um. No. I thought guns were stupid and pro-gun activists were
> dangerous maniacs for a long time.
> > Talking about overreacting (if you'd consequently ban
> > anything that killed someone, there wouldn't be much left)...
> I don't want to ban everything dangerous. Of course, like most
> foaming at the mouth pro guns fanatics, you will take my
> perfectly feasible comment ("guns are far too dangerous to have
> loose in the community") and decide that I'm against everything
> not made out of foam rubber. All this does is paint you as an
> over-reacting hysterical fool, which is a bit of a shame, as I'd
> rather discuss than vehemently argue. I do want to ban distance
> weapons. I'll take my chances against someone else's arm, not
> against something at a speed of miles per second.
> > The irony
> > is that a well-armed population would have stopped such a maniac dead in
> > his tracks (by shooting him, obviously).
> Oh golly. So we lost a dozen or two people. We *didn't* lose the
> thousands of other people that year who would have been killed by
> a drunk, jealous, pissed off or insane population of gun-carrying
> individuals.
> Despite living in the country which appears to have the record
> for most people shot in a single sitting in peacetime, I'd still
> rather live here than in a country where everyone is allowed to
> carry guns, and does so. It's just safer. Isn't it obvious?
> > When you outlaw or heavily restrict the use of guns, you give the most
> > dangerous individuals in society, the criminals, a huge advantage over
> > the "law-abiding citizens".
> Um, well, I don't know where you live,

Holland. Surprised?

> but criminals on the whole
> are a very small percentage of the population.

True, it's a relatively small percentage in (in developed countries at least), but that relatively small group is responsible for a huge percentage of crimes (for example, it's not uncommon for youth groups to mug dozens of people, break into a number of houses and rob a couple of gas stations before they finally get caught. And when they get cought...well, they walk! And there we go again. My approach would decimate the hard core of crime, making the country a *lot* safer, almost instantly.

> The number of
> people who fly into fits of rage and assault people is probably
> higher than the number of armed hardened criminals.

Actually, there's (just like with the criminals) a "hard core" of (often drunk) trouble makers that get police visits on a regular basis because of domestic violence etc. Most people *don't* fly into uncontrolled rage, just as most people aren't hardened criminals. I'm quite sure that after a couple of months of new justice, there would be only a shadow of the former random/domestic violence/neighborhood disturbance statistics. Most offenders would either be dead or in jail. And for once the meek would inherit the streets...

> > In the land of the unarmed, the dude with
> > the gun is king.
> Yup. So I just avoid the person with the crown and the gun. At
> least *everyone else* is safe to be around.

Too bad it ain't that simple, huh?

> > No way that you can disarm the criminals too, not even
> > in a totalitarian state. So dear anti-gunner, every time some innocent
> > victims dies, gets raped, robbed or severly injured because s/he wasn't
> > allowed to defend him/herself properly, the blood is on *your* hands
> > too.
> I'll cope. Like I said, I live in a fairly peaceful society, and
> in most assault situations the injuries are caused by either bare
> hands or something heavy and blunt. This is good. If you add guns
> to this mix many more people will die.

Fact: most attackers are agressive, strong men. Many of the victims are not (old people, women, children). Guns are the equalizer. Other weapons (like tasers) are either unreliable or require close contact (knives, bats etc.) and a very considerable risk of injury to the victim, plus they don't work well against groups, so they're hardly an option.

> > Here's, once agian, the *right* way to take on the crime problem: allow
> > all citizens with a clean criminal record (for violent crime) and no
> > obvious mental diseases to have at least one (hand) gun which can be
> > used at home and carried (discretely) concealed on the street.
> As I'm sure I've pointed out, this is just so obviously stupid as
> to boggle the mind. I'm sure you feel you're right. I don't. And,
> strangely enough, it's hard to find anyone other than an american
> who will agree with you. Doesn't this suggest to you that this is
> a cultural issue, not an easily-proven theory based on fact?

What this clearly shows is that even transhumanists are heavily influenced by the culture of the region they happen to live in, they're not the free-thinking, borderless types they often claim to be. Well, most of them anyway; there are always exceptions... (Yeah, like me -- being Dutch I should be firmly anti-gun, anti death penalty (well, at least in public) etc, but I'm not. At the same time, I'm not some "right wing" type either, being atheistic, for progress, for full legalization of abortion, euthanasia, drugs, prostitution, for empowerment of women etc. But I don't buy into the "all people are equal" crap and other such mindless rebellions against a former era). Maybe you should look at your beliefs too, and try to figure out what's plain bullshit and propaganda (every generation has its own brainwashings, but most people only find out afterwards, if they ever find out at all) and what really makes sense.

> > Training
> > classes which teach shooting skills, mental empowerment, safety measures
> > for handling weapons etc. can be made compulsory for anyone who wishes
> > to own a weapon, basically the equivalent of driving lessons. Only those
> > that pass may own a gun.
> Yup. So that when they get drunk, or pissed off, they won't miss.
> Yup. good idea.

Actually, so that when faced with a crazed drunk you can take him out effectively, instead of either being paralized with fear/missing and shooting someone else/yourself etc. Even the best shooter won't be helped much by this training when properly drunk/stoned, but his potential victims will have a *great* benefit from such training (maybe even being good enough shooters to shoot him without killing him, though that wouldn't be much of a loss). Note: many (most) people are *not* burly bar fighers, who don't need a weapon to take on an agressive drunk male.

> > This service must be either free or at minimal
> > costs, so that anyone can afford it. Conplimentary classes could include
> > street fighting skills, using nonlethal weapons (which should be freely
> > available to any adult) etc.
> I am all in favour of training in self-defence. I personally feel
> that any weapon capable of causing substantial damage to a human,
> such as guns, swords, etc, should be banned. People with
> legitimate reasons for owning such would be okay, but in general,
> a country with a heavily-armed population is a dangerous place to
> live.

Maybe for the first couple of months, yes, as the new approach goes trough its labour pains, so to speak. After that, most of the dangerous hotheads and criminals will either be in jail or dead, and in any case without a gun permit. Those that remain (the *vast* majority) are the sensible people who can control themselves if necessary. To drag out another cliche: "an armed society is a polite society" (due to forces of natural selection, if nothing else).

> > The use of video/audio surveillance is promoted. The government takes
> > care of the surveillance of public spaces, beginning with busy shopping
> > areas and (other) known crime hotspots. Gradually, safe corridors will
> > be created, so that one has camera protection all the way from one's
> > home to the shopping district, workplace etc. If you're squemish about
> > privacy (what privacy is there in public places anyway?), you can always
> > move into the countryside.
> While this is a good idea in principle I think the implementation
> is a dodgy prospect.

It's certainly finacially feasible, because the private sector carries a significant portion of the costs, the system can be expanded over the years, whenever funds become available and if you start mass-producing things like surveillance cams, the price will drop. In any case, lots of private people and governments think this is a good idea, and it's only a matter of time before we do have safe corridors and the like. England is a good example of how quickly such technology can get acceptedand implemented, and how very effective it is. As long as only public places have gov cams, I don't see any serious privacy issues.

> > Murder is punishable by death,
> Oh. Right. And then you'll have to kill the executioner, of
> course.

Obviously not, because, as the name says, he's an *executioner*, not a *murderer*. Murder = illegal killing, execution = *legal* (sanctioned by law) killing. It's the context that counts. The murderer kills "innocents", the executioner kills murderers.

> > the mode of
> > punishment being so that it fits the crime.
> Yeah, what the hell, we really had it sorted out in Old Testament
> days, eh?

Actually, this kind of justice goes a lot further back than the OT, and yes, some things have a timeless value. I don't give a crap whether some method is mentioned in the bible or not, as long as it works. Equal retribution is as fair as you can get with justice, other methods are completey arbitrary.

> > Justice is served "swift &
> > sure", within weeks of the arrest.
> So you plan to spend an enormous amount of money on the judicial
> system?

On the contrary, without years of appeals it would be considerably cheaper than the present justice systems. Furthermore, it would be automated wherever possible to further increase speed and efficiency, and reduce costs.

> Well, I'd rather have an island/refuge thingy, and I'm working on
> it, but it certainly won't be libertarian [shudder]

Sounds interesting...Btw, if it's just for yourself, politics don't matter much as you're simply the king of your spot.