Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 18:19:49 MST

Brian D Williams wrote:
> >From: Kai Becker <>
> >First of all: I am sure that you're right about the USA, and I
> >think I am right about Germany. But my real question is still
> >unanswered - and I think the answer _is_ important for this list:
> >Even if the USA can only lower their highest crime rate in the
> >western world when all their citizens have guns (and I doubt this,
> >because "correlation is not causation"), why do the other
> >countries have a rate four times lower _without_ this? There must
> >be other factors than guns, and for me, these are the important
> >factors.
> The way to lower the crime rate is to actually hold criminals
> accountable for their own behavior. Something rarely practiced here
> in the U.S..

It would be a very good thing to clarify that remark quite a
bit. We have more people in jail per capita than any other
country. We have mandated fixed sentences for many offenses and
removed the judges ability to consider extenuating
circumstances. We have mandated "3 strikes and you're out" in
some states. Some 46% of all prisoners are in on (mostly minor)
drug offenses. Roughly 2 million people are now in prison in
the US. Perhaps this is not what you consider "accountability"
but it certainly is a clear sign that something is dangerously
wrong in this country - dangerous to all of us. Also please pay
a lot of attention to cleaning up what is a "criminal" by the
current often asinine laws and what is rationally a "criminal".
Quite different things.

Our disasterous "war on drugs" has also brought quite a bit of
violence and higher levels of organized crime to our culture
just like the first Prohibition did. Only the faces and form
has changed.

> But don't take my word, look for yourself:
> >Firearms empower to what? To kill. I can't find this extropian.
> >Like the proverb says: For some one with only a hammer, everything
> >looks like a nail. Someone who has a gun has no need to think
> >about better alternatives. Cf. the discussion about
> >no-alternatives situations...
> This is ridiculous and totally unsupportable. There are 80 million
> armed Americans who find other solutions every day. Guns are a
> weapon of last resort, but one you're damn glad to have when you
> need it.

I agree. When I bought a gun I became much more responsible and
thoughtful about my reactions and attitudes, not less so. I
hear this is a pretty common reaction.

- samantha

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