Re: TECHNOLOGY AND TRUST (LONG), was Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Kai Becker (
Date: Sat Dec 29 2001 - 17:16:15 MST

Am Samstag, 29. Dezember 2001 19:03 schrieb Michael M. Butler:
> Please explain this inconsistency, or explain where I err. If cops are
> _better_ than people, then we have an example of someone who has that
> magic I asked about in my Q5. Don't we?

I don't feel really safe with armed cops either, but better than with
civilians carrying guns. Why? Because here, the cops get a year long
training, psychological supervision and are much less motivated to draw
their gun (because they don't need to, cf. our statistics). If a cop here
kills an innocent person, he will get into deep trouble.

I do not feel safe with untrained, underpayed, fearful uniform wearing
security personnel...

My vision is to live in a society where everyone finds it absurd to carry a
gun - too heavy, too uncomfortable, too dangerous and simply unnecessary.
And don't tell me that's impossible. We are discussing infinite
life-extension, mind uploading and nanotechnology here, so what about a
little extropian sociology, hm?

> > See, I don't accept that a free and liberal society has to be so
> > dangerous that their citizens only feel safe when they carry a deadly
> > weapon.
> We are in utter agreement on this point, as written. There are a bunch of
> grand generalizations in it, though, so I can tell you that it's my
> feeling that I have never lived in such a society as you describe, and I
> think I never shall.

I see. Do you carry a gun? Why? How would you feel without it? Why?

> I hear reports that there are _some_ highschools where _some_ students
> are criminals who carry firearms, and there are _other_ (scared) students
> who carry their own in response. This in no way pleases me, and I wish I
> could change it. That is at present beyond my powers. It sucks.

You mean, rather than solving the problem, you try to cure the symptoms by
spreading the desease? May be I am to european to find this a very logical

> And yes, there are some bad places in the US, and yes, it sucks that
> there are.

Fine, that's the analysis. And what are you or anyone over there going to
do against it? More weapons? An escalation of arms development? Leading to
what? A singularity of weapons? Hm.

> > I have heard this argument before: "The minorities" are far more
> > violent and criminal than the rest. [...]
> Minorities being more unhappy, or violent, or criminal, is a really
> complex topic. I don't feel qualified to discuss it, and so I don't bring
> it up.

Pardon, but we will not come very far with "Dünnbrettbohren" (avoiding
complex topics).

> > Someone also suggested that the reason for the different crime rates is
> > the inhomogeneity(?) of the US society compared to a more homogeneous
> > Europe. Hm. But the "majority" also consists of former minorities, here
> > as well as in the US, correct? Unless you propose that the "new
> > minorities" are intrinsically more violent than the "old", what magic
> > turned a mixture of minorities into a homogeneous, peaceful, law
> > abiding majority?
> I can't answer that, since I am not confident of the premise and never
> claimed the premise as mine.

Too bad. I thought this could be a promising way of discussion.

> A loaded gun is just a couple of ounces of low explosive wrapped in
> metal. I know you could go to a hardware store and make one for $10, and
> there is nothing I can do about it, so I live my life confident that you
> are probably part of the 99.99%, absent obvious clues to the contrary.
> For you, though, it seems as if there's a problem once anyone thinks
> about having a gun.

Exactly. Because here where I live, the majority of citizens feel at least
so safe that a gun is a symbol of violence, rather than necessary
self-defense. Maybe difficult to explain. We are not used to guns because
we don't have to *shrug*

> A fair question. I have no final answer. I agree the question is
> important, and am happy to see that we agree.
> A very good question. I wish you luck and courage in finding an answer
> that satisfies you.

Do you really try to sneak away so soon? Now, what about the glorious
future of <you-name-it> technology, when you can't use it because someone
could misuse it to kill you?


== Kai M. Becker == == Bremen, Germany ==
"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced"

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