Re: Brin on privacy

James Rogers (
Sat, 21 Dec 1996 16:16:52 -0800

>> As would be his right until the moment he actually commits a crime that
>> violates another's individual rights. Guns don't kill people, people
>> kill people.
>How come then that you in the states have twice the amount of gunshot
>killings, then we do here in Denmark where privately owned guns are

It's a more complicated issue than statistics. Although, I agree that gun
ownership does not generally have much help in a civilized country, I also
believe that they don't hinder civilized development either.

A major difference between the US and Denmark (for example) is that the
ethnic and cultural dynamics (and diversity) of the US are considerably more
pronounced than in Denmark. An example local to where I live is the
Vietnamese immigrant community. Vietnamese are getting murdered here on a
regular basis. The thing is, they keep the killing completely within their
community, and a lot of it comes over here from Vietnam, where presumably it
is fairly common for people to be killed. Most of my Vietnamese friends
have seen other Vietnamese get murdered, it is so common. Most murders in
this country are generally committed within a persons own ethnic group. And
some select ethnic and cultural groups are more prone to killing than
others, significantly skewing the murder rates. When I lived in Nebraska,
*no one* was ever murdered. It just didn't happen. But then again, you had
an almost perfectly homogenous society in Nebraska (eastern European, mostly
Czech), yet *everyone* owned guns.

I would suppose that the Danish culture just isn't as prone to having people
kill each other, as some cultures in the US are. But at the same time, I
would submit that Europe in general has some problems that we don't have
here in the US. I knew a guy in college that worked for two years in an
anti-terrorist unit in Germany. In his short career, he was shot twice, and
had shot and killed more militant political types than he could count. Many
of the times he shot people he was on duty as a bodyguard for various
political figures. He saw so much killing that he finally got sick of it
and quit.

This type of thing is not common in the US. Terrorism, although present, is
not particularly common in this country. And assassination attempts are
fairly rare. In germany, he was instructed to shoot-to-kill, and he did.
The way he described it, many of his anti-terrorist activities where
state-sponsored executions of militant political dissidents.

These statistics don't show up in murder rates, but the people he killed
definitely had intent to commit murder (often with guns). The difference
is, the Germans were more willing to use lethal force to preempt the murder
attempts and to squash militant political activity than in the US.

I think that murder rates have less to due with gun ownership issues than
with cultural, ethnic, and political issues. *Accidental* deaths due to
guns is a whole other story though...

-James Rogers