[FoRK] Re: FoRK Digest, Vol 42, Issue 21

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Tue Apr 24 19:00:18 PDT 2007

Ian Andrew Bell wrote:
> To suggest that America is a Gun Culture runs deeper than the number 
> and caliber of weapons in circulation.  America has fostered a society 
> which places extraordinary value on vengeance, vigilantism, 
> entitlement, and self-righteousness.  This is reinforced in the way it 
> looks upon its own history, its popular cultural artifacts 
Most people would think of "Justice" and "self-sufficiency".  In cases 
where the government was non-existent (the old West in many cases) or 
broken, there is a bit of romanticism toward "self-sufficient Justice", 
i.e. vengeance and vigilantism (i.e. "Dirty Harry" et al).  That kind of 
thing is mostly cathartic.  A much more pure, and, in the US entirely 
respectable take are the "Die Hard" movies.  "Nobody's coming to rescue 
you or the helpless people, so get busy and dispatch the bad guys to the 
best of your ability.  If you fail, well then at least you didn't sit 
around like a helpless animal.  Today is a good day to die!"

This is a pretty good rule unless you have mental problems and see bad 
guys everywhere...  in which case Darwin comes to the rescue.
> such as movies, and the imbalances which are perpetuated between 
> classes contrasted with omnipresent 
I can't see this really.  Anyone can get an education, start a company, 
move to different locations.
> avarice and the singular pursuit of wealth.  If guns are the fuel and 
> our Ape-ism is the oxygen, then America's 
The "singular pursuit of wealth" is how you avoid "imbalances ... 
perpetuated between classes".  Few people already in a class are much 
into a "singular pursuit".  It's mostly those who upgraded classes that 
are driven.  Preventing a "singular pursuit of wealth" is a good way to 
preserve classes.  Small business owners in France, for example, seem to 
have a pretty rough environment because of governmental and legal rules.
> unique set of societal values provides the perfect touchstone.
> To say that America's gun crime and murder rate is disproportionate 
> both to the number of firearms and the population of the country is a 
> gaping understatement.  The problem runs deeper than monkeys and steel.
The US murder rate is 3 to 3.5 times the GB rate.  Violent crime overall 
seems to be less than GB.  If number of firearms were causing a 
"disproportionate" murder rate, it should be something like 20x. 

My guess is that if you subtracted major urban areas, drug dealer and 
mob related murders, and gang murders, you would find much different 
> -Ian.

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