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Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old November 4 2009, 01:01 PM   #61
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Unless that government authority turns on you and tries to take your children for the "greater good." I'm not talking about some vague concepts of "freedom" or "liberty" here. I'm talking end of the line, the government is now targeting YOU; not your neighbor, not some unpopular other, YOU. They are at your door with guns and they want your children. Are you telling me that, if this happened to you, you would prefer to be unarmed and be at the mercy of whatever "government authority is still left"?
Why would the government want to take away my children (if I had any) in the first place?
It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?

But maybe I'm jumping off from an incorrect assumption here. To me, it seems a very clear thing that what the government tried to do in "Children of Earth," taking the children and giving them to the 456, was wrong. It is not OK to give in to extortion in that manner. At no time was giving in to their demands an acceptable solution. The government never has the right to demand that of its citizens. Isn't that what everyone else here thinks? Or are we arguing from an even wider gulf than I thought?

It reminds me of one of the Joker's "social experiments" in The Dark Knight. He threatened to blow up a hospital unless someone killed Coleman Reese. Is it ever OK to kill 1 innocent man to satisfy the demands of an extortionist?

Should the Western world convert to Sharia law to prevent any further al-Qaeda attacks?
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Old November 4 2009, 01:06 PM   #62
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post

It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?
You don't need guns to fight, and even if you have them, you will not successfully defeat the army trying to take your children. If you believe you will, best of luck to ya'. And all they'd hve to do to stop mass uprisign by those not directly affected is say that anyone who helps resist the army puts their own kids/relatives on the list by default. Suddenly, it's you against the army. As I say, good luck, gun or no.

But maybe I'm jumping off from an incorrect assumption here. To me, it seems a very clear thing that what the government tried to do in "Children of Earth," taking the children and giving them to the 456, was wrong. It is not OK to give in to extortion in that manner. At no time was giving in to their demands an acceptable solution. The government never has the right to demand that of its citizens. Isn't that what everyone else here thinks? Or are we arguing from an even wider gulf than I thought?

It reminds me of one of the Joker's "social experiments" in The Dark Knight. He threatened to blow up a hospital unless someone killed Coleman Reese. Is it ever OK to kill 1 innocent man to satisfy the demands of an extortionist?

Should the Western world convert to Sharia law to prevent any further al-Qaeda attacks?
Oh get over yourself and drop the straw men and absurdity, you'll be better off for it.
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Old November 4 2009, 01:53 PM   #63
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Starkers wrote: View Post
Trouble is with many of those examples it was less about citizens revolting than external political pressure. The people back home in Britain didn't have the will to keep fighting against the rebels, if they had, well history might have been different.
Would there have been anything to erode British will to begin with if the colonists hadn't violently resisted in the first place?

Violent opposition against those who are in the wrong may not always be immediately effective. But it is usually a step in the right direction. Struggle, even futile struggle, is always preferable to submission. Some causes are worth fighting for or even dying for.

For a country that's had a stable democracy for several centuries now, which is supposedly the most democratic and free nation in the world to still cling to a rule created when they were a fledgling poorly defended countryand the most deadly weapon was a single shot musket...I just can't get my head around it.
We are "the most [...] free nation in the world" precisely because our citizens have actual rights, including the right to do stuff that our government doesn't like. We believe that only criminals should be punished. Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want. (Sadly, we don't always live up to these ideals. But we're trying. Some of us are trying even harder.)

I do wonder if anything will ever make the American people change, and I don't think it will. Two nuts massacring people in the UK was enough, especially so given that the victims of Dunblane were children, but no matter what happens in American, no matter how many innocents die, it never seems enough. Is there ever likely to be a tipping point? Especially given how much sway the NRA lobby posesses. That's a genuine question I'd be interested in knowing the answer to. Is there any incident that might change the playing field?
I can't imagine any single incident that would change the American outlook on gun rights. It's not like the American people don't know that guns can kill people. Duh! We know. That's what they're for. But just because guns are dangerous, that doesn't mean that the government is trustworthy enough to be the ones to take them away from people.

No. If the U.S. ever loses the right to bear arms, I suspect it will be a gradual process arising from apathy and a tragic erosion of the notion of individual liberty. (The good news for liberty is that, in addition to the ever-present threat of corruption, the U.S. government has been proving itself even more incompetant than usual lately. Trust in the U.S. government is nearing an all-time low. With any luck, we're soon looking at a new age of individual responsibility.)
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Old November 4 2009, 01:55 PM   #64
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

cultcross wrote: View Post
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It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?
You don't need guns to fight, and even if you have them, you will not successfully defeat the army trying to take your children. If you believe you will, best of luck to ya'. And all they'd hve to do to stop mass uprisign by those not directly affected is say that anyone who helps resist the army puts their own kids/relatives on the list by default. Suddenly, it's you against the army. As I say, good luck, gun or no.
You're still not answering my question. What would YOU, cultcross, do if they came to your door right now?
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Old November 4 2009, 02:16 PM   #65
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
cultcross wrote: View Post
The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?
You don't need guns to fight, and even if you have them, you will not successfully defeat the army trying to take your children. If you believe you will, best of luck to ya'. And all they'd hve to do to stop mass uprisign by those not directly affected is say that anyone who helps resist the army puts their own kids/relatives on the list by default. Suddenly, it's you against the army. As I say, good luck, gun or no.
You're still not answering my question. What would YOU, cultcross, do if they came to your door right now?
I thought the answer was inherent in "You don't need guns to fight" but obviously not. Fight injustice with the means at my disposal. Just as I do every time I put on my uniform, and don't get issued a gun.
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Old November 4 2009, 04:30 PM   #66
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?
It's a hypothetical scenario which fails to provide a proper motive. Therefore it's also an unrealistic scenario.

But even if we accept the unrealistic conditions of this scenario and even if we assume that I had a gun in this scenario, I'd say I'm pretty screwed because me and my family are most likely killed in the ensuing firefight. So, the question is which I'd prefer: My family being taken away by the *evil* government or my family getting killed in a firefight with that *evil* government?

But the bottomline is: Since it's safe to say that my country won't turn into a dictatorship, I don't need a gun to protect myself from "the government".



The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
But maybe I'm jumping off from an incorrect assumption here. To me, it seems a very clear thing that what the government tried to do in "Children of Earth," taking the children and giving them to the 456, was wrong. It is not OK to give in to extortion in that manner. At no time was giving in to their demands an acceptable solution. The government never has the right to demand that of its citizens. Isn't that what everyone else here thinks? Or are we arguing from an even wider gulf than I thought?
Well, that's an entirely different question which hasn't much to do with your original point.



The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Should the Western world convert to Sharia law to prevent any further al-Qaeda attacks?
What has this to do with anything? You're suddenly switching the discussion from "you need guns to protect yourself from the government" to "we should not give in to terrorist demands".
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Old November 4 2009, 04:35 PM   #67
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want. (Sadly, we don't always live up to these ideals. But we're trying. Some of us are trying even harder.)
Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want? Seriously? Even if it harms or disadvantages another? Even if they're abiding laws set up by the government? Really that kind of Wild West, Frontier town thinking seems kinda odd...and I mean I say that as a Conservative (although that's a British concersative which probably still puts me to the left of Obama!) I'm all for a small state and personal freedom but people can't just do what they want to do, that's anarchy!

And you mention the government not being trustworthy enough to take your guns away (prizing them from your cold dead hands no doubt ) but the reverse seems to be that anyone, irrspective of mental health issues, is trustworthy enough to have a gun if he or she wants one? Libertarianism seems like a great idea till the guy next door steals your car and rapes your wife by virtue of having a bigger gun than you, or being a better shot!
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Old November 5 2009, 03:50 AM   #68
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Starkers wrote: View Post
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Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
Isnt it ironic that, by and large, most of those who support the right to bear arms,for among other reasons, the right to resist government tyranny, are also those who have been most supportive of the infringements of civil liberties which the US have brought in over the last decade? Just a thought ...
You do realize that there's a difference between supporting the right to bear arms and being a right-wing Republican NRA gun nut, right?

Jax wrote: View Post
Makes me laugh that the American Public believe that if the army came to get them that they would be able to stop them no matter how well armed you might be after all its the fricking army.
1. Bear in mind that that's just the most extreme worst-case-scenario people talk about and that that's hardly the only reason most of us support the right to bear arms. As I and others have noted, there are other reasons, including self-defense and hunting.

2. If that kind of extreme situation occurred, there's a good chance the army itself might split into multiple factions.

3. I rather think that the numerous civil wars occurring in the developing world are proof that not all countries' citizenries would just go along with whatever the government wanted. Some would, some wouldn't, and not every armed faction would even be fighting for liberal democracy. But the fact is that not every country's citizenry just rolls over for their governments.

4. The United States was born out of an armed citizens' revolt against the government and its army. Apartheid ended because of the African National Congress's armed struggle against the South African regime. The Republic of Ireland exists because the Irish people took up arms against the British. Don't underestimate the potential of the general populace to bring about large-scale social change, in part due to the exercise of the right to bear arms against tyrannical governments.
Trouble is with many of those examples it was less about citizens revolting than external political pressure.
In most of those examples, it was about the combination of the armed revolt and other political factors.

The people back home in Britain didn't have the will to keep fighting against the rebels, if they had, well history might have been different. After all roughly 25% of Americans were on our side and I imagine the number would have grown if the tide had turned (fair weather revolutionairies!) add in the slaves to that number as well. If you hadn't had the support of the French, and if some of our generals had be vaguely competant the revolution would have ended there and then.
The revolution might have ended there and then. But there's never a guarantee, and let's not pretend there was.

You're certainly correct in noting that the British government didn't really have the political will to keep fighting. And if there's an armed revolt, what makes you think the government would be able to maintain the will to keep up the fighting?

South Africa? I'd argue international sanctions played more of a part than the ANC.
And those international sanctions would never have happened had the ANC not been fighting the apartheid regime.

I'll give you Ireland, but offer Northern Ireland as a counterpoint. The IRA may have eventually brought the British government to the negotiating table, but they haven't got their avowed aim of a united Ireland, a fairer distribution of power but they've hardly "won".
I don't think Northern Ireland is a comparable example. In the ones I cited, the majority of the populace had withdrawn their support for the governments involved -- those regimes had lost the consent of the governed, in other words. That's why the armed revolt happened, and why they worked -- no reasonable person could argue that the populaces that those governments were trying to maintain power over were populaces that mostly supported those governments. In Northern Ireland, on the other hand, more Northern Irish support being part of the U.K. than don't, even if a large minority do not.

Obviously, arms are not the single determining factor, and I'm not arguing they were. Armed revolt has to occur in a context of a general loss of political legitimacy by the ruling regime in order to work. But that doesn't mean that they're not a significant factor, either.

And I really don't get why the citizenry has to have their own guns to resist tyranny? Surely all gun owndership does is make you a target once Dictator X gets into office?
It can. Again, it really depends on the context. That's why I say it's not a determining factor as to whether or not a given rebellion will be successful, though it is a vital one whose absence can break an attempted rebellion.

For a country that's had a stable democracy for several centuries now, which is supposedly the most democratic and free nation in the world to still cling to a rule created when they were a fledgling poorly defended countryand the most deadly weapon was a single shot musket...I just can't get my head around it.
*shrugs* It's part of our political culture. We have a significant subculture of hunters, and we regard the use lethal force in self-defense as a right, and, because we were founded by an armed citizens' revolt, we protect the right to bear arms -- to greater or lesser degrees, depending on just how you want to interpret the Second Amendment -- for potential use in another such context that no one wants to actually see (and which only a few extremists among us think is probable).

And, as I noted above, we know full well that any attempt to suppress gun ownership, to create an anti-gun Prohibition, would be doomed to abject failure; we couldn't keep people from drinking, and we can't keep people from getting high. We'd never be able to keep people from buying guns if we tried. Prohibition just doesn't work.

And, frankly, like I said, guns are not the thing that causes the severe violence that plagues American culture. Canada has similar rates of gun ownership per capita, and they don't have nearly the kind of gun violence problems America does. America suffers from an epidemic of gun violence because we have a classist, fear-based, unegalitarian culture.

(And I think it's fascinating the way no one criticizes Canada for their guns the way they do America.)

I do wonder if anything will ever make the American people change, and I don't think it will. Two nuts massacring people in the UK was enough, especially so given that the victims of Dunblane were children, but no matter what happens in American, no matter how many innocents die, it never seems enough. Is there ever likely to be a tipping point? Especially given how much sway the NRA lobby posesses. That's a genuine question I'd be interested in knowing the answer to. Is there any incident that might change the playing field?
No. Because, as I said, guns are not the problem; an unegalitarian, economically oppressive culture is the problem. Fix that, and gun ownership is a moot point. Again, I point to Canada. No one bitches about their guns, because Canadian culture doesn't lead to epidemics of gun violence.

The problem isn't guns, the problem is the political culture in which the guns exist.

ETA:

For the record, I'm skeptical of the presumption that America is the freest country in the world. We may be in terms of government control of the citizenry -- though, given as how the government can tell you who you may or may not marry in all but 5 states and the Federal government can pretty much spy on you whenever it wants under the Patriot Act, I'm not sure I even accept that premise -- BUT, we have a deeply unegalitarian economic culture that inhibits individual liberty in many ways by redistributing wealth to the top richest minority, under the guise of so-called "Libertarianism."

Gun violence is a symptom of a very unfree economic culture in which the elites dominate the masses to a far greater extent than they do in cultures with a smaller rich-poor gap and greater economic mobility.
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Old November 5 2009, 10:32 AM   #69
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Starkers wrote: View Post
The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want. (Sadly, we don't always live up to these ideals. But we're trying. Some of us are trying even harder.)
Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want? Seriously? Even if it harms or disadvantages another? Even if they're abiding laws set up by the government? Really that kind of Wild West, Frontier town thinking seems kinda odd...and I mean I say that as a Conservative (although that's a British concersative which probably still puts me to the left of Obama!) I'm all for a small state and personal freedom but people can't just do what they want to do, that's anarchy!
You can't do things that harm another. That's what laws are for. But I think it's imperative that we only make something illegal if it harms someone else. Owning a gun harms no one. Shooting someone is illegal.

I don't think you believe in personal freedom at all. I think you just want people to be "free" to live the kinds of lives that you deem appropriate. In your system, do the people have any self-evident, inalienable rights at all? Is there anything the government can't do? Do political minorities have any protections from the tyranny of the majority? Just because the government makes something a law, that doesn't make it right.

Libertarianism seems like a great idea till the guy next door steals your car and rapes your wife by virtue of having a bigger gun than you, or being a better shot!
And authoritarianism seems like a great idea until the authorities start making policies that you don't agree with. Which is worse, to be randomly victimized by a lone criminal or to be systematically victimized by a pervasive government?

cultcross wrote: View Post
The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
cultcross wrote: View Post
You don't need guns to fight, and even if you have them, you will not successfully defeat the army trying to take your children. If you believe you will, best of luck to ya'. And all they'd hve to do to stop mass uprisign by those not directly affected is say that anyone who helps resist the army puts their own kids/relatives on the list by default. Suddenly, it's you against the army. As I say, good luck, gun or no.
You're still not answering my question. What would YOU, cultcross, do if they came to your door right now?
I thought the answer was inherent in "You don't need guns to fight" but obviously not. Fight injustice with the means at my disposal. Just as I do every time I put on my uniform, and don't get issued a gun.
Sorry. I was confused by your original answer. It just seems odd to me that, if you were fighting for your life or the lives of your children, you would prefer not to be armed with the most deadly weaponry available.

I can understand not trusting other people with guns. But do you not even trust yourself?

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
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It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?
It's a hypothetical scenario which fails to provide a proper motive. Therefore it's also an unrealistic scenario.
OK. Here's a more realistic scenario. In the 1930s-'40s, the legitimate, democratically elected government of Germany removed millions of Jews from their homes and sent them to concentration camps where they were either worked to death, starved to death, or poisoned with Zyklon B gas.

But even if we accept the unrealistic conditions of this scenario and even if we assume that I had a gun in this scenario, I'd say I'm pretty screwed because me and my family are most likely killed in the ensuing firefight. So, the question is which I'd prefer: My family being taken away by the *evil* government or my family getting killed in a firefight with that *evil* government?
Maybe it's a personal quirk of mine, but if those were my only 2 options, I'd prefer the one that allowed me to take down a couple of the bastards with me.

But really, it seems the main argument here is, "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile." That seems akin to saying, "Free speech is irrelevant because, in this age of corporate news networks, no one will hear you anyway." Because success seems unlikely, that means we shouldn't even try?

Since it's safe to say that my country won't turn into a dictatorship, I don't need a gun to protect myself from "the government".
Why is it safe to say that? What are the mechanisms that would prevent that?

I would like to think that there would be a legal mechanism that would absolutely forbid the British government from doing exactly what they did in "Children of Earth." Please, someone tell me that, in the U.K., what the PM did there was not only morally reprehensible, but also incredibly illegal. (Perhaps even unconstitutional. I forget, do you have a constitution in the U.K.?)
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Old November 5 2009, 12:31 PM   #70
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

This has been a very interesting discussion, but it's veering farther away from connection to "Children of Earth". Please keep things firmly centered upon that as the topic. Drawing parallels to modern day or historical examples is fine, but focusing almost exclusively on said examples isn't the best way to go.
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Old November 5 2009, 03:21 PM   #71
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Sorry. I was confused by your original answer. It just seems odd to me that, if you were fighting for your life or the lives of your children, you would prefer not to be armed with the most deadly weaponry available.
Actually, I feel that the scenario is so ridiculously unlikely that I would rather not have the deadliest weaponry available around the rest of the time.

I can understand not trusting other people with guns. But do you not even trust yourself?
The problem with this approach is that everyone trusts themselves, but everyone is 'other people' to everybody else. It's the same argument, essentially, as 'I'm fine driving drunk/at speed/on my cell phone, but some people just can't hack it'. If I make an exception for myself, I must grant everybody that luxury, and suddenly it is not an exception any longer.


OK. Here's a more realistic scenario. In the 1930s-'40s, the legitimate, democratically elected government of Germany removed millions of Jews from their homes and sent them to concentration camps where they were either worked to death, starved to death, or poisoned with Zyklon B gas.
Godwin'd. The British government, while flawed, are not the Nazis.

But really, it seems the main argument here is, "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile." That seems akin to saying, "Free speech is irrelevant because, in this age of corporate news networks, no one will hear you anyway." Because success seems unlikely, that means we shouldn't even try?
Your assertion is incorrect - "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile" is an ending to an argument, not the whole thing. It is saying we don't want guns, we don't want to have them in our society, and we dismiss this particular 'reason' to have them as it is unlikely to the point of absurdity a) to happen and b) to be helped by owning a firearm. The latter bit does not constitute our primary or only reason for not recognising a right to bear arms.


I would like to think that there would be a legal mechanism that would absolutely forbid the British government from doing exactly what they did in "Children of Earth." Please, someone tell me that, in the U.K., what the PM did there was not only morally reprehensible, but also incredibly illegal. (Perhaps even unconstitutional. I forget, do you have a constitution in the U.K.?)
We have an unwritten constitution based on, among other things, common law. But it doesn't do the same thing the American constitution does, with the Bill of Rights. Our closest equivalent to that is the Human Rights Act which enshrines into law all but two of the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. And yes, the actions of the PM in Children of Earth were most certainly very illegal.
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Old November 5 2009, 03:45 PM   #72
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

cultcross wrote: View Post
But really, it seems the main argument here is, "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile." That seems akin to saying, "Free speech is irrelevant because, in this age of corporate news networks, no one will hear you anyway." Because success seems unlikely, that means we shouldn't even try?
Your assertion is incorrect - "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile" is an ending to an argument, not the whole thing. It is saying we don't want guns, we don't want to have them in our society, and we dismiss this particular 'reason' to have them as it is unlikely to the point of absurdity a) to happen and b) to be helped by owning a firearm. The latter bit does not constitute our primary or only reason for not recognising a right to bear arms.
First off, let's all bear in mind that the United Kingdom is a sovereign state that absolutely has the right to decide this issue for itself. Just like the United States is a sovereign state that has the right to decide this issue for itself. And, as sovereign states, they may well come to vastly different conclusions about the legitimacy of the right to bear arms on the basis of their differing political cultures.

Now, having said that...

When I just read, "It is saying we don't want guns, we don't want to have them in our society," the first thing that went through my mind was a word game. What if we switched the word "guns" for another "g-"word?

"It is saying we don't want gays, we don't want them in our society."

Now, there's a reason I do that, and it's simply this:

Most people recognize that people have a right to be gay, that gays have a right to exist, because homosexuality does not violate anyone else's rights. Homosexuality might not be something that most heterosexuals want to engage in, but it's also not something that inherently hurts other people, and they therefore conclude that in a free society, a person has to be regarded as having the right to be gay and to engage in consensual sexual activities with other adults.

I would argue that the same thing is true of gun ownership.

Now, I don't like guns. I don't like 'em and I don't own one and I don't want one.

But.

Gun ownership does not violate my rights. Gun ownership does not violate anyone's rights. Owning a gun is not an inherently dangerous thing. It might not be something I'm interested in, but gun ownership does not inherently hurt other people or violate other people's rights, and I therefore have to conclude that in a free society, a person has a right to own a gun.

How is wanting to restrict the right of the individual to own a gun, when gun ownership does not violate anyone else's rights, purely on the basis of a dislike of guns, any different, from an individual rights perspective, from the desire to restrict the right of the individual to engage in consensual sex with other adults of the same sex, purely on the basis of a dislike of homosexuality? They're both acts that violate no one else's rights and which are targeted on the basis of personal distaste.

I would argue that in a free society, a person should have the right to do anything that does not violate somebody else's rights. That includes engaging in consensual sex with an adult of the same sex, and that includes owning a gun.
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Old November 5 2009, 04:07 PM   #73
Captaindemotion
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

^ Umm - guns are dangerous. Gays aren't. Gays are people. Guns aren't. People (mostly) need a sex life. People (mostly) don't need guns.

Kinda not really a valid equivalent.
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Old November 5 2009, 04:32 PM   #74
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Guns don't kill people, people kill people...with guns!
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Old November 5 2009, 05:17 PM   #75
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

guns = gays. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!
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