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  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited September 2012
    ^^^ I'll whisper this, but to tell you the truth, I'd rather have free health care and more importantly the knowledge that what ever happened to me, my kids and grandkids would have the same. I (and no doubt most on these boards) am fortunate that if I needed to I could pay for health care and pay enough in income tax to cover those costs anyway. But shit happens, might not be for me, but perhaps when they're much older my kids, or their kids. At some point someone in my family might need the state to step in and thats why I don't mind paying relatively high tax rates. Its clearer when its your own family, but then everyone is someones kid or grandkid. We're not that different really.

    I can trace a line of my family to 1 cousin (at I seem to remember my great great great great great great great grandfather) to one of the post master generals of George Washington. His father went to america, Savannah and did very well, no doubt their ancestors all did very well. Over here within two generations they were penniless and in a work house. The strange thing is I probably sound like some kind of crazy socialist which couldn't really be further from the truth.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ no I didn't think you sounded like that at all, just mostly like you were over-simplifying and perhaps were misinformed about the general political breakdown of the American populace.

    The media (and the politicians) like to make it seem like it's 45% ultra left wingers on one side and 45% ultra right wingers on the other, with only a swing 10% in the middle that float back and forth. Personally, I'd say it's more like 15-20% extremes at each end, about 30% that each lean in one direction or the other (for Democrats, these are often the ones who care most about social liberal causes, for Republicans, these are generally the ones who care most about fiscal policy). The 10% in the middle do truly swing one way to the next in any given election, often based on personal appeal of the candidate, or even more so on the current mood - they usually seem to vote for a change from the status quo.

    Of course all of this is complicated by the fact that about 80% of the voting public is completely uniformed to a disgraceful degree. Which is precisely why the candidates dumb the message down to nothing, do nothing but attack the other side with no details about what they themselves will actually do, and pander to every crowd they get in front of - all this works great on people who can't be bothered to spend any time studying the issues in between watching Dr. Phil and seeing which celebrity is in rehab this week.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited September 2012
    @dougts

    I am 100% sure you are right, and it is that I'm an outsider looking in. I've been fortunate to visit America on many occasions and almost without exception the people I've met have been wonderful, sensible, sincere and intelligent.

    I can see that even here the fringes frame the debate, but here what happens is somewhere largely in the middle. Sure there are differences in approach between the current Conservative government in the UK and the last Labour one but truth be told they are minimal - a few billion pounds in public spending (although the fringes would have you believe its the difference between night and day) - whatever party is in control it caters largely to the 60% in the middle, after all the fringes will almost always vote for you (especially in a two party system like yours). So what I don't understand is why the majority of Americans don't insist on things like banning assault rifles if they believe it. They surely aren't needed for hunting, probably not protection and the only sensible argument I've heard is that its too late, the guns are out there. But that's a very defeatist argument and that's not a condition I'd generally apply to Americans at all.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ because in all honestly, banning assault rifles is so far down the priority list for most people right now. and it's one of those hot-button issues that will never go anywhere (like abortion).

    "Banning" anything in general is a very anti-American sentiment. It'd kind of against what's ingrained in our national DNA. Most Americans would support restrictions. Even heavy restrictions. But the word "ban" just takes the conversation to a whole other level. And of course you get the inevitable conflict over what is defined as an assault weapon, which is more complicated than it sounds.

    in the end, the number of deaths per year by murderers using assault weapons is really not that high statistically, and many of them likely would have just occurred by another weapon instead. Additionally, the last assault weapons ban in the 90s was ineffectual in that it did not lead to any appreciable decline in gun-related homicides.

    Every death is a tragedy of course, but another assault-weapons ban would likely be nothing more than feel-good legislation that accomplishes very little statistically.
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843

    The simplicity and (in this online world) necessity of a unified single sales tax rate across all states will be clear for all to see, but it won't happen. So a system will be left that increases the administrative burden, leaves much tax unrecovered and remains baffling and uncertain even to those that work in retail. (See some of the US shopping threads for examples of that)

    It's not that it couldn't happen in Europe, insofar that elements in a federal/united system are rarely willing to give up privileges or competences. This seems to be at the root of the Euro crisis, i.e. countries not wanting to give up taxation. You have it in Germany, where for decades the vast majority has agreed that the education system needs an overhaul, but education is part of the competence of each individual state, which they don't want to give up. So Germany keeps going with an uneven, inequal education system where, if kids born in the wrong federal state, they will just receive worse education.

    This whole talk about "independence" and "national identity" are really just distractions from that. It's so funny watching the English argue how Britain needs to draw out of Europe, but Scotland must not leave the Union. ;)
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited September 2012
    ^^Not actually that hard - assault rifle has a fairly well understood military definition. Assault weapon would be a different matter, but legislation could easily define it based on rate of fire, calibre, size. Sure the legislation of the 90's kind of did that, but very badly and stupidly. I was heavily into shooting back in the late 90's (was about to become chairman of the Universities pistol shooting club) when Dunblane happened here and was a bit put out to say the least when we got our knee jerk ban. More than ten years on though and I have to say it was 100% the right thing to do. The biggest argument you hear against it here now is that we don't do very well at shooting in the Olympics any more (we also don't do well at archery and fencing, but lets not cloud that debate!).
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    @mressin - I was specifically talking about US states, not states as countries. But yes, there are seemingly similarities with the Euro. Although I would see it the other way, the US states need some independence because they are different and need to work their economies differently to survive and flourish. Much like the argument that a single currency (and its necessary single interest rate etc) can't work for Scandinavia and Mediterranean Europe at the same time. I would though argue that the Euro has much bigger problems based on the incorrect assumptions, lies whatever you want to call them that member countries joined with. A desire to set incorrect exchange rates at the beginning to make your country look good, a need to fiddle the books to be allowed in.

    As for scotland, theres a significant proportion of the UK that would say if they want to go let them, I think the majortiy in Scotland will probably vote to stay anyway. Its also very different - England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland we're very similar in nature and England almost contains a bit of all of them, rural England in the North and West being very similar to Wales and Scotland. I can't say the same about a Swede and a Spaniard or even a greek and a german.
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    @cheshirecat I agree about cultural proximity being closer between Scots and English, for example, than between Germans and Greeks. You're right about that. And yes, the Euro has more than just one problem.

    I still think, though, that the trouble is that political entities - US federal states, German federal states, Euro(pean Union) member states, etc. - have difficulty giving up competences, even if everybody agrees

    Anyway, US prices for Lego in the UK would be nice. ;)
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^On that we can agree, the Spider-Man's Doc Ock Ambush is a pet peeve of mine. RRP is £35 in the UK and £18.80 in the US!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,014
    ^ Isn't that what business trips / holidays to the US are for?
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^ Indeed, and always has been. I remember going to plenty of US malls looking for some good deals on trainers when i was younger. Amazing deals when compared to UK prices. Sadly my current job doesn't require trips to america and building work meant no holiday this year...
  • richlrichl NYCMember Posts: 246
    Is it just me or is the free shipping at [email protected] only kicking in at $100 instead of $75? I assumed it was a glitch that would be corrected a few days into September but its been over a week now...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    I love america but sometimes I just don't get it.

    That is ok, most American's don't get it either. ;) The rest of your post is actually rather wise.

    Half the population think that some kind of free health care provision would be a bad thing whilst at the same time arguing to their last breath that their right to own multiple fully automatic assault rifles is key to their existence due to a document written over 200 years ago.

    You have to understand that we tend to be more anti-government than most people seem to be. The half of the country that doesn't want national health care but does want guns, quite frankly doesn't trust the government and wants it out of our lives.

    But that battle has been lost long ago and they haven't woken up to that.

    As for the guns, you have to study American history and understand where we came from. Europe was already settled and civilized before guns became common, so widespread gun ownership was never "normal" there.

    In America, 200 years ago, everyone owned a gun (or three), and everyone hunted and shot guns from a young age. Our summer camps for kids teach shooting as one of the many activities. I myself learned to shoot at summer camp, was given my first rifle when I was 8 years old, this is a "normal" thing among middle America.

    How did the revolution start? The first shots of the Revolutionary War against the British were when they tried to seize an illegal militia arms cache.

    The whole point of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution is to arm the people so the government never becomes so powerful that we end up in a dictatorship. An armed population is a free population, the government should fear the people, not the other way around.

    I do understand that view is not common in Europe, however given the past 200 years of history in Europe, perhaps it should be. The wars and violence over there in the past 2 centuries rival everything else combined in all of human history.

    As for health care, that indeed is an interesting debate. We have the best care in the world for people with money, the worst care for those without.

    I do agree that it is time for a national health care system, but the rest of America isn't there yet. The trick is to have a single payer system, not run by insurance companies, rather to have doctors employed directly by the government and paid based on patient outcome rather than by services rendered. Our current fee-for-service system is going to bankrupt us if we don't change it.

    And yes, my wife is a doctor, so I do pay attention to such things. ;)

    Some of them insist on teaching kids something as fact that clearly is false whilst preventing what is generally regarded as being the closest thing to true from being taught.

    Oh lord, don't start on that nonsense... We have our fringe lunatics just like the Middle East does. The Crusades were started by Christians after all. ;)

    Others are living by the sea, men marrying men and women marrying women.

    I personally am against gay marriage, I think it runs counter to biology and if everyone did it, the human race would not survive. The idea of two men... yuck!!!

    That being said, I support the right of gay people to get married.

    Why, when I'm "against it"? Because I believe in protecting other people's rights, even if I disagree with them. Otherwise, someone else is going to not like me and try and take away my rights.

    In other words, my personal opinion of gay marriage does not give me the right to take away other another human being's rights.

    I am entitled to my opinion, but my opinion does not entitle me to deprive another human of their rights.

    Hopefully that comes across the way I meant it to.

    You drive out of a city full of glass skyscrapers and private helicopters and go through areas of deprivation and depression that chill you to the bone. Yet you pass a public school for 10 year olds with sports facilities that would put most UK towns to shame.

    Yes, they spend tens of millions of dollars to build those sports facilities, then cut pay and benefits for teachers claiming they have no money.

    My own city of Plano, TX recently laid off a number of teachers due to "budget issues", yet they are building another sports facility anyway. :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    streeker said:

    @LFT, isn't your wife a doctor?

    Yes, but since she owns her own practice and doesn't have enough employees to afford group health insurance, we are on our own.

    Nuts, huh?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    dougts said:

    ^ no I didn't think you sounded like that at all, just mostly like you were over-simplifying and perhaps were misinformed about the general political breakdown of the American populace.

    The media (and the politicians) like to make it seem like it's 45% ultra left wingers on one side and 45% ultra right wingers on the other, with only a swing 10% in the middle that float back and forth. Personally, I'd say it's more like 15-20% extremes at each end, about 30% that each lean in one direction or the other (for Democrats, these are often the ones who care most about social liberal causes, for Republicans, these are generally the ones who care most about fiscal policy). The 10% in the middle do truly swing one way to the next in any given election, often based on personal appeal of the candidate, or even more so on the current mood - they usually seem to vote for a change from the status quo.

    Of course all of this is complicated by the fact that about 80% of the voting public is completely uniformed to a disgraceful degree. Which is precisely why the candidates dumb the message down to nothing, do nothing but attack the other side with no details about what they themselves will actually do, and pander to every crowd they get in front of - all this works great on people who can't be bothered to spend any time studying the issues in between watching Dr. Phil and seeing which celebrity is in rehab this week.

    You are a very wise man... :) I agree completely with everything in this post!
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    @dougts
    So what I don't understand is why the majority of Americans don't insist on things like banning assault rifles if they believe it. They surely aren't needed for hunting, probably not protection and the only sensible argument I've heard is that its too late, the guns are out there. But that's a very defeatist argument and that's not a condition I'd generally apply to Americans at all.

    That is a very common viewpoint from someone who doesn't understand why we have them in the first place.

    We don't have assault rifles to hunt or for personal defense. In fact, they make terrible defensive weapons, a shotgun is a much better point defense weapon for the home.

    The whole point of having large numbers of people own assault rifles is to ensure our government fears us, to prevent the government from becoming what it has already become, a massive entity that rules over all our lives. This wasn't supposed to happen, our Constitution clearly lays out the very specific powers our Federal Government is supposed to have, and specifically reserves all other rights and powers to the states and to the people.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129


    You are a very wise man... :) I agree completely with everything in this post!

    Also a very tired man, up until 2am discussing American political generalities on a LEGO forum...

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    :) The funny thing is, I think most reasonable people all want the same thing. A good life for their family and kids, a nice safe place to live, a chance to better themselves and improve their lot in life, etc.

    The argument isn't about the destination, it is how to go about getting there. :)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Lol. American stereotypes. You got to love them. My friend from Scotland thinks us Americans drive big Cadillacs and wear cowboy hats. He doesn't really, but he always makes fun ;)

    Wow, this thread took quite a turn. The funny thing about tax is that in some states there is the base state sales tax, but within the state, the cities and towns can choose to raise the base sales tax. When I lived in New York, one city was 8% and another was 8.5% You can see how this may cause a lot of confusion.

    I do have health insurance and you can deduct those premiums off your income. Our insurance is really in case something catastrophic happens.

    I buy from Lego [email protected] all the time. I mostly wait for free shipping or exclusive give a ways. I pay my sales tax at the end of the year whether I buy from Amazon or Lego, so "no sales tax" is not a reason for me not to buy from Lego.
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    Pitfall69 said:

    I pay my sales tax at the end of the year whether I buy from Amazon or Lego, so "no sales tax" is not a reason for me not to buy from Lego.

    I thought I was the only one that actually did this. And you'd be surprised (or maybe not) at how many people think I'm nuts to do so. My feeling is "better safe than sorry," though.
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    edited September 2012
    @LegoFanTexas Cudos for the level, calm and very informative posts! :)


    As for the guns, you have to study American history and understand where we came from. Europe was already settled and civilized before guns became common, so widespread gun ownership was never "normal" there.

    In America, 200 years ago, everyone owned a gun (or three), and everyone hunted and shot guns from a young age. Our summer camps for kids teach shooting as one of the many activities. I myself learned to shoot at summer camp, was given my first rifle when I was 8 years old, this is a "normal" thing among middle America.

    I can maybe shed a bit more light on this for my fellow Europeans:

    Four years ago, we drove an RV through the Appalachian Mountains in New Hampshire on the East Coast, on (I think) the A93. We had cruised along for some hours at maybe an average 50 mph when we stopped at a picnic area to eat. There was a sign with a warning not to mess with moose.
    I glanced at my phone, pleased to see that I still had reception. "Good thing", I thought, "that my phone works over here, so we can call for help if anything happens."
    Then it hit me: The last time we had seen another car, or a house at the side of the road, had been two hours ago. The closest village was maybe 150 miles away. Whatever happened, we could call for help, sure. But we would initially have to deal with it ourselves as any help, even police, was at least an hour away.

    While I still wouldn't want to carry a gun, I can understand now how you might want to have one if you don't live in one of the big cities. True, the Appalachian Mountains are not really the most densely populated area in the US, but New Hampshire is not exactly Nevada, either. I can testify that on the whole trip, even in New York (the state), Connecticut or Massachusetts, you see way, way fewer cars, houses and villages than in Europe. (Letter boxes, on the other hand... oh boy!)

    We Europeans should acknowledge that USA is distinctly different. In Europe, if you drive for 15 minutes without seeing a village, let alone a house or a car, you are usually doing something wrong. Very few people in Europe live further than fifteen minutes away from a supermarket. In the US, quite a bit of the population drives for two hours to get to one. Not because supermarkets are rare, but because the country is so damn big and a whole lot of people don't live in big cities.


    The whole point of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution is to arm the people so the government never becomes so powerful that we end up in a dictatorship. An armed population is a free population, the government should fear the people, not the other way around.

    That's funnily a point I understand very well intellectually. On the other hand, US-Americans of all people should understand how much they have armed their own government...
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,014
    edited September 2012
    Pitfall69 said:

    American stereotypes. You got to love them. My friend from Scotland thinks us Americans drive big Cadillacs and wear cowboy hats.

    Whereas many Americans probably think Scots wear kilts every day, go around tossing cabers and playing bagpipes, drink Irn Bru and never eat vegetables.

    Only the last two of those things are correct. :-)
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^ I can see the need for guns in a wilderness environment (the gun racks in Alaskan school buses make obvious sense) but from a crime point of view I'd say a gun is far more useful in the cities, where you're not so far away from police etc.

    But I'm not sure that I'd use wilderness defence as an excuse for lack of gun restrictions. How many fatal bear attacks in the US? About 4 or 5 a year. Mountain Lions - another 1 per year. Sure some will be prevented by firearms, but not many. Bee stings kill over 50 per year but your firearm of choice isn't going to help there. How many gun victims - about 8-9 thousand a year - take that up to about 25,000 a year if you include suicide (ok that will happen anyway) and accidental shootings.

    So perhaps its for those people living in the middle of nowhere afraid of evil gun toting criminals?

    Here in the UK my in-laws live in a fairly rural location. Their nearest neighbour is probably only 1/2 mile away but the property can't be seen from their property or the road. If something criminal happened they would be no good, they wouldn't hear or see anything. If my in-laws called the police it would probably take a good 20 minutes to arrive - assuming they had a free patrol car. They have a shotgun, i doubt it would be much use in a situation where they needed it - especially if the criminal was also armed. If I was a criminal attacking a rural property I'd probably cut the phone lines and jam the mobile signal. Then the victims might as well be 150 miles away from civilisation for all I care.

    Now lets look at America again, urban population 262,000,000 rural population just 57,000,000. Most of that rural population aren't of the isolated type described above just small communities. What's more, those are the people least likely to be effected by gun crime. That would be young black men living in the inner cities - not exactly the support base of the NRA. Sadly those white kids living in rural areas are those most likely to be killed or injured in accidents with firearms.

    And to me that's almost the most ludicrous thing, 500 children die every year from accidental shootings. Many of the 9000 you can write off as being criminals, deaths that would have occurred in a different way anyway - but not those 500 children. They are accidents, involving children that only occurred because of the wide accessibility of guns (most likely also bad handling/storage practices and lack of education (although some stats say that doesnt matter)). It means that since the awful events of 9/11 almost twice as many children have died due to gun accidents in the US as americans died on that horrible day. Yet nothing is done.

    Personally if i had to choose between a right that was given in a constitution written 200 years ago and the lives of even a handful of childrens lives I know I would choose. 500 a year? Surely a no brainer. To me it seems a failing of a fixed constitution - a country, a population is an organic thing changing constantly over time and a document written in the wake of a violent revolution two centuries ago perhaps doesn't fit with the modern and totally different world we now inhabit. And if the reason behind really is as described to ensure the government remains in fear of its population - it clearly hasn't worked as the government is more scared of bankers and their bonds than gun toting militias.
  • MandarineMandarine Member Posts: 31
    mressin said:

    @LegoFanTexas Cudos for the level, calm and very informative posts! :)


    As for the guns, you have to study American history and understand where we came from. Europe was already settled and civilized before guns became common, so widespread gun ownership was never "normal" there.

    In America, 200 years ago, everyone owned a gun (or three), and everyone hunted and shot guns from a young age. Our summer camps for kids teach shooting as one of the many activities. I myself learned to shoot at summer camp, was given my first rifle when I was 8 years old, this is a "normal" thing among middle America.

    I can maybe shed a bit more light on this for my fellow Europeans..." end quote.

    Mate, I'm Australian. You want to talk about distances and wide open spaces? You can literally drive for an entire day in a straight line in this country and not see another living person, let alone a supermarket.

    Australia had liberal gun ownership laws, and then we had one of the worst gun-related mass-murders ever. Port Arthur. The Conservative government at the time went against everything they had ever stood for and instigated a buy-back of all automatic and semi-automatic guns (forgive me if I get this slightly wrong. I'm Australian, so I don't know my colts from my ak-47s.). It proved to be one of the most enduringly popular things that government has ever done and has resulted in the incidence of gun-related deaths and crime droping by significant levels across the country. I'm not making this up. Seriously. Feel free to google "John Howard gun laws".

    Sure, there are always crazy people who will obtain guns by whatever means. But knives can't kill as many people as guns. And making it generally more difficult for people to obtain guns has resulted in LESS crime-related gun deaths and injuries in Australia, and more broadly, less crime-related deaths.

    The result is that in Australia, people don't feel the need to arm themselves up to their eyeballs just to go to the cinema, in case some random person goes crazy.

    On that last point, for all those people that talk about guns as necessary to defend oneself against gun-toting madmen... How often has an armed civilian deterred a grievous crime from being committed by brandishing their own weapon? Do you really think the outcome from the recent mass-murder in the cinema could have been avoided if someone had fired back? In the dark? Really? To what end does a trigger-happy, gun-toting populace reduce the likelihood of being shot and dying as a result?

    Ultimately, it may just be one of those cultural differences that distiguishes the US from Europe and the rest of the western world. I know that in Australia, we just can't fathom America's attachment to their guns when there seems to be so much evidence pointing to their obvious culpability in the crime and death rates.

    The point that LFT was making, and what so many Americans make when asked to justify why "over my dead body" (see Charlton Heston)?... Is that it is a culturally inbred value. Unless you have grown up with it, you will never get it. So the rest of us can only scratch our heads in wonder... A bit like universal health care... But that is another debate that Europeans, Australians, Kiwis, and possibly Canadians will never understand. And to end this diatribe, not an appropriate subject for a LEGO forum.


  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    @Cheshirecat Good point. I'm not saying the population of the USA needs to be armed. It's not for me to say in the first place. I'm merely saying that people have a different mindset, which I guess is shaped (among others) by their history (American revolution), their culture (guns for kids), or by their physical realities (moose in the Appalachians. ;) If US-Americans feel they need a gun, there might actually be a sensible rationale behind it.

    They'd still be wrong, of course. ;)
    Mandarine said:

    Mate, I'm Australian. You want to talk about distances and wide open spaces?

    You can literally drive for an entire day in a straight line in this country and not see another living person, let alone a supermarket.

    @Mandarine My point exactly. You must understand that in most of Europe, you can't be more than 25 miles away from the next police station. Probably not even 10. It is physically impossible. In the USA, it can easily happen. In Australia, I am not sure sure if the concept of "police" applies as I understand it's a colony of convicts anyway? ;)

    Joke aside. Different countries, different mindsets.
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    mressin said:

    In Australia, I am not sure sure if the concept of "police" applies as I understand it's a colony of convicts anyway? ;)

    Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    CCC said:

    Pitfall69 said:

    American stereotypes. You got to love them. My friend from Scotland thinks us Americans drive big Cadillacs and wear cowboy hats.

    Whereas many Americans probably think Scots wear kilts every day, go around tossing cabers and playing bagpipes, drink Irn Bru and never eat vegetables.

    Only the last two of those things are correct. :-)
    Lol...and deep fried Snickers Bars

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Ok. Where were we? Right...Tax Free Lego and guns. No, wait...what?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    edited September 2012

    ^ I can see the need for guns in a wilderness environment (the gun racks in Alaskan school buses make obvious sense) but from a crime point of view I'd say a gun is far more useful in the cities, where you're not so far away from police etc.

    I do understand that line of thinking.

    200 years ago, gun ownership for such things was a given, taken for granted...

    The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution isn't there for that, it is there to make sure our government can't disarm the population and become a dictatorship.

    I know that when you're living in "civilization", it seems absurd to have a bunch of guns and armed civilians. However keep in mind that Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany fair and square, he didn't take over in an armed coup. The first thing he did was stop having elections, run off the other political parties, etc.

    You can go from a democracy to a dictatorship very quickly, it happens all the time. That is the whole point of the right to keep and bear arms, to ensure that our government never tries that.

    Of course, as has been pointed out, our military has grown to the point where a bunch of civilians with AK-47s or M-16s is not going to be able to stop the military, now that we've invented tanks, airplanes, etc. You need heavy weapons to fight a modern military, and those are so tightly controlled here as to be almost pointless.

    So the original reason for the right to keep and bear arms has largely been rendered moot due to the advance in technology.

    What is the solution? That is a very good question without a clear answer. I would suggest that since you can't have the average person owning a tank, you need local and state controlled militia forces that keep heavy weapons secured in local depots, that are controlled by cities and states, to keep the federal government in check. Our state national guards are supposed to perform that role, but they can be taken over by our commander in chief (the President) whenever he wants so that makes those pointless as well for that purpose.

    But I'm not sure that I'd use wilderness defence as an excuse for lack of gun restrictions. How many fatal bear attacks in the US? About 4 or 5 a year. Mountain Lions - another 1 per year. Sure some will be prevented by firearms, but not many.

    Most guns are quite useless against a bear. And that includes all assault rifles which are designed to kill humans, not bears. The round that the M-16 fires would just piss off a bear. You should shoot it 20 times and not do any real damage to a fully grown bear.

    And to me that's almost the most ludicrous thing, 500 children die every year from accidental shootings. Many of the 9000 you can write off as being criminals, deaths that would have occurred in a different way anyway - but not those 500 children.

    Perhaps, but you also must keep in mind that freedom is not free. Those 500 children are the price of liberty.

    I do understand that in your mind and your view, that the choice is:

    A: Armed population and 500 dead kids
    B: Disarmed population and no dead kids

    But those aren't the only two choices:

    C: Disarmed population, dictatorship government, kids drafted to war and killed by the tens of thousands

    Now we could debate how likely that is, or how often it might happen over the course of 100 or 200 years, I'm just saying that it isn't a zero sum game, it isn't as simple as saying, "well, if we just get rid of all the guns, all good things will happen and nothing else bad will happen".
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,735
    Guys, guys... This is supposed to be a LEGO forum remember...
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    mressin said:

    @Cheshirecat Good point. I'm not saying the population of the USA needs to be armed. It's not for me to say in the first place. I'm merely saying that people have a different mindset, which I guess is shaped (among others) by their history (American revolution), their culture (guns for kids), or by their physical realities (moose in the Appalachians. ;) If US-Americans feel they need a gun, there might actually be a sensible rationale behind it.

    They'd still be wrong, of course. ;)

    :) Funny...

    I respect and understand that viewpoints largely differ because of where we were raised and where we live.

    If I was born and raised in Germany, I'd probably feel very differently about this than I do because I was raised in Texas.

    Likewise, were you born and raised here, odds are you would feel very diffidently as well.

    Allow me to toss an American point of view your way...

    We are not the ones who started two world wars in the past 100 years that killed 100 million people. Perhaps had everyone been better armed in Europe, that would have been harder to do. Would Poland and France been as easy to knock off if everyone in every house had a gun and were fighting the Germans?

    Consider that what gave the British such a hard time in 1775-1781 against America was not the American Army (which was rather weak and lost almost every battle it ever fought during that war), it was that every Tom, Dick, and Harry had a gun, everywhere they went they had a fight on their hands, no place other than New York and Savanna was really "secure".

    Britain was the most powerful nation on Earth, they had the best trained, most powerful army and navy, and lost to a bunch of citizen soldiers who were well armed and did not stand up and fight like the British wanted us to.

    Ironically, we now have that same problem today in Afghanistan, our stand up military is the best in the world, we can defeat anyone in a normal military battle, but we are fighting citizen soldiers and doing a terrible job of it.

    As the leader of a powerful military, I do not fear another nation's military so much as I fear an armed population.

    That is an American view on the subject anyway. :)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Now back to you're regularly scheduled program :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Pitfall69 said:

    Now back to you're regularly scheduled program :)

    My Mother always said I should join my high school debate team. ;)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I do love a good debate. I was on my High School debate team. The problem with that is they would give you random political and social economic subjects to debate and I found myself debating things I didn't believe in myself.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Like Matthew said, this is a LEGO forum. I do think that it is good for everyone to have a good understanding of where us Americans get our ideologies and for us to understand other peoples as well. This is a community and we all love the same thing...Lego :)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,014
    So getting back to lego, do civilian minifigs in the US version of city sets come with guns?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    CCC said:

    So getting back to lego, do civilian minifigs in the US version of city sets come with guns?

    Ha! Now that is funny...

    No, they don't come with guns, only Stormtroopers in Star Wars have guns. :)
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Too much to respond to . . . :P

    Guns don't kill people, people do. What gun law is going to stop a criminal from using one? 500 kids die from gun accidents? How many die in car accidents because of careless parents? Should we ban cars? How many lives are saved every year because criminals knew the house occupants had guns? There are many neighborhoods where a large percentage of law enforcement live. Crazy as it seems, they generally are very safe neighborhoods to live in. Wonder why . . .

    I don't know if @LegoFanTexas is just giving in to what he feels is inevitable, but I'm surprised at the nod towards national healthcare. I would argue most people can afford health care. In my business I employ mostly entry level positions. Most of these people do not have health care -- by choice! They will say they cannot afford it but they spend a ton of money on partying, iPhones, new cars and whatever the latest fad in clothing is. Its not their priority. And health care is already free in this country. Anyone can walk into any hospital and get health care - by law! What in the name of Joe does the government do well that would make anyone think they could handle health care? And there is nothing evil about insurance companies on their own. What makes them bad are government regulations which restrict them from competition and just being in cohoots with the government. Make them operate like any other business and everything will be fair and square.

    Everything is becoming more and more unaffordable because of every growing governments all over the world. I whole heartedly believe we should help our fellow man in times of need. Its the humane thing to do. But it should not be the role of the government. The government confiscating someone else's earned assets and giving them to others based on what it feels meets the government's criteria is not right on any level.

    K, the wife is getting mad at me for not coming to bed . . .
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    gmpirate said:

    I don't know if @LegoFanTexas is just giving in to what he feels is inevitable, but I'm surprised at the nod towards national healthcare.

    All interesting points, but I'll just address this...

    I do feel it is inevitable, fighting it at this point is just sticking your finger in the dam hoping it will hold. As I grow older and (hopefully) wiser, I no longer feel the need to fight losing battles, which I think this one is.

    Our government and nation has moved away from the founding principles of this great nation for a long time, it was really FDR and the "New Deal" that did it in, but that wasn't the first step of course. Social Security was a Ponzi scheme from day one, illegal for you and I to do it, but perfectly legal for the government. Medicare just added to that mess.

    At the end of the day, a democracy runs into trouble when the population figures out they can vote themselves benefits paid for with "other people's money". Which works, until you run out of other people's money. Greece is the perfect example of that end game. This is of course the great flaw in any democracy, which at the end of the day, comes down to two wolves and one sheep voting on dinner.

    I believe that we are many years, probably decades from such an end game here, but if we don't change the path we're on, that day will come. When it does, it will be violent and unpleasant. Unlike Greece, there will be no one to bail out America.
  • TitusTitus Member Posts: 79
    gmpirate said:

    Guns don't kill people, people do.

    And this thread has officially jumped the shark.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,117
    gmpirate said:

    Too much to respond to . . . :P

    Guns don't kill people, people do. What gun law is going to stop a criminal from using one? 500 kids die from gun accidents? How many die in car accidents because of careless parents? Should we ban cars?

    Cars aren't designed to kill, when they do it is an accident/carelessness. Guns are designed to kill. Here in the UK only shotguns are relatively easy to get a hold of, and even then only after demonstrating need for legitimate reasons such as hunting/vermin killing etc and only if you can prove you have the means for responsible storage (locked gun cabinet). Of course certain criminals get hold of handguns etc in the UK, but they get them from certain places in the world where handguns are easy to get a hold of and then smuggle them into the country. There are certain aspects to our laws that are crazy, but when a lone farmer shoots a burglar, the law fully looks into whether they were justified in doing it rather than just saying "they were in some other guy's house uninvited and got shot, nothing to investigate here". In the UK it is OK to do damage to someone who attacks you or threatens to do so, but not to shoot a fleeing burglar in the back.

  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,735
    Seriously guys, enough is enough.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,706
    Matthew said:

    Seriously guys, enough is enough.

    Amen to that. The staff have given this thread a generous degree of latititude in the hope that it'll be dragged back on topic, but people are clearly struggling to let it go....

    This isn't the place for a geopolitical discussion or a debate on U.S. gun laws - please get back on topic and/or take it offline or this thread will be closed.

  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^^ End the end, what difference does it make what the original intent was of something manufactured? Killing someone with a gun is "extra bad" because the gun was manufactured to do so? Killing someone with a baseball bat is somehow more acceptable?

    "Sorry to hear about your friend who was killed by a careless driver. At least he wasn't killed by a careless gun owner because then, um, well, um . . . "

    If everyone gun in the world were magically destroyed tonight something else would just take its place. Maybe knives would take their place. Guess we could have laws restricting how long they were so they could not stab so deep. And of course people really only need butter and maybe steak knives. Swords and the like will naturally have to be banned. And heavy regulations will be required for those extra sharp knives that can cut through steel because "who really needs" those.

    Gun laws and regulations do not apply to criminals. They only affect law abiding citizens so what is the point?

    And where is the moderator??? I just wanted to read about Lego before going to bed!!!
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    gmpirate said:

    And where is the moderator??? I just wanted to read about Lego before going to bed!!!

    I believe those would be the two posts above yours...
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    Hope I won't get banned if I continue to derail this thread, but @LegoFanTexas, @Cheshirecat, @GmPirate and all the others, in your opinions, you should really take into account that engineers built a supercomputer with Lego and Raspberry PIs!!!
  • stoneboistoneboi Member Posts: 42
    what happened to my thread?!! lol
  • mountebankmountebank Member Posts: 1,237
    edited September 2012
    Matthew said:

    Seriously guys, enough is enough.

    This isn't the kind of discussion to encourage people to join Brickset. There are huge swathes of the Internet to discuss armed bears and the evils of Big Government.
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,304
    gmpirate said:



    If everyone gun in the world were magically destroyed tonight something else would just take its place. Maybe knives would take their place.

    By my flat in Edinburgh, we have a poster at the bus stop that says, "choose life, not a knife" (I live in a real classy neighborhood, as you can tell ;) )

    Anywhoooo... I'm in China currently for my exchange year, and thought that I might be able to get cheaper Lego (cheaper than in the UK), but was totally wrong. LEGO is dang expensive here! I'm beginning to think that Canadian [email protected] prices are good value :D

  • stoneboistoneboi Member Posts: 42
    the best place to buy lego is still the states! envy envy!
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