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View Full Version : Public discourse is off the mark.


maestro pistolero
April 8, 2009, 07:13 PM
In the rash of shootings of the last several weeks, our vision has understandably become a little blurred with regard to violence in our society

As horrible and emotionally upsetting as these pathological tirades are, they are but a tiny fraction of the deaths that repeat criminals perpetrate on law abiding population all year long. The magnifying glass of the media, combined with the reality of a high number of tragedies in a short period of time, is skewing perception. This is not the time to be making policy decisions.

How can we refocus attention on the overwhelming majority of criminal homicides and other violent crime that occurs all year long, which, statistically speaking, make these anomalies of the past couple of weeks pale in comparison?

If the object is that we want to have the greatest effect in bringing down the numbers of innocent victims, then popular culture is presently looking in the wrong direction. It not the occasional psychopathic breakdown that we can control. It's the repeat offender who has the most predictable risk of hurting people.

I hate to say it, but as long as we have no room for violent offenders, then we certainly should not be making room for the recreational drug user or any other nonviolent offender. The only legislation that can help reduce violence is legislation that incarcerates the known sources of it for a very, very long time. These priorities need to be better reflected in sentencing guidelines.

This one sided reporting is a disservice to media viewers. I'm not saying don't report this stuff, but give due air time to the bulk of the violence problem. And offer real solutions that don't just affect law abiding folks.

Brian Pfleuger
April 8, 2009, 08:03 PM
There's an easy way to make room for the violent offenders.

Send them to their Maker.

Actual penalties for crime would be a nice start.

If it were up to me virtually all violent crime would carry the death penalty as at least a possible sentence. I don't even care if it's a deterrent or not, it guarantees that at least that person is "deterred".


So to answer "What can we do?"

We should be pushing for harsher penalties for violent crime, for one thing.

Dingoboyx
April 8, 2009, 08:32 PM
I dread waking up these days, worried about what will be in the news today :eek:

I agree maestro, the laws need to be changed so the punishment fits the crime, not a slap on the wrist and go do it all again :rolleyes: The punishment dished out should DETER others from comitting similar crime. What really annoys me, is that it appears to me, the criminals who kill, rape or injure get like 12 -15 years in a comfy cell, whereas criminals that steal money of rich people get 20+ years.... like rich people's money is more valuable than folks lives in the eyes of the law? It is like that here in Oz, is that similar in the US?



Once again, my condolences to the people effected by all of this, the victims & their loved ones

Double Naught Spy
April 8, 2009, 09:17 PM
The punishment dished out should DETER others from comitting similar crime.

There is no punishment threat that would deter a suicidal person from going on a shooting spree where they intend to end their own lives, either by their hand or by the hand of the police.

maestro pistolero
April 9, 2009, 01:34 AM
Mental illness is an equal opportunity disorder.

Hirlau
April 9, 2009, 01:53 AM
Quote: There's an easy way to make room for the violent offenders.

Send them to their Maker.

Actual penalties for crime would be a nice start.

If it were up to me virtually all violent crime would carry the death penalty as at least a possible sentence. I don't even care if it's a deterrent or not, it guarantees that at least that person is "deterred".


peetza,
Read that, got soo excited:eek:, had to go clean a few of my guns:D

Seriously,
maestro pistolero, has it right, "Mental illness is an equal opportunity disorder."
Sadly the Media is not on our side, at this time.:(

Dingoboyx
April 9, 2009, 09:26 AM
Upon reading your response, I take all on board that you say. Sorry, was just so saddened by the whole mess :o

I hope things get better soon, for all our sakes

Condolences to all victims and others suffering at their time of loss

Glenn E. Meyer
April 9, 2009, 09:39 AM
The problem is that people see one outcome - criminal gun usage and both the antis and pros don't really understand the multicausality that leads to that one outcome and both sides blather forth simplistic solutions.

Death penalty, ban all guns - ban dead horses which were given the death penalty. Cudos to DNS for nailing it immediately on the rampage / suicide aspect.

44capnball
April 9, 2009, 12:14 PM
As horrible and emotionally upsetting as these pathological tirades are, they are but a tiny fraction of the deaths that repeat criminals perpetrate on law abiding population all year long. The magnifying glass of the media, combined with the reality of a high number of tragedies in a short period of time, is skewing perception. This is not the time to be making policy decisions.

I agree. This is a very reasonable assessment.

Of course, the antis and much of the media seem to prefer we did make this be the time for policy decisions.

There is no punishment threat that would deter a suicidal person from going on a shooting spree where they intend to end their own lives, either by their hand or by the hand of the police.

True enough, at least today.

Looking back in U.S. history, where the availability of guns was MUCH easier than it is today, mass shootings were much less common. Maybe we should be honestly looking at the factors of our modern society that would lead to people being so prone to going off the deep end, and not only that, but their willingness to harm innocents in the process.

I would not like to create controversy, so I'm not going to mention those factors by name, but I'll just say that IMO they have to do with changed societal and moral norms, and possibly violent entertainment.

maestro pistolero
April 9, 2009, 12:36 PM
Of course, the antis and much of the media seem to prefer we did make this be the time for policy decisions.

Exactly. And one must ask: Why is that? My answer is that they would rather forward an agenda based on emotion than craft meaningful legislation that is based on a rational assessment of the problem and that implements meaningful, effective solutions that don't denigrate the bill of rights.

Stirring up the emotions of an already stressed out population is irresponsible leadership, in my opinion. I don't trust this leadership any further than I can throw them, but their relatively muted tone (since the Holder speech to the Mexican leaders) has been wise on their part, their blather about registration and crossing state lines notwithstanding.

Our vigilance can force them to look at more meaningful solutions. When they talk about sending more resources to the border, that's a good thing, and they should be commended for it. But how long has that elephant been in the living room?

mrray13
April 9, 2009, 01:01 PM
There's an easy way to make room for the violent offenders.

Send them to their Maker.

Actual penalties for crime would be a nice start.

If it were up to me virtually all violent crime would carry the death penalty as at least a possible sentence. I don't even care if it's a deterrent or not, it guarantees that at least that person is "deterred".


So to answer "What can we do?"

We should be pushing for harsher penalties for violent crime, for one thing.

amen...give em a year to challange their sentence, after that..good riddence. save taxpayers a crapton of money maintaining their butts too!



of course, as pointed out by Double Naught Spy, not a whole lot can be done when it comes to suicidal shooters. pray someone is armed and stops them before too many innocents are lost, but otherwise?


to all other violent crimes...see the previous statment

Gadget
April 9, 2009, 01:10 PM
I grew up in the era of sentencing criminals to "x years at hard labor." As a youth, I'd see chain gangs crushing oyster shell to make county roads. My friends and I would NEVER contemplate any action to put on in those circumstances. I have problems to this day with the phrase "cruel & unusual punishment." Dog gone it, punishment shouldn't be an air-conditioned cell with cable and computer access for a short period. It's like a time out for children, not a severe lifestyle change as a consequence for bad acts. If people saw criminals routinely sentenced to this sort of thing, it might affect how they choose to make money.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 9, 2009, 02:19 PM
In the past, mass shootings were not publicized to the extent they are today. As I said previously, the stressors of life lead to actions but the actions are channeled by modeling.

In 1880, the vicarious reinforcement of seeing Biff and Tiffany's mother crying on TV for the tragedy of the Prom Queen and King being shot by the weirdo loner wasn't on the tube.

That's a different take from the usual - our morals are crashing, if we could only go back to the good old days of women not voting and staying home and people knowning their 'place'.

Folks see these shootings as reasons to trot out their politics but I really don't think they are causal. In fact, lots of terrorists commit mass killings to bring us back to their tyrannical days when there wasn't killings. Like the church shooter trying to nail liberals - huh?

maestro pistolero
April 9, 2009, 02:49 PM
It is disingenuous to create or reinforce a skewed public perception, and then use that perception to create policy. It's impossible to create good policy from that basis and it is a disservice to the country.

If what we all think we know is true, regarding the link between armed, law abiding citizen, (especially CCW permit holders) and a reduction in violent crime, then to promote policy that undermines 2A protection amounts to reckless endangerment of the population.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 9, 2009, 02:54 PM
It is disingenuous to create or reinforce a skewed public perception, and then use that perception to create policy. It's impossible to create good policy from that basis and it is a disservice to the country.

Well, not to thread hijack but do you know a politician that hasn't used a vivid instance, snappy distortion of facts or whatever for their advantage?

I could list dozens from each wing of both parties.

Iraqis with Spray planes full of germs off our coasts vs. Assault Weapons in Mexico.

Since when do our current crop of politicians want to do a service for the country. I'll stop before I name names and get myself in trouble.

The point is that vivid and distorted instances interaction with selection biases of information sources are the game to deal with the public.

Vanya
April 9, 2009, 03:25 PM
And it's not just politicians, either. Reverting to the thread title for a minute: a fundamental problem is that there's very little actual "discourse" taking place.

The media report these events because they're interested in boosting ratings, and sensational, "extreme" events such as the recent rampage shootings grab people's attention.

Then various groups with axes to grind jump on the bandwagon, because they see an opportunity to get some free publicity for whatever cause they espouse, whether it's more gun control, or extending the right to carry concealed weapons, or promoting stereotypes about ethnic groups (it's been suggested that it's somehow significant that Mr. Cho, at VT, and Mr. Voong, in Binghamton, were both Asian). And, of course, politicians have to get into the act...

As we've seen in the various (mostly closed) threads on these events in this forum, it's difficult to keep a conversation about the causes of violence, or solutions to the problem, on track: people tend to push one viewpoint, and to take offense when others disagree -- or at least to get sidetracked into endless, bandwidth-devouring, attempts to prove that their position is better than the other guy's.... :rolleyes:

In all these cases, one-dimensional arguments rule; partly because it's more comforting to believe that there's a one-size-fits-all explanation or solution for a problem than it is to deal with the fact that there are any number of possible causal factors. Another reason is that the news cycle moves on... And most people's attention spans are way too short to follow a complex chain of reasoning, much less to produce one.

So how do we encourage something more discourse-like? Argue from facts rather than emotion. Ask for clarification of an argument we don't quite get, rather than being so quick to say that someone is wrong. Refuse to listen to sensationalistic media accounts, and learn to recognize when we're being manipulated rather than informed. (It's the arguments we find most appealing that we ought to watch out for... those are the ones that're pushing our emotional buttons.)

maestro pistolero
April 9, 2009, 04:17 PM
It's the arguments we find most appealing that we ought to watch out for...

Ain't that the truth. We all tend to seek out 'facts' that validate what we already think is true. I'm trying to never be to sure of anything anymore. Sometimes uncertainty is the safest ground.