Mike Eberhart | December 23, 2003
Ok, since there seems to be an overwhelming amount of left-wing liberals here, I figured I'd throw out the topic of Gun control laws. What's everyone's opinion about that, and do you own any guns? I, personally, feel that it's every Americans right to own a gun, or guns. I used to own 2 guns, I sold one, and kept the other. Right now, I have a Beretta 9MM 92FS semi-automatic pistol. This is basically the same gun that I trained on while I was at boot camp. The other that I sold was a Chinese SKS assault rifle. Another fine gun, but it was expensive to shoot.

As for the gun controls laws that they insist will stop all the crime in this country, I totally disagree. No law will stop criminals from obtaining guns, this will only stop the law abiding citizen from getting them. The problem with that is now, the criminals have the upper hand, and there is no longer any self defense in your home. I for one would gladly vote for a concealed weapons law in Illinois. I know this probably will never happen, but it should. The benefit would be that criminals would think twice before doing anything because they would never know who was carrying.

Finally, civil war II would happen in this country if the government, primarily, the democrat government ever had the power to ban all firearms. I for one would definately put up a fight to keep my gun.

So, that's my 2 cents. Any comments.

Aaron Fischer | December 24, 2003
Mike... you have some good points here. Past attempts at legislation have had very little impact on the criminal element. Guns can easily be had on the street regardless of the current laws.

Sadly, you're also right about the fact that concealed carry will probably never be a reality for Illinois residents. The governing body in Illinois is a bit too liberal to approve such a bill.

Anyway, we can rest easy each night knowing full well that we have the ability to freely defend ourselves and families in the event that it is necessary. The day that ability is threatened will be a sad one indeed.

Erik Bates | December 24, 2003
[hidden by request]

Jeff Flom | December 24, 2003
The debate about gun control is centered around three basic questions: 1) Do Americans have a right to 'bear arms'; 2) Will gun control make us safer by way of less crime; 3) Does the ability to own firearms make us free from tyranny?

The first question is a legal question and its answer depends on public opinion and how lawyers and judges interpret an ambiguous statement.

The second question is where the debate gets fierce. Gun control lobbyists believe that widespread gun possession makes people less safe, the NRA says no. The problem here is that both sides are right. I believe that getting rid of guns would lower certain crime rates particularily murder rates. The reason being, guns make it easier to kill someone. I'm not talking about convenience here, I'm talking about ability. If you have to use your bare hands or a primitive weapon (say a knife) you have to get close to your victim, so close in fact that they can defend themselves and hurt you. Take this imaginary conversation inside a crazy person's head as an example-

Lunatic Voice #1 Oh that Bill makes me so mad, I would like to beat him to death.

Lunatic Voice #2 Yeah, but Bill weighs 50 pounds more than you and knows kung fu. Your chances of sucess are not good.

Lunatic Voice #1 You're right, let's go buy a gun.

Now, the NRA's opinion, as I see it, is basically don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sure, if the lunatic cannot get a gun then he won't kill Bill but you are ignoring the underlying problem; that Americans are homicidal maniacs. And that's just the beginnings of our problems. The NRA would rather see the real problem fixed.

The third question is more easily answered. Anyone who believes that gun ownership prevents tryanny is living in a dreamworld with no concept of the power a government has to use and abuse. If the United States government wanted to become tyrannical and abuse its power there is nothing we could do to stop it. Not with 12 gauge shot guns and long rifles that's for sure. Ask the Kurds who died in those gas attacks what good the right to bear arms would have done them. What good did the right to bear arms do for David Koresh? Once the army showed up David Koresh and his followers died without taking a single person with them. And what precisely is a 30.06 going to do to a B-52 bomber or an M1-A1?

I no longer own any firearms but I used to own a Mossberg 12 gauge with pistol grip handle and just legal 18 1/2 inch barrel. A remington viper .22 and a Smith & Wesson .38 special. I have also fired many other weapons including numerous .22's, a .223, an SKS, a 9mm, a .357 magnum, a .44 magnum and probably some others that I cannot remember.

Scott Hardie | December 24, 2003
I don't own any guns, nor do I want to own them, though it might be fun to shoot one on a range sometime. It's not that I'm philosophically opposed to owning a gun, it's just that I don't trust myself not to use it in a moment of utter despair, you know?

I hear the arguments in favor of gun control. I sympathize with things like the Million Mom March. But in the end, freedom trumps safety for me; it's the same reason why I oppose the Patriot Act. If you want to own a gun in your house, Mike, go the hell ahead; I have no right to take that freedom away from you. There are enough responsible, law-abiding citizens like yourself to be negatively affected by gun-control legislation that they outweigh the needs of those few being made unsafe by guns. I have friends who have been mugged; I myself have been threatened by guns twice, but I still wouldn't seek to take them away. Like Michael Moore, I honestly don't mind people owning guns, I just wish people wouldn't shoot them at each other so often. I suppose I could bring myself to support attempts at compromise like the Brady Bill, measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals but still let ordinary folks buy them. That's the most ideal solution.

Jeff, I disagree on your answer to the "third question," but that's because we're talking about apples and oranges. In reality, yeah, the government really can do as it pleases. But we're arguing about principles and morals here, and just as I feel we have a moral duty to question our government, we all have the right to arm & protect ourselves in our own homes, whether such actions would be futile or not.

What's the "overwhelming amount of left-wing liberals" here? Just because Jackie, Anna, and I are so vocal doesn't mean that we outnumber you. ;-)

Jackie Mason | December 25, 2003
[hidden by request]

Erik Bates | December 25, 2003
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | December 26, 2003
Yep, right on, Jackie - gun control is where it's at. I wish no one had guns, but I know if they were outlawed, they'd probably be even more prevelant. I wish we could stop assault rifles though, that's just ridiculous. Handguns do enough damage.

If you have a gun, just please, please, PLEASE keep it out of the hands of children, ok? I've read way too many news stories about accidental shootings.

Scott Hardie | December 26, 2003
Those of you who own a gun are probably bugged even more than I am by overachieving Hollywood foley artists, who give sound effects to movie guns whenever they are touched, passed to someone, held up, or moved in any way; they rattle like cans of spray paint.

Anna Gregoline | December 26, 2003
That's everything though - think about fight scenes and punching noises too. A slap is usually louder than a punch in real life.

Jackie Mason | December 28, 2003
[hidden by request]

Kris Weberg | December 29, 2003
Me, I'm of the belief that guns are implements with one purpose -- causing harm to others. No one actually needsa to hunt; guns in the home are statistically far more likely to harm a family member than a criminal, and a public gun market provides incentive to firms to manufacture more and more guns and promote their further proliferation.

My notion of gun control would relegate most trade to defense and other governmental contractors -- bulk ordering to specific type and design, rather than a "free market." If there's no one manufacturing for anyone besides police and military, it's harder to have guns out there for the black market to pick up. Tighten borders, as we must with the current terror situation anyway, and it's pretty easy to shut down rogue factories.

If no one's making the guns for the public market, even the criminals can't get them.

Steve Dunn | January 13, 2004
Hello all.

What fascinated me most about Bowling for Columbine was how Canada has a much lower rate of gun violence than the USA, despite sharing essentially the same culture (language, TV, movies) and having the same rate of gun ownership.

What annoyed me most about Bowling for Columbine was the way Moore turned it into a documentary about himself. Surely that violates some unwritten rule of the documentary arts, or anyway, it should. When he had himself filmed poignantly leaving the photo of the little girl on Charleton Heston's doorstep, then poignantly walking away while poignantly shaking his head... it made me want to vomit, poignantly.

I'm squarely in the middle on gun policy, I think. I advocate against pretending the Bill of Rights doesn't say what it says - the old saw that only "militias" are covered by the Second Amendment is disingenuous. In 1796 the "militia" was defined to include all able-bodied males. On the other hand, I have no problem with reasonable regulation of guns. Even free speech is not absolutely unlimited.

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2004
Hello Steve. Welcome to the site, and thank you for the free plug. :-) And thanks to Anna for sharing BTD with me at all; it has quickly become part of my daily reading.

Kris Weberg | January 14, 2004
Yes, but the Founding Fathers certainly didn't imagine thinks like automatic weapons. For that matter, they didn't really imagine air war, tanks, and any of the thousands of other technologies of combat that arguably make guns somewhat irrelevant for the national defense purposes imagined by the 2nd Amendment. This is why so many pro-gun arguments today revolve around crime or the notion that the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, is somehow inviolable.

But if we're really discussing original intent, crime was not a factor in the framing of the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment was about the ability of citizens to mount armed resistance to hostile forces in their own country, something that's now unlikely and superfluous. It's not as though even automatic rifles are that much use against a bombing campaign, or an armored division. The original amendments of the Constitution reserved voting rigths for white males over 21 who owned property. Interestingly, one doesn't hear about the sacred original intent or about the inviolability of the Constitution in discussion of universal suffrage but we do hear about it with regard to gun issues.

In the end, I have to ask myself: just why are some people so damn desperate to personally own a killing tool? And do I think that we as a country and a society should enable that?

Oh, Mike -- "Democrat" party is a cute way of avoiding calling the Democratic Party "democratic." But "republican," as a common adjective, is also a descriptor for or form of government. We're a "democratic republic," or if you prefer, a "republican democracy." Can I call it the Repub party and encourage others to do so?

Steve Dunn | January 15, 2004
Good points, Kris. However, I think what lies beneath the right to bear arms is more than just citizens' ability to repel an armed invasion or topple a tyrranical regime (though I am more impressed than you with the effect widespread gun ownership has in those regards as well). I think the 2nd amendment is rooted at least in part in the idea that as human beings (endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, and all that) we are entitled to protect the physical security of our own bodies. You, simply because you are a person, are entitled not to be killed - by anyone, cops or robbers - except under certain specific circumstances. If we were to ban guns, we would cede to the state the power to protect our bodies - and that goes against the idea that ultimately, political power flows up from us as individuals, not down upon us from above. If you buy all this (and I completely understand you may not) then the 2nd amendment is even more important than the 1st. You can't speak or assemble about much of anything if you're dead.

Of course, these abstractions bear precious little relation to 99.9% of what we encounter, or are ever likely to encounter, in our daily lives. Still, we take them for granted because collectively we've gotten used to them over the past couple hundred years.

Interestingly, the 2nd amendment was inspired in large part by the Swiss example. In Switzerland, for a looooong time, and continuing to this day, citizens are affirmatively required to keep guns in good working order in their homes. Yet they have an astonishingly low rate of gun violence. This indicates to me, and Michael Moore demonstrated it as well in his documentary, that the violence problem in America exists not because of guns per se, but for other reasons. What they are... I do not know.

As to the original intent of the framers in regard to the supremacy of white property-owning males over 21... those things have been taken care of rather efficiently by amendments to the constitution. Perhaps the constitution ought to be pretty darn invioble in what it says, exactly because it CAN be changed. If you think America would be a better place if guns were banned (and I would not necessarily disagree), then you should advocate the repeal of the 2nd amendment. It's not impossible - look what they did to Prohibition. In my view, that's a better, safer route than advocating an abandonment of the existing law on the ground of obsolesence or technological innovation. (The framers never envisioned telephones or the internet either, but I doubt you're prepared to chuck the 1st amendment).

Anyway, to reiterate (at the risk of excess seriousness), I think you make excellent points and I think there are philosophically pure concepts underlying your point of view. I'm just not sure you're giving the other perspective a fair shake.

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2004
One contributing factor of Sweden's low rate of gun violence could be exactly what Mike wrote in the beginning: Criminals know that everyone has a gun, so they're much less willing to brandish one themselves and risk getting shot.

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2004
But we do already expect the government to protect our bodies from many things, including people who aim to shoot us. I'm not sure I buy your argument because we already have this expectation. Also, what a terrible world if we ALL felt we had to carry guns, because everyone else had them. I don't think I could honestly carry a gun. I do not want to carry on me the means to kill another human being or myself. The very idea terrifies me.

Jackie Mason | January 15, 2004
[hidden by request]

Jackie Mason | January 15, 2004
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2004
I refuse to believe that more guns = less shootings.

Kris Weberg | January 15, 2004
Especially as all the gun ownership advocates here seem to be touting their active use (albeit in hypothetically reactive situations).

Oh, and the "Sweden and Switzerland" thing is very dubious when looked at in context.

According to This chart. In 1999, the U.S. had a per household gun ownership rate of 39%; in 1993, Sweden's was 15.1% -- and the Sweden statistic included all stationed army personnel as households, unlike the U.S. statistic. Unless there was a massive jump in gun purchases in Sweden over the last half-decade, they own far fewer guns than we do. (Similarly, Canada's gun ownership rate was ten percentage points below the U.S.A.)

Switzerland might be a good comparison, except that they radically differ from the U.S. culturally and economically -- they have a long tradition of military neutrality during even massive Continental wars, and a radically different economic stratification and base. The kinds of social, cultural, and political forces that affect gun ownership and use in the U.S.A are simply not present in Switzerland certainly not to the degree they are here.

And int he end, neither Sweden nor Switzerland approaches gun ownership as we do in the States. Switzerland has mandatory gun ownership for all male sof military age, but this is coupled with equally mandatory conditions for gun ownership: the only guns available are standard issue military automatic weapons, they must remain locked up at all times, and each citizen receives a sealed package of 72 rounds. Unregistered rounds can be bought at shooting ranges, but legally all rounds must be spent or discarded at the range. 15 of Switzerland's 26 cantons (like states or provinces) have banned handguns by 1991. Despite this, Switzerland at the time had the second highest handgun ownership rate -- and the second highest murder rate among so-called "industrialized nations."

Sweden is a similar case. They also very heavily restrict what guns can be bought, where they can be used, as this site on Swedish hunting laws and tourism indicates:

"Restrictions are rigorous about handling and keeping weapons in Sweden. Any gun or rifle must be securely locked in a safety box. If one can temporarily not meet up to these restrictions one must keep the vital part of the rifle apart from the rest of the rifle. When travelling across someone else's land where one does not have hunting permission, the rifle must be placed so that it cannot be reached during the drive and shells must be taken out of the barrel. Hunting from the car or any vehicle motored by an engine is forbidden!"

Most sites I found described Swedish gun laws as "very strict," and they have total ban on handguns -- the NRA lists them as one of the most regulated coutnries around. You need a firearms permit and a legally acceptable reason to own a gun, and cannot carry a gun on you at any time. Gun ownership is effectively unlimited, but you must get a collectors' permit -- one of the conditions of which is that you will not use the guns you purchase.

It appears that Swedish gun ownership laws restrict use and ownership of weapons to hunting, and even then under specific conditions. It's quite hard to get a handgun -- you have to be a member of a target sports club, and there are a quite a few hoops regarding the "legitimate reason for ownership" criterion -- and it is extremely difficult if not nigh-impossible to get a gun for the purposes of home or self-protection.

See this discussion for the details, or this FAQ.

European gun laws are far more stringent than American gun laws, and guns are generally not perceived as tools of self-defense for ordinary citizens -- and certainly not as an anti-crime tool.

Steve Dunn | January 15, 2004
Heh, well, in fairness to me, I mentioned Switzerland not as a perfect analog to the USA, but as the source of the philosophical underpinning of the Second Amendment. Sociological differences notwithstanding (and your post nicely illustrates that various other factors besides gun ownership are to blame for gun violence), we still do have a Second Amendment to the constitution - Switzerland and Sweden do not.

So if you want to ban guns, you'll have to deal with the 2nd Amendment head on. I could construct a persuasive argument that forcing accused criminals to incriminate themselves would be a "good thing for society" but I'm still left with the problem of the existence of the Fifth Amendment.

On the other hand, if you're advocating for tighter regulation of guns and better safety, there's no reason for us to be arguing... except maybe just for fun!

Anna - I do not own a gun and I have no desire to carry a gun. I'm just not prepared to give up my right to change my mind some day, at least not until Kris pushes through a new constitutional amendment.

Kris Weberg | January 15, 2004
I'm not thoroughly anti-gun -- I just think we really need to restrict (and enforce restrictions) on how guns can be used, where they can be used, and when. I don't mind guns being kept around for the purposes of sport, as in the countries I discussed -- and I'd support similar legislationt hat would make it damn near impossible to use those guns except for sport, and then in designated areas. I just happen to think that changing things at the level of manufacture will have a bigger effect in the long run than enforcing at the level of individual sale and use.

Anna Gregoline | January 16, 2004
There's just no good governmental reason for allowing the populace guns to kill each other with. Or is there?

Richard Bosch | January 23, 2004
Great topic! I just recently purchased a firearm........an SKS rifle which is classified as an assault rifle. It's my understanding that the rifle is classified as such due to a built in bayonet and a grenade launcher. Both are useless in terms of self defense in terms of firearms because a person would have to be very close for the bayonet and grenades...well you get the idea. I purchased the rifle as a collectable and to introduce my son and I to the proper use of a firearm. The rifle has a trigger lock and is basically a paperweight at home. In comparison to other firearms, the assault rifle I purchased is no where near as powerful as other firearms. Don't let the words assault weapon fool you into believing that legal guns are not as potent.

As for gun control, after attending my first gun show and seeing first hand the testosterone laden nuts out there......there is definitely a need for control. I see no need for fully automatic weapons. There are only two uses......

1. going to a gun range for entertainment

2. to shoot at a person

I have a hard time with #2.

I believe gun control should restrict certain people and not weapons deamed legal. My reason is simple: In a free society there is nothing that restricts a persons behavior. Laws / legislation only define unlawful behavior and punishment. With the freedom afforded to everyone, comes many risks. If guns did not exist, it seems the discussion would be about some other "weapon". You can't eliminate dangerous, stupid or illegal behavior.

I certainly would not favor the restrictive gun laws of other countries pointed out by Mr. Weberg or the idea of restrictive usage. As a first time gun owner, education and safety devices is an obvious choice. Restricting ownership will not prevent criminals from attaining firearms. As for restricting manufacture, that implies more government control. Wouldn't it be better to allow a free market to run its course?

I'll stick with the 2nd amendment and with my reality.......not what mass media pushes everyday.

Anna Gregoline | January 23, 2004
How "potent" does any gun have to be to kill someone?

Anna Gregoline | January 23, 2004
And a *grenade launcher*? These things need to be sold to the public???

Kris Weberg | January 23, 2004
Richard, defining a behavior as unlawful or punishable is, by definition, limiting the scope of human behavior. Granted, I think -- I certainly hope, anyway -- that we have a social consensus that murder is a behavior we won't tolerate, for example; but there are people who murder, and steal, and break laws. As you pointed out, "we can't eliminate dangerous, stupid, or unlawful behavior." Those are all human behaviors of some kind, and we limit them for the good of society.

The argument here is that not all "dangerous, stupid, or unlawful" behaviors are best prevented by the current body of legislation. We don't allow people to develop weapons of mass destruction, to use an extreme (and absurd) example. In regards to the manufacture example, we do restrict and regulate all manner of manufacture. Think of the variety of dangerous pesticides or manufacturing processes no longer permitted by the law, for example. And illegal drugs are perhaps the example of government restricting a potential form of manufacture; I think we've all read enough legalization arguments to understand that they also appeal to the "free market" principle. (I don't want to get into a massive debate about the fact that there's never been such a thing as a "free market," because no country in recorded history has ever restricted its body of economic legislation to simply safeguarding property rights. Arguing the broad canvas of economic legislation and market forces is another, much bigger debate.)

As this relates to weapons manufacture, defense contractors must pass muster to construct certain weapons and vehicles, not only because of national security issues, but also to ensure that serious ordinance isn't being vended to the general population. This effectively does limit the scope and types of widely available weapons. You don't hear much about street gangs with Stinger missile launchers, for example. Nor do we have a widespread problem with murders committed using weapons with ranged explosive capability. This may sound silly, but it's an example of restricted sale and manufacture preventing widepsread proliferation of a class of weapons within a society.

So yes, government does (and arguably must) restrict weapons ownership and manufacture to some degree. The question becomes what degree? Where do we draw the line with everyday behavior? You draw the line in one place, I draw one that's more restrictive. We each make our cases based on our own assumptions of where these lines "naturally" fall, or from some other essential function -- orignal intent of the Constitution, a theory of shifting social or industrial dynamics, and so on. Implicitly, in a debate we each argue that our assumptions and the social practices that follow from them should be realized.

But as there are others with different perspectives, we don't get to rule out their ideas by fiat -- we must present a case for our choices and beliefs that can persuade, not simply appeal to authority. Want me to believe that the Founding Fathers still know best? Show me that their wisdom still works in related areas. Want me to think we should chuck the Constitution and restrict all gun ownership? Show me that it's worked elsewhere, or provide me with case examples that support your position. Untested generalities are unlikely to convince me.

Of course, you're also more than free to decide that convincing me isn't worth the bother, or that my standards are too prickly. That's your right, and it's not as though any of us here make policy beyond voting in elections. Some of us, maybe not even that, come to think :)

I do agree, very strongly, with your notion that gun education is a worthwhile enterprise. Though in my mind, even in my proposed system, it should be required before anything like firearms permit is issued. Knowing things, even if they're the technical details of weapons you don't like (or do like), is never a bad thing. Where guns are free and legal education makes their users more responsible and more aware; where they're heavily restricted, it means the opposition knows what it's talking about and the laws can be tailored to specific social agendas. While I'm still quite opposed to the widespread availability, manufacture, and use of guns in American society, I think that equally widespread gun education would be a positive step.

Oh, and as to your point that we'd likely be discussing other weapons, you're probably right. But it's telling, I think, that guns have predominated in crime and combat over later, more powerful weapons as well as less technologically advanced implements. They represent a (relatively) cheap, efficient, and effective tool for killing or causing harm. Modern guns have both a longer range and a faster rate of fire and loading than the weapons of times past. Certainly, a handgun or modern rifle is a wholly different thing, tactically and socially, than a hand-loaded, single-shot capacity musket or rifle as existed at the time of the Constitution's writing. And of course, guns have a vast range, power, and speed advantage over ye olde pointy weapon or blunt object. Hence the old joke about the guy who brings a knife to a gunfight.

Ah my, that's long. I think I've just exhaustively and pedantically agreed to disagree.

Anna Gregoline | January 23, 2004
ye olde pointy weapon or blunt object! My favorite phrase of the week.

Richard Bosch | January 24, 2004
Well done Mr. Weberg........while we disagree, you make very good points.

I'm guessing that your invisioned system of gun control would be similar to licensing at the DMV. This sounds like yet another expensive convoluted government bureacracy that will rely on taxes. Again, how would these type of restrictions prevent a criminal from illegally obtaining a firearm and committing crimes? While I agree with you sentiment of providing a safer society for all, I don't believe that everyone should have to pay for a system that does not directly address and/or eliminate firearm access to criminals. The DMV suffers from this same problem with DUI offenders.

How do you limit the freedom of criminals to commit crimes without severely impacting the rest of us? Your envisioned restriction, in my mind, would punish me and all other law abiding gun owners for obeying the law. Punishing the criminal seems more appropriate.

Oddly enough, Mr. Weberg, I believe you would agree with much of my personal practices of gun ownership. When I purchased my rifle, I also purchased a gun lock and the rifle is currently in the possession of a gunsmith who will check it over prior to my son shooting it. I will also enroll my son and I in a gun safety course prior to use. I will store the rifle unloaded and locked. Bullets will be stored in a lock box. Like I said, I purchased the gun as a collectable.

By the way, great writing Mr. Weberg!

Ms. Gregoline....don't worry about the grenade launcher. That part of the rifle is useless. And believe me, there are plenty of weapons that are more potent that what I purchased. If your an optimist, then consider this: My rifle is in sane hands.

Richard Bosch | January 24, 2004
One more thought.......... on my way to work this morning I drove 75 MPH. The speed limit is 65 MPH. I know that the speed limit is 65 MPH, but the law did not restrict my freedom to drive 75 MPH. The law only defined what was illegal / legal.

Anna Gregoline | January 24, 2004
I don't think you're crazy for owning a gun - only that it's crazy that you're able to purchase one with a grenade launcher, AND that's NOT the most "potent" (why do you keep using that word, I'm curious? I would use deadly, dangerous or lethal), one you could own.

Scott Hardie | January 25, 2004
Welcome to the site, Richard.

I was thinking about the idea of privately-owned guns as a form of homeland security (a pretty ludicrous idea, but bear with me). That's when I was struck by the seeming incongruity of positions on the two matters. When it comes to the issue of homeland security, conservatives often prefer security over rights, and liberals often prefer rights over security. When it comes to the issue of gun ownership, conservatives often prefer rights over security, and liberals often prefer security over rights. Obviously both issues are more complex than that, which explains the incongruity, but I think this shows that whatever our ideology or affiliation, we really do have a lot in common.

And what's with "homeland security" anyway? Is there something wrong with "national security"?

Richard Bosch | January 26, 2004
Thanks for the welcome, Mr. Hardie. I always thought we had national security, AKA Army , Navy, Air Force, etc. I just figured that while everyone was paranoid over the NY terrorist attack, the current administration took the opportunity to pilfer yet more $$ from taxpayers with the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the airline bail out. I am very concerned about the willingness that the current administration has to liberate us from our freedoms. I am also concerned with the benign reaction that everyone has had to the actions of this administration. I'm in Texas.......so I could see this coming. As for the incongruity between liberals and conservatives, sometimes it seems as if one has to pick their poison. In the end, some lobbyist greases the right hand and we all pay even more for a system that does not improve our safety.

Ms. Gregoline...I'm new to guns, but by potent I mean the size of the bullet. While at the gun show where I purchased my rifle, I had conversations with two people who did not favor my rifle because it did not have "stopping power". In other words, the gun cannot knock a person over when you shoot them (an aspect of gun ownership I did not care for). Think of all the stereotypes of a gun nut and that's who I talked to. One guy in particular was interested in the size of the hole his gun could leave in an object. Needless to say, I stayed away from those guys. By contrast, all other people I spoke to were very normal.

Anna Gregoline | January 26, 2004
"Stopping power." Yes, I've heard that before. Chilling.

Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.