Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Cultures and violence

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    wut?

    Well, per 100 people. Don't worry, the USA on 88 is still kicking our butts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss, in reply to David Hood,

    Yes, based on Heller the historical access to arms matters to what freedom is protected by the second amendment. My point is that it is not something that gets defined by legislation. It is up to the courts, ultimately the Supreme Court.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Z and Australia only allow ownership of firearms for the purposes of hunting and sports. Self-defence is not a valid or legal reason.

    When I first applied for a gun licence, the law required I had 2 witnesses (one a relation/one not) that I was a fit & proper person to own a gun. Had I ever had treatment for depression? (Nope.) Did I have a secure place to keep my gun/s?
    Indeedy! A purpose- built beauty! And ammo? Ditto. Those questions were asked by a cop who came to my home- and I had to have the backup bits (signed witnessed statements, and the gun cabinet in situ.) And then the cop asked, "What would you do if you were attacked here?"
    And I said, "See that wee hatchet on the chopping block there? I'd grab it and use it to defend myself as I know how."*
    "And if the attacker had a gun?"
    "Runaway duck gettoutahere-"
    "And?"
    "Throw whatever was handy-"

    As the cop said, when I picked up my gun-licence - "This is the only one where people attest & ascertain you are a fit & proper person to be in charge of a lethal weapon. Not like a driver's licence eh?"

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Graham, in reply to SteveH,

    Are you arguing that the second amendment means people have a constitutionally protected right on own cruise missiles?

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the second amendment: "Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried — it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons — but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided." Source

    So yes. It's your right to own any cruise missile you can carry.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2011 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    That Freakonomics abortion = less crime thing has been thoroughly debunked, more than once.

    I think about the only assertion of Levitt and fanboy-Dubner's in the first book that could go essentially unchallenged is the amazing fact that most drug dealers are poor. ::youdon'tsayface:: (also not Levitt's research)

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to BenWilson,

    Well, per 100 people. Don’t worry, the USA on 88 is still kicking our butts.

    Ah - thanks. 22.6 guns per person did seem kinda high.

    So we're falling behind again. We must close the arms-gap!

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Well, weapons of mass distruction (be they Chemical, Biological, or Nuclear) could be transported by suitcase or smaller. I think if the governments restrictions on that class of weapon came before the court, it is possible more judges might side with some of the other, pre-Scalia, thinking about the scope of the second ammendment than his particular interpretation.
    The as the fairly clear Miller case put it, about carrying a concealed shotgun across state lines "absence of any evidence tending to show that the possession or use of ... at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    If you want to modulate testosterone driven behaviour you must acknowledge it is real.

    I don't buy "the hormones made him do it" as a reason for any crime, whether it be sexual harassment or mass murder. The Animalistic Penis-Brain (TM) seems a terribly... convenient, status-quo-maintaining explanatory theory.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to James W,

    I wonder what people make of this, from Season 5, Episode 1 of "Screenwipe", reviewing a British version of "High School Musical" called "Brittania High":

    "It's like a spawning point for enemies in a video game. It's the sort of place you'd be happy to circle with frag grenades for about six hours, sending limbs flying through the air, finishing off the survivors with a rail gun blast to the temple... The main characters, or 'targets' as I like to think of them..."

    About 9'24" in here. Before this latest tragedy, obviously, but made after several of the other school shootings.

    I can imagine a teenager who felt ostracised by the popular kids at their school projecting onto the saccharine characters in that show their anger at their classmates and then, if they happened to catch Brooker, being prompted to fantasise the frag grenade / rail gun scenario.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Charlie Brooker and spend many an hour watching his stuff. But I find it a little ironic that he advocates self-censorship by news media in the clip to which James links, but seems not to have considered whether this approach to the topic was the most appropriate - given I can think of many non-violent options he could have gone for (and indeed uses one earlier in the same piece, when he suggests the windows of Brittania High should be bricked up while the students are inside).

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    You – as a human being- CANNOT predict irrational random responses from anything – let alone other human animals-
    "tell your story to the whirlwind
    make the firestorm your slave
    and - as the tsunami rises-
    call it to behave-"

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    "Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried — it’s to keep and “bear,” so it doesn’t apply to cannons — but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided."

    If you can carry it, it's all good

    ETA for those who haven't seen this movie, this scene is followed by Arnie depopulating an entire island. He got all of this stuff just by breaking into a weapons shop.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to Peter Graham,

    How can he be so precise with the word ‘bear’ but totally ignore ‘well regulated’ I don’t understand how he can get away with that inconsistency..hes like a year 11 debating club.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Islander,

    As the cop said, when I picked up my gun-licence – “This is the only one where people attest & ascertain you are a fit & proper person to be in charge of a lethal weapon. Not like a driver’s licence eh?”

    You and me Babe!

    Danielle:

    "I don’t buy “the hormones made him do it” as a reason for any crime, whether it be sexual harassment or mass murder. The Animalistic Penis-Brain (TM) seems a terribly… convenient, status-quo-maintaining explanatory theory.

    I find it hard not to consider the power of these "feeble" hormones. They control practically every teeny wee bit of your body. Why shouldn't they have some effect on your mental welbeing? It is only logical, surely.

    We are not mere bodies with "Operational Procedures" that make us "normal" citizens who make their way through this world with a plan.

    For the Life of Brian: " Yes, we are all individuals".

    We most certainly are. And the corollary is that some of us (unidentifiable unless you want to deny any "suspect" their liberty) will go on rampages that are undeniably wicked. The real scary bit is that it can't, and won't, stop. Unless, or until, evolution finally weeds it out of us.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1502 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I find it hard not to consider the power of these “feeble” hormones. They control practically every teeny wee bit of your body. Why shouldn’t they have some effect on your mental welbeing? It is only logical, surely.

    And it’s equally logical that there are also complex social reasons for the ways men behave, particularly in families. Apart from anything else, the young, white, male killers Danielle was talking about weren't generally aggressive, testosterone types.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Reading that NYT piece is a challenge. I can't quite imagine the phrase "many unlicensed gun ranges" being in common parlance and yet clearly it was. Elsewhere there's a comment about these being "no ordinary guns"; what inference do you take from that?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2237 posts Report Reply

  • Rowan Crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Apart from anything else, the young, white, male killers Danielle was talking about weren't generally aggressive, testosterone types.

    What made the most impression to me in the data on school shootings pdf was how many times smart/picked-on/called-gay came up in various combinations.

    I hesitate to point at US schools being toxic as a reason, but "it gets better" comes to mind.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2008 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Apart from anything else, the young, white, male killers Danielle was talking about weren’t generally aggressive, testosterone types.

    I think that is my point. It's shades of grey all the way down. I suspect there may be a grain of truth in the idea that the mass murderers are not the macho testos of the world. They need the extra fire power to exert their will.

    Families: males who come into a family and find their (new?) partner's kids don't smell like them, look like them and certainly were not conceived by them have higher risk of doing some damage. One may argue a case for something deep within may be causing some chemical reaction that when mixed with unsociable upbringing can cause family mayhem.

    But I am certainly not making excuses, just looking for possible 'life force' reasons that may be more than merely "good or bad".

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1502 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    A friend on Facebook made the point that the US has ‎9 gun related deaths per 100,000 population, while there 13 suicides per 100,000 in NZ a year.

    They're not the same statistic. Neither do they have the same solutions, though they affect proportionately similar populations. But it does indicate the magnitude of suffering faced here. Before we start to feel like other countries are warped and bizarre, and we've got our shit sorted...

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Everywhere, violence inflicted against males (at the hands of themselves and others) takes a huge toll on the world's health.

    Worth the look are the visualisations of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington of the massive and compehensiveGlobal Burden of Disease (free, registration required) study. In every region of the world, violent deaths make up a large part of morbidity and mortality of males. It's one of the reasons why men consistently die earlier than women.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And it’s equally logical that there are also complex social reasons for the ways men behave, particularly in families.

    The thrust of debate, research and policy on family violence is aimed at "Men" as perpetrators - the matter of "Women" as perpetrators scarcely gets a mention though anecdotally it appears as prevalent – Men tend to be more resilient in dealing with being on the receiving end and there is not the networked support – the research is skewed as a result - and does not reflect the reality.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1203 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to DexterX,

    The thrust of debate, research and policy on family violence is aimed at "Men" as perpetrators - the matter of "Women" as perpetrators scarcely gets a mention though anecdotally it appears as prevalent – Men tend to be more resilient in dealing with being on the receiving end and there is not the networked support – the research is skewed as a result - and does not reflect the reality.

    Actually, no, for basically every type of violence you want to name, the perpetration skews overwhelmingly male. This is not in contest.The difference with partner violence is that the victims are far more likely to be female, whereas if you take homicides as a whole male-on-male violence is by far the largest category.

    This is not to say that DV which is not male-on-female does not happen, because it does and it is every bit as problematic. But if you pick any given DV-related murder, the odds are very high that it will be a man killing a woman - and that if it was a woman killing a man, she will have been abused by him beforehand. As with rape, acknowledging that the scenario largely plays out one way in terms of perpetrator/victim gender does not mean ignoring the other possibilities.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And it’s equally logical that there are also complex social reasons for the ways men behave, particularly in families. Apart from anything else, the young, white, male killers Danielle was talking about weren't generally aggressive, testosterone types.

    "Testosterone" is adequate as an explanation for why, on balance, a randomly picked murderer is more likely to be male than female, same as the explanation for why a randomly picked tall person is more likely to be male than female. Same with rapists. But it's not a useful explanation for why that particular person committed that particular crime, and that's where the complex social reasons - and prevention - come in.

    What I think Bart is arguing - and I do agree with him - is that testosterone is why you're very unlikely to ever see a society where violent crime is skewed female (or even 50/50), But that has nothing to do with the overall rates of violent crime.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • David Ivory,

    This post from earlier in the year is to my mind the best, and perhaps only possible, response to mass shootings.

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.hk/2012/07/names-of-infamy-deny-killers-notoreity.html

    I've never thought it a great idea to do in depth analysis of the perpetrators of extreme violence - going so far as to berate the TVNZ Newsroom in 1990 over their live coverage of Aromoana... but they went ahead and did it any way.

    Creating a culture of awareness but not sensationalism is going to be hard - it goes against the grain. But it has a better chance than gun laws in reducing mass shootings - at least there is no constituency in favour of respecting the feelings of mass murderers.

    Hong Kong • Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to David Ivory,

    Creating a culture of awareness but not sensationalism is going to be hard – it goes against the grain. But it has a better chance than gun laws in reducing mass shootings

    Change gun laws first seems the best idea. Then deal with the underlying social issues, which is going to present greater difficulties and will take a lot longer. Maybe generations, who knows.. The US has a long way to go there methinks.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1234 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Long time no PAS.
    Some kind of ban on assault weapons always seems like a logical solution to some of the guns problems the US has, and as has been previously pointed out, there was one for a while, but it was allowed to expire without any fanfare (in the middle of the 2004 election season no less) as I believe it was fairly universally judged to not have had any impact, there was certainly no fuss about it when it expired.
    I can’t see any kind of gun control onstitutional amendment passing whatever might come out of Washington as it will never get the 2/3rds or 3/4ths of states required for ratification of an amendment. While it might pass in CA or MA or NY, there is no way southern, rural or mid western states will pass that. For better or worse it just won’t happen. Best to focus efforts and energy in more productive areas.
    And as an example that these issues are usually too complicated for simple sweeping solutions, if I lived anywhere outside a large city in Arizona, New Mexico or western Texas or anywhere close to the border or on the drug highways north out of Mexico and well into the US, I would most definitely want some serious firepower (i.e. something like a Bushmaster) to protect myself and my family, because the drug cartels and traffickers most certainly have more then peashooters on them. A handgun with a few rounds isn’t going to be any use. So how do you handle that situation fairly? You can’t leave people defenseless.
    On the mental health aspect of this, I think a logical change would be a law so if a principal identifies a child as displaying some of the characteristics (as defined by a board of shrinks) that these kind of loner mass shooters have, the principal would be required to inform the local police so that they can visit the family and have a discussion and help educate the parents of the potential dangers of their child and to make sure that any weapons they have are securely locked away at all times etc.
    Parental accountability is a big issue in some of these mass shootings. The mother was just crazy to take her son, with his issues, to a range and teach him how to use a semi automatic weapon and have the cache she had at home. If she hadn’t been shot, the mother should have been held accountable for what she did. Likewise Dylan Klebold’s and his friend in Columbine had huge stashes of weapons, ammunition and bomb materials in their rooms and houses. Where the hell were their parents? Obviously you can’t hold a parent accountable for their child’s behavior, but if their gross negligence is judged to have been a major contributing factor to an event like this, then they should be held criminally liable. That should wake a few parents up.
    Another obvious thing to do is to make it more difficult to get into schools and especially into classrooms. Heavier doors into buildings and classrooms that can be bolted closed so that they can’t be shot open or kicked in would have made a huge difference in Newton and at the Virginia tech shooting a few years ago. Anything that slows the shooter down while law enforcement gets there saves lives.
    And of course having a few teachers with a weapon is an obvious solution. Sounds crazy and shouldn’t be needed but we don’t live in a perfect world and never will. There are a couple of ex army guys at my son’s school. I would be very happy for them to have a weapon and a bullet proof vest locked away somewhere at school ready to deal with a crazy guy. It is child like magical thinking to believe that if we declare somewhere a gun free zone, that everything will be wonderful. All you have done is told the world, and every nutter in it, that this place is an easy target. How the hell is that smart or responsible?

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

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