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Old 2007-04-17, 22:34   Link #41
WanderingKnight
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I'm against guns in all aspects, because they are made to kill. Even when you can use something else to kill, the inherent function of a gun is to kill, and anyone with a gun is a potential killer.

The thing is, the dude that's buying a gun for self-defense is not trusting his own police, which is an organism mounted by the State, and such State, in a democratic society (not that democracy is actually what it's intended to be) should be regulated by the citizen's will. If you show your distrust for the way your own State is handling things, why don't you do something to help it, instead of isolating yourself inside of your own individualized bubble? People form a society. There are reasons for crime to be so high in the American society, and people have reasons for not trusting the police. But, if people have to isolate themselves to solve a common problematic, why not act together? Why resort to the individual exit, when you can resort to the communitarian solution?

The answer probably is: effort and time. I'm guessing there, but deep inside, I feel such answer is just that, laziness. But it's part of the laziness and distrust the current society is trying to immerse us in (well, actually, it has already immersed us in it).
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Old 2007-04-17, 22:38   Link #42
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatever001 View Post
just because its pleasantly received and humanitarian work does not hide the origin and true intention of their job to spread Christianity by devilizing local religions and culture. let's ask a fundamental question, what's so good about christianity that large number of other people are pushed to believe? why can't they do the humanitarian work without religious purpose like other NPO/NGO?
That's a WHOLE different subject (and one I'm actually more onbase with you about - judeo-christian religion is simply more aggressive due to its need to save souls (coupled with some historically imperialist co-agendas dating to the Roman Empire). Off topic here though. There's a Shinto mailing list that is currently discussing how the two religions interact (or don't) in Yahoo Groups.

Quote:
I guess by saying US is also the source terror in the world do seems to be quite offensive, but as you see, you need to admit something.. why can't ppl just admit they are the source of the mistakes just because it make them look bad
Believe me, there's a significant portion of the United States that understand what you're saying and may agree at various levels. You might read up on any works by Noam Chomsky or similar authors for some interesting thoughts on long term American policy... but also off-topic

@wandering_knight: a lot of what you're saying has merit... but unfortunately, legal rulings establish that "trusting the police" to rescue you is misguided. They have zero liability to stop or prevent crime according to the courts (hence all the stories about desperate domestic violence victims getting no recourse from the police "because no crime has been committed yet"). Owning a gun does not "isolate people" (in fact, I stopped a burglary once at a neighbor's house --- the police had been notified but took an hour to show up and just took some notes).
Frankly, I'd love it if all guns just went "poof" but the 'genie out of the bottle' issue makes it a difficult proposition. Of course, anyone without a gun is also a potential killer as well... people can be nasty.
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Old 2007-04-17, 22:45   Link #43
whatever001
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Originally Posted by Furudanuki View Post
I will suggest that you might consider following your own advice.
yeah.. you caught me, but I am wondering how easy it is to sterotype the country with the most freedom, esp. freedom of speech that may encourage self righteousness.... its an unsuccessful attempt on certain portion of Americans (Right wing? mainstream? even left?) I am a horrible sterotypOR to begin with, thats why I should stop and encourage ppl to stop
however, I do wonder about what's the percentage of americans are in my unsuccessful attempt, 10%? 20%? 40%? what do you think and how do others think....
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Old 2007-04-17, 22:54   Link #44
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People buy guns for a variety of reasons, so to try to control all of the purchases would be extremely difficult. Not everyone who owns a gun thinks that the goverment cant be trusted to protect them. Some just like to hunt, or find old pistols interesting, others keep one in there homes in case they are attacked.

I don't personally have any desire to use a gun, and I believe they should be used with care by people who have learned how to use them correctly. However you cant take away the right to own a gun from all the law abiding citizens. Instead I believe the goverment should just make it harder to buy firearms.
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Old 2007-04-17, 22:59   Link #45
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Still, as a foreigner, I think my point is that there's some ridiculously high powered stuff going around overkill would be my term for it. I'm not too sure of the actual process of getting a gun there, but the moment someone starts asking for high capacity magazines/armor piercing rounds or buying hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammo I'd be worried and be asking questions.

Look put it this way, I mean the black talons were pulled from the market a long time ago, (voluntarily by Winchester but more than likely they would've been banned anyway from most reports) and teflon coated bullets were banned. Yes they were just an ammo round, and most of the backlash was just hysteria, but most people saw that they served no purpose other than against armored human targets (a whole of what if scenarios can be used centering on offensive vs defensive can be argued as you said). That's not necessary. It's overkill.

But it's like this, my cousin (citizen of the US)has a PHD in nuclear physics in the US, should he be allowed to have a nuke in his possession? He's properly trained in the handling of nuclear material. I guess the point I'm trying to make is there has to be a reasonable limit. There's no way that Americans are going to give up their guns which is ok, its a cultural thing. But you guys have to realise there comes a point where it's just too much and it starts being irresponsible behaviour.
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Old 2007-04-17, 23:12   Link #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raikage View Post
That particular part is outdated.

Militaries now have tanks, ICBM's, and bombers -- something that wasn't around when the US Constitution was drafted.

M1 Abrams > a bolt-action rifle.
Not every battle, though, is fought against the full might of military machinery. I don't want to glorify their killing by pointing it out, but the insurgents in Iraq are doing a pretty formidable job of acting against US forces.

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Originally Posted by raikage View Post
So you're encouraging students to go to class armed?

Like Ledgem said, if a hundred students had all been armed and pulled out their guns just in case, the cops would have had to sort through a hundred students and attempt to determine who was and was not a threat -- and could very well have shot some innocent college kids thinking they were the one who snapped.
Well, in many other areas, students can go to class armed, and frequently do. That wasn't the case at VT, of course.

The time for a private citizen to use arms, though, is generally when the police presence isn't there, or (very, very rarely) when the existing police presence asks them to. Had students taken arms against the killer, it would have been over very quickly, and the police would have done clean-up when they arrived. Even if they'd arrived the middle, it's nothing that couldn't be handled pretty easily. The good guys comply with an order to put down their weapons, and if the bad guy is still standing and complies, too, so much the better. Neither situation is one the police aren't prepared to deal with.[/quote]

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Originally Posted by raikage View Post
As for gun control in general, I would love to see mandatory gun education classes. We require people who wish to drive, to take a written test and then an application test. Guns, which are more weapon than a car, have no such regulations. As long as you weren't a criminal before, then you can get one.

While a gun-owner license wouldn't solve all the problems, it would greatly reduce the amount of accidental murders as a result of home-defense gone awry (since bullets can go through walls).
I can agree with you there, whole-heartedly. I would only add that, constitutionally, and ethically, such training could not be denied any citizen or resident with a clean criminal record.

Actually, just as a side-note, riflemanship used to be a common course in school. We didn't have school shootings back then.
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Old 2007-04-17, 23:18   Link #47
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Quote:
but unfortunately, legal rulings establish that "trusting the police" to rescue you is misguided. They have zero liability to stop or prevent crime according to the courts (hence all the stories about desperate domestic violence victims getting no recourse from the police "because no crime has been committed yet").
But that's what I'm talking about, if you say there's zero liability, work as a the goddamn community you are and get a police that has full liability! Or invest in education and mental health, if you want a workaround.

Quote:
Owning a gun does not "isolate people"
The isolation I mentioned is due to the fact that people buy guns to defend themselves or their immediate surroundings. Saving the guy next door with a gun doesn't make you less isolated, because as a response for a society functioning improperly, you choose your own exit; even when in the process you help people other than yourself, it's people right at your surroundings that got benefited by the fact that you were there as a coincidence, while preventing crime would benefit the population country-wide, without requiring the involvement of coincidences.
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Old 2007-04-17, 23:27   Link #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes_fan View Post
Still, as a foreigner, I think my point is that there's some ridiculously high powered stuff going around overkill would be my term for it. I'm not too sure of the actual process of getting a gun there, but the moment someone starts asking for high capacity magazines/armor piercing rounds or buying hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammo I'd be worried and be asking questions.

Look put it this way, I mean the black talons were pulled from the market a long time ago, (voluntarily by Winchester but more than likely they would've been banned anyway from most reports) and teflon coated bullets were banned. Yes they were just an ammo round, and most of the backlash was just hysteria, but most people saw that they served no purpose other than against armored human targets (a whole of what if scenarios can be used centering on offensive vs defensive can be argued as you said). That's not necessary. It's overkill.

But it's like this, my cousin (citizen of the US)has a PHD in nuclear physics in the US, should he be allowed to have a nuke in his possession? He's properly trained in the handling of nuclear material. I guess the point I'm trying to make is there has to be a reasonable limit. There's no way that Americans are going to give up their guns which is ok, its a cultural thing. But you guys have to realise there comes a point where it's just too much and it starts being irresponsible behaviour.
Well, the issues of "high capacity magazines", "armor piercing rounds", or Teflon-coated bullets are mostly propoganda. Saying a magazine is "high capacity" is just picking an arbitrary number when the number of available bullets in a magazine is just one of convenience and not of safety, the average hunting round counts as "armor piercing" (not to mention that some thugs do wear protective gear), and the Teflon-coating actually had nothing to do with the increased penetration of the bullets it was used on, but was merely a method to reduce barrel-wear, and had no effect on ballistics.

The issue of "Black Talons" was more propaganda and media frenzy that was caused by INCREDIBLY poor choices in marketing by Winchester. They're not anything special at all, really, and are now sold under the name SXT.

I agree, there are reasonable limits. The general consensus among the most far-right proponents of the US constitution's second amendment is that the people should be able to be armed as the individuals in the military and law enforcement are so that there is balance, and see arbitrary bans that affect those particular classes of weapons to be abuse of power. I don't think there's much of a contingent arguing for greater arms than the military and law enforcement individuals are allowed, so that's where the line seems to be drawn.
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Old 2007-04-17, 23:39   Link #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
But that's what I'm talking about, if you say there's zero liability, work as a the goddamn community you are and get a police that has full liability! Or invest in education and mental health, if you want a workaround.
As much as I want the police force to have a legal obligation to aid the people they are hired to protect, to make them liable won't happen, because they simply can't be everywhere at once. Every police officer I know recommends people take measures to defend themselves, because reality dictates that they will generally arrive only AFTER things happen. Even so, they'll still be using the exact same tools an armed citizen would: A gun. What difference does it make that the police officer is paid to do the job and I did it voluntarily?

Still, I don't understand why I should rely on the state to defend me (which, at a personal level, it cannot do 24/7) when I am perfectly capable, nor do I understand how I could be able to implicitly trust the state to be trustworthy when it is run by human beings.

I do agree that it education and proper care for mental health in society should be our primary solution to violence. But much as we try to prevent violence from developing, we can't guarantee that 100%, and must be prepared for the possibility.
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Old 2007-04-18, 01:11   Link #50
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no history of mental illness or having prescriptions for anti-depressants and anti-psychotic meds should make a person ineligible to purchase a hand gun without a waiting period, and with a note from their doctor or spouse.
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Old 2007-04-18, 02:27   Link #51
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Originally Posted by Kyuusai
As much as I want the police force to have a legal obligation to aid the people they are hired to protect, to make them liable won't happen, because they simply can't be everywhere at once. Every police officer I know recommends people take measures to defend themselves, because reality dictates that they will generally arrive only AFTER things happen. Even so, they'll still be using the exact same tools an armed citizen would: A gun. What difference does it make that the police officer is paid to do the job and I did it voluntarily?
I think -- and I say this with great care because I fully understand how futile it is to compare cultures -- that this reflects the great gulf in US attitudes towards firearms as compared with the rest of the world.

As a foreigner, I find it extremely difficult to understand why Americans find it so easy to accept/condone vigilante behaviour. My views/opinions are very close to WanderingKnight's, ie, you have to trust your authorities to handle such problems, and not resort to your own solution.

It seems to me that Americans are culturally ingrained to distrust their very own authorities. Why is that so? If they are indeed so unreliable, why isn't more done to fix the police and legal systems so that you can trust them to do their job right?

If a country like Switzerland -- where every house is required to have one firearm for national defence purposes -- does not see the same level of gun violence as the US, why isn't the same thing happening in America?

It is also my strong personal opinion that it's folly to think that an inexperienced civilian would necessarily be able to use a firearm effectively, in spite of whatever mandatory training he has had to undergo. All the training in the world will not make up for his lack of experience and judgement when it comes to handling a lethal weapon with proper care and respect.

Think about it this way. A inexperienced driver is statistically far more likely to get into an accident within his first six months of active driving than an experienced driver. He may have passed his driving tests, and earned his license, but he still has a lot to learn in terms of how to judge different road/traffic conditions before he finally becomes a fully reliable driver.

A civilian who owns a gun for self-defence -- how often do they actually put themselves in situations that require them to think quickly, and react reliably in dangerous situations such as what has unfolded in VT? I seriously doubt their ability to appraise the situation as well as a trained police officer can.

An inexperienced civilian wielding a gun is just as dangerous as an armed criminal with a gun, because I simply cannot trust either one of them not to shoot me, whether by accident or by intention.
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Old 2007-04-18, 03:23   Link #52
Vexx
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I'm not sure why you think a police officer is any special kind of person.
They require training... they practice... many police officers never draw their firearm on duty --- they're really not magical faeries with special experience. I have 10 law officers in my family and my wife's family. I can guarantee they'd all look at you funny after reading that post. They *love* the idea of a populace that can defend itself because they CAN'T protect you --- 99% of the time they can only clean up the mess and collect evidence to arrest suspects with.

The way you're using the words "inexperienced civilian" just tells me you really have little experience with firearms and can't comprehend that policemen and military are just the same human beings as civilians who've gotten some training as well. Well-designed courses teach when and how to use firearms, sometimes with better training that police academies offer. There are hundreds of cases of police officers reacting unreliably in tense situations, often early in their career but many times late in their career. People who drive cars have to make life-threatening split-second decisions all the time -- frankly, I'd rather see auto drivers have to undergo yearly check rides and testing to keep their license.

Switzerland is a good example of everyone getting training (everyone is in the reserve militia) but it is also an example of a relatively homogenous society (shared cultural values). America contains a lot of cultural, social, and moral diversity which is both a strength and a weakness depending on the topic.

Read up on American history for why Americans distrust authority. The very creation of the country was a revolt against a monarchy and bureaucracy that was abusing its authority. The leaders of that revolt understood the nature of people given the power of "authority" and built into the basic fabric ways to counter the abuse of authority. Througnout history, disarming the general population had the primary intent of making it easier for the very few to dominate and control them. That has been true in cultures around the world and one ignores that at their peril.

Vigilante behavior has nothing to do with *self defense* -- defending oneself or family against immediate threat. I'll assume you're accidently conflating the two ideas?
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Old 2007-04-18, 03:35   Link #53
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It's a question of accountability. If you are a police officer or a soldier, I expect you to be trained and better able to judge when and how to use a firearm, as compared to an amateur civilian. That's what a police officer and a soldier is paid to do.

If they can't even do that, it suggests that they are either incompetent, or that the system prevents them from doing their job adequately.

If you have to rely on civilians to enforce your law and order, then why bother having a police force or a military force? You might as well dismantle them entirely and use the public money on giving every American mandatory gun training, and make every American entirely responsible for his or her own self-defence.

You are indeed right. I do indeed have very little experience with firearms, even though I have in fact served my country's national service, and am trained to handle an M-16 assault rifle, an M203 grenade launcher, a section automatic weapon and a GPMG.

I am trained to handle all those weapons. But do I even trust myself to handle these weapons if one is suddenly thrust into my hands? The best I can say is that I'll try my best.

That's hardly reassuring for any unfortunate passer-by who happens to get caught in my line-of-fire due to my inexperience.

Overwhelmingly, is it therefore not sensible for me to leave the handling of firearms to regular (by that, I mean professionals, and not 'militia' like me) police officers who are supposed to be better trained and more experienced than I am?
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Old 2007-04-18, 03:52   Link #54
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In any case, let me add further that I fully understand that, as a foreigner, I have no right to tell Americans what to do. It's your domestic issue to resolve, and it is not my intention to meddle or pass judgement on it.

What I am trying to show, however, is that I really find it hard to understand how you can expect to build a properly functioning set of law enforcing authorities when you don't even trust them in the first place.

It's as though you are deliberately setting them up to fail.

Vigilantism is when you decide to take the law into your own hands, especially in situations where you think that law enforcing agents will fail to do their jobs properly. If, in a armed robbery incident, you whip out your handgun to chase away the armed robber, that, to me, is an example of vigilantism.

The first, and natural reaction of people in most other countries would be to alert the relevant authorities. The police force in my country would never ask me to take my own initiative to prevent the crime -- that would only make the situation worse.
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Old 2007-04-18, 03:55   Link #55
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Thank you Vexx! I've been wrestling with the words to say for two hours now and just couldn't come up with an eloquent response.


Hopefully this comes out without being too offensive to some. So here goes...

America is rather unique. We don't have a long history of wars, culture, or history. We're the new kid on the block as far as the history of the world goes. We've made alot of stupid mistakes but we're certainly not a tyrannical country bent on dominating the world as some would think.

Our culture is a mix of just about everything. We have such a diverse range of people living here it's almost overwhelming sometimes. It creates alot of problems but it's also what makes our country so strong. When the people here are united it's a powerful force. People here don't like thier rights being trampled, and there's been many examples of our people standing up when they were oppressed.

I think the system as laid out by the founding fathers is still viable, and it's been extremely flexible in how we've handled our issues. It's not a perfect system but I think the checks and balances have held up and will continue to.

In the case of gun control, we have over twenty thousand gun laws. You can write as many laws as you want but somewhere, somehow, someone is going to break those laws. Enforcement often happens after the fact. You have to have probable cause to enforce the law (you have to prove they broke it). For instance in the case of the killer, despite all the warning signs he didn't break the law until he started killing people. So is the fault with the law or the person who broke it? Obviously it's the person.

In this case though, it's hard to prevent someone from doing something like this without making the country into a nightmarish state. No one wants that. So prevention needs to be focused on reducing the damage of events like this and others, in the tragic case of them happening again.

There are no excuses to make or offer for the shooting, what's done is done. But when people start picking up the pieces the questions shouldn't be focused on blame but on fixing the systems that failed. I think gun control has failed, and that people would be better served by fixing the support, communication, and education that would have saved lives.
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Old 2007-04-18, 03:59   Link #56
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@TinyRedLeaf: Interesting.... I'm NOT going to disagree with many of your points because there's merit (and as you point out, even with military training one feels unsure) ... and I can certainly tell you that the law officers in my family constantly fret about using their weapons inappropriately (at least the sane ones... there are a couple I'd rather not think about them being law officers ). And yes... many times I think our legal enforcement system is a juggernaut of failure.

In Singapore, *is* self-defense frowned apon? Its one thing to try to stop a crime in progress (look, Batman! They're mugging that citizen!) --- (though many jurisdictions have laws that actually can be used to prosecute people who "don't want to get involved")... but what is the legal situation there with defending yourself or people you're with from an *immediate* threat (like being robbed or attacked)?

I know Britain has evolved a set of rules which are incomprehensible to me that a thug can bash away at me but if I react to defend myself .... I could be prosecuted. Totally incomprehensible that one could be jailed for saving one's own life or stopping one's own rape. Something very anti-human rights going on with that trend...
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Old 2007-04-18, 04:11   Link #57
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I see where your coming from TinyRedLeaf, but it's a flawed picture of America. Most people here don't have guns, unless they hunt. We do have the right to have them, but most do not use the right. It is there with the intent we will use it to defend our freedoms, not to stop criminals.

So no, we don't all have a "batman" complex, hehe. However, many criminals with guns in this country are inexperienced with using them, and they use them as threat, not as intent to use them. It's usually only when they are threatened do they panic and pull the trigger. Sometimes it's because the people they threatened decided to fight back and the criminal underestimated his victim.

As for police officers and other trained officials, they are human and make mistakes. There have been accidents. Armed conflicts are not that common so police aren't forced to use thier weapons on people all the time. Don't let those "wildest videos" shows fool you.

Gun related crime is just one among many violent crimes. Don't be fooled into thinking that just because guns are gone that criminals won't resort to other measures, sometimes more desperate.

This killer, for example, was mentally disturbed enough to write a play about choking someone to death with a piece of candy. Someone with an imagination that...messed up didn't really need a gun to kill.
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Old 2007-04-18, 04:19   Link #58
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That's the real dilemma in a free society --- how do you spot the loony?

Usually the loony throws up so many warning flags, we often wonder how on earth people didn't tackle them and tie them up. In the recent Virginia tragedy, the guy's literature professor was begging him to seek therapy, his dormmate thought he was scary-wierd, etc etc .... but in our culture, unless the mentally ill turn themselves in, it is damned hard to get them locked up.

Why? Because of the history of abusing the authority in many countries. We all know about countries where criticizing the authorities can get you labeled mentally ill and locked up against your will. Any authority given a power will, at some point, abuse that power if oversight is not exercised by the citizenry.

I will say that the mental healthcare system in this country is in a shambles (like much of the infrastructure), starved by years and years of underfunding and wasteful spending (amazing how that can simultaneously happen).
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Old 2007-04-18, 04:25   Link #59
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To Vexx:

To be honest, I don't really know if self-defence is legally prohibited in Singapore, so I can't answer that part of your question.

What I can tell you, as far as I know, that the social consensus is to always alert the relevant authorities about any crime, than to "play hero" and try prevent the crime on your own initiative.

If things turn out well, then good for you. But if you screw it up, and make things even more difficult for the authorities to handle (like being taken hostage or shot in return), rest assured, no one will congratulate you for your bravery or initiative.

However, I must stress that I am by no means implying that things are perfect in Singapore. What I've described is actually part of our own societal problem where we are generally apathetic about other people's welfare, ie, I don't care what is happening to someone else as long as it is not happening to me.

To ankoku:

I understand. That's why I stress I have no right to pass judgement or meddle in your domestic affairs. I don't understand your society well enough to do so. However, I do hope that you will understand that it's not just a case of The Rest of the World vs. the USA. Many of us in other countries are genuinely puzzled as to why Americans can't seem to see a solution that seems so obvious to us.
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Old 2007-04-18, 04:43   Link #60
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@Vexx:

I agree with you. It's a shame that our social programs have become what they are. We're one of the richest and most technologically advanced countries in the world and our own citizens have awful care in so many of our programs. I think more and more people are waking up to this problem but with all things change takes time.

@TinyRedLeaf:

I'll admit I'm not the most well versed in other countries myself. I get much of my information filtered through various sources of media but I try to be open because second hand info is always off a bit. All I can say is that it's hard to agree on a "best" solution because there are so many different opinions on the matter. It's a tough case of "you can't please all of the people all of the time". That's why I feel gun control on it's own isn't enough, that other things need to combine with it to create better assistance with crime. But as some have alluded to, we also have a problem with our social programs and that hasn't helped either.

It's all a matter of compromise but the process is neither simple nor quick.
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