Trayvon Martin and the Insanity of Gun Culture

I’ve waited to think for awhile before spouting off yet another internet opinion on this case, but the time has come. In case you’ve been living in a cave, the verdict was returned this past week: George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder / manslaughter of teenager, Trayvon Martin. I hope to God that this was a just verdict. I suspect that it was not, but I have to admit that I simply do not know. I was not there, I have not seen or heard all the evidence, and I would be remiss to make judgments about the goodness or badness of the verdict on its own merits. The only living human who really knows what went down is the neighborhood watchman and shooter, George Zimmerman, and we all know the story he is telling: self defense. I don’t buy it, but I don’t know.

Here’s what we do know: An armed, self-appointed neighborhood patroller (George) picked a fight with an unarmed teenager (Trayvon) who was walking in his own neighborhood and committing no crimes. Trayvon responded to the aggressor and was shot and killed for it. The killer walks away without consequence. There is no dispute about these facts whatsoever.

This scares the hell out of me because I can see myself in Trayvon Martin’s situation. If you come and pick a fight with me in my own neighborhood, I may fight back. I’d like to think that I would turn the other cheek or at least run away, but who knows? If my wife or kids are with me, I will fight. What this business with Zimmerman proves is that if I defend myself against an aggressor, he or she can shoot and kill me, claim “self defense” and walk. Regardless of the alleged guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, all gun-toting, trigger happy, self-styled vigilantes everywhere just learned a titillating message and have been blessed with justification for picking fights and gunning down anyone who resists. This is a dangerous and stupid message for our cities, states and nation to communicate to its citizenry.

Contrary to what many voices are saying, I don’t believe that race/ ethnicity is the core issue here. Clearly George Zimmerman has some hate in his heart, but there is no reason to believe that Trayvon Martin was a saint either. As it seems to me, the real issue here is our insane obsession with guns and the gun/ violence culture that it engenders. What would have happened if George Zimmerman had not possessed a gun? I think it is safe to say that teenaged Trayvon Martin would not have been shot in the chest or died from the wounds. Perhaps someone would reply with conjecture that, if this were the case, perhaps it would be George Zimmerman who had died, beaten to death by Martin. I admit that this must be a legitimate possibility. However, perhaps the better question is: “Would Zimmerman have approached Martin at all (or at least in the way that he did) if he had not felt empowered and cock-sure by having a gun in his vest?” We will never “know” but I am willing to venture a guess, and that is that “No, Zimmerman would not have picked a fight with Martin (or anyone else) if he didn’t have a gun and/ or think he could use it.” Furthermore, if Zimmerman did not have a gun, picked a fight anyway and lost that fight, we could hardly call Trayvon Martin the aggressor. That would be a true case of self-defense. It was not Martin’s presence in his own neighborhood that was the problem. Neither was the problem with a neighborhood allowing a resident to patrol the grounds. The problem was with the gun and its owner’s willingness to let it lead him into a situation where he could use it against an unarmed individual. Somehow I get the feeling that this sort of business is not what the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind.

Picking a fight you know you can win is classic bully territory. There is no question that guns make some people feel empowered and willing to be more aggressive, take bigger “chances” and inspire false bravado. Stand-your-ground laws like those germane to this case in Florida only further stiffen such misguided attitudes. Not just for the sake of future victims like Trayvon Martin, but also for the sake of future killers like George Zimmerman, we as a people in a representative democracy must do our best to repeal stand-your-ground laws and prevent new ones from being written. We must also disallow gun-toters to pick fights with people who are unarmed and minding their own business. We must impose strict penalties for those who violate such laws and certainly disallow claims of “self-defense” in such instances. Carrying a sidearm, if allowed at all, MUST come with strict and serious regulations and consequences. As it “stands,” it seems that we have lost our minds and let the insanity of  gun culture win the day yet again.

Thanks for reading me,

-C. Lambeth

Commenters: Jason Reece , Samuel Reynolds

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
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32 Responses to Trayvon Martin and the Insanity of Gun Culture

  1. Faith says:

    Amen.

  2. C_L says:

    Thanks to my friend, Reynolds, who pointed out my misspelling of Trayvon’s name. Fixed it.

  3. Reynolds says:

    #1. “Trayvon responded to the aggressor and was shot and killed for it. The killer walks away without consequence. There is no dispute about these facts whatsoever.” A response is an inquiry. A response would have been appropriate in this situation. Trayvon Martin was not shot because of a response, he was shot because he attacked. Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman and was shot, not because he attacked him, but because he was on top of him, beating him, and preventing him from escaping, which as GZ claimed, led him to fear for his life and gave him no recourse but to defend it with deadly force. This was verified by forensics and eyewitnesses.

    #2. You are assuming that GZ following TM was “picking a fight”. There is a leap from following/profiling to instigating a fight. I will get into that.

    #3. “…all gun-toting, trigger happy, self-styled vigilantes everywhere just learned a titillating message and have been blessed with justification for picking fights and gunning down anyone who resists” Justification? Blesses? GZ is reviled, despised, and has been criticized by everyone, including the President. The fact that he was acquitted because of FLORIDA’S (and not every other state’s) self-defense law, is a specific and sovereign legal issue endemic to that particular state and not relevant to say a gun-toting vigilante in WA. State law, not Federal law acquitted him.

    #4. “What would have happened if George Zimmerman had not possessed a gun?” “Would Zimmerman have approached Martin at all (or at least in the way that he did) if he had not felt empowered and cock-sure by having a gun in his vest?” . My answer to this, Corbin, is NO. GZ did what he did because he felt protected by his firearm (but I will provide a counter for that when I lay out my logic on this case).

    #5. “Picking a fight you know you can win is classic bully territory”. Very True. This statement is very true, but not necessarily applicable.

    Ok, Here goes.

    #1. GZ sees TM walking along suspiciously.
    What makes TM suspicious?
    A.) He is black and GZ is a racist who is profiling?
    B.) He is doing suspicious things like looking in people’s windows?
    C.) For some other reason that is not overt, or due to his race, GZ feels TM is suspicious?

    I think A.

    #2. GZ calls the police and follows TM.
    What does this tell us?
    A.) GZ intends to harm TM and is using the police as some kind of evidence to mask his intent?
    B.) GZ intends to keep an eye on TM and make sure that he doesn’t commit a crime?
    C.) GZ intends to let his presence be known to TM as a deterrent so that this “suspicious” person won’t commit a crime?

    I think B/C. I don’t see any rational reason for calling the police if GZ planned to commit a crime. I don’t think that he could possibly foresee that TM would beat him in such a manner as to justify his acquittal under the Stand the Ground law. Why? GZ was only acquitted because TM was on top of him beating him. Had TM broken his nose while he was standing, GZ would not be justified in killing him. The life/death threat would not be as imminent and he would not be as helpless. He did not foresee the next events.

    #3. Why does GZ feel confident in following TM?
    A.) Because he has a gun and doesn’t think harm can happen to him?
    B.) Because he thinks that if there were to be a fight he would beat TM?
    C.) Because he doesn’t think that there will be a fight?

    I think A/C. I don’t think that he figured TM would attack him, since he was on the phone with the police (probably talking loudly) and behaving confidently (the confidence of a gun carrier), but he was willing to risk an attack because of his gun.

    #4. If a fight happens, what does GZ think?
    A.) He can beat TM?
    B.) TM will run from him?
    C.) TM will beat him, but he has a gun, so he can defend himself.

    I think B/C. I don’t think GZ feels he can beat TM in a fight. I think (my assumption) a frightened racist is inherently fearful of a young black man’s physicality and carries a gun to equalize his own short/overweight stature.

    #5. What does TM think about GZ?
    A.) That he is following him to do him harm?
    B.) That he is following him because he is a Neighborhood Watch who thinks that he is legitimately suspicious?
    C.) That he is following him because he is a racist who is profiling him?

    I think that TM think’s C. If we assume he is not behaving suspiciously, the most likely situation is that a racist is following him and is something quickly inferred by a young black man. If TM was worried about option A, I don’t see him confronting GZ.

    #6. What are TM’s options?
    A.) He can call the police – he is on the cell phone with someone, he can call the police easily.
    B.) He can run away from a fatter, slower person.
    C.) He can confront GZ verbally.
    D.) He can confront GZ physically.
    E.) He can call his father. It’s his father’s neighborhood.

    #7. Why does TM choose to attack GZ?
    A.) GZ put him in fight or flight mode?
    B.) He wants to.

    Option B. Why? TM refers to GZ as a “creepy-ass cracker” on the cell phone to Rachel Jeantel. By referring to GZ racially, he dehumanizes him verbally so that he can mentally overcome any empathy in order to physically violate him. He is angry about perceived ad probable racism, and willfully chooses to attack GZ.

    #8. What does TM think will happen when he attacks GZ?
    A.) GZ will beat him.
    B.) GZ will shoot him.
    C.) TM will beat GZ.

    C. All the way. TM is 6’2. GZ is a chubby 5’7. If TM thought that GZ had a gun, I don’t see him rationally confronting him instead of running or calling the police. He dehumanized him verbally and physically and thought he could get away with it. He also felt justified in doing so. This falls into Corbin’s bullying statement that I pointed out

    #9. What kinds of harms do we have occurring here?
    A.) There is the offense that GZ is causing to TM by racially profiling and following him.
    B.) There is the violation of the natural right to not be bodily harmed that TM violates by attacking GZ.

    Harm A does not justify harm B, as upheld in a publicly scrutinized court. Also harm A was not considered “picking a fight” in a response to point #5 on Corbin’s list. A fight is something physical and GZ did not engage physically with TM until TM attacked him. Also, GZ did not shoot TM until he could not escape.

    Some other things – GZ is not an accurate representation of gun owners. Vigilantism isn’t exactly epidemic in the USA. I wouldn’t use an isolated incident to lobby your anti-gun platform.

    GZ put himself in a stupid situation, offended TM, who was in his mind, “suspicious”, which if he was unarmed, I don’t see him doing. The confidence in his gun certainly led GZ into this situation. He is probably going to be held accountable in a civil suit.

    However, TM attacking GZ was TM being confident in his larger size. He took a legitimate offense and ‘responded’ illegitimately – through violence. We as a people need to be very clear on understanding that violence is not justification for offense, insult, or provocation. GZ was acquitted because violence, even lethal violence is justification for having violence brought to you.

    Anyways, “picking a fight” is such vague language, that we can’t nail it down. We need to pack our agendas and emotions up and look at this case for what it is. GZ followed TM and it was offensive, but his actions did not cause, or necessitate TM beating him. TM choosing to beat GZ was what justified GZ in shooting TM. Forget about the racial elements, forget about the character assassinations on both ends – when someone is on top of another, pummeling them into a bloody mess, the victim has a right to protect their natural rights. As offensive as it was for GZ to follow TM, it was not criminal. We can’t impose legal punishments on people who don’t break the law. This case is not a legitimate platform to restrict the rights of the American people under the Constitution. Carrying a sidearm does come with strict responsibilities and regulations, but accepting a possibly fatal beating because you inappropriately offend or anger someone and they unjustifiably attack you is not one of them. TM did not have justification to attack GZ, but GZ did have justification to shoot and to kill TM, as sad as a situation as it is, that is the legal truth.

    I like what Charles Barkley (of all people) said about this case. He said that he agreed with the verdict, but he felt that people used this case to further their own agendas and that was wrong. Food for thought. I think the best thing is to look at all the elements of this case for what they are and understand the sweeping social ramifications that come if you justify TM beating GZ.

  4. Pingback: Question 93 – About the Zimmerman/Martin case | Onenessguy's Weblog

  5. C_L says:

    Reynolds,
    Thanks for the friendly critique. As I am sure you might guess, I have some criticisms of my own, but I do appreciate your friendship and resistance.

    #1 I dispute your effort to define a “response” in terms of a query. An inquiry merits a response, but it is not itself a response. You say that Trayvon was not shot because of Zimmerman’s inquiry but because Trayvon attacked him/ got on top of him. And furthermore, that Trayvon would not allow Zimmerman to escape (but apparently “allowed” him to shoot). Of course Zimmerman would claim this, but I find his claim to be dubious at best. You also seem to be of the impression that eyewitnesses saw the whole incident from start to finish. They didn’t. We have no idea how George Zimmerman first addressed Martin, what words or posture he used, or who laid hands on who first. This is a serious weakness in your argument. Furthermore, we do know that Zimmerman had already assumed that Martin was a criminal (“ass-hole, [thief]”) and told the police dispatcher the very same. We also know that the dispatcher told Zimmerman to stop following Martin and that Zimmerman ignored this. Forensics can tell about proximity and angle of a gunshot, yes. They cannot tell who started a fight with whom or who threw the first punch/ drew their weapon first. This is another overstatement of your first point.

    #2 It is clear from Zimmerman’s comments, behavior and refusal to heed the statement urging the cessation of pursuit, that he was indeed spoiling for a fight. The greater evidence is against your critique of my assumption.

    #3 Yes, Zimmerman is reviled, despised, and has been criticized by everyone. And well he should be, but the fact is that he has suffered no legal consequences whatsoever and his “suffering” is laughable in comparison to the loss of life he is responsible for. The fact that this is an evil perpetrated by one trigger-happy fellow in one backwards state does not mean that efforts should not be made to prevent other states from allowing equally senseless laws to be passed.

    #4 I am tempted to agree with your fourth point, but I argue that Zimmerman did not approach Martin “because he felt protected by his firearm,” as you claim, but rather because he felt empowered and emboldened by it. We’ll never know, but either way, we both seem to agree that the situation would not have resulted in a confrontation and death if the gun had been removed from the equation. That remains my chief point.

    #5 Calling Zimmerman a bully with a gun is not inapplicable.

    As for your multiple choice hypotheticals, I take issue with number 2. Zimmerman may have started with your options B or C, (Zimmerman intends to keep an eye on Martin and make sure that he doesn’t commit a crime OR intends to let his presence be known to Martin as a deterrent so that this “suspicious” person won’t commit a crime) but that’s not where he stopped. Martin was committing no crime. That should have been the end of it for Zimmerman, but he was looking for more. And he got more when he decided to ignore the dispatcher’s urging to let it go and then picked a fight with an unarmed individual walking in his own neighborhood minding his own business. Zimmerman started something with Martin. No one disputes this. But you are right about Zimmerman’s lack of foresight. I am sure he didn’t see it coming that this “suspicious asshole” could kick his ass so easily. The rest of your questions go sideways and attempt to steer the conclusion in a just-so fashion. The fact remains that Zimmerman started something inappropriately, and when he couldn’t handle himself or what he started, he resorted to deadly force. This entire incident is on him, not the person he picked a fight with. This also calls into question your “harm” argument as highlighted in your #9. Again, we do not know who attacked who first. Are we really going to believe that Zimmerman politely approached Martin from where Martin could see him, and then bowed and said, “Pardon me, Good Sir, would you mind if I inquired as to your name and intentions here on this fine day?” We know what Zimmerman claims. We don’t know if he’s telling the truth.

    We’ve already agreed upon the likelihood that, had we removed the gun from Zimmerman, this confrontation never would have taken place at all, much less resulted in the murder of an innocent, unarmed teenager walking in his own neighborhood. That alone gives credence to my position that guns in the hands of non-police and non-military make us less safe as a society, not more. But let’s take a page from the pro-gun folks’ playbook. Let’s arm Trayvon Martin too and explore the options. Since you said that Zimmerman is of a “short/ overweight stature” and that Martin was of superior physicality, we must also at least consider the probability that Martin would have been able to draw quicker in their scuffle and kill Zimmerman first. Or alternatively, it could have simply turned into an Ol’ West style shoot-out at the OK Corral. Maybe we coulda even had some collateral damage and innocent bystanders hit in the fray. Yee-ha! Love me them gunz.

    Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. But from the perspective of Florida’s stand your ground laws, it’s a fair chance that Martin would have been acquitted of any charges of wrong-doing (at least in an impartial legal system) if he had gunned down Zimmerman first, for he would have been defending himself against an armed instigator, and there is little doubt that Martin would have related to judge and jury that Zimmerman threatened him first. After all, in a gun fight, waiting for the other person to shoot/ attack first is a good way to die. Even if Martin did attack first in the real confrontation with Zimmerman, perhaps we should consider this as part of the mental equation he did in his head. Calmly discussing a situation with an armed, hateful assailant is not part of the fight-or-flight auto-response. Nevertheless, if we switch to defending Martin in the hypothetical argument where everyone gets a gun (and if Martin killed Zimmerman first), it calls into question many of the other points you tried to make and would seem to indicate favoring a might-makes-right type of arrangement. I have to admit it is difficult for me to make heads or tails of the moral good in such a situation.

    Finally, you claim that George Zimmerman is not an accurate representation of gun owners, that vigilantism is not rampant in the USA, and as usual, that this needless gun-down is an “isolated” incident. I don’t think that you are qualified to make such statements with the former two, and the third claim is demonstrably false. Would you like me to quote how many “isolated” gun-deaths there are each year in the United States? But your claim also begs the question: Is it just a matter of time? What if the average gun-toter in our nation becomes just like Zimmerman (or worse) and vigilantism grows to epic proportions? The argument implies that we should be more open to gun restrictions if this were the case. So are we just waiting for it to happen or hoping for the best? Given that the authors of the U.S. Constitution only had single-shot, front loading muskets and cannons in mind, lobbying legislators to end unrestricted access to new and ever-expanding lists of firearms and accessories seems like a great place to start. The Zimmerman-Martin affair is a perfect touchpoint to garner our nation’s pathetic social memory.

    For all these reasons and others, I remain supportive of my thesis that this entire ordeal could have been avoided if neither party had any sort of firearm available. It is up to the pro-gun contingent to argue cogently for the opposite. Until that moment comes, I will continue to advocate for as many restrictions on common citizens possessing firearms as possible. As a society, we are already suffering the “sweeping social ramifications” of the insanity of our out-of-control gun culture, and I am sick of it. But don’t worry, I seriously doubt if we have the collective resolve or attention span to do much of anything about it.

    -CL

  6. Reynolds says:

    I wrote a 10 paragraph response and deleted it all, because I will never persuade you. Not with logic, not with reason. I don’t think the best reasoner in the world could. You are married to your anti-gun principles and ideas. I am not. I just haven’t been disproven.

    Take evil out of the world. Take violence out of the world. If you can’t do that, then give every citizen the ability to defend their natural rights against violence and evil. Find a solution. Invent a shield that pops up and protects them from harm and I will sign off on getting rid of handguns and assault rifles. If you can’t find a way to let every person in the United States keep control over their own self-defense, a natural right that is greater than their government, then don’t expect to live in a gun free America.

  7. C_L says:

    Reynolds,
    I know you don’t like it, but it is precisely reason and logic that have led me to my conclusions. I haven’t “been disproven” either. You may rightly say that I am “married to my principles,” but I suggest that you take a deeper look in the mirror and ask if the same applies to you.

    Unfortunately for responsible gun-owners like yourself, it is the folks like George Zimmerman, Adam Lanza, Charles Carl Roberts and on and on and on AND ON, who have made the most persuasive argument. It has been demonstrated, repeatedly, with the death toll in the hundreds of thousands, that guns in the hands of citizens is a large part of evil IN the world. I’m sure you are tempted to argue that guns have saved large numbers of people too, but I suspect that we will have a difficult time quantifying that in a way that rivals its counterpart’s death toll.

    At least you and I are agreed that there ought to be less evil in the world, not more. We clearly disagree on some ways to make that happen, but my bottom line is that if taking the guns out of the hands of would be killers means that guns are also taken out of the hands of never-killers… then so be it. It’s a small price to pay. Yes, we have a natural right to defend ourselves, but we do not have a natural right to firearms any more than we have a natural right to nuclear weapons. For Trayvon Martin and untold thousands of others, a natural right for defense might just have best been served by taking guns and ammo away from folks.

    -CL

  8. C_Lambeth says:

    Yet another murderer wielding his own assault rifle and shotgun. Wish I were surprised.

    Navy Yard Rampage, 12 Dead

  9. C_Lambeth says:

    Could this be yet another incident where mixing in firearms has led to false bravado, posturing, and hot-heads spoiling for a fight against the unarmed?

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-bundy-crisis-nevada

  10. Pingback: Oregon Passes Universal Background Check Law for ALL Gun Sales. That’s a Win. | Exploring Faith

  11. C_Lambeth says:

    News reporter and camera man gunned down by yet another previously “law-abiding” angry man. Sure is a good thing guns don’t kill people.

    News Team Murdered While Doing Live Broadcast

  12. RCG says:

    It’s a good thing the criminals will abide by the stricter gun laws.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      What stricter laws are you referring to?

      • RCG says:

        I didn’t say that very well I feel like stricter laws are coming . We have thousands and thousands of gun laws. I do believe the gun show loophole should be closed…. it seems like a huge free for all with no background checks. However, I strongly believe that stricter gun laws may prevent law abiding citizens to bear arms. A criminal isn’t going to hesitate to conceal and carry a weapon but a law abiding citizen has to jump through hoops and hope it’s legal in this state to have a permit. I also think that a black market will rise up if we ban firearm sales…. and that isn’t good for anyone. I strongly feel like you can’t effectively ban a centuries-old invention that could be produced in any country in the world shipped here and sold illegally. We have a lot of issues in this country but one of them is a mental health issue. Of course who’s going to design the test to decide if someone is mentally fit to own a gun that’s a slippery slope…

        • C_Lambeth says:

          Your argument seems to be a version of saying that we can’t win, so we shouldn’t try. Do you think that today’s newscast shooter would have registered mental health problems before he purchased the legal weapon he used today? Do you think it’s easier to regulate sentient creatures or inanimate objects? I don’t care if stringent gun laws prevent law-abiding citizens from getting guns. Was today’s shooter a good guy with a gun yesterday?

  13. RCG says:

    Obviously that was not a good guy with a gun. If you don’t care about gun rights then that’s where we we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Fair enough. I don’t care about gun rights. At all. They are precisely why our nation faces the daily onslaught of mass shootings. The 2nd amendment has outlived its usefulness and purpose, and it’s time to move on.

      • RCG says:

        Look at the war on drugs! Tell me that all these drug laws got rid of drugs in our society. Drugs are produced in other countries and smuggled in to the United States. I really don’t think we want to go there with guns. The prohibition of alcohol was a complete disaster and give his organized crime the upper hand in dealing with things that have been made illegal.

        You are big on statistics. I can also find statistics of how high the homicide rates are in Chicago, even though they have very strict gun laws, at least in comparison to other US cities.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          What happened to acknowledging that we disagree?
          Attempting to draw a parallel between guns and drugs is a mistake. Guns are designed to kill. Drugs are designed for fun, even if ill-advised fun. When someone overdoses, it is an unintended consequence. When someone uses a gun to kill, they are using it for its intended purpose. Similarly, you seem to be operating from the perspective that if criminals will not obey laws, then we shouldn’t have laws. That won’t help your case either. It’s like saying we shouldn’t have laws against murder because murderers gonna murder anyway.

          Prohibition was a failure. That’s why it was repealed. The 2nd Amendment has also met with absolute failure and continues to be a serious threat to everyone’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And at any rate, you have stepped into the fallacy of the excluded middle. Repealing the 2nd Amendment is not the same as banning all guns. The UK has no right to bear arms, but they do allow private citizens to have guns via a well regulated permit system. And it works, our gun-related homicide rate is 10 times higher than theirs on a per capita basis.

          I am unfamiliar with Chicago’s crime statistics, but you should know that the evidence is not unanimous in either direction and that anecdotal evidence is insufficient to overturn a widely known trend. You should consider however, that most guns used to commit crimes in our nation were obtained legally AND in nations that have banned guns (like Australia), obtaining said weapons from a black market is so expensive that it deters a lot of would-be shooters. Just look at their gun-related homicide rates since their ban went into effect. Heavy gun regulations, bans and permits work when nations have the political and moral will to see them through. Unfortunately for us, our nation suffers from gun culture paralysis. In Guns We Trust (and screw everybody else).

      • Suzanne says:

        I agree. We do not live in the times in which the second amendment was created. (Not that I support gun violence at any time in history.)

  14. RCG says:

    I honestly didn’t used to believe that being an armed nation has kept us free, but I believe that more and more. You seem to think the opposite? That the 2nd amendment seems to be the biggest obstacle to America being free? Again I disagree. My main argument is that passing a law against something isn’t going to eliminate it automatically. What can I say I’m a hopeless libertarian.

    Also, when you say that most guns used to commit crimes in this country were obtained legally? There are lots of crimes committed with guns where the gun is dumped, or they don’t recover weapons to trace how it was purchased. I don’t see how that can be backed up statistically whatsoever. If they catch the criminal then they can check the gun.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      I don’t follow. I’m talking about getting guns on the front side of a crime. Most guns are obtained legally in our nation. Period. And that is precisely the point that I am addressing: we need far FAR more stringent regulations when it comes to who can legally sell and purchase guns. Almost none are smuggled in illegally and very few are attained by robbing gun stores. The fact is that most are legally purchased at the outset of their entry into the public sphere, and thus, the statistics are presumably similar for guns that are never recovered. Also, given legislation bought and paid for by groups like the NRA, the government is not allowed to track anything beyond the initial time, date and place of the original gun sale. There are laws (thanks again, NRA) that even prohibit the government from creating an electronic, searchable data base to file and manage those gun sales. It is literally insane.

  15. Jason Reece says:

    You missed a very important point Corbin. He mentioned how prohibition was a failure. Make things illegal and folks will find a way anyway. All it did was give power, money and status to those willing to continue to produce the “illegal” items. Ban law abiding citizens from legally purchasing and owning firearms, and you will drive that industry underground and off the books. At least now it is tracked and logged. I’m not sure where you get your info that guns bought are not tracked somehow. When you buy a pistol at the store, you do a background check, you give your info that goes to the government. In fact, there has already been a round fired from it to identify each individual firearm like our fingerprints. If I went downtown tonight and shot someone with my guns, even with no witnesses and me getting away, it wouldn’t take the cops long to track that gun to me, and they would be knocking on my door because they have my address. I gave it to them when I purchased the weapon!

    This is the main reason law abiding gun owners don’t go around killing people despite your constant rhetoric saying otherwise. It is sad and tragic that these reporters were killed, and unfortunately it appears that the guy who did it, had a plan to do this all along, but the blame falls on him alone, not the gun, not the dealer, not the system, and not the 2nd amendment. Sadly, if I were so inclined, I could have killed both of them in about the same time with one of my fighting knives. Should all sharp edges be banned next? Where does it stop?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      I didn’t miss that point, Jason. I addressed it head on. You must have missed my reply since you’ve made the same logical miscue as Cole. By the reasoning you’ve employed, we shouldn’t have laws against murder because murderers are going to murder anyway. That’s a problem for your argument. You’ve also fallen into the same trap of a false dichotomy or excluded middle. Repealing the 2nd amendment (because it is a failure like prohibition) is not the same thing as banning guns.

      “Constant rhetoric”? I never said that, “law abiding gun owners go around killing people.” That would be you, and apparently it is lost on you that, by definition, a person “going around killing people,” would not be “law abiding.

      However, regarding your notions on tracking, yes, just as I said, guns are logged at their original point of sale. However, most states do not log any transactions with a gun after it leaves the store, meaning that subsequent gifts, trades and sales are not logged or reported and are thus untraceable. And, just as I said, current laws prevent the government from storing even the original purchase data in a searchable electronic database. Police must make a gun history check through the FBI, which has a division dedicated to storing paper files and hand-searching the multitude of them. It usually takes a few weeks, and even then it may not be up to date for recent sales.

      As far as “fighting” knives go, perhaps we *should* ban them too, but we should also note that even a paperclip can be a potential weapon. The real question is not to ask “How can I make such and such a weapon,” but rather, “What is this item created for, and is our society better off when everyone has access to it?” Knives, like cars, can be deadly, but unlike guns, killing people is not what they were created for.

      As for the blame of the today’s gun murders, it falls not just on the individual, but our entire gun culture and people’s refusal to question it. Today’s gun murders were not an isolated incident. They are merely a symptom of the disease of our gun culture. It won’t be the last one that surfaces.

  16. Jason Reece says:

    How did I know your comment would include “excluding the middle ground”, “I hear you say this, and that is inherently flawed because…” yada yada yada. I see you do the same crap to everyone who posts on your blogs or comments. Must be a liberal tactic you picked up along the way. It might work on clueless college kids, but it doesn’t work well against someone who has traveled and studied in the real world. You are my friend, (at least for my part) and I’m already in a mood so I won’t continue this for the sake of not losing a friend over some stupid discussion. I will say though, I sure liked you a lot better before you thought you knew everything and started belittling people who disagree with you. I’m over it, which is why I rarely post anything on your page anymore. I miss the old Corbin who was kind and open minded and would never talk down to people, but whatever. It’s a free country and you are free to spew whatever crap you want. Just don’t be surprised when the people you insult quit listening to you anymore and move on to more polite debates and discussions.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      I am not surprised that you would respond this way, Jason. I’ve found that there is a certain type of person that I inevitably piss off, and it is always the bully, the one who can’t handle getting a shot of his own medicine. You need to look in the mirror. You are being a hypocrite. I have seen the comments you make in the ether. They are rarely polite and rarely engender discussion with anyone who sees things differently than you. That’s why I seldom choose to engage with you, but you came to my page. You started in with your usual approach, and it was riddled with problems. Did you really expect me to agree with you or accept your claims without scrutiny?

      For my part, RCG and I were having a fine conversation until you interjected. He and I disagree about guns. Who cares? We are always friends and always friendly. As per your custom, however, you are the one who started with the condescension and hostility. I merely responded in kind, pointed out that your argument was a failure from several angles, that you were putting words in my mouth, and that you clearly hadn’t even bothered to read what had already been said. If you had, it might have prevented you from blundering into the same mistakes or perhaps persuaded you to make an intelligent contribution.

      But no, instead of considering the problems and logical miscues of your failed argument, much less trying to make it better, you got emotional and decided to launch an odd combination of personal attacks and praises. What does this say about you and your position? I am left to conclude that you can’t stand it when people point out the problems and inconsistencies with your arguments. And if you believe that using evidence and reason is nothing more than a “liberal tactic,” then once again, this says a lot more about you than it does me. Seriously. What else can I say?

      I freely admit that I don’t know it all. But when I make mistakes and someone points it out to me, I don’t get all huffy or start making caustic remarks. I learn from it and adjust. I suggest you do the same, but not for my sake. Do it for yourself. Alternatively, if you are inclined to continue being emotional and make things personal when I pick apart your arguments, then perhaps you should just keep them to yourself. The option you choose is up to you.

      • Jason Reece says:

        Thank you for proving my point. Congrats Corbin, I believe your indoctrination is almost complete. That was the most eloquent and pretentious pile of garbage I’ve read in a while. As usual you only want to dip, dodge, deflect, divert, discredit, deceive and disrespect. You were right about one thing though, I was the one who attempted to join in a discussion on your page, and was hoping that despite having differant opinions, you could still be civil to an old friend. Don’t worry, it won’t happen again.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          You are mistaken, Jason. I didn’t dodge anything you’ve said. Nor have I started with rudeness. That would be you, but I have defended myself and pointed out the continual failings of your position and attitude. It seems that you can’t do much better.

          And speaking of “proving one’s point,” it is inevitable that the bully will run and hide and try to find easier targets after getting owned. So, by all means, don’t bother coming back until you can manage to say something intelligent and manage yourself like an adult.

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