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comment by veen
veen  ·  252 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 8, 2017

I'm glad we largely agree. Still, I have a few points:

    But none of it is legally feasible, for all the reasons I have already stated, and more.

I might be completely missing some basic understanding of your legal system, but isn't the Consitution a living document, at least to some degree? What are amendments if not improvements over that supposedly enshrined set of rules? (And wasn't it Jefferson who said the Constitution should expire after 19 years?)

    In a fascinating question-and-answer event in 2005 between Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer, the question was broached as to when and how the concept of a "living" Constitution came to be. Scalia opined that the Court first began employing relativism to a significant degree starting around 1945, right after World War II. As Scalia says:

    "[T]he Court adopted the notion that the Constitution is not static. It doesn't mean what the people voted for when it was ratified. Rather, it changes from era to era to comport with – and this is a quote from our cases, "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." [...] It seems to me that the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to prevent change, not to foster change and have it written into a Constitution."

This seems to me a clear example of society maturing, becoming more civilized.

    We are NEVER gonna be able to reclaim any significant portion of the 250+m guns in private hands in the US.

Yet you give some good suggestions for how to do that in the top post! Maybe I'm just more optimistic and / or naive than you in this regard, but I think that a restriction on ammo and a reduction of supply might help quite a bit.

    Remove the guns, and you still have angry white men with ANFO.

And less suicide! Over here, women attempt suicide more often than men, but men succeed more often because they use more drastic (and less fail-prone) ways of suicide, like jumping off a building instead of trying to ODing on over the counter medication. I distinctly remember a factoid that the most dangerous single thing you can do in your home (largest increase in likelihood of death) is to get a gun, as it might make a difficult night into your final night. Can't find the source, but my point is that the availability of guns is not an insignificant contributor to the problem, and that I think "just" calling it a societal problem is a reduction of the complexity of this problem.

goobster  ·  249 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I might be completely missing some basic understanding of your legal system, but isn't the Consitution a living document, at least to some degree?

Yes. When the government is working in the way intended, the Constitution is supposed to be a living document that changes over time, and that's why the ability to add Amendments exists.

The problem is, it has been a long time since Republicans and Democrats worked together to govern in the best interests of the American people. Since roughly the Reagan-era, it has been polarization and entrenchment, and any discussion, collaboration, or efforts to work with someone on the other side of the aisle has been seen as traitorous, rather than an effort to reach accord on real issues.

The last time we had an actual Amendment to the Constitution that actual changed any material part of the founding document, was in 1961 when we limited Presidents to two terms.

Prior to that it was giving women the right to vote in 1920.

So in theory the Constitution is a living document that should undergo changes from time to time to adapt to the changing world. In practice? Our political discourse is broken, and until that is repaired, changing the Constitution just isn't feasible.

    ...I think that a restriction on ammo and a reduction of supply might help quite a bit.

True. But people don't buy ammo to go on a gun rampage. They use what is available to them at the moment. 220m guns take a lot of ammo. And people have been stockpiling that shit for decades.

America is also fiercely anti-regulation, and it is an easy task to equate limiting ammo sales and production with "killing American jobs". Ain't nobody gonna vote for something that puts Americans out of work.

    And less suicide!

Again, like I said, this is a social problem to be solved with treatment programs. Making suicide a guns issue is failing those who are inclined to commit suicide. We need ways for them to easily get the help they need, when they need it, whether they want it or not.

Small anecdote: I lost 5 friends to a mentally-ill man with a gun, who walked into their cafe and shot everyone inside. His family knew he was unwell. They had tried a variety of treatments. But he was an adult, and living in a different state, and the laws said you had to consent to being committed for a psych eval, and he - being sick - refused the service. Multiple times.

His family knew he was sick. They appealed to the authorities to help them do something about their son/brother, and the authorities failed.

Blaming the gun for his death is a disservice to him and to anyone suffering from depression, or any mental illness. We need to address this problem systematically, with better options available all along the line.

Unfortunately, Reagan dismantled these programs in the late 1980's, and there is no way to rebuild a social-service program in America, now that everything has to turn a profit.

veen  ·  246 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Small anecdote:

I wouldn't call that 'small'...I can't even begin to imagine how awful that must have been. I'm sorry, I did not mean to do anyone a disservice, especially not you.

I wish there were easy answers to these issues. And I really do want systematic solutions, and I wholly agree that the root of the problem is largely with societal issues. My intent was to discuss the complexity of the issue - to not reduce this issue to any single cause, because my impression is that it is a mixed bag of illness, poverty, exclusion, lack of (societal) prospects and violence that kills people. It's not a guns issue but it's also not not a guns issue, if that makes sense...