So I have to read this book for a class...


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Azrael256
January 17, 2003, 04:50 PM
It's called The Culture Of Fear by Barry Glassner. It is a real testament to not judging a book by it's cover. I guessed that it would have statistical information about why Americans are afraid of things that really arent that dangerous. For the most part, I was right. It explains that kids are rarely abducted by home-invading strangers, road-rage is almost entirely a media creation, and other topics like that. What I found rather irritating was the author's emotional and fearful stance on guns. He states, explicitly, that guns kill people. Aside from his personification of an inanimate object, I was astounded by this assertion. His book explains that despite the constant media attention to airline safety (it is worth noting that this book was published in 1999, although, statistically, not much has changed), you are still FAR more likely to be killed in a car wreck than a plane crash. So guns kill people... even though cars (no, we couldn't accuse the driver, it has to be the car) kill many thousands more. Amazing that this is a book dedicated to debunking American's fears.

Evidently "the unregulated posession of guns, more than any other factor... accounts for the disparity in fatality rates from violent crime in the United States compared to most of the world." Which parts of the world are we talking about here? Since this book is so concerned with stating real facts and numbers, let's have some real numbers about how many people are killed in specific nations compared to the U.S. Obviously it's a book, so answers are less than forthcoming.

I found it downright amusing that he repeatedly cites the Dunblane shootings as evidence. As I stated before, this book was written in 1999, so he did not have access to the most recent crime statistics from the "gun-free" British Isles. Evidently the British government's restriction of callibers (according to him, I know virtually nothing other than the total ban of handguns) to .22 only makes them MUCH safer than us. I won't go into the endless debate about caliber effectiveness, but it is more likely that a random hit on a human body from a 9mm XST will be fatal than would a hit from a .22. This raises a question: So the hell what? Criminals don't obey the law anyway, so what's the difference between a 9mm and a .22 to them? Furthermore, what is the difference to a marksman with the skill to place a shot accurately? I won't speculate as the the level of skill of the man who carried out the murders in Dunblane, but there is evidence (in the form of his membership in gun clubs) that he did at least some practice.

The worst part of the section on crime and violence is the statement that fewer guns would reduce crime. He actually states this in a cause-and-effect relationship. I guess I don't have to ask what would have happened if an armed and adequately trained policeman, security guard, or even TEACHER (g-d forbid) had been watching the kids on the playground with a pistol tucked away just in case.

As you may have guessed, I'm compiling my thoughts on the subject so that I can write a "journal entry" on this section of the book. Any corrections or additions to my statements are most welcome, and any other info anybody has laying around is welcome as well.

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Pendragon
January 17, 2003, 06:36 PM
Evidently "the unregulated posession of guns, more than any other factor... accounts for the disparity in fatality rates from violent crime in the United States compared to most of the world."

I suppose that is true in a sense - but you might as well say that "the existence of guns, more than anything else accounts for the high level of gun violence..."

I think it would be interesting to compile data not on how much violent crime there is, but on how much there isn't. What I mean is - 300 million people have 200 million guns and ~10,000 people per year are murdered by guns.

How many guns are there in Britain? How many gun murders are there over there?

Now - if you factor out murders related to the drug trade, then what?

Maybe I am blowing smoke... can you write your paper to contrase the authors obvious blind spot in this area?

BTW - the author appeared on Oprah with Michael Moore a month or two ago. Everything he said seemed to counter what MM was saying - at least on a philosophical level...

4v50 Gary
January 17, 2003, 09:51 PM
Y'know, for a kid, you're doing fine.

dacinokc
January 17, 2003, 10:16 PM
What school in OKC has you reading this book, and for what course?
I live here also, just curious...:confused:

Azrael256
January 17, 2003, 11:03 PM
dacinokc, OK City University.

It's not exactly the hotbed of liberal idiocy I expected from college, but it sure has it's moments. I suppose that like-minded people tend to come together, so most (if not all) of my friends find a day at the range to be a great time, but I do know one or two that are not so inclined.

Average Guy
January 17, 2003, 11:07 PM
If you haven't already, you might consider uploading your post as a review at Amazon, B&N, etc.

MitchSchaft
January 17, 2003, 11:15 PM
"the existence of guns, more than anything else accounts for the high level of gun violence..."

Hey, that does make sence! :neener:

Jackanape
January 18, 2003, 10:45 AM
Azrael256, it is my understanding that "The Culture of Fear" was the book that Michael Moore based his latest movie on. That should speak volumes about this book... What class are you in that forces you to tolerate such drivel? The book should be titled "Barry Glassner's Hysteric Screeching"...

Skunkabilly
January 18, 2003, 05:45 PM
I made my name with my professors by debating their liberal crap.

I found out one of them was a "hopefully enlightened Republican" and we keep in touch. The other is pretty much an arrogant @#$@#, and yes, he taught Bellesiles in class.

UnknownSailor
January 18, 2003, 08:41 PM
....he taught Bellesiles in class.

I hope you took the opportunity to expose Bellesiles every chance you got. I know I would have.

jar
January 18, 2003, 09:13 PM
There is one very interesting counter example and that is the experience from Kennassaw, Georgia (http://www.kennesaw.ga.us/default.asp?COMP=HTML&Page={5A794CE9-66C8-11D5-8F77-00E0291018DF}&SessionId=&SiteId=35) . Here is some hard, real life data that directly addresses crime and the availability of guns.

Skunkabilly
January 18, 2003, 11:08 PM
This was before Bellesiles was ousted.

I made two gun friends in there because we lead the pro-gun debate.

Blackhawk
January 18, 2003, 11:23 PM
Echo Gary!

You're doing fine, Kid! :neener:

Traveler
January 19, 2003, 11:46 AM
The problem with arguing cause and effect with firearms is that it is patently not true. If it was you would see two solid indicators.

First, the number of gun related deaths (or even crimes) would change to match the numbers of guns sold in any given year. That's so ludicress that even the most tainted liberal won't touch it.

Second the number of gun related deaths would increase to match the total number of guns available. Since guns have a life span of (at least) 3 generations, and we make (and sell) an average of 1.5 million guns a year in this country, you should see a rise in the number of deaths/crimes commited with firearms to increase early at a steady rate. This also is untrue.

We'd have to register women if some of the same Sophist arguments used for gun related crime were used for rape.

Azrael256
January 19, 2003, 04:44 PM
It's for my "Honors Colloquium" class. It's the sort of "welcome to the honors program, now we're going to brainwash you" class. It's actually rather sad. I met a man at the range yesterday who said that his university dorm could have doubled as a national guard armory for all the guns and ammunition. I can't even have a gun in my car in the parking lot.

I understand that this is a private university, and therefore the property owner(s) have the right to regulate what comes in, but this is not exactly a ritzy part of town, so a .38 in the glove box (at the very least) would be kinda nice.

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