Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It is About Gun Control

Who controls the guns? – that is the key question when dealing with guns and gun control.

Guns are, first and foremost, tools – they are complex mechanical instruments with various parts to achieve an action of which ultimately is completed when its components are in order: the necessary springs, hammers, levers, and all else, including ammo, being locked-and-loaded, having enough pressure put upon the trigger in order for the tool to fire.  It will not fire on its own.  Leave a firearm on a table, and it will remain there unless it is moved.

If you give up control of the weapon to leave it on the table, then another can take control of the weapon.

It is to the owner of a weapon to have control of it, including how to handle it when it is being carried, or place it where it cannot be put in the control of someone undesired to have it.
Some may say ‘what about the children?  They may get ahold of a gun and injure or kill themselves, or someone else.’  This is an example of who controls the gun.  If a child gets behind the wheel of a car, puts it in gear and the vehicle moves, is there an expanded call for vehicle control? – no.  The ones who get the blame are the child, the parent who should have been supervising the child, and the one who left a vehicle in a state that the child could get control of it.  Levels of culpability are to vary in accordance to context of roles.  The car is a tool of transportation and appropriately, is not blamed for how it was (mis)used, just as a gun is a tool for shooting, is not agentic, and cannot have blame placed upon it.

Others will say ‘if we ban guns, or restrict them enough, then we can stop all the gun deaths.’  Let it sink in for a moment, the foolishness within that claim.  In order to do this, we must first look at ‘all the gun deaths.’  All the gun deaths include suicide; suicides are included in these calls about gun deaths, for as PEW Research shows, suicides with guns outnumber homicide using guns.  If the suicide itself is not the issue, but the gun is, then methodology is the concern – so much for compassion.  Accidents are also included in gun deaths, but true to the word ‘accident’ the act was unintentional, and an exception to the norm.  Again, if one was using a car had an accident that resulted in the death of someone, new regulations would not be called for because of a loss of vehicle control. 

That leaves homicide.  Recent numbers from the CDC showed a total of homicides at 16,000.  Census data out to 2010 shows 114.8 million households in the United States.  PEW research shows 37% of those households (42.4 million) have a firearm of some type within them, holding between 270 and 310 million firearms.  That leaves 0.00038 of households involved per homicide, which includes gang and drug-related homicides.  This shows that if the vast majority is not taking every precaution possible, they have taken enough control of their own tools to not be used to inflict harm, to not violate the rights of another.  Statistically, that is insignificant; practically, a foolish base to implement new standards upon the rest of society; morally, irrelevant to free individuals being able to direct and defend their own lives.

Personal gun control involves proper grip of the weapon.  ‘Social’ gun control involves responsible individuals (people in a society) being able to shoot back at the one who decides to violate individual rights. 

Laws introduced to control guns will only be obeyed by those who follow the laws – one who is intent on murdering someone will not be concerned about a lesser law violation of possession, as an example see Suzanne Gratia Hupp who left her pistol in the car in accordance to the law, and was in Luby’s where a shooter killed 23 (including her parents) and injured 27 before killing himself.  In her testimony before congress, she said “I’m mad at my legislators for legislating me out of the right to protect myself and my family.  I would much rather be sitting in jail with a felony sentence on my head, and have my parents alive.”

Gun control laws simply restrict the possession of arms to those who have been granted the authorization to initiate force: government agents.  The greatest mass murder was not perpetrated by 
an individual in Orlando, FL; the greatest mass murders were repeatedly done by government agents: Waco, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek to name a few, and in the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937, 50 unarmed people were shot, 10 were killed, and another 100 were beaten with clubs by the police.  While the overall violent crime rate has been decreasing, the number of homicides and violence perpetrated by police have increased: 500 individuals killed and 40,000 no-knock raids in the past year by police against citizenry. 

The Constitution is to be the supreme law of the land, but through nuanced interpretation (i.e. rationalization) to justify State expansion, such as domestic spying, arrest without a warrant for being ‘under suspicion,’ restrictions on firearms with repeated calls to expand what is and is not allowed for free people to possess, an ever decreasing standard for when police can search for ‘drugs’; there are still people alive today who were put in internment camps for being deemed dangerous for being Japanese.  In either case, it will be those who control their guns using them to achieve their ends, setting up situations where you will lose your liberty in the best scenario, or in the worst be not judged by twelve, but be carried by six.

If free people do not control their own guns, then they will be more vulnerable to those who control their own, illegally or legally.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

God Does Not Love The Children

We are often told that ‘God loves the children’.  This is especially heard from anti-abortionists who decree that all life is precious, and God has a plan for each individual (and would-be individual).  There are, after all, numerous verses in the bible that mention God’s love for His children, in particular it can be read in 1 John 5 and Galatians 3 (among others), where it is stated that those who follow Jesus are children of God, and that regardless of male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free, all are equal children in faith.

But talk without walk leaves empty words.  A brief biblical review of God’s history with children shows that God repeatedly acted without love toward children.  Some acts were specifically done by God, some done for God through other [supernatural] biblical characters, while other acts were done by God’s followers, with God’s condoning such actions. 

The book of Genesis chapters 6-7 both recount the story of Noah saving his family and two of each kind of animal.  Lost in the misdirection is the genocide of a planet’s population, which would have included countless families and children.  With some bad people on the planet, God applied the wet equivalent of a scorched-Earth policy with “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them.  Behold, I will destroy the earth”.

In a similar vein as the planet-wide destruction, Sodom and Gomorrah were targeted as they were filled with ‘wicked’ people.  Entire cities were wiped out, but this time it was with actual fire.  The inhabitants would have burned to death.  Again, there would have been children present, who would have been burnt with the rest.  Only Lot, his wife and daughters escaped; his wife did not make it far before being turned into salt, for the wrongful act of turning to look at the destruction of her once home.  However, before the destruction and to show how precious children were, there was a mob was demanding Lot’s [male] visitors.  Lot derided the wickedness of the mob for their demands, but offered up his virgin daughters to be gang-raped (Genesis 19).  If he was an example of righteous behavior, exactly how much worse were the people of the mob? – would they actually have been much worse?

In Exodus 11, there is the Plague of the Firstborn where God killed the firstborn sons of all: from the Pharaoh’s son on the throne, to the slave; even animal firstborn were not to be spared.  This was all done with God’s assistance in hardening Pharaoh’s heart, so that God could show His wonders.  Mass killing of children needed to be done in order to show God’s might, and no mind would be allowed to change that plan.

Job 1 has the honorable servant having his faith tested through numerous ordeals that Satan inflicts, and God allowed.  Among these ordeals, all Job’s children are killed, crushed when winds blew out the walls of the building they were inside.  That God later granted Job a new family does little for the little ones who were crushed to death.

Biblical Heroes such as Moses and Joshua were great killers for God.  Moses in Numbers 31, had his people raze the city of Midian, and kill all the people within; when his soldiers spared the women, he had his men kill all the women who had known a man, so the virgin girls could be kept as [sex] slaves.  Joshua razed the city of Jericho in Joshua 6, but he was more thorough, not leaving any captives.  The bible is explicit in how none were spared, male or female, young or old.  The exception for Joshua was Rahab, who assisted by protecting his men before the city was overthrown.  Children were killed en masse by the sword, except for those taken as spoils, as sex slaves.

Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac in Genesis 22; God waited for Isaac to be bound atop the alter, and Abraham’s knife to be raised, before stopping the sacrifice.  Jephthah’s daughter was not so lucky (she does not even get a name in the bible), for God allowed her to be sacrificed to His honor (Judges 11). 

Both Abraham and Jephthah were warriors for God, as were Moses and Joshua; they combined to slaughter and enslave countless children.  Is it any wonder that soldiers waiting for battle had dreams of crushing their enemies and bashing the brains of their children on rocks – all in the service of The Lord – as stated in Psalm 137

The ‘child’ (for anti-abortionists) does not even need to be born in order for it to be deemed worthy of being killed.  Numbers 5 has a dust-water test for women who had their faithfulness to their husbands questioned; failing the test, if she is pregnant, leads to a Holy abortion – making her belly swell with an induced miscarriage. If that is too passive, waiting for God to induce an abortion, Menahem in 2 Kings 15 raided Tirzah; for the people not surrendering, he punished them and that included "... all the women therein that were with child he ripped up."  2 Kings 22 blends the will of a biblical hero with God's might, when Elijah was mocked by "... little children out of the city...", to which he cursed the children and God had two bears maul 42 of the children to death.

Lastly, and most egregiously, we have the book of 2 Samuel 12.  King David wanted Bathsheba, but she was married; David decided to remove the competition by sending the husband [Uriah] off to war to be killed – and he was killed.  The enabled David to marry Bathsheba.  The Lord was upset with David, and in order to punish him, allowed a son to be born, only to suffer for seven days before dying.  If there is any innocent individual, it would be a newborn.  It had no control over how it came to be, who its parents were, and had no means of doing anything except receive care after being born.  It was this helpless innocent that was stricken and made to suffer before being killed. 

God has no problem directly or indirectly, with the killing of children (fetuses or actually born individuals).  Contrary to the admonition in 1 John 5 and Galatians 3, there are those who are not children of God.  As not part of being in the ‘ingroup’ they are of the ‘outgroup’ and with Holy Religious division, not truly human deserving of rights.  At best, God’s love for children should have an asterisk, for if you are not part of ‘His children’ then you are of ‘their children.’  Revelation 2 states that “I will kill her children with death.”  Here, it is not specifically referring to actual children; however, through biblical examples, though not specially isolating children, they are included.  If virgin girls can be taken as sex slaves, boys can be killed with the sword, and a newborn be made sick and suffer until it dies, why should it be assumed that other children would be safe?  By repeated examples, children are not safe.

God loves His ingroup, and not those outside – children or not.  (rather, the fundamentalists’ adherence to biblical doctrine denies love as a concept does not actually have emotion).  It is a Good Beyond God, the use of reason and recognition of individual rights – and of humanity – that enables one to truly love.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The True Mass Killers

The Islamic faith has come under a good amount of criticism for the various attacks suffered by thousands of people at the hands of Muslims.  These include gun attacks at Charlie Hebdo, bombing of trains in Madrid, most recently the bombings in Brussels, and most notoriously, in New York with 9/11.  These are just a small sample of the list of attacks that have been done by Muslims against ‘infidels’ and an infidel country/culture.

Many lambast Islam as a religion of war.  That, however, is overlooking a crucial detail that is not limited to Islam.  We do not need to look back to the Crusades for religious violence from non-Muslims.

In 2004, up to 500 Muslims were killed by Christian Taroks in Yelwa, Nigeria (Johnston, 2004; PBS, 2004); many survived the attack, but fled their homes.  The victims were killed by firearms and machetes.   The Central African Republic (CAR) has killings and forced conversions (with torture if necessary) by Christians against Muslims.  Men, women and children were targeted.  In 2011, Christian Anders Breivik killed 77 people in his form of protest against the Islamization of Europe (Beaumont, 2011).  In Jos, the Christian population watched as one of their citizens killed a Muslim passer-by, who then proceeded to eat him; the Christian did the kill-and-eat act twice in two weeks (Thornhill & Pleasance, 2014).

Many of the attacks are retaliatory in nature against a slight, or conflict from earlier (BBC, 2014; Chicago Tribune, 2004; Johnston, 2004).  Each side can point to when members of their side were attacked beforehand; the cannibal killed the Muslim as some other Muslims murdered the Christian’s wife and child.  Muslims and Christians murdering each other in various parts of the world is nothing new.  The murdering is not limited to cross-religious lines, as in the past and currently there are some Muslims that kill Muslims (e.g. Sunni vs. Shia) and Christians that kill Christians (e.g. Catholics vs. Protestants).

The issue is not wholly religious as religion forms a cultural base from which further actions are directed.  Where religion can be seen as a flammable gas that gets ignited, combusting those already violent and those who would otherwise be peaceful; the spark that ignites and creates a blast is blowback and blowback is a retaliation.  Blowback comes from interfering in another region’s political structure (e.g. Iran, Libya, Egypt), occupying holy lands and interfering with economic structures (e.g. Saudi Arabia), and from killing civilians (e.g. Iraq and Yemen).

The single biggest terrorist attack was 9/11 and it was rallying cry.  A national fervor was stoked, Republicans and Democrats were united as Americans and the West (and many others) mourned the loss of the Twin Towers and the near 3000 murdered.  However, nearly 210,000 civilians (a conservative estimate) have been killed in Iraq alone, since 9/11 in the War on Terror (Brown University, 2015); other estimates have it at half a million, and even higher (Gordts, 2013).  How many people would feel a call to service when they and their neighbors are experiencing seventy 9/11s?  Osama bin Laden was an ally (though was only out of necessity) of the United States during the Cold War, but he focused upon America as an enemy for what he saw as American aggression in Muslim land including assisting Israel demolish houses in Palestine, and the deaths from starvation of one million children because of boycotts and sanctions, as he said in an interview in 1999 (Miller, 2007).

This brings us to the true killers: collectivism (i.e. group think) and initiation of force.  Religion forms the irrational base which makes the collectivism and violence unquestionable.  If ‘God said so,’ how could any human question it?  It is no longer pragmatic actions about resources, but a metaphysical good-versus-evil.

The Old Testament (and New Testament through Jesus’ admonition he was not there to change the law one iota) has numerous law violations that are deemed punishable by death; there are also numerous examples of God-ordained conquering and razing of cities (kill all, except save virgin girls for slavery), such as Midian and Jericho.  Additionally, the New Testament (Romans 1:19-32) has a list of sins (many of which would be part of a different culture) and that those who do them are worthy of death.  The Koran has numerous examples of calling for war against nonbelievers (non-Muslims), as stated in The Women 4:101; The Repentance 9:123; Muhammad 14:4; The Victory 48:29.

Whether one’s Holy Book is the Bible or Koran (or Torah), holding the books as non-metaphor leads to an unquestionable collectivism that blends dehumanization of the other.     

Not all cultures are equal in rightness or wrongness.  Individuals within a culture or faith are the ones who actually act, but we may review the belief structure from which they act as an organizing system that provides justification for how individuals act.  Dealing in aggregates, in modern times there are not as many killed for Christianity as there is in Islam.  There may be a few Christians who still call for the stoning of homosexuals and other ways of returning to biblical law, but the trend is the other direction and marriage equality is being accepted by an increasing number of Christians.  According to PEW Research (2013), Islam still has the majority of countries who want sharia as the law of the land, including the death penalty for apostasy.  While Christianity of the West has evolved for the most part through the Enlightenment, Islam has not; Islam has remained fast for the most part in its interpretation of sacred texts.  Islamists (those who want to use force to proselytize) blend modern technology and weaponry, with a medieval mentality.  M. Zuhdi Jasser and Irshad Manji (a non-burka wearing openly gay woman) are examples of Muslims seeking to blend Human Rights within Islam (Gatestone Institute, 2015; Kalman, 2004); like Christianity has evolved, they seek for Islam.

Christianity needed to evolve or die with the advance of science (which providing better answers for the physical world, prompted moral review of biblical claims); Islamists say ‘submit or die’.

It is not Islam that is the issue, though it is the biggest and clearest example of the issue: a system that provides group think, praises the initiation of force and has a base that is supposedly beyond the scope of human reason.  You cannot argue reason with unreason.  Islam is not the only example of group think.  Christianity is not beyond collectivism and violence.  Secular groups are not beyond collectivism and violence (Timothy McVeigh was an agnostic).  Even Buddhists in Burma have taken to killing Muslims – Buddhists, even monks, killing people and burning property (Associated Press, 2014).  Collectivism, and its group think can affect anyone.  As studies from Milgram and Zimbardo have shown, almost anyone can fall under the control of collectivism and authority.

There is a confluence of three issues – group think, initiation of force, religion; all issues being addressed would be best, but one issue being addressed would stop the violence.  That issue is the initiation of force.  If the initiation of force was stopped, then even if in error, the group could remain in its religion, even if foolishly.  Defensive violence is proper, and most of the violence inflicted by Islamists today is defensive politically, and religion gets tied with it to make it more righteous and unquestionable.  Returning to the PEW Research statistics, the very places that have the most desire for Sharia law are the places that have had the most violence against their people – by the US and others.  Embargos and regime changes are the first push of a pendulum that causes a pushback; over and over again to 9/11, the War on Terror and the equivalent of seventy 9/11s suffered by the people of the Middle East.  During elections in America, there is a controversy if a candidate receives foreign campaign contributions; American foreign policy affects the people of other countries that is far beyond campaign contributions (Al-Shingeeti, 2014; Brown University, 2015; Gordts, 2013).   

If you want the violence to stop, then stop giving the other reasons to attack; if you are attacked, then use violence in defense.  If you are in a war, make it official, and do not draw it out, continue regime changes or build what the people do not want: defeat your enemy as quickly and thoroughly as possible, then leave and do not ‘pile on’ punishments.  Additionally, picking sides in another country’s civil war earns oneself an enemy for the time, and potentially two in the future; the helped one, once with power, may change.  Finally, do not support other countries to prop up those militant regimes; those embattled need to resolve their own issues, otherwise, the helped one will not be seen as legitimate.  What is best: war being averted and instead of soldiers crossing borders, products and ideas being shared.  It was not through a long and protracted bombing campaign that brought down 
the Berlin wall, it was the people wanting change. 

“When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.” – Frederic Bastiat

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Beaumont, P. (2011, July 23). Anders Behring Breivik: Profile of a mass murderer.

Brown University. (2015, March). Civilians Killed & Wounded.

Chicago Tribune. (2004, May 13). 30 killed as Muslims retaliate for Christian massacre.

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Gordts, E. (2013, October 15). Iraq Death Toll Reaches 500,000 Since Start Of U.S.-Led Invasion, New Study Says.

Johnston, L. (2004, May 6). 500 Nigerian Muslims Slain.

Kalman, M. (2004, January 19). A Muslim calls for reform -- and she's a lesbian. Retrieved from

Miller, J. (2007, January 29). Greetings, America. My Name is Osama bin Laden.

Pew Research Center. (2013, April 30). Chapter 1: Beliefs About Sharia.

PBS. (2004, May 4). Renewed Violence Kills Scores in Central Nigeria.

Thornhill, T., & Pleasance, C. (2014, January 22). 'Mad Dog' the cannibal pictured eating SECOND Muslim in as many weeks as Christians lynch and burn two men in Central African Republic. Retrieved from