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John Galt
08-01-2007, 05:23 PM
The Second Amendment to the US constitution reads

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

What, in your opinion is " A well regulated militia?", and to what extent does the "right of the People to keep and bear arms" reach? For those outside the US, I'd like to hear how your nations deal with militias and firearms ownership, and what you think of the issue.

I think this debate deals with the core values of Democracy, but I'll wait to elaborate on my musings until I hear some other opinions.

SilentScope001
08-01-2007, 05:27 PM
It means that the US Government is able to go and establish militas to protect itself. Such as, say, the National Guard.

So, in other words, the US Government is not allowed to ban weapon sales to its own military forces.

It is allowed to ban weapon sales to ANYONE ELSE.

So, the Milita Movement technically is not protected, as the Militas are not established by the US Government. So if the US Government is a corrupt, evil body, oh well, you're still breaking the law by rebelling. Sorry.

Achilles
08-01-2007, 05:38 PM
What, in your opinion is " A well regulated militia?", and to what extent does the "right of the People to keep and bear arms" reach? For those outside the US, I'd like to hear how your nations deal with militias and firearms ownership, and what you think of the issue. My 2 cents:

I believe the Framers sought to set up a system of government in which the people were empowered rather than the gov't. As such, a great deal of responsibility would also fall to the people as well.

The early roman republic was used as a foundation for many of the principles set forth for this one. For instance, rather than maintaining a standing army, landowners were called upon to defend the republic in times of conflict. Identifying the creation of a standing army as one of the things that eventually led to rome's downfall, the Framers sought to revive the idea of "a well regulated militia". I guess they should have included something more specific regarding a standing army :(

As for the "right to keep and bear arms", I view it as yet another attempt to limit the power of the gov't. An unarmed populace can be lead anywhere by an well-armed military force under the command of the gov't. Best way around that? Make it so that the gov't cannot legally take your weapons away.

I think this debate deals with the core values of Democracy, but I'll wait to elaborate on my musings until I hear some other opinions. I'll be interested to see where this thread goes. :)

mimartin
08-01-2007, 05:51 PM
Iíll agree with about 99% of what Achilles wrote with the only exception being I do not believe the Framers trusted the people to that extreme (look that the Electoral College to get my meaning). I believe their intention was to place this power with the individual states.

Achilles
08-01-2007, 06:02 PM
I agree that more emphasis was placed on "decentralized" gov't via the states, but I do think the goal was still to put the power in the hands of the people. If I had to take a guess, I'd would have to say that they thought while the gov't might occationally forget their place, the people never would. I think they would hang their heads in defeat if they knew that barely half of all people participate in elections and that many people can't identify more than one or two freedoms outlined in the first amendment.

As for the electoral college, I subscribe to the school of thought that says that it was established because it was not reasonable to expect people in Georgia to form an educated opinion about a doctor from Maine if he was running for a federal position. Now that we have radio, tv, internet, etc, I think it's time to accept that the electoral college might no longer be necessary.

Nancy Allen``
08-01-2007, 07:34 PM
In my opinion a well regulated militia is one that is capeable of defending it's country and it's citizens. That means no nukes, no ICBMs, weapons of that nature. Similarily the right to bear arms is something that had been restricted in other countries, the Port Arthur massecre for example which brought in sweeping reforms to gun control outlawing guns that really nobody should have. Automatic rifles, machine guns, why would someone want those? The largest problem I think is small weapons, handguns, Ingram and Uzi machine pistols and the like. On the one hand such weapons are the easiest to be used in a crime (as opposed to, say, hefting an M249 around), you can just go into a shot or bank with one and rob the place, be in and out where as with something larger you'll be seen carrying a weapon about and be pulled up. On the other hand such weapons make them ideal for personal self defense in that pulling a gun on someone will scare off even the most determined assailent. And on that topic a shotgun, something that is a large, powerful, close range weapon is ideal IMO for home protection, to scare off or remove the threat of an intruder, especially were such a weapon that is loaded for less than lethal purposes (rubber shells for example) to prevent a victim from doing their part to help overpopulation with a criminal oxygen thief.

Totenkopf
08-01-2007, 11:37 PM
My 2 cents:

I believe the Framers sought to set up a system of government in which the people were empowered rather than the gov't. As such, a great deal of responsibility would also fall to the people as well.

The early roman republic was used as a foundation for many of the principles set forth for this one. For instance, rather than maintaining a standing army, landowners were called upon to defend the republic in times of conflict. Identifying the creation of a standing army as one of the things that eventually led to rome's downfall, the Framers sought to revive the idea of "a well regulated militia". I guess they should have included something more specific regarding a standing army :(

As for the "right to keep and bear arms", I view it as yet another attempt to limit the power of the gov't. An unarmed populace can be lead anywhere by an well-armed military force under the command of the gov't. Best way around that? Make it so that the gov't cannot legally take your weapons away.

I'd have to say Achille's summed it up pretty succinctly. It would be interesting, with the march of technology over the last 250 years, to see how they'd feel about the second amendment in light the types of weapons available today. Knowing then what we know today, would they have tightened up their language or still left it ambiguous?

Nancy Allen``
08-01-2007, 11:46 PM
Well the police and military have that much more responsibility than everyone else, which means that in order to do their jobs safely they need to necessary tools, and that means they are expected to be supremely disciplined. Forget the SWAT movie, real life special police are imhuman in their discipline, they will not use their weapons unless there is the imminent threat of innocent life. They're not going to go postal, rob a bank, react violently to words and opinions, the organization has to make certain of that.

Web Rider
08-02-2007, 02:19 AM
In my opinion, this is how I read the second amendment.
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State"

-people need to decide on their own if they want to get together and protect themselves and each other. Without the government doing it for them. Likewise, they are not prevented from saying: "well, I'd rather let them do it." However, it IMO, essentially says that people, with or without guns, have the right to organize and defend themselves from oppression, local, state, federal, or external.

"the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

In order for people to protect themselves from oppression, they need to be able to defend themselves. History shows nothing really stands up to guns, save more guns. So, people need the ability to own guns. However, my own personal interpretation of this is "arms within reason." There is no need for somebody to possess a nuclear bomb. Nor any sorts of bombs, not any assault weapons or high-powered similar weaponry. People have the right to own enough guns of enough power to protect themselves from oppression, internal or external, they don't need the power to start a war.

I'd have to say Achille's summed it up pretty succinctly. It would be interesting, with the march of technology over the last 250 years, to see how they'd feel about the second amendment in light the types of weapons available today. Knowing then what we know today, would they have tightened up their language or still left it ambiguous?

if they truly believed that the responsibility fell on the people, they'd probly just have given up on us now as hardly anyone takes responsibility for anything anymore. But, if we did, I'd say that if they truly believed in personal responsibility, they'd leave it vague for us to decide that's best for us. They can't hold our hand forever.

Samnmax221
08-02-2007, 02:27 AM
(look that the Electoral College to get my meaning)
The Electoral College actually has more to do with the calculation and communication limitations of the time, made sense then, doesn't anymore.

SilentScope001
08-02-2007, 03:20 AM
To better explain the Founding Fathers' view:

The Electoral College exist because we don't want the President to be elected by the mob. Otherwise, the mob will be capatived by a demogague and it would turn into a democracy, with all its terrible flaws. Do we want people to start electing popular people who make stupid desicions? Of course not! That's how Athens fell to Sparta. We need compenent people to run America, not the most popular ones.

America always follow in the tradition of the Republic, taking the best of democracy and avoiding the flaws.

People should elect those who they TRUST to vote in the best interest of America, they should not go and think themselves as the sole artibtars of what is right and what is wrong! Many of these people don't even know anything about politics.

The Electoral College makes sense then, and it makes sense now, altough now nobody actually pay any lip service to the concept of a Republic. Nobody also cares about the sound advice of not dividing ourselves into factions and political parties, and look where that ended up.

Achilles
08-02-2007, 01:11 PM
However, my own personal interpretation of this is "arms within reason." There is no need for somebody to possess a nuclear bomb. Nor any sorts of bombs, not any assault weapons or high-powered similar weaponry. People have the right to own enough guns of enough power to protect themselves from oppression, internal or external, they don't need the power to start a war. Keep in mind that at the time of it's writing, warfare was pretty much a "my gunpowder rifle vs. your gunpowder rifle" scenario. Bullets, as we know them today, didn't even exist.

if they truly believed that the responsibility fell on the people, they'd probly just have given up on us now as hardly anyone takes responsibility for anything anymore. Yep.

But, if we did, I'd say that if they truly believed in personal responsibility, they'd leave it vague for us to decide that's best for us. They can't hold our hand forever. I'm not quite sure I take your meaning. They didn't devise a system of gov't that necessitated them "holding our hands". They are generally referred to as "Framers" because they built the framework for our democracy, not every nuance. The three branches, working in conjunction with the will of the people and within the rules of the constitution, are free to make changes whenever they see fit (via Amendments). They themselves saw the need to make amendments not long after the constitution was ratified (there were 10 of them and that first collection of amendments is commonly known as The Bill of Rights).

So they did leave it "vague" for us. We (the people) just stopped paying attention at some point.

Again, my 2 cents.

Jae Onasi
08-02-2007, 01:53 PM
The 'right to bear arms' came into being because the average citizen in Great Britain (and much of Europe) were not allowed to carry weapons, while the military or ruling elite were. This created an imbalance of power that the Founding Fathers wanted to eliminate. They didn't want the government having enough weaponry to force another type of government on people who had no way to defend themselves, and more importantly be without a way to protect themselves and provide for themselves (hunting).

The challenge now is how to implement that original reasoning (which I think is good) in today's technology. Is it right, for instance, to ban people from carrying assault weapons (as the have in Chicago) or not, under this amendment? I'd hate to live in a community where I have to put everyone in bullet proof vests and make sure I have enough ammo in my AK-47 just to go to the grocery store, but I don't want the police to be the only ones with the guns, either--I think that opens things up for too much abuse of power.
Is the military/government over-powered enough that people wouldn't be able to defend themselves appropriately if someone wanted to come in and create a dictatorship? Not that I think that'll happen, mind you, but I thought I'd muse about that.

Achilles
08-02-2007, 02:22 PM
Is it right, for instance, to ban people from carrying assault weapons (as the have in Chicago) or not, under this amendment? Is the issue "carry" or "own"?

I'd hate to live in a community where I have to put everyone in bullet proof vests and make sure I have enough ammo in my AK-47 just to go to the grocery store, but I don't want the police to be the only ones with the guns, either--I think that opens things up for too much abuse of power. Agreed.

Is the military/government over-powered enough that people wouldn't be able to defend themselves appropriately if someone wanted to come in and create a dictatorship? Not that I think that'll happen, mind you, but I thought I'd muse about that. I'll repeat my argument from the other thread re: native forces being able to overpower technologically superior "invaders" (in this case, our own army). Urban warfare is tough. Urban warfare against people that look like civilians is even tougher. Urban warfare against people that look like civilians and members of your own culture...?

Bob Lion54
08-02-2007, 05:11 PM
OK, I've read through the thread and it seems people need a little historical context as to why the Second Amendment was deemed necessary by the Framers of the Constitution. I will not give my own opinions as to the relevancy of the Amendment today, but rather, offer an explanation to people that didn't pay attention in history class or are from countries other than the United States.

First off, its important to understand what the Bill of Rights is and what it is not. If you read the Articles with this in mind, you will get a better understanding of that they mean.

The Bill of Rights IS the rights of the people and the individual states.
The Bill of Rights IS NOT the rights of the federal government.

What The Second Amendment means is not in question. We have the right to own weapons. The government CAN NOT take that away without another Amendment. However, what is not specified is how many and what type of arms we may legally own. That is why the government can outlaw AK-47s. The justification is that they are more powerful than necessary to protect yourself and your family.

The arguments today are not what the Second Amendment means, but rather, if it is still necessary or even harmful. Many people want an Amendment that repeals the Second Amendment.

Now for the Historical context:
When the Constitution was being written, many of the state delegates feared that the federal government was being given too much power. The fear was that if given too much power, the people would be no better off than under British rule. Thomas Jefferson had a great quote that I wish I could find. Basically, he said "I don't trust one king. Why should I trust a hundred?" This was a sentiment shared by many of the founding fathers. They would not support a federal government without having the rights of the people guaranteed. Hence, the Bill of Rights.

Also of note, at the time, very few people considered themselves Americans. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, did not consider himself an American. He was a Virginian. This led to the other important aspect of the Bill of Rights: to protect the rights of the states. Specifically, the Tenth Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Again, I am just trying to provide the historical context behind the Second Amendment, but I felt it would be good to reiterate the historical context of the Bill of Rights as a whole.

Its also important to understand that the Bill of Rights was partially a reaction to the events leading up to the American Revolution. The times before the war were tense. One of the actions taken by the British was to outlaw guns. They also made it illegal for three or more colonist to meet without special permit. From the British perspective "if they have no guns, they can't fight; if they can't meet, they can't organize to fight against us."

When the Bill of Rights was being written, the writers wanted to make sure that could not happen again. Remember, at the time, many people did not believe the new government would respect the rights of Americans any better than the British Government. They felt it was important to make sure the new American Government couldn't march in and overstep its bounds.

Also, many people still used a gun in their everyday lives. Remember, this was before refrigeration. A lot of people still relied on hunting to put meat on the table, especially as you moved west, away from the higher populated areas. The gun was an everyday tool at the time.

What, in your opinion is " A well regulated militia?"
OK, I keep saying it, but I'll say it again. I'm just here to give the history lesson.

First off, I want to point out that "militia" is not "military." The militia was an informal "police force" for a city or town. Basically, if you were an able-bodied man of age, you would say "call me if you need me." For the most part, the members of the militia would just go about their daily lives. If something happened and they were needed, they would organize and do it. Each town would have someone appointed as the head of the militia, but like the rest of the militia, they only acted in that capacity if needed.

***This part is my speculation/interpretation***
The closest thing to a militia we have today is the Police. As the country grew and laws became more complicated, a militia wasn't enough. There needed to be a dedicated police force to enforce the law. The Founding Fathers did not anticipate this. The militia system was what they knew. Hence, the wording "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State," which today would read " *A well trained/equipped Police Force is necessary to the protection of a free State."

The motto of the Police is "To Protect and to Serve," and thats what the militia did. The Founding Fathers wanted to insure that the militias had the right "To Protect."
*** End of speculation/interpretation***

Well, I think that about does it... I don't know if that will help the thread or not, but hopefully it does. I believe that is the longest post I have ever made, by the way... seemed longer as I was writing it...

Thank you for this contribution, BL54 ~tk

Web Rider
08-02-2007, 08:05 PM
Keep in mind that at the time of it's writing, warfare was pretty much a "my gunpowder rifle vs. your gunpowder rifle" scenario. Bullets, as we know them today, didn't even exist.

Of course, but the same basic rules apply, but this is also why I say "guns within reason". Just as today there is no need for a civilian to own an RPG, there was no need for a civilian to own a cannon back then.

I'm not quite sure I take your meaning. They didn't devise a system of gov't that necessitated them "holding our hands". They are generally referred to as "Framers" because they built the framework for our democracy, not every nuance. The three branches, working in conjunction with the will of the people and within the rules of the constitution, are free to make changes whenever they see fit (via Amendments). They themselves saw the need to make amendments not long after the constitution was ratified (there were 10 of them and that first collection of amendments is commonly known as The Bill of Rights).

Admittedly my sentence structure was off, but I essentially tried to say: They'd have done it the same way.

So they did leave it "vague" for us. We (the people) just stopped paying attention at some point.

Again, my 2 cents.

more precisely, IMO, we stopped taking responsibility for our actions, and thus now require everything to be laid out without any sort of holes or vagueness in it. If such wasn't the case, I'm pretty sure everyone would be quite satisfied with the 2nd amendment containing only it's original words.

Nancy Allen``
08-02-2007, 08:10 PM
Or perhaps more accurately people used that vagueness to find loopholes that allowed them to own weapons that were overkill.

Web Rider
08-02-2007, 09:02 PM
Or perhaps more accurately people used that vagueness to find loopholes that allowed them to own weapons that were overkill.

that is equally as entirely possible. People do generally desire power, and bigger weapons give them that.

John Galt
08-02-2007, 09:07 PM
Or perhaps more accurately people used that vagueness to find loopholes that allowed them to own weapons that were overkill.

But what, exactly, constitutes overkill?

I don't think current gun laws, with their protectionist regulations and stupid loopholes (I'm specifically referring to the ones on semi-automatic rifles), provide a good, solid definition. Personally, I have nothing against people buying fully automatic rifles, albeit with a stringent background check and training. However only some of the current rules make sense, like not being able to be converted to fully-automatic, but others, like requiring 10 US-made "compliance parts" do not.

Nancy Allen``
08-02-2007, 09:11 PM
Why might someone want such a weapon though? For what purpose?

Web Rider
08-02-2007, 09:15 PM
But what, exactly, constitutes overkill?

I don't think current gun laws, with their protectionist regulations and stupid loopholes (I'm specifically referring to the ones on semi-automatic rifles), provide a good, solid definition. Personally, I have nothing against people buying fully automatic rifles, albeit with a stringent background check and training. However only some of the current rules make sense, like not being able to be converted to fully-automatic, but others, like requiring 10 US-made "compliance parts" do not.


It's all really personal opinion as to what is or isn't overkill. Personally, I just ask a short set of questions on the gun. Lets take a fully automatic assault rifle(what is it, like 30 shots a second or something?) and a high-powered sniper rifle(which is perfectly legal to buy fully functional.

What are they gonna use it for? Home defense? Whoever is attacking them better be the army, navy or marines, because if an assault rifle is somehow the idea home defense against a common burglar, we must have some crazyily powered burglar. And you can't defend your home with a sniper rifle. Are they gonna hunt with it? A sniper rifle? maybe, won't be much left of your kill, but it'd sure as hell be effective. An assault rifle? you'd miss your prey more oftehn then not, so it's not worth it.

Generally such weapons, even if a person is trained in them(which is why military personnel are allowed to have them) are going to be used for killing other people. Or possibly to look cool in your den, but you don't need a working gun for that now do you?

So I ask, if hunting with said gun would be a waste, and home defense with such guns are going to be ineffective or entirely excessive, WHY do you need to own an operational one?

John Galt
08-02-2007, 10:05 PM
So I ask, if hunting with said gun would be a waste, and home defense with such guns are going to be ineffective or entirely excessive, WHY do you need to own an operational one?

That's why I specified "with license and training." I don't think someone would need to justify owning one, as long as they can afford it, get screened, and take some safety courses.

By the way, sniper rifles are really, really good for hunting. All a "sniper rifle" is is just an accurized normal rifle with a scope and maybe some other features. I think part of the problem is with nomenclature, such as the similarity of the technical military term "assault rifle" with the political misnomer "assault weapon."

As far as military rifles is concerned, I hunt with a WW2 issue Lee-Enfield, a bolt-action battle rifle, although that isn't its primary purpose.

Web Rider
08-02-2007, 11:57 PM
That's why I specified "with license and training." I don't think someone would need to justify owning one, as long as they can afford it, get screened, and take some safety courses.

which is why I made note of the military exception to gun ownership. But such training, to the point where it's effective, is essentially running a person through boot camp. Theres no 2 week course that can adequately cover it.

By the way, sniper rifles are really, really good for hunting. All a "sniper rifle" is is just an accurized normal rifle with a scope and maybe some other features. I think part of the problem is with nomenclature, such as the similarity of the technical military term "assault rifle" with the political misnomer "assault weapon."

In regards to the sniper rifle, I know that, we have a few hunting rifles in our home, but specifically I was referring to a weapon I saw for sale at a local gun show. It was not advertised as the next best thing in hunting, it was advertised as an sniper rifle, and was really big, black, and shot bullets that could go through concrete. it was huge and excessively powerful. You had to sit down and put it on it's stand to effectively use it. You couldn't easily cart it around from hunt to hunt. My descriptions may be clunky at best, but sum it up to say: it wasn't a powerful hunting rifle with a scope.

I'm not sure what the official definitions for either are, but my general opinion and what I've learned of guns gives me the idea an "assault rifle" is any particularly high-powered gun that you don't have to sit down or mount on something(ie: can be hand-held, fired and carried) to shoot.

While an assault weapon, is anything(including the above, but going far beyond), used in any sort of primarily military battle function. From an assault rifle, to an RPG. Something you'd use for a battle, and not usually home defense, hunting, or other civilian purposes.

As far as military rifles is concerned, I hunt with a WW2 issue Lee-Enfield, a bolt-action battle rifle, although that isn't its primary purpose.

Of course, which is why I ask "is it good for hunting". Obviously some military weapons are good for that, but many of the bigger assault weapons are useless for hunting due to accuracy issues and rate of fire. You don't need 30 shots per second to hit your prey.

Samuel Dravis
08-03-2007, 08:45 PM
which is why I made note of the military exception to gun ownership. But such training, to the point where it's effective, is essentially running a person through boot camp. Theres no 2 week course that can adequately cover it.I don't think it's quite as bad as that. And even if it was, what if they're willing to go through (and pay for) the training?

Of course, which is why I ask "is it good for hunting". Obviously some military weapons are good for that, but many of the bigger assault weapons are useless for hunting due to accuracy issues and rate of fire. You don't need 30 shots per second to hit your prey.You don't technically 'need' a lot of things that are fun to have (yes, bigger/more capable guns are fun to use). Single-shot rifles can be used instead of guns with small magazines. Why do I need to be able to fire 15 shots in a row without reloading? After all, I don't use it to hunt with (I can acquire food from the grocery store, killing without reason is wrong), I simply target shoot occasionally.

I think a better way to look at gun restriction is "at what point does it actually become dangerous for other people", not "what do you need to do X". Having a sniper rifle (like Web Rider describes) at a rifle range would be no more dangerous to others than a .22 bolt-action. Neither would a full-auto.

It seems to me that the issues people really have with guns is that they're dangerous - but only in the wrong hands. Few problems arise when someone is trained in the gun's use and is of non-homicidal inclinations. If someone wanted to have a full-auto for target shooting, why not? As long as the owner is careful - and we make sure that he is through training - no one else need be worried.

If you notice, most of the guns criminals use are not registered, so even training requirements wouldn't have much an effect on them. In fact, the only people getting the training would be the people who would least benefit from it... the non-insane variety of citizen. Of course, that's what happens already, so it's not much different from now.

recap:

I think people should be allowed to own guns
I do think there should be restrictions on gun ownership
I don't think those restrictions should be put in place on the basis of what someone thinks people 'need', but rather of actual danger presented.

Web Rider
08-03-2007, 09:11 PM
I think a better way to look at gun restriction is "at what point does it actually become dangerous for other people", not "what do you need to do X". Having a sniper rifle (like Web Rider describes) at a rifle range would be no more dangerous to others than a .22 bolt-action. Neither would a full-auto.



Thats kind of a silly way to look at it. All guns are dangerous, even under the safest of conditions. If you guns are locked in a gunsafe, but fire burns through it, you better get the heck out of dodge.

Samuel Dravis
08-03-2007, 09:17 PM
Indeed. But these conditions can be controlled; fire is not going to burn through a decent gunsafe until people have plenty of time to clear the area, etc. Similarly, a kitchen knife has the ability to be a murder weapon, but the only restriction we have on it is simply being careful and keeping it in a place unreachable by those too young to be responsible for its use. If they were more dangerous, like guns, they should be put in a 'knife-safe', not banned from use. An incredible number of things are dangerous, but there are safety regulations to compensate for that.

I can get HCl acid, for example, and that is inherently dangerous. However, if I take proper precautions and know how to handle it, the danger is negligible. Same situation with guns, in my opinion.

Nancy Allen``
08-03-2007, 09:50 PM
Actually knives are a regulated weapon with good reason. There's a police campaign against them that says 'blood and guts one end, no bloody guts the other'. That pretty much sums it up.

With some weapons, we'll use sniper rifles as an example, they wouldn't be any good for hunting. Something like an AW50 or a Barrett, they'd turn what you were shooting at into paint. The AW's a magnum, 50 calibur, and the Barrett's used against vehicles. You could use them on a rifle range, if you wanted to disintegrate the targets. So with more viable options out there, the Dragunov PSG-1 and SSG three that come to mind, why would you want something heavier? Same for assault rifles, you think an AK would be good for hunting? Tell you what, those who can take one out and go full auto at a hundred yards out, see how many times you hit the target. You'd have much better success with an MP5.

Samuel Dravis
08-03-2007, 10:12 PM
Actually knives are a regulated weapon with good reason. There's a police campaign against them that says 'blood and guts one end, no bloody guts the other'. That pretty much sums it up.I certainly agree that knives are dangerous. My point was that knives have uses not exclusive to stabbing people in the gut. Pens have been used to stab people; people have been killed with baseball bats. We have to depend on people to use these items in a responsible manner. If they do not, they are (and should be) prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

With some weapons, we'll use sniper rifles as an example, they wouldn't be any good for hunting.The purpose is pretty much irrelevant, in my eyes, except if you're buying it to blow someone away. I doubt someone would make that known, if so.

Something like an AW50 or a Barrett, they'd turn what you were shooting at into paint. The AW's a magnum, 50 calibur, and the Barrett's used against vehicles. You could use them on a rifle range, if you wanted to disintegrate the targets. So with more viable options out there, the Dragunov PSG-1 and SSG three that come to mind, why would you want something heavier? Same for assault rifles, you think an AK would be good for hunting? Tell you what, those who can take one out and go full auto at a hundred yards out, see how many times you hit the target. You'd have much better success with an MP5.I don't care if it's good for hunting. In fact, I don't even care if I hit the target all that much, as long as it's done in a safe area. It's my money, after all, and if it's done safely then it should not be prohibited.

And why should you care what I do, either? I think the people who would be trained and are willing to go through the background checks are the least of anyone's worries. You talk of the crimes but, as I said, the people who use registered weapons in crimes aren't very common at all, and I am ONLY endorsing ownership of these weapons to people known to be responsible, trained and certified.

Achilles
08-04-2007, 12:51 AM
While I agree that gun safety and regulation are probably subjects worthy of our examination, I'm struggling to grasp what significance they have within the scope of this discussion.

The question comes down to this: If the government, for whatever reason, decided to suspend citizen rights, declare martial law, and began rounding up U.S. citizens that they determined to be dissidents, would you want to fight back? If yes, would you want to be limited only to weapons that the government had told you that you were permitted to have prior to the change, or would you want to something comparable to the weapons that they would potentially use on you?

As Samuel Dravis points out, rigorous gun laws would seem only to place restrictions on the law abiding citizens.

I'm only seeking to address the points as I see them. I've yet to make up my mind one way or another, so I'm very much interested in reading any logical argument that can counter these points.

Thanks.

Nancy Allen``
08-04-2007, 12:55 AM
To answer your questions, yes I would fight back, and something like the restricted weapons would be nice but my line of thinking is if you need their weapons to fight then odds are you won't be able to do much in the first place.

Achilles
08-04-2007, 12:59 AM
Assuming that those weapons were restricted to you. If they weren't previously restricted then the chances are higher that you might have one.

Web Rider
08-04-2007, 01:24 AM
I certainly agree that knives are dangerous. My point was that knives have uses not exclusive to stabbing people in the gut. Pens have been used to stab people; people have been killed with baseball bats. We have to depend on people to use these items in a responsible manner. If they do not, they are (and should be) prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

That depends entirely on the blade in question. Blades are in general, designed for cutting, slicing, or stabbing. And the intended target of such a blade is usually determined by it's size and shape.

Guns are exactly the same, their purpose depends entirely on the gun in question. What do you do with a 50 cal sniper rifle? You blow people's heads off. You don't go deer hunting.

IN regards to the argument that we should have any kind of gun "just in case" the government decides to do something bad, stop and think about that for a moment. If you're not going to trust an organization made up of people who have big guns, WHY are you going to trust a myriad of unorganized, untrained, normal people to have the same guns?

To counter, since the government is made up of people, in order to prevent the government from doing anything crazy, wouldn't it be better to not let people have guns?

John Galt
08-05-2007, 03:00 AM
Guns are exactly the same, their purpose depends entirely on the gun in question. What do you do with a 50 cal sniper rifle? You blow people's heads off. You don't go deer hunting.

No, .50's are perfectly good deer rifles. Not .50 BMG, except under extreme circumstances (I have heard of it, though), but the smaller .50 Beowulf, .50 AE, and .50 muzzleloader are very good deer rounds.

Besides, the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING AT ALL to do with hunting, except guaranteeing access to firearms. The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that the populace is capable of protecting itself from foreign invasion, criminals, and, above all, government repression. Hence Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's warning about invading the US: "There will be a rifle behind every blade of grass..."

IN regards to the argument that we should have any kind of gun "just in case" the government decides to do something bad, stop and think about that for a moment. If you're not going to trust an organization made up of people who have big guns, WHY are you going to trust a myriad of unorganized, untrained, normal people to have the same guns?

Because unorganized normal people aren't generally able to be used by the government to oppress citizens.

To counter, since the government is made up of people, in order to prevent the government from doing anything crazy, wouldn't it be better to not let people have guns?

That depends if you value stability or freedom. In dictatorial states, one of the first steps the rulers undertake upon assuming power is to confiscate weapons from the general public, in order to make overthrow less likely. After all, what generally happens when people without guns go up against people WITH guns?

Web Rider
08-06-2007, 07:24 PM
Because unorganized normal people aren't generally able to be used by the government to oppress citizens.

no, my point was that we're focusing too much on the "big bad government". The point of giving the people guns is to equalize the people with the establishment. Sort of a MAD theory of if anyone tries something they're both screwed. But what I was getting at was that the people who abuse the system, the people who take the bribes, pass the biased laws and break all the rules of good conduct, came from that mass of "normal citizens" that we're giving big guns to. So what I'm saying is that if you give X government guy power, and give Y normal guy power, what's to say that Y normal guy isn't the guy you have to worry about rising up, rallying the people, and doing horrible oppression?

Some of the most powerful dictators started as revolutionaries, just normal guys with friends and guns. We fear the government because we think "with power, comes corruption". If we are giving normal people that same power, WHY do we not fear their corruption?


That depends if you value stability or freedom. In dictatorial states, one of the first steps the rulers undertake upon assuming power is to confiscate weapons from the general public, in order to make overthrow less likely. After all, what generally happens when people without guns go up against people WITH guns?

Ahhhh, have you seen the movie "Men with Guns" too?
In any case, that wasn't my point, my point was that if the government is where people become corrupted, and guns give people the power to do bad things, but the government if made of people, then if nobody had guns, then nobody would use them corruptly. Obviously the logic doesn't work. But it's not much better than expecting the "normal guy" to do the right thing when given power over believing the government guy to do the wrong thing when given power.

Achilles
08-06-2007, 07:36 PM
So what I'm saying is that if you give X government guy power, and give Y normal guy power, what's to say that Y normal guy isn't the guy you have to worry about rising up, rallying the people, and doing horrible oppression? Who will be responsible for keeping track of the tally? Is that a position of power? Would that person or group of people be immune to corruption?

Some of the most powerful dictators started as revolutionaries, just normal guys with friends and guns. We fear the government because we think "with power, comes corruption". If we are giving normal people that same power, WHY do we not fear their corruption? Distribution of power. Which is potentially more dangerous: A great deal of power in the hands of a few or a great deal of power spread out into the hands of many?

Revolutionaries tend to be dangerous because the many abdicate their power to the few, resulting in the dictatorships you reference. It takes a great deal of wisdom to use power without abusing it.

But it's not much better than expecting the "normal guy" to do the right thing when given power over believing the government guy to do the wrong thing when given power. I don't think the framers blindly trusted the little guy to always do the right thing (heck, if they did, they wouldn't have wasted any time with establishing state or federal governments). I do think they recognized that if one guy went off the deep end, the hundred other guys around him could put him in check before things got out of control.

It all comes down to checks and balances. If the people are armed, then the government has checks in place. If the people aren't armed, then the people are relying on the goodwill of those in power not to subjugate them since they have no means to prevent such an action themselves.

Nancy Allen``
08-06-2007, 07:41 PM
Something that may be worth bearing in mind is that places such as Canada; where guns arn't as prevelent, and Japan have much lower crime rates.

Achilles
08-06-2007, 07:49 PM
I think Kavar's already has a gun control vs. crime rate thread going.

Nancy Allen``
08-06-2007, 07:54 PM
Right, funnily enough it's a related point. I'm not saying to give up the right to bear arms but maybe, just maybe, part of the problem lies in the cukture of fear where people think they have to be armed to the teeth.

Achilles
08-06-2007, 07:57 PM
I'm not grasping how that relates to the 2nd ammendment. Could you please reframe you argument so that I might see the relevance?

Nancy Allen``
08-06-2007, 08:13 PM
Thinking that by everyone having guns will take away the threat of them is to ignore the fact people use guns for murder, armed robbery, ect. A criminal shouldn't be allowed to have guns. Like freedom of speech the right to bear arms is not an ultimate right. For example you think Charles Manson will ever be allowed firearms again? OJ Simpson?

Web Rider
08-06-2007, 08:18 PM
Who will be responsible for keeping track of the tally? Is that a position of power? Would that person or group of people be immune to corruption?
What tally do you mean? For reference, nobody is immune to corruption. Some just take longer than others.

Distribution of power. Which is potentially more dangerous: A great deal of power in the hands of a few or a great deal of power spread out into the hands of many?
Dunno, that's like MAD, was it better than both the USSR and the US had all kinds of nukes, or would it have been better if only one of them did? If lots of people have guns, it's MAD, if one person has guns, well, it's easy control.

Revolutionaries tend to be dangerous because the many abdicate their power to the few, resulting in the dictatorships you reference. It takes a great deal of wisdom to use power without abusing it.
But that happens regardless of if they're revolutionaries, not to mention that they do so under the belief that those revolutionaries are usually fighting for them, and therefore it's safe to lay down their arms.

I don't think the framers blindly trusted the little guy to always do the right thing (heck, if they did, they wouldn't have wasted any time with establishing state or federal governments). I do think they recognized that if one guy went off the deep end, the hundred other guys around him could put him in check before things got out of control.
true, but if there's a 100 guys who all agree on something, and there's 99 guys who are neutral, and 90 guys in the government, those 99 other people COULD stop them, but then MAD comes into play again and then it all depends on who's willing to die for their cause.

It all comes down to checks and balances. If the people are armed, then the government has checks in place. If the people aren't armed, then the people are relying on the goodwill of those in power not to subjugate them since they have no means to prevent such an action themselves.
If the people are armed, the government and the people are balanced. But everyone is STILL relying on good will, or a simple unwillingness to die in order to keep stability. I mean, the world didn't go to hell during the Cold War because nobody wanted to die for their cause....nobody in either government anyway. If one side rose up, the other side would strike back, and both sides would be destroyed.

With, or without guns, you're still relying on people doing the right thing to keep the peace. I mean, there's nothing stopping the normal guy from allying with the government in order to oppress the people.

Achilles
08-06-2007, 08:29 PM
Thinking that by everyone having guns will take away the threat of them is to ignore the fact people use guns for murder, armed robbery, ect. I guess I missed the part where someone made that argument.

A criminal shouldn't be allowed to have guns. Like freedom of speech the right to bear arms is not an ultimate right. It sure seemed as though the framers thought of it as an inalienable right. I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment, but it would seem that there isn't a clear cut solution to the problem either.

For example you think Charles Manson will ever be allowed firearms again? OJ Simpson? Manson? No. Simpson? Yes.

Web Rider
08-06-2007, 08:42 PM
Something that may be worth bearing in mind is that places such as Canada; where guns arn't as prevelent, and Japan have much lower crime rates.

Japan also has a massive organize crime syndicate and near paramilitary surveillance of the civilian population. Not to mention that anyone who wants to kill finds perfectly lethal, non-gun ways to kill. Many homes even get annual government searches for guns since the non-police/military population usually isn't allowed to have them.

So, it's nice that crime is lower, but police state is bigger. Fair trade? The idea of people having guns was to prevent a police state/fascist government, ect...

Right, funnily enough it's a related point. I'm not saying to give up the right to bear arms but maybe, just maybe, part of the problem lies in the culture of fear where people think they have to be armed to the teeth.

There's nothing wrong with being armed. And a little bit of wariness of any organization with great power is a good thing to have. Blind faith is easily abused. Armed to the teeth shows perhaps an excess paranoia that is unhealthy. but such people who believe in such radical armaments are usually only a tiny percentage of the population....unless of course the government has proven that trusting them is unwise and thus great armament of the self is necessary.

Lets go to my MAD example. If the US and the USSR are toe-to-toe with each other, and neither is willing to die as long as the other is willing to shoot, at what point does it make good sense to lower your gun? If the government is willing to control, and the citizen has a desire to be free, at what point is it a good idea for the citizen to to lower their gun? Should not the one who wishes to oppress be the first to show good faith?

Thinking that by everyone having guns will take away the threat of them is to ignore the fact people use guns for murder, armed robbery, ect. A criminal shouldn't be allowed to have guns. Like freedom of speech the right to bear arms is not an ultimate right. For example you think Charles Manson will ever be allowed firearms again? OJ Simpson?
I don't recall anyone arguing that everyone having guns will take away the threat of them. I do recall people arguing that everyone having guns will take away the will to be quick to use them.

Of course people use guns for bad things, that's the entire point of giving citizens guns, so the good ones can defend themselves from the bad ones. Criminals will always be able to get guns(until guns no longer exist), so, why is it a good idea to prevent the good, law-abiding citizen from having guns, which are really the only thing an otherwise untrained person can use to defend themselves from another person with guns?

I don't know if it's just me, but the "Bill of Rights" seems to disagree with your assertion that freedom of speech and the right to bear arms are not inherent rights of the people. And for the record, I'll trust that document over any other source.

As for creepy murderers like Manson and OJ? Well, they are of course, the exception to the rule....not to mention OJ used a knife and a glove in the kitchen.

Nancy Allen``
08-06-2007, 11:26 PM
Going back to the topic of mutually assured destruction, the problem is that people such as Kennedy, Kruschev, Regan and Gorbachav were considered intelligent enough to be considered worthy of national leaders, and they had numerous top level advisors to guide them through the Cold War. The average person on the street doesn't know the first thing on how to react to the saber rattling that occured, the way they would react, rightfully so, when confronted with a gun would be to draw their own weapon and shoot in self defense. How many times would that have to happen in a society where everybody had guns before they got the message that having a free for all is not the answer? Thousands? Tens of thousands?

Also this bears repeating. Senior Constable Jessica Evan is with the Victoria Police in Geelong, and is looking at joining either the Special Operations Group or Criminal Investigation Bureau. I asked for her comments.

In the police force we are trained to do everything possible to preserve life, including drawing your service revolver\automatic and aiming it at the threat in the hope of being able to intimitate them into a state of nonagression and compliance. However we cannot save people from doing stupid things no matter how much we would like to, we can only do our level best to convince them not to, and in a situation where we believe our lives or the lives of others are in imminent danger then the procedure is to aim at the largest portion of the upper body, the head, the chest, and keep firing until the target is no longer a threat. This is because the first bullet does not always finish the job. Now every time a police firearm is discharged there is an inquiry into the shooting to judge whether or not it was justified. Every shooting has to be shown that it was the correct course of action, that's common sense. But as much as we dread the thought of having to use our weapon on a living thing if you refuse to do so because you worry about being moral, or you stress over being moral when you need to draw your firearm, then you are no good to anyone.

Achilles
08-06-2007, 11:32 PM
What tally do you mean? For reference, nobody is immune to corruption. Some just take longer than others. You made reference to a system where both gov't and civilians had the same number of guns. Someone would have to keep count, wouldn't they? Or am I not understand you correctly?

But that happens regardless of if they're revolutionaries, not to mention that they do so under the belief that those revolutionaries are usually fighting for them, and therefore it's safe to lay down their arms. I don't think that this applies to either the french revolution or the american revolution. No doubt that it has applied in many others, but I don't think we can safely say that it occurs in all of them.

If the people are armed, the government and the people are balanced. But everyone is STILL relying on good will, or a simple unwillingness to die in order to keep stability. I mean, the world didn't go to hell during the Cold War because nobody wanted to die for their cause....nobody in either government anyway. If one side rose up, the other side would strike back, and both sides would be destroyed.

With, or without guns, you're still relying on people doing the right thing to keep the peace. I mean, there's nothing stopping the normal guy from allying with the government in order to oppress the people. A lot of good points here, but what's the alternative?

Web Rider
08-06-2007, 11:50 PM
You made reference to a system where both gov't and civilians had the same number of guns. Someone would have to keep count, wouldn't they? Or am I not understand you correctly?
no no, I was just making a comparason using some random numbers. The idea is that everyone has guns but some people won't use theirs and such. Which upsets the "balance" between citizen and government

I don't think that this applies to either the french revolution or the american revolution. No doubt that it has applied in many others, but I don't think we can safely say that it occurs in all of them.
hence why I said "usually". Most modern revolutions have been by a guy who gets people's support and then becomes a dictator.

A lot of good points here, but what's the alternative?

Dunno, proof of good will? Or is that like asking for proof of God?


Going back to the topic of mutually assured destruction, the problem is that people such as Kennedy, Kruschev, Regan and Gorbachav were considered intelligent enough to be considered worthy of national leaders, and they had numerous top level advisors to guide them through the Cold War. The average person on the street doesn't know the first thing on how to react to the saber rattling that occured, the way they would react, rightfully so, when confronted with a gun would be to draw their own weapon and shoot in self defense. How many times would that have to happen in a society where everybody had guns before they got the message that having a free for all is not the answer? Thousands? Tens of thousands?

Well, we've had guns for quite a while and we're not all dead yet. So I think you're giving the average person too little credit. I don't consider all of them the brightest bulbs in the bunch, but I think most understand the basic concept of MAD, that if you've got a gun and he's got a gun, you could die, and most people don't want to die. I honestly don't think people want a "free for all", nor do I support the idea of everyone having ANY gun they want. But I don't think people in general, there are exceptions, want to go around shooting stuff up. They want to defend themselves from the 1/100000 people who DO want to shoot stuff up.

Also this bears repeating. Senior Constable Jessica Evan is with the Victoria Police in Geelong, and is looking at joining either the Special Operations Group or Criminal Investigation Bureau. I asked for her comments.

In the police force we are trained to do everything possible to preserve life, including drawing your service revolver\automatic and aiming it at the threat in the hope of being able to intimitate them into a state of nonagression and compliance. However we cannot save people from doing stupid things no matter how much we would like to, we can only do our level best to convince them not to, and in a situation where we believe our lives or the lives of others are in imminent danger then the procedure is to aim at the largest portion of the upper body, the head, the chest, and keep firing until the target is no longer a threat. This is because the first bullet does not always finish the job. Now every time a police firearm is discharged there is an inquiry into the shooting to judge whether or not it was justified. Every shooting has to be shown that it was the correct course of action, that's common sense. But as much as we dread the thought of having to use our weapon on a living thing if you refuse to do so because you worry about being moral, or you stress over being moral when you need to draw your firearm, then you are no good to anyone.

I'm not....entirely sure what you're trying to get at here....that guns are a good way of preventing more violence....but only when used by cops? That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. if it's the gun, then it shouldn't matter who uses it. If it's not the gun, then it's the cop.....and it's not because the cop has a gun, but because it's a cop telling you to stop.

Nancy Allen``
08-07-2007, 12:00 AM
The Wild West gives a good indication of what happens when everyone has a gun. Again, this isn't saying there shouldn't be a right to have guns but there needs to be some regulation.

What she's saying is that police are trained and disciplined in the use of firearms. Times the discipline the military has by a hundred and the discipline special police (SWAT) has by a thousand, keeping in mind that soldiers are trained to kill and police are trained to use force to prevent killing when at all possible, and it's pretty clear that the athorities that people demonise are maybe a little more necessary than first thought.

Web Rider
08-07-2007, 12:23 AM
The Wild West gives a good indication of what happens when everyone has a gun. Again, this isn't saying there shouldn't be a right to have guns but there needs to be some regulation.
Yes, the Wild West is a great example of people with guns, without controls. We've changed VASTLY from then, in many ways our youngest children are smarter than many "cowboys". So I don't think the Wild West is an accurate representation of what would happen in the modern world given most or all people had guns. Especially with laws regulating who can have a gun and where they can take it.

What she's saying is that police are trained and disciplined in the use of firearms. Times the discipline the military has by a hundred and the discipline special police (SWAT) has by a thousand, keeping in mind that soldiers are trained to kill and police are trained to use force to prevent killing when at all possible, and it's pretty clear that the authorities that people demonise are maybe a little more necessary than first thought.

As have many normal citizens. I'm sure that the citizen's training is nowhere near as rigorous and effective as a cop's or a military person's training, but the point is we're not simply handing out guns willy nilly. And most people with guns treat their guns with great respect, and there are exceptions, just as there are police and military who abuse their powers. My uncle is a shining example of abuse of power. Why is nothing done? Who knows.

But I haven't argued that police aren't necessary, what I have argued is that police and military are tools of the government to maintain control. It does not take a degree in history nor a masters in human nature to know that defenseless people are always taken advantage of by the strong. And in a world where might makes right(the government is powerful, this is why what is says goes), and guns=might, guns in the hands of civilians are necessary to prevent people who would abuse their power from taking advantage of those who don't, won't, or can't defend themselves.

Jae Onasi
08-07-2007, 02:40 AM
Moderator Mode....

Actually giving it some thought I think you're right. Every man woman and child should be given as many guns as they want to shoot each other with or see how they go taking down the police and military. If they're so determined to attack what they see as a corrupt organization let them give it their best shot.

Nancy, you need to mark humor as 'humor' or something. At face value this is off-topic at best and flippant at worst. Neither is respectful to the thread-starter. Quit doing that please and stay on topic. Off-topic posts will be deleted.


Wow, what a great way to totally not read anything I said and come out with: Everybody needs to go kill everyone else. It's not funny, it's not cute, it's not even sarcastic. It's RUDE. If you're not going to put forth an argument, don't be childish.
If you think I'm wrong, prove it with a counter argument, not some immature bull about everybody should have guns so they can fill their urge to kill everybody.

Web Rider, you're flame-baiting/flaming, particularly the 'don't be childish' comment. This is a friendly discussion forum. If you have issues with a post, take it to that person in a PM or report the post and the staff will address it. It doesn't matter how frustrated you are, you aren't allowed to jump on someone publicly. This is your warning--don't flame-bait/flame again please.

Nancy Allen``
08-07-2007, 09:06 AM
We've changed VASTLY from then, in many ways our youngest children are smarter than many "cowboys".

I would like to hope so. Given the way some people are without guns however you would have to be an absolute fool to let them anywhere near a firearm.

I'm sure that the citizen's training is nowhere near as rigorous and effective as a cop's or a military person's training, but the point is we're not simply handing out guns willy nilly.

That's exactly why there are people, special people, that we grant greater powers.

And most people with guns treat their guns with great respect, and there are exceptions, just as there are police and military who abuse their powers.

It's because of those exceptions, and there's more that may treat the weapon itself well but care nothing for human life than you might think, that there is to be gun regulation.

My uncle is a shining example of abuse of power. Why is nothing done? Who knows.

I cannot speak for your uncle but what should have happened was for there to be an investigation by Internal Affairs or Ethical Standereds. Why was nothing done? Possibly lack of evidence. I can't imagine how...disappointed you are about your uncle, understandably it would lead to a mistrust in the athorities. I can assure you however that such people by the nature of the job would be rare.

But I haven't argued that police aren't necessary, what I have argued is that police and military are tools of the government to maintain control.

Exactly, they're there to maintain control. Which is why, and I'm completely serious here, people who go off about them or gun laws should see what it's like with mob rule.

It does not take a degree in history nor a masters in human nature to know that defenseless people are always taken advantage of by the strong.

I understand your concern about the government using police, military to turn the country, the world, into something like Star Wars or V for Vendetta. Since I discussed what Constable Evan had to say, being both Australian and an Aboriginal, a prime example would be the 'stolen generation' when children were taken from their parents and something similar has been brought into place. A couple of things to keep in mind with this. One is that the police are not basically kept in a cage until the government uses them like the military is. They actively keep the peace, enforce the law, ect. The other thing is things such as Iraq were bad, to be sure, and soldiers went along with it. Were they ordered to do something such as slaughter an entire village that they knew was not the enemy I would give people in the armed forces enough credit to know that such an act was wrong and they wouldn't go through with it.

Web Rider
08-07-2007, 10:53 AM
I would like to hope so. Given the way some people are without guns however you would have to be an absolute fool to let them anywhere near a firearm.

That's exactly why there are people, special people, that we grant greater powers.
of course, if people have proven themselves to be capable, which is all police or military training does, is make one capable, of being more than just normally responsible around guns, then sure.

It's because of those exceptions, and there's more that may treat the weapon itself well but care nothing for human life than you might think, that there is to be gun regulation.
In such cases I would bring up the whole MAD thing again. They may have a short or long list of people they'd like to kill, but they're reasonable enough to not do so because they realize they'd probly die too, which isn't a very exciting prospect. I speak of course, ONLY for the US, outside of it, and many western countries, well....that's another debate.

I cannot speak for your uncle but what should have happened was for there to be an investigation by Internal Affairs or Ethical Standerds. Why was nothing done? Possibly lack of evidence. I can't imagine how...disappointed you are about your uncle, understandably it would lead to a mistrust in the authorities. I can assure you however that such people by the nature of the job would be rare.
As he tells it, he gets away with what he does, which is really only minor abuse, (but it only takes a spark to start a fire ya know?), because the other cops OK it. Like excessive speeding, he flashes his badge and he gets to go on his way. I don't think an internal investigation is warranted for all abuses. I think that what we need are other cop's who'd simply say "no" in such situations.

Exactly, they're there to maintain control. Which is why, and I'm completely serious here, people who go off about them or gun laws should see what it's like with mob rule.
I agree that they probly wouldn't like it. But we still need to keep "control" from becoming oppression, social change could accomplish this, but at a rate so slow, it's likly to get worse before it gets better.

I understand your concern about the government using police, military to turn the country, the world, into something like Star Wars or V for Vendetta. Since I discussed what Constable Evan had to say, being both Australian and an Aboriginal, a prime example would be the 'stolen generation' when children were taken from their parents and something similar has been brought into place. A couple of things to keep in mind with this. One is that the police are not basically kept in a cage until the government uses them like the military is. They actively keep the peace, enforce the law, ect. The other thing is things such as Iraq were bad, to be sure, and soldiers went along with it. Were they ordered to do something such as slaughter an entire village that they knew was not the enemy I would give people in the armed forces enough credit to know that such an act was wrong and they wouldn't go through with it.
I agree largely with what you're saying, though I think you strip some of the value of it by comparing it to Star Wars or V. The USSR is a good example, much of South America and Latin America, large portion of Africa and the Middle East are good examples of where "control" became oppression.