Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Egyptian Copt blogger sentenced for blasphemy

Yep
A court in Egypt had sentenced a blogger to three years in prison for blasphemy and contempt of religion. 
Alber Saber was arrested in September after neighbours accused him of posting links to a film mocking Islam that led to protests across the Muslim world.

There has been a proliferation of prosecutions for blasphemy in Egypt in the nearly two years since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown. Many of those targeted are Copts, who make up about 10% of the population.

Although blasphemy has long been a criminal offence, Article 44 of the draft constitution contains a specific article prohibiting insulting prophets.

Human rights activists have warned that it is inherently contradictory to Articles 43 and 45, which guarantee freedom of belief and freedom of thought and opinion. "Expect to see many more blasphemy prosecutions in the future now that it's embedded as a crime in the constitution," Heba Morayef, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times.
More info and links on this Facebook page and #FreeAlber on Twitter.

109 comments:

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.      said...

 
I'm curious.  Does anybody know?  Is prosecution for blasphemy available for ‘insults’ to the Coptic Christian faith, or does the Egyptian constitution limit it to irreverence expressed towards Islam and Islamic tenants and prophets?

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Are we going to take bets on the answer to that question?

It might be a good question to pose to Sandmonkey. He has just updated also. I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Several posts.  First he's updated since August.  I was beginning to wonder if he'd given it up.

Marcus said...

My best bet on that question would be that if it's answered in english before an international audience it's about protecting both religions from insults and mutual respect and sweetness and kumbaya. But if it's answered in arabic before a domestic audience that matters it's all about protecting Islam and the prophet from any insults.

That'd pretty much correspond not only to this specific question but to my overall view of the Muslim Brotherhood's role in the Arab spring.

Marcus said...

Oh

"it's all about protecting Islam and the prophet from any insults"

should read as:

"it's all about protecting Islam and the prophet from any insults, perceived insults, or other stuff you don't like and therefore choose to perceive as insults."

There.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Of all the strange ‘crimes’ that human beings have
      legislated of nothing, ‘blasphemy’ is the most
      amazing….
"
      R.A. Heinlein ―  The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Several posts. First he's updated since August. I was beginning to wonder if he'd given it up.

I was starting to wonder if he was in hiding.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

My best bet on that question would be that if it's answered in english before an international audience it's about protecting both religions from insults...

Sandmonkey made that point in one of his recent posts. Apparently Morsi & Co. don't think we have anyone who can understand their version of Arabic or is listening to what they tell their domestic audience.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Just a small change of subject, NASA has prepared a video to be shown on Dec. 22 to explain why the world didn't end on the 21st as so many people have been expecting. *sniff* They take all the fun out of a good apocalypse. Guess we can only rely on the disfunctional members of Congress.

Marcus said...

Lynnette: "Just a small change of subject, NASA has prepared a video to be shown on Dec. 22 to explain why the world didn't end on the 21st as so many people have been expecting."

Check this out Lynnette:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NL12Ad01.html

A small quote:

"The wife of a university professor in Nanjing, capital of wealthy Jiangsu province, rushed to mortgage an apartment worth 3 million yuan (US$482,000) for a loan of 1.04 million yuan, drew all her family savings from banks and borrowed some more money from colleagues. Altogether, she managed to collect some 2 million yuan in cash and was preparing to donate all of it to poor children to make them happy "for the last few days". "

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

They do say art imitates life. I was watching a TV show last night where one of the main characters sold everything and took an expensive vacation with her family. When the world didn't end she was left with nothing. Hopefully someone will intervene for this poor woman and let her know that while we may talk about the world ending, it is highly unlikely that it will happen. Or at least not on that date. One can't speak for future asteroids or sun spots or miscellaneous natural disasters, of course.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Back to Egypt. Sandmonkey was saying that supposedly that vote on the new constitution was to be this Saturday. But nothing has been organized. Personally I think they should just scrap the whole thing and start over.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Zeyad,

Silence is not always golden.

Hello?

Hello?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
I wonder if the blogger, Alber Saber, is going to raise the $100 and appeal his sentence.  I don't see any mention of an appeal on Google as of yet.  Anybody know?  (I find it hard to believe he doesn't have bus loads of people eager to pay his filing fee and bankroll his legal appeal.  If only to get some publicity for themselves from proximity to what must now be considered a high profile case.)

Zeyad said...

Hi Lynnette :)

Petes said...

"My best bet on that question would be that if it's answered in english before an international audience it's about protecting both religions from insults and mutual respect and sweetness and kumbaya."

The constitution doesn't protect religions from insults. It protects "messengers and prophets" from insult. You're not allowed to insult Muhammad, or presumably Jesus either. However, what constitutes "insult" will presumably be determined under Sharia law. Muslims don't generally insult Jesus since they accept him as a prophet. Christian beliefs about Jesus, on the other hand, could easily be interpreted as blasphemous under Islam. I'm not sure the constitution makes that much difference -- Coptic christians are de facto treated as second class citizens and sometimes persecuted in Egypt.

On other topics (including various freedoms and women's rights), the constitution is vague or self-contradictory in many areas.

Petes said...

I know it's no laughing matter, indeed it is heartbreaking. But I just saw "Governor" Mike Huckabee on Fox News explaining how, when he went to school, the cars in the school parking lot had gun racks, and guns on display. The fact that nobody ever got killed is proof, apparently, that you don't need a change in the gun laws, but a change in people's mindset.

Now, I'm not sure, but I'd bet a pound to a pinch of snuff that "Governor" Huckabee would be a strong proponent of disarming a nuclear Iran. I suppose he agrees that a change of mindset on the part of the Iranian regime would be nice. But in the absence of one, he knows they'd do a helluva lot less damage if deprived of nukes, were it to come to a showdown.

I don't suppose he would apply the same logic to private gun ownership. Maybe he doesn't think there are any American citizens as mad as Ahmadinejad.

RIP to all the victims at Sandy Hook.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "I don't suppose he would apply the same logic to
      private gun ownership.
"

Probably not.
Our Supreme Court has just recently settled a long standing ambiguity about the scope of the Second Amendment's grant of a constitutional ‘right to bear arms’.  They informed us that this was an individual right of each citizen.  (Subject to some as yet unspecified reasonable restrictions.  Fully automatic weapons and special weapons, e.g. machine guns and rocket launchers, may be generally outlawed for the general population, and felons and known crazies may be forbidden to have guns, but semi-automatics are a constitutional right for the general population.) 
I don't particularly object to the idea of gun control.  Nor do I believe that stricter controls than we now utilize are necessarily a bad thing across the spectrum.  I'm not afraid the feds are going to stomp on our rights to own guns.
However, given what we know about the mad gunman so far, I'm not sure what sort of legal restrictions might have stopped that massacre.  He was obviously crazy, but the guns he used were stolen from his mother (whom he killed, and who presumably was not crazy).  And, they were fairly common 9mm handguns.  Nothing special about them so far as has been reported as of yet.

Petes said...

Uh huh. The old "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument. Guns undeniably make the process more efficient. If Adam Lanza had been pointing his index finger at 20 elementary school kids, they would still be alive.

I find it extraordinarily easy to think of legal restrictions that could have been effective. They would start with a prohibition on suburban housewives owning gun collections, keeping them at home, and bringing their autistic children for marksmanship training. (And I'm not singling out housewives, or autistic children).

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Uh huh. The old ‘guns don't kill people, people kill
      people’ argument.
"

No, that is most definitely not the argument I was making.

      "They would start with a prohibition on suburban
      housewives owning gun collections…
"

Given our history with the British Crown, and given the Second Amendment having been adopted as a reaction to that British Crown, such a blanket prohibition is simply not an option.  That would be an illegal restriction.

      "…bringing their autistic children for marksmanship
      training…
"

I'm not aware of any good evidence that suggests autistic children are any more prone to murder, mass murder or even more simple single targeted murders, than is anybody else.  However, I'm open to being convinced that this is a reasonable addition to the categories of persons who should not exposed to guns.  Some evidence first would be good.  One anecdote does not make good evidence.

Petes said...

"Given our history with the British Crown, and given the Second Amendment having been adopted as a reaction to that British Crown, such a blanket prohibition is simply not an option. That would be an illegal restriction."

The constitution can be amended again, making such a restriction legal. I said it was easy to think of legal restrictions, not that it was likely that they would be introduced. I would say the chances of any change on foot of the latest massacre to be negligible. Americans (or, at least, those with the requisite influence over congress) have long ago decided that a high number of homicides and injuries from firearms is an acceptable price to pay for certain "freedoms".

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "The constitution can be amended again, making
      such a restriction legal.
"

A constitutional amendment would require approval of state legislatures from ¾ of the states (37 states).  Low-population rural states get an equal vote with high-population urban states.  Alaska and North Dakota count equally with California and New York.  (Romney won 24 states.)    Ain't gonna be no constitutional amendment pass which forbids people having guns in their homes, not in my lifetime.
I see no point in further debating the merits of such a practically impossible proposal simply because it's hypothetically possible in an imaginary world.

Petes said...

Fine by me. Didn't invite y'all to debate it in the first place, and indeed would much prefer if y'all chose not to respond to anything I wrote. Can't keep a good troll down, though.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "… and indeed would much prefer if y'all chose
      not to respond to anything I wrote.
"

My response to your speculations on American politics was quite short.  ‘Probably not’.  And you managed to not get sucked into an argument with it.

Not my fault that you choose to take issue with my comments on the subject.

(And, if you want to speculate without being corrected in the future, you might want to consider limiting yourself to Irish weather patterns and not go speculating on American politics in the first place.)

Petes said...

Nope, not takin' issue. The only thing I speculated on was Huckabee's state of mind - I know what his politics are. I'm well aware that gun control is a political issue, and equally aware of y'all's own opinion of yourself as an expert in that area. And of course, I'm well aware that any interaction with y'all's self incurs the penalty of bein' trolled, so that wasn't unexpected either.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Hi Lynnette :)

Hmmm...well, I suppose it's better than nothing. :)

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

RIP to all the victims at Sandy Hook.

Yes. A terrible tragedy for all those families. My heart goes out to them and all the people who were at the school.



   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
        "Nope, not takin' issue. The only thing I
        speculated on was…
"

I do believe I'll decline the invitation to argue the semantics of it with you.  Nice try, but I'm not gonna bite.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

The old "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument.

Well, technically speaking it is true. A gun is an inert object with no conscience will of its own.

The United States has always had a love affair with guns. To totally eliminate them would be impossible. Just like you will not be able to eliminate the crazies like Adam Lanza. For sure there was some mental issue involved there.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Note for Lynnette,

Our neo-cons have decided to try to make their case on torture with Hollywood histories  They offer us ‘The Lessonsof “Zero-dark-Thirty”’.  Sad part is the guy's serious.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "For sure there was some mental issue involved there."

Autism does not provide its victims with an immunity to insanity.

Petes said...

[Troll]: "Nice try, but I'm not gonna bite."

Thank heaven for small mercies.

Petes said...

[Lynnette]: "A gun is an inert object with no conscience will of its own."

And of course, the gun bears no culpability. But that does not mean the aphorism about guns not killing people is correct. To use the old language of philosophy, the gun is a proximate cause, the perpetrator's intent and actions are the ultimate causes. The bottom line is that if the gun wasn't there the homicides wouldn't have happened in the same number or perhaps at all.

"The United States has always had a love affair with guns. To totally eliminate them would be impossible."

That sounds like the voice of resignation, which I can understand. Looking from the outside, though, the current US situation seems pretty outrageous. On the few ocasions that I visited Northern Ireland during the "Troubles" there, I remember being shocked at the ever-presence of weapons there -- soldiers with rifles, police with machine guns (and, of course, paramilitaries with guns, but not usually as ostentatiously as the security services). People living there seemed inured -- it was hard to convince them that it was abnormal.

Personally, I've never been up close to a gun, never fired one and never seen one fired. If I ever go nuts and decide to kill a bunch of people, at least I won't have access to a gun, wouldn't know how to get access, and probably couldn't use one even if I did. As you say, there'll always be Adam Lanzas, but if he had the same exposure and access to guns as me, Sandy Hook wouldn't be mourning dozens of dead.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "I won't have access to a gun, wouldn't know how
      to get access, and probably couldn't use one…
"

That's clearly a function of your aversion to guns.  If he had been similarly averse there'd probably not be 27 other people dead.  But, he wasn't. 
We've outlawed marijuana over here.  I'm fairly certain a lot of people don't have access to pot and don't know how to get access to pot.  Lot of people got pot though.

Petes said...

I notice that many things seem clear to you that have no correspondence with reality. Not takin' you up on it, nor even directin' this comment at you, just want other folks not to be misled ... so feel free to not respond.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Givin’ directions?  Director Pete.
How's that role been workin’ out for ya? 
That's a rhetorical question (in case you have trouble recognizing it as such).

Marcus said...

"If you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, you'll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. Do you think it's because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it's because those guys have gun control laws?"

—Aaron Sorkin, Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler, The West Wing

(Can those numbers be correct? I don't know but they likely are.)

Marcus said...

Lee: " They offer us ‘The Lessons of “Zero-dark-Thirty”’. Sad part is the guy's serious."

He might be serious but does he believe it when he says waterboarding isn't torture? I think he knows damn well it is torture.

He even useds Christopher Hitchens as an example of people going through it volontarily so it can't be torture. We know how that went. Hitchens was waterboarded in a friendly environment, reassured by his "interrogators" they would quit at any time he chose, given a safety handle to abort it. Still he broke after seconds, did a 180 on his previous position and called it torture. The clip is almost funny when you consider his cockiness before the episode.

To then use the Hitchens episode as evidence that waterboarding isn't torture is pretty rich.

And later he does acknowledge a terrorist suspect was "broken" by it. Still it's not torture though, he maintains. I think he knows that it is one of the worst and most effective methods of torture available, but he wants it to be used so he's in full denial mode about it.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Do you think it's because Americans are more
      homicidal by nature?
"

We'd probably need to compare actual murder rates before answering that question.  "Gun deaths" would be a misleading statistic if the overall murder rate is comparable.  Getting poisoned, stabbed or bludgeoned to death results in the victim being just as dead as getting shot.

      "He might be serious but does he believe it when
      he says waterboarding isn't torture?
"

Hard to say.  Between ‘Obama's a Muslim’, the Birthers, the Global Warming Conspiracy theorists, supply-side economics, etc., some of these people profess to believe some seriously weird things.  We've got a whole political movement built on maintaining ‘full denial mode’ in public.  It's often difficult to tell who's buying into it and who's just selling.

Petes said...

Marcus, you're quoting statistics from The West Wing?? :-)

No, the disparity isn't that high, but yes, the United States is more homicidal -- more than four times as homicidal as most of western Europe, varying from 3.5 times higher in non-metropolitan areas, to 6 times higher in metropolitan areas, to 12 times higher in cities of over a quarter of a million people.

Gun-related deaths are many multiples higher than in Europe. Guns by far outnumber all other methods of homicide put together, even more so in multiple homicides, and handguns are by far the most common type of gun used in homicide (which makes a nonsense of the figleaf they've had before, of controls on automatic rifles).

By comparison to countries with restrictive hand gun laws the US has, for example 40 times more gun homicides than the United Kingdom, and 150 times as many as Germany. It is even 10 times more than Switzerland, a country with one of the highest gun ownnership rates in the world.

A hundred thousand people are shot in the US every year, of which somewhat less than a third die. Half the deaths are suicides.

But hey! Guns don't kill people, people kill people, right?


(Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Petes said...

A stat trotted out on the news the other night -- there are more guns than people in the US; 500,000 guns are stolen every year.

Marcus said...

Pete

"Marcus, you're quoting statistics from The West Wing?? :-)"

I wasn't saying it was the truth, but that I believed there must be some truth to it.

Pete: "No, the disparity isn't that high, but yes, the United States is more homicidal -- more than four times as homicidal as most of western Europe, varying from 3.5 times higher in non-metropolitan areas, to 6 times higher in metropolitan areas, to 12 times higher in cities of over a quarter of a million people."

That's quite a large difference. Would you say the easy access to handguns is a main reason, or are there social reasons behind maybe? Or a combination? (I'd go for a combination if I had to guess)

Pete: "Guns by far outnumber all other methods of homicide put together, even more so in multiple homicides"

Of course. If you have a gun and plan to murder someone you use it. You don't go get a knife instead.

Also, I believe it could possibly be "easier" to shoot someone than to stab someone to death. And not only because one would be lesss likely to face resistance, but it just seems like it would take more rage and more coldbloodedness to murder with a knife. The threshold for committing murder could be lower if you have access to firearms, I believe.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "(which makes a nonsense of the figleaf they've
      had before, of controls on automatic rifles)
"

Actually, no.  The ban on assault weapons (and high capacity magazines) is supposed to effect the high profile mass murders such as the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut.  It's not intended to solve the problem of wifey poppin’ hubby for sleepin’ around, or vice-versa. 

(And then there was the North Hollywood, California bank robbery of several years back (imitated again in 2009) in which the robbers seriously out-gunned the responding police.)

Marcus said...

@Lee, Lynnette

My feeling is that most Americans, if they put ideology aside and discussed it reasonably, would agree that the rights to own firearms granted by the Second Amendment will inevitably lead to more homocides by guns. Of course in a country awash with handguns there will be more shootings. If you were to deny that I believe you're willfully letting ideology blind you, and I believe most Americans would agree.

But my feeling is also that a clear majority, not just among politicians but also among the general public, would be against changes to the Second Amendment. Possibly stricter rules and a ban on assault rifles would get support of the majority, but not any drastic changes to the constitution.

But my feeeling is that although americans, who are honest, would agree that lax gun control will lead to more homicides they are prepared to pay that price for the rights granted by the Second Amendment. And that the main issue most people would like to debate is how to avoid these henious mass-killings without restricting the rights law abiding citizens have to own handguns.

Am I right about that? Or am I close to the truth? Or am I mistaken and if so why?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Possibly stricter rules and a ban on assault rifles
      would get support of the majority, but not any drastic
      changes to the constitution.
"

I will repeat: 

      "A constitutional amendment would require approval of
      state legislatures from ¾ of the states
(37 states)
      Low-population rural states get an equal vote with
      high-population urban states. Alaska and North
      Dakota count equally with California and New York.
     
(Romney won 24 states.) Ain't gonna be no
      constitutional amendment pass which forbids people
      having guns in their homes, not in my lifetime.
"
      Lee C. @ 9:55 AM, supra

I was expecting our homicide rate to be about double Europe's, just a guess without looking.  Wasn't quite expecting it to be near four times higher, but I'm not shocked.
I think they may be able to pass the assault weapons ban again.  It passed once before on one of those ‘reconciliation’ votes, which means it expired after 10 years--and it expired several years ago (2004 off the top of my head).

Marcus said...

I guess there's a difference in the mindset when it comes to Americans and Europeans. I think individual rights are more valued in America compared the the "greater good" than here in Europe.

I see the same difference applied in the penal system. In the US the focus seems to be more on the penalty fitting the crime (sort of like "eye for an eye-light") and on the victim of the crime getting a fitting retribution applied to the criminal by the court.

In Europe, at least in Sweden, the focus is to a great degree on rehabilitation of the criminal with little focus on the victim. The crime committed is something regrettable that's already done and the focus now is to make sure it doesn't happen again. Sometimes this leads to cuddling of hardened criminals that seems outrageous to the public. But supposedly it's for a greater good. Not everyone buys that approach though.

Marcus said...

Lee: "I was expecting our homicide rate to be about double Europe's, just a guess without looking."

But would you agree that's a price Americans by and large accept to pay for the rights granted by the Second Amendment?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "But would you agree that's a price Americans by
      and large accept to pay for the rights granted by the
      Second Amendment?
"

Not so much.  Most Americans wouldn't have thought about it to begin with (outside the cities anyway).  The right-wingers have any number of convenient fictions to avoid the idea that they're ‘accepting consequences’.  Strong liberals would likely go for the amendment to the constitution, but there's not ‘nuff of them to ever pull that off.

Marcus said...

OK, I didn't see it that way. But you should of course be more in tune with what the average American thinks so I'll not argue.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "I didn't see it that way."

Well, to expand on that then…  Joe Sixpack hears of his neighbor getting shot by irate wifey.  Joe thinks that neighbor brought it on himself.  Should have kept the affair hidden, or the gun hidden, or at least kept it unloaded in case wifey found out ‘bout the affair.  And besides Wifey Sixpack would never shoot Joe.  That's a problem for those nervous, twitchy people, but it's never gonna happen to Joe; Wifey Sixpack wouldn't shoot Joe.  Lot of that sort of stuff goes on.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Any reasonable definition of torture must exclude procedures that sane people would undergo on a lark. From Lee's link

And he assumes these people are completely sane, why?

I think it wise to evaluate our past actions. But I would also warn those who would point fingers to also look closer at other administration's actions. I would not give Clinton a pass.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Petes,

The bottom line is that if the gun wasn't there the homicides wouldn't have happened in the same number or perhaps at all.

From accounts I have read he used a semi-automatic weapon. I am of the opinion that anything that is semi-automatic should be illegal. There is no good reason for a private citizen to need such a weapon. When the amendment to our constitution was written those weapons did not exist. It is time for an update. It would not only help to prevent large mass killings of innocent people but also go a long way to protecting our law enforcement people.

Personally, I've never been up close to a gun, never fired one and never seen one fired.

I took a gun class when I was about 13. It was more a safety class with some instructions on shooting. Basically I took it to accompany a friend who had a bit of a crush on a guy who liked to trap shoot. :) I have not handled a gun since then. I know people who hunt, though. And that really is the main reason I would not ban all guns.

If I ever go nuts and decide to kill a bunch of people, at least I won't have access to a gun, wouldn't know how to get access, and probably couldn't use one even if I did.

If you were that crazy, Pete, you would find another way. That will always be a problem, with or without guns. Learning how to handle a gun and taking target practice is far removed from actually killing another human being.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[Lee] We've outlawed marijuana over here.

Actually that's outdated. I believe a couple of states made it legal in the last election.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[Marcus] the main issue most people would like to debate is how to avoid these henious mass-killings without restricting the rights law abiding citizens have to own handguns.

I think you are correct. The people I know who own guns use them more for sport(hunting). But there are also those who really would like to carry a concealed weapon for protection. I know of a judge who has requested that he be allowed to carry a gun in court because of a previous domestic case he handled. These are all responsible people who do not want to be penalized for the actions of the crazies of the world.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "I believe a couple of states made it legal in the
      last election.
"

Used to be ‘legal’ in Alaska too.  Up to five plants per person over 21 years old, as I recall.  Or maybe it was five plants per household, one member of which had to be over 21.  They repealed that in a flurry of right-winger righteousness couple years back.
Feds never did accept it though.  It's still illegal under federal law, and the feds are constantly screwin’ with the California 'medical’ suppliers.  We've yet to see what actually comes of Washington and Colorado's attempts to legalize it.

Marcus said...

My experience with guns in the following:

Most Swedes (males) my age or older did mandatory military service. I wated to do it but it was being downsized then and I never got the chance. So my experence with guns is firing a clip from an AK47 in Vietnam on a holiday n 2007. Those are the only shots I have ever fired. Still I managed to "kill" the tagret with about half of my shots fired, even though fired on fully automatic. Killing with a firearm is very easy.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Killing with a firearm is very easy."

That's like saying that pounding with a hammer is very easy.  That's the whole point of the thing.

Petes said...

"If you were that crazy, Pete, you would find another way. That will always be a problem, with or without guns. Learning how to handle a gun and taking target practice is far removed from actually killing another human being."

I very much disagree Lynnette. What other way would I find that is nearly so lethal and doesn't risk being overpowered, even by a bunch of desperate female teachers? I am discounting bombs and weapons of mass destruction, because in instances like the one at hand, it is presumed that the perpetrator wants to be up close to his victims and inflict personal pain. It's not like a McVeigh who is more concerned with damaging the infrastructure of the faceless State, even though McVeigh killed as many children as Adam Lanza -- they were unintended "collateral damage" in his own words. So, no, if I want to get up close and personal to lots of victims -- but not too close -- a firearm is the weapon par excellence.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "…it is presumed that the perpetrator wants to be
      up close to his victims and inflict personal pain.
"

I don't think that was true of Lanza.  I've heard on NBC that he was ‘indifferent’ to pain, to physical pain as well as being generally indifferent to other people's opinions.  I'd go into more detail, but you're likely to resist the explanation just ‘cause it's me making the point.  So, just keep an open mind on the subject as more info becomes available.

I think he was probably suicidal, and this was little more than a grandly staged suicide to him.  That'd be my best guess at this point.

Marcus said...

Pete: "I am discounting bombs and weapons of mass destruction, because in instances like the one at hand, it is presumed that the perpetrator wants to be up close to his victims and inflict personal pain."

I bet there would be more homocide by bombs if suicide bomb belts were protected by the constitution and anyone was allowed to own one. You know, in case the Brits came back.

Then when a bunch of kids got blown up instead of shot some people could say: suicide bomb belts don't kill people, people kill people.

Marcus said...

If you're gonna do something you might as well put some effort into it. Like if you're decorating your house for Christmas:

http://www.flixxy.com/best-christmas-lights-display.htm?utm_expid=1298512-10&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fdu101w.dub101.mail.live.com%2Fdefault.aspx%3Frru%3Dinbox

Petes said...

[Troll]: "I've heard on NBC that he was ‘indifferent’ to pain, to physical pain as well as being generally indifferent to other people's opinions. I'd go into more detail, but you're likely to resist the explanation just ‘cause it's me making the point."

I've read that too. I'm likely to resist the explanation because it's not an explanation. (May well be an explanation for some entirely different point that you wished I'd made so you could take issue with it, as is yer wont). Like I said, Lanza had a desire to inflict pain in a way that would not have been satisfied by shootin' at inanimate objects or breakin' up the furniture. Otherwise he would've had no cause to leave his house on Friday.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "May well be an explanation for some entirely
      different point that you wished I'd made so you could
      take issue with it, as is yer wont.
"

So, you're gonna find that argument anyway, okay then…
I got your point; I just think you're flat-assed wrong, bound up by your moralizing nature probably, and unable to think outside of your own box.
Virginia Tech; Aurora, Colorado, the cinema shootings; this one…  Each of those shooters dressed for their performance, black being the preferred, dramatic color.  Targets were selected by random chance, whomever just happened to be in the chosen, target-rich hunting ground.
These shootings were all about them, not about their targets; this was all about him, all about Lanza.

Petes said...

[Marcus]: "I bet there would be more homocide by bombs if suicide bomb belts were protected by the constitution and anyone was allowed to own one. You know, in case the Brits came back."

Heh. I've no doubt you're right Marcus. Except it's not in case the Brits come back. It's in case Barack Obama, the foreign born Muslim, sends federal agents to take their guns away. Gotta protect their god-given freedoms. BOOYAH!!

Petes said...

[Troll]: "These shootings were all about them, not about their targets; this was all about him, all about Lanza."

And, as usual, this argument is all about you, and about you bein' argumentative, and entirely orthogonal to my point. Lanza's mother's crockery cabinet was a "target rich environment". I don't intend to be drawn into your diversionary semantics any further than that.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Lanza put up to eleven rounds in some of those targets.  He was shooting at inanimate objects.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      " Otherwise he would've had no cause to leave his
      house on Friday.
"

He'd not have become world famous for shooting up his mother's crockery.  That wouldn't have been a world-class performance.

Petes said...

Troll has now takin' to actually supportin' my point.

Petes said...

Yep, typo.

Marcus said...

Lee:

"That's like saying that pounding with a hammer is very easy. That's the whole point of the thing."

I know it is. But this is also why "guns don't kill people - people kill people" is an invalid argument (not that you've claimed otherwise but some do). If someone has "flipped" and is going on a rampage he will of course be able to kill more people if he's got access to a tool which purpose is to make killing easy.

We've had episodes where nuts here went on a rampage with iron bars, or knives, or other less deadly objects than guns maiming random people. If they had had easy access to handguns it stands to reason they would have rather used a firearm and it stands to reason the outcome could, and probably would, have been far worse. So, if they had had guns, more people would have died.

Then there's the argument that even if gun ownership was more restricted criminals and nutjobs who intended to harm people would be precisely the ones who got armed up. That's not necessarily true in every case though, is it?

The Columbine killers would fall into the cathegory that would probably have armed themselves even if guns were more restricted. They planned their murders even to the point of getting explosives. They would have been getting guns eenn if it took more of an effort to get the. Breivik in Norway is another example of this - planned his massacre and got the rifle and handgun even though it took time and effort to be able to do so.

This latest nut though seems to have been acting more on impulse (if we're buying the story that he got into an argument in the school the day before). He didn't have much time to prepare but took the weapons that were at hand. Had he not had access to guns you could speculate that he would have used a knife maybe. Far less people would have been killed then.

I know there's "speculate" and "maybe" in my reasoning but you see the point. Perpetrators acting on impulse will use the most deadly thing they can get their hands on in the moment. If that's not a gun it'll be some less dangerous tool. So the more widespread guns are the more deadly shootings you'll get. I believe that's the only honest conclusion. And, agreeing with that, those who are in favour of lax gun ownership laws should at least be honest enough to admit it comes with a price.

Petes said...

Marcus, all that is as plain as the nose on your face, but I very much doubt that you will find everyone is honest enough to admit it. I base this on two days of watching Americans on British and American TV coming up with some pretty outlandish justifications for why they have to keep their guns.

(You gotta love the out and out paranoid delusional types who think the Feds/Commies/Globalists are coming to take their guns).

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Lot of stuff in that 10:58 AM posting.  Addressing just some of it; no doubt I'll miss a point I should answer…

      "Then there's the argument that even if gun owner-
      ship was more restricted…
etc.  That's not necess-
      arily true in every case though, is it? 
[Caveat]
      Breivik in Norway is another example of this .
"

You seem to have that one analyzed pretty well.  Garden variety ‘criminals and nutjobs’ get guns into New York City because it's only a few hours away at most to a jurisdiction where the rules of acquisition are more lax.  This tends to argue for uniform federal laws rather than against them, but no gun laws will stop all gun violence; eventually somebody will be dedicated and persistent enough.

      "This latest nut though seems to have been acting
      more on impulse (if we're buying the story that he got
      into an argument in the school the day before)
"

That report seems dubious at best.  Most credible news organizations have avoided it after the first rumor spread.  (And Lanza's destruction of his computer's hard drive seems to indicate non-impulse planning.)  I'm pretty much dismissing that report at this time.

      "So the more widespread guns are the more deadly
      shootings you'll get.
"

Quite logical, and certainly seems to be born out by the evidence available.

      "And, agreeing with that, those who are in favour of
      lax gun ownership laws should at least be honest
      enough to admit it comes with a price.
"

I believe I mentioned the right-winger's habit of adopting convenient fictions, did I not?  The official National Rifle Association dogma (swallowed whole by most of the dedicated right-wingers) is that the problem is too few guns!  They say the criminals and nutjobs would be chastened and deterred if enough people were packin’ pistols under their jackets and had derringers up their sleeves.  (Although, they do correctly notice that home invasions, that is breaking and entering or burglaries committed when the owner is at home, occurr at a much lower here than in Europe.  Our burglars are rather more averse to being confronted by an armed homeowner than being interrupted by the police.  They do strongly tend to look for unoccupied dwellings to burgle.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
    "…occur at a much lower rate here than in Europe."

Marcus said...

^can't find anything I disagree with there. Seems we come to the same conclusions.

So, to get this going further and maybe get an argument going: what's your stance on gun ownership Lee? (and please do elaborate more than just saying more, less, or good as it is)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "what's your stance on gun ownership Lee?"

I own guns.  Plural.  Home defense weapon of choice is short-barreled 12 gauge Remington 870.  Commonly known as a scattergun.  Number 2 buckshot preferred, but #4 is a generally adequate substitute and much easier to find; double 00 is most people's preference, but they're succumbing to the myth and mystique mostly.  Dime loads are not practical these days, since they switched from silver dimes to the light metals.  Silver dimes are too hard to find and too expensive to justify using as shot.  The benefits don't justify the trouble and cost. 

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[Marcus] Killing with a firearm is very easy.

Only if you find killing easy.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Post Script:

And, it's virtually impossible to find the old-style paper and wadding shotgun shells to load.  The new stuff with the plastic cup and collapsible wadding are not amenable to making dime loads.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[Petes] I am discounting bombs and weapons of mass destruction, because in instances like the one at hand, it is presumed that the perpetrator wants to be up close to his victims and inflict personal pain.

I can't say what the man's motive was in this incident. And really, until, or if, that is ever known I don't know that we can really say what he would have done if there were no guns close by. He talked about bombs when he was younger, according to a classmate. One odd thing I read about him, was that he could not feel physical pain. From that point of view he could have no idea of the pain he was inflicting on his victims. And given his emotional detachment due to his form of autism it seems questionable that he could have known the kind of emotional pain he was inflicting on the families of those killed and those in the school itself. As one of the investigators said this is a more complicated case than others in the past.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

*sigh*

Should have read further before I commented. I see Lee beat me to those points already.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[PeteS] Like I said, Lanza had a desire to inflict pain in a way that would not have been satisfied by shootin' at inanimate objects or breakin' up the furniture. Otherwise he would've had no cause to leave his house on Friday.

I can think of one other reason. But it would mean he was seriously screwed up mentally. And might possibly have something to do with his relationship with his mother. But I am no psychologist, so I will not speculate further on that tangent.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

No time to finish the comments. Gotta run.

Petes said...

[Lynnette]: "One odd thing I read about him, was that he could not feel physical pain. From that point of view he could have no idea of the pain he was inflicting on his victims. And given his emotional detachment due to his form of autism it seems questionable that he could have known the kind of emotional pain he was inflicting on the families of those killed and those in the school itself."

Again, I don't buy it. Yes, there is a reported (but not yet substantiated) connection between inability to feel physical pain and empathy for others. That doesn't on its own imply that he had no sense of what he was doing, of its rightness or wrongness, or that it inflicted pain. What we know is that he deliberately chose to target a school, and it is a reasonable inference that this satisfied some urge. Whether it was an urge to achieve infamy, to inflict pain, or something else, is immaterial to whether he would have had less success without a gun. But the scant amount of expert opinion is that young school shooters tend to have a history of depression, despondency and resentment, and often fantasise about committing violence. So I stand by my opinion that his motive was to inflict pain, although it doesn't matter that much to my main point.

Interestingly, that journal article also refers to elementary school attacks in China, and it turns out that there was one on the very same day as Sandy Hook. So can we get an idea of the lethality of attacks with a range of weapons in similar situations -- elementary school knife attack in Chenping: 22 children injured, no life-threatening injuries, attacker arrested; elementary school knife attack in Nanping, 8 killed, five injured, attacker subdued by public; primary school in Fujian, 16 students injured in knife attack; kindergarten in Shaanxi, seven children and two adults killed with a meat cleaver; kindergarten in Shandong, three children and teacher killed in knife attack; elementary school in Henan Province, child and three adults killed with an axe; childcare centre in Shanghai, 8 children injured with box cutter; (Source: article + wikipedia). Unpleasant stuff, but it does seem less lethal on average than attacks with firearms, as one might expect.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "So I stand by my opinion that his motive was to
      inflict pain, although it doesn't matter that much to
      my main point.
"

It matters to people who have a more practical and less absolutist, less ideological, less self-righteous interest in the subject.  Given that we will not be outlawing general personal ownership of guns (at least not in home), then the important questions revolve around what controls short of that might be beneficial to society.

Petes said...

LOL. What time do you go back under your bridge for the night?

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
I'm actually just waiting to see if Lynnette let's you get away with your claim to a new-found ‘main point’, or if she calls you on it.  But, if you're gonna have a new ‘main point’ now, I figured it was good to note it's marginal relevance before you got too wired up into it.  Maybe save us from a more prolonged fussin’ ‘bout it later.

Petes said...

Figured y'all were itchin' to make some kinda point. Figure y'all've been sufferin' withdrawal symptoms for lack of Jesuitical parsing opportunities. Jesuitical parsing and prolonged fussin' -- troll heaven. Have fun with that.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Figured y'all were itchin' to make some kinda
      point.
"

Well, ya figured wrong, again.  Just as I wrote, I'm just waiting to see if Lynnette calls ya on it.  If she lets it slide, I'm sure gonna.

Petes said...

So y'all brought it up just so as to point out that y'all's gonna let it slide? And y'all ain't itchin' to make a point? Damn fine piece of trollery there. :-)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "So y'all brought it up just so as to point out that
      y'all's gonna let it slide?
"

Not payin’ attention, are ya fat boy?  I brought it up to point out that it was of marginal relevance at best, figurin’ thus to avoid that ‘jesuitical parsing and prolonged fussin' ’ you threatened us with.  Figured to head that off before you got it started.

(You're reachin’ now.  I'm beginning to think your compulsion to get in the last word has kicked in.  I will oblige you.  Unless you up your game, get creative, get inspired, do something interesting, then you get the last word, whether or not you're ready to give it up.  But, when you resort to repeating ‘troll, troll’ over and over again, pretty much means you're runnin’ outta stuff.  So, last word is yours…  Go for it now.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Re:  American politics (not gun massacre related) 
N.B.  Lynnette,

Time magazine's Person-of-the-Year, Barack Hussein Obama.  This is not gonna sit well among some on ‘The Right’.  It may even complicate the current ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations as some legislators decide to, more or less, resist anything that Obama might want or that might be spun as beneficial to Obama's image.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[PeteS] I base this on two days of watching Americans on British and American TV coming up with some pretty outlandish justifications for why they have to keep their guns.

You may want to look a little further. From what I am seeing a lot of Americans are deeply concerned with what happened at Sandy Hook and are quite willing to see the forms of weapons Lanza used banned.

We are seeing teachers unions putting pressure on their investment administrators to divest themselves of investments in companies who manufacture assault weapons. I suspect a lot of people feel as I do, that these types of weapons are not something a private citizen needs to own and do far more harm than good. We will see what the politicians do, if anything.

Now, what was that point thingy again? I'll have to scroll back up and look.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[PeteS] Yes, there is a reported (but not yet substantiated) connection between inability to feel physical pain and empathy for others.

They do not have to be connected. They could be separate disorders from which he suffered. Just like various forms of mental illness and autism.

What we know is that he deliberately chose to target a school, and it is a reasonable inference that this satisfied some urge.

I will agree with you there. But what we know is so little that it would be hard to determine motive at this time.

Why did he choose this elementary school? From what we know he didn't have a connection to it. His mother didn't work there as first reported.

Everyone who knew him said he was smart. He destroyed his computers. Given that I don't feel it was random or on impulse. He deliberately chose to kill some of the most innocent of people. Why?

Whether it was an urge to achieve infamy, to inflict pain, or something else, is immaterial to whether he would have had less success without a gun.

Ahh, yes, the point you were making. I agree that the weapons he chose allowed him to kill far more people than if he had chosen a knife, yes. But not knowing his motive I am not so sure he would not simply have found another more lethal method.

I also don't think that making all guns illegal is an answer. Because it is unfairly penalizing those who don't kill innocent people. I feel everyone has a right to protect his/her home. I think restricting the types of guns available would help, though, yes.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

[PeteS] seven children and two adults killed with a meat cleaver; kindergarten in Shandong, three children and teacher killed in knife attack; elementary school in Henan Province, child and three adults killed with an axe;

Gruesome and horrible that. Those poor children.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "I suspect a lot of people feel as I do, that these
      types of weapons are not something a private citizen
      needs to own and do far more harm than good.
"

They've got to ban the high-capacity magazines.  For instance:  This comparatively innocuous looking semi-automatic uses the exact same ammo as the wicked looking Bushmaster that Lanza used.  It comes standard with a 5 round magazine.  But put a 50-100 round magazine on it, and you've got yourself a massacre gun.
It's 38" in length and 7 pounds without ammo.  Lanza's gun was 35" long and weighed in at over six pounds.  Those differences are not significant, and mostly represent the weight of the wooden stock and forearm.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

I tried that link, Lee, but just got a blank screen. I don't know if it was the link or if it is my internet security. We have had problems with it causing slowdown issues.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

They've got to ban the high-capacity magazines.

That and perhaps the types of ammunition? I read he used some of the more lethal types of bullets designed to cause the most internal damage.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Try this one then.  Click on image for the larger, clearer view of the gun.
Or copy and paste:  http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/14301

And, yeah, I'd go for reasonable controls on types of ammo too.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Why did he choose this elementary school?"

Theory, speculation:  He knew where it was; it was close to hand.  It had plentiful targets.  The targets were relatively non-threatening (perhaps a critical selling point to a young man with borderline autism.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
Re: American politics (not massacre related)

Boehner has indicated he's gonna try to go for a fall-back position, a ‘Plan B’ which intentionally takes us over the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’, the automatic spending sequesters and automatic tax increases.  He's not even gonna try to avoid it.  (His ‘Plan B’ will never pass the Senate--even Senate Republicans don't like it.)  Maybe it's just an empty threat to extort further concessions from Obama, but I'm guessin’ not; I'm guessin’ he's serious.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

I'm guessin’ he's serious.

*sigh*

Fool.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Last poll I looked at is saying that 52% of Americans believe there should be tighter restrictions on types of guns sold.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
I'm leaning in favor of banning the wicked looking assault weapons too.  But, I'm not solid on that.  My theory is that these guns have an appeal, on account of their looks, to the at-least-semi-disturbed young males, who seem to make up the totality of the let's massacre some civilians today crowd.  Might not hurt to make them less psychologically satisfying.  But, that's just a theory; I could be talked out of that idea by a reasonable argument and a little bit of evidence to back it up, or maybe even just a reasonable argument.

In addition, we may reasonably assume that most of those ‘assault weapons’ are engineered to handle sustained rapid fire.  How many of the more traditional semi-automatics (farmer/hunter lookin’ things) could handle that sort of use without overheating and jamming up isn't clear to me.  There may be something to consider there.
If we knew most of them would handle sustained rapid-fire without overheating and failing, then the rationale for banning the wicked lookin’ suckers comes down to the fact that they're wicked lookin’, and that takes us back to the ‘appeal factor for the crazies.

And then there's finally the question of rate of fire.  I'm not sure how many bullets/per/second that wicked lookin’ Bushmaster can spit out or how that compares with the b/p/s of the comparatively innocuous lookin’ farmer's rifle.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
(And then, of course, there's the question of how hard is it to convert a semi-automatic to full auto?  With a semi-auto Uzi it's ridiculously easy.)

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Fool."

Fools.  Plural.  Boehner tried to get his ‘Plan B’ through the House yesterday, and his boys rebelled on him.  He couldn't even get it passed in the House.  Not only was he serious, he was serious only to find out his boys wouldn't even agree to back him up.  (And not ‘cause he was being too radical; the tea-bagger crazies thought he wasn't being near radical enough.)
The inmates have taken over the asylum.
So, he called a congressional recess and sent the House of Representatives home for the holidays.  They didn't pass anything, and they're headin’ out of town even as I write this.  Goin’ home for the holidays.  No deal at all and they're going home.  And we hit the ‘fiscal cliff’ in ten days.

This does not bode well for what's comin’ when we hit the debt ceiling in probably February sometime (best estimate as I write this.)  Last time they had debt ceiling negotiations they managed to negotiate us into a downgrade of our Triple A credit rating.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "Futures contracts on indexes of United States stock
      listings and shares in Asia fell sharply after Mr.
      Boehner conceded that his bill lacked the votes to
      pass
[his ‘Plan B’ bill]."
      NYT

Wall Street's gonna have a bad day too would be my bet.

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