The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Friday, June 19, 2015

South Carolina's gun culture and our unfortunate Second Amendment

Seldom do I agree with President Obama, but I think he was exactly on point with his comment:

We do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this kind of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it.


But unfortunately, South Carolina is a state where gun culture rides rampant. The news has come out that Dylann Roof's father actually gave him a gun as a 21st birthday present. And this seems to be the norm in South Carolina. I remember many years ago we had a neighbor, a woman who had grown up in South Carolina. And she gave a BB gun as a present to her then-nine-year-old son! (This was nearly 20 years ago; that son is now an Army military policeman, but at nine he hardly could be trusted with a gun, even a BB gun!) At one point, my wife was babysitting at that neighbor's apartment, and she was afraid he might put a BB in his younger brother's eye. She took the gun from him and put it up on a shelf too high for the boy to reach.

But in South Carolina, it seems that giving BB guns to 9-year-olds and real honest-to-God guns to 21-year-olds for birthday presents is a normal thing. And in states like that, there will be enough votes that we can never repeal the unfortunate Second Amendment, the worst blemish in our generally-admirable Constitution. So we need to find ways of getting around that amendment. I just wish I knew how.

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