Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Thank you to CapeTown and Boston for bringing up an issue so divisive that someone outside of the four of us was compelled to comment. I fully support it (bringing up abortion and gun control) but it seems kind of like a cheap shot. It's like wandering into an AA meeting with a bottle of Cuervo and shouting, "Who really believes that one shot is going to knock you off the wagon?!" Anyone who hears you is going to respond, one way or the other.

I heard you, and I’ll take a shot. I think that everyone who has contributed so far has dodged the key issue. I plan on doing the same, but only after I distract you by pointing out their mistake. It’s called banter; it distracts the audience.

“In terms of the ease with which one can acquire a gun, however, and the fire power of available weapons, the 2nd Amendment does not seem to be supportive in the case of a automatic weapon,” says CapeTown

I believe that abortion should definitely be legal at least during the early stages (I think the current law is no regulation until after the first trimester), while as it gets later into the pregnancy the arguments become stronger for some kind of government regulation,” says Boston.

CapeTown suggests that he would like to ban automatic weapons, as opposed perhaps to muzzle-loaders, bolt-action, semi-automatic, etc. Boston wants abortion to be limited “later.”

To me, the real difficulty of governance is setting standards that one would apply to the masses. Some drivers would suggest that they could drive safely at 80, but that "those other idiots" are dangerous at 50. The hardest part of making decisions for a large population is deciding at what level you are willing to sacrifice your freedoms so that others will not have them.

So far, no one has addressed the real issue, of setting those limits. It may seem ridiculous to suggest that an organism is a fetus at day 209 and an unborn child at 211, but in reality it’s no more arbitrary than suggesting that you are driving safely at 64mph and recklessly at 66mph.

The key question is one of when. When does abortion become murder, and when is a weapon too powerful to be privately owned. So, CapeTown, Boston, and Andy D, answer the real questions at hand. Set the limits.

See what I did there? Banter.


Andy D said...

I will attempt to rise to the occasion. If congress came to me and asked me to write those limits, I would go something like this:

I own guns, and I support a ban on private ownership of fully automatic weapons. Past that, I don’t see a need for any ban. They only reason I would ban full auto is because those are typically bought by collectors (who should get a license to purchase them) and people who are more than likely up to no gun. In lines with your argument, I am willing to sacrifice my right to fully automatic weapons in order to have a little bit better control on who does and doesn’t own those weapons.

I will take the extreme position on abortion since I believe I am the first one to comment. I believe abortion should be illegal outside of an immediate threat to the life of the mother. I could be talked into supporting the morning after pill, but would still believe that was wrong. I truly believe that that divine spark shouldn’t be wasted regardless of whether it looks like everyone else or not. Having said that, I also realize that I am taking the unpopular view of not allowing abortions in the case of rape or incest. I think we need to make other options available. For example, Georgia has a law that allows babies to be dropped off at hospitals and Fire stations no questions asked.

I welcome the shots I know are coming, and want to compliment everyone on here for beginning an interesting discussion.

CapeTownDissentator said...

I'm pumped for this debate here and only wish I could spend a night surrounded by piles of books, compiling perfectly noted citations into a symphonic wonder-post. I don't have these books around me, but intuitively I think that morals are important on a individual level, but public welfare and utility should be paramount when considering laws and rights.
A facile example is that pornography is objectively immoral, and usually in bad taste, but you will never convince me that the Constitution does not and should not allow for it's legality and existence.
Also, as I mentioned in another comment, consider the morality in allowing a child to be born into a world that cannot care for him or provide for his wellbeing and safety. We the people make mistakes, can get pregnant or impregnate by accident or by rape; or we conceive a child on purpose but for the wrong reasons that only make themselves known after conception. We have laws and rights to allow for these mistakes to be reconciled. This may be going too far and I'm not a constitutional scholar.
My point about morals is that they are fluid and subject to subjectivity and too often used to promote things that have proven highly unethical. Puritanical morality dictated many of New England's early laws to the point that oral sex was and maybe still is illegal (note to self...). Should we honestly ban and outlaw in the name of morality or should we -- with sober reflection for the public good -- leave the arduous, costly and time consuming task of legislation for the things that truly threaten our public welfare and collective progress?

VirginiaDissentator said...

Andy - The only question I have about your weapon ban is the inherent vagueness of drawing the line at automatic weapons. Does that mean that semiautomatic .50 cal rifles are legal? I'm not a hunter, and I've only target shot a few times, but I simply can't justify a weapon that powerful being legal. Same thing with ammunition. I don't know why armor piercing rounds should be legal. There is a whole host of things currently illegal that I agree with, but I would personally draw the line closer to what was legitimate hunting equipment. I don't support the collector argument because I wouldn't allow people to collect fully operational surface to air missiles with or without a license.

Much like CapeTown wisely stated earlier, I cannot claim to know how I will feel once I have a child. If my feelings change, so will my rhetoric. At the moment, though, I am at the opposite extreme on abortion. Until a child is born, I believe it should be up to the mother (and father) to decide.

I realize that's a whole new can of worms, but I think on abortion decisions the father should have the right to disagree with the mother's decision. There are approximately one billion logistical problems with this, but in my ideal world the father would be able to register his opinion and have a judge settle the case, much like a custody dispute. That being said, I'm still working on transferring the fetus to the father's body if mom wanted an abortion and dad didn't.

Andy D said...

Wow, so many good thoughts, and yet I can’t possibly respond to the nuances of both of your stances. However, being a good conservative, I will give it my best shot.

I said early that I believe an individual has rights until those rights infringe on another individual. I think that governs the situations you both threw out there. The pornography example is an easy one. I am sure if we thought hard enough about it, the three of us could come up with some form of pornography that would offend all of us. However, so long as it didn’t involve infringing on the right of others I wouldn’t sign up to outlaw it. The sales should probably be controlled (ie, no one under 18) and perhaps in a separate section of the store (thought I wouldn’t make that into law), but I think it should still be legal. Now for my first jump….

I apply this to gun control. I grew up hunting and shooting competitive pistol. I even tried out for the US Olympic team twice in the 1980’s. Because of that, and the US Constitution, I believe people have the right to own weapons. However, I will be the first to admit that there must be a line in the sand somewhere. I agree that your average citizen and collector should not be allowed to buy a surface to air missile. Here, we are both agreeing that there are types of weapons that should be prohibited, but that firearms in and of themselves shouldn’t be. By the way, I have a black powder .50 caliber rifle that will probably do more damage if I was to shoot you with it than any other firearm I own. However, in most states, black powder weapons are not regulated as firearms because they are considered primitive weapons. Thought I would throw that out there before my next jump…

Abortion. Grown adults can feel passionately about something and disagree. There is no one that will ever convince me that abortion (except to protect the health of the mother) is wrong. I think very few people would disagree with me when I say a baby mere moments before it is born is a person. As with guns, we are now simply looking for a line to draw. I believe there is no line, but as I mentioned before, I could be talked into supporting a day after pill. Again, women have rights and they should get to decide what happens to their bodies. I also believe an unborn child has rights. The “right” to an abortion infringes on the unborn child’s right to live. If I kill an illegal immigrant, I am going to be charged with murder. I believe the same should hold true for an unborn child. There are many bad situations a kid can be born into. There are many famous people who have been born into some very rough situations only to make the most of what they had.

I will now take a breath, sip a sprite, and wait for your thoughts….

Anonymous said...

I believe gun control needs to be approached differently depending on location. A person in the rural areas has need for a deer rifle, a city dweller typically does not. I also believe there need to be proactive laws with respect to storing weapons - keep them locked tight and owners with underage kids need to have gunlocks. The ownership of fully automatic weapons is not clearcut. I can see having an automatic 30.06, but not for a .50 cal heavy duty machine gun. Wtf is someone going to hunt with that monster? There are no elephants in the US except in zoos.