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It's time for America to start looking at other countries (Page 3)
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Dec 25, 2012, 03:02 AM
 
Re: Assault rifles. That's a branding issue. "Assault" makes it sound like you want to assault someone (like it's for war or something). Someone in marketing really fell down on the job on that one.

"Awesome rifle" has a better ring to it.

"Today 14 people were gunned down with an awesome rifle." HELL YEAH!
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 03:43 AM
 
That's the marketers' real dilemma though:

Guns don't kill people. You want to make sure that the gun itself never appears in copy:

"Reckless Maladjusted Loner Guns Down Twenty Tots After Stealing Weapon From Irresponsible Gun-Nut Mom" is ideally the best kind of news.

Leaves room for a clear priority on more guns for defense, puts the blame solidly on the mother, and leaves the gun as most readily available murder instrument entirely out of the equation.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 08:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
As far as America lookIng at other countries... Im all for it, but, Do we get to pick which countries, policies, successes, consequences and failures to compare to or do you get to pick them? I already know the answer because ive brought this exact issue up before only to run into the 'same tired hypocrisy.'
I think some would be disappointed once they actually visited most countries to learn that reality is different than the picture their armchair research painted of such countries.
The whole point of this looking is to put ideology aside and examine results without pre-determined conclusions. If you are looking for certain things you will always find them. We'd ideally look at any and all countries that have low homicide rates, particularly those that have legalized at least handguns (which are not going away).

The reality is that America has extremely high homicide rates, accounting for its population properly or not.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 09:02 AM
 
Let's break this down...

The way I see it, these sorts of massacres/mass killings happen as a result of:

1) terrorism
2) organized crime
3) mental health issues

Each of these cases needs to be handled differently, I think, and put into proper context:

1) As far as I'm concerned we are doing what we can to address terrorism, we may have even over-compensated. The argument of "a terrorist will use whatever weapons are available" rings true here, including Shaddim's argument about the fertilizer, although again, I think this case was much different than Newtown. For one, terrorists generally go after high profile targets, not elementary schools. However, for the record, I agree that gun bans are not going to accomplish anything as an anti-terrorism thing.

2) The same sort of thing applies here: criminals are going to get ahold of the weapons they want to get ahold of. Fatalities are usually people in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps near gang activity or a drug deal gone bad or something, and this usually happens in urban environments. Gun bans are not going to accomplish much.

3) This is where gun bans *might* help deter disturbed impulses and people doing things they may not have done in a different frame of mind. Some of these mass killing sprees may be impulsive, perhaps lubricated with alcohol or other substances. This is the sort of case where if we can make it a little more difficult for Johnny to reach into his gun cabinet to pull out some assault rifles while he is particularly mentally deranged, this would be nice. It sounds like this guy that shot at firefighters might fit into this same category.


To be clear, my attitude of "it can't hurt" is for category 3. It might not hurt for categories 1 and 2 either, although I have no particular belief that gun bans will make a significant impact there.

That being said, what I'd advocate is a multi-pronged approach to addressing this violence. An assault weapons ban might be a part of a larger solution, but it is definitely not *the* solution. My solution would also entail:

- Health care reform, including access to mental health care as Athens has rightly pointed out

- Look at weapons background checks, perhaps with a greater mental health component

- Look at ways to restore communities at a local level, perhaps as Shaddim has been advocating (I realize this is vague)

- Look at education, parenting, and ways to shine light on these troubled sort of personalities rather than let them live in hiding (I realize this is also vague). Exposure to violent entertainment is a parenting issue, I think.

- Figure out where Abe lives, I can see him going on some crazy rampage.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 09:07 AM
 
I wish you could put some consideration into the goals of the other side of the debate for once, instead of just repeating your own goals over and over
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 09:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Let's break this down...

The way I see it, these sorts of massacres/mass killings happen as a result of:

1) terrorism
2) organized crime
3) mental health issues
Besson, do you really only want to prevent mass killings, or are you letting your opponents divide the question in a way that favors their argument?

In other words, while preventing another elementary school massacre is certainly a good thing, you still have around ten thousand murders by gun every year. Is there no connection at all between those deaths and Connecticut, as these fellows wish you would believe? If your efforts focus on non-issues like terrorism or side-issues like mental health, then they've successfully steered you away from the real question.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 09:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by raleur View Post

Besson, do you really only want to prevent mass killings, or are you letting your opponents divide the question in a way that favors their argument?
In other words, while preventing another elementary school massacre is certainly a good thing, you still have around ten thousand murders by gun every year. Is there no connection at all between those deaths and Connecticut, as these fellows wish you would believe? If your efforts focus on non-issues like terrorism or side-issues like mental health, then they've successfully steered you away from the real question.
There is a definite connection, which I'd hope to address with the stuff I listed below that as possible avenues for solutions, my point was that I don't think that gun legislation will have a particularly strong impact on crime and terrorism, although certainly I'd be in favor of limiting criminal and terrorist access to firearms if there was a way, and I'm open to the idea that perhaps gun legislation would help.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 09:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post

I know the weapons used were not fully automatic, but since this conversation has lost focus I asked this with the assault rifle ban in mind, trying to see whether you'd support the ban should it be re-instated.

To be honest, I'm having a hard time understanding your thought process.
My process is simple, leave things alone and enforce the laws we have (because we don't). Passing new "feel good" legislation is idiotic and won't change a damned thing, since there are already half a billion guns in the USA. Legalize pot, tax the bejezus out of it, spend the money on drug and firearm education (as well as proper mental health screening and treatment). Fully auto weapons are scary for some folks, but they aren't the issue, since they aren't what's used in these shootings (because their owners are a more responsible sort). Hell, I could arm a small platoon of Marines, but you'd need a bulldozer + Howitzer or an industrial plasma cutter to get into my vault. Not worth the craziness to try to break into.
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Dec 25, 2012, 09:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post

My process is simple, leave things alone and enforce the laws we have (because we don't). Passing new "feel good" legislation is idiotic and won't change a damned thing, since there are already half a billion guns in the USA. Legalize pot, tax the bejezus out of it, spend the money on drug and firearm education (as well as proper mental health screening and treatment). Fully auto weapons are scary for some folks, but they aren't the issue, since they aren't what's used in these shootings (because their owners are a more responsible sort). Hell, I could arm a small platoon of Marines, but you'd need a bulldozer + Howitzer or an industrial plasma cutter to get into my vault. Not worth the craziness to try to break into.
So, is it accurate to say that you feel that politicians will be likely to take something like gun legislation and treat it as a lazy all-encompassing solution when it isn't, but you wouldn't necessarily be opposed to reforming gun legislation if it was accompanied by the other measures you listed?

If so, we are in agreement, I was never suggesting that gun legislation would be a complete solution, I just don't think it should be a no-touch non-starter sort of thing, and that there is something to the premise of putting deterrents in place.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:06 AM
 
The high US murder rate is a different topic from the mass murder sprees. The US is by far one of the most complex countries in the world and one of the most fragmented. It really is 50 different countries mushed together in a common structure. Its a real mess between have and have nots. And ideas that conflict, like taking care of the needy or making ones own way. The US has the best health care in the entire world, for the very few who can access it. It also has some of the worst health care in the first world nations for those that can't access it. Same goes for Education. The best education in the world is in the US and so is some of the worst. Money provides access and the greater the wealth of some one in the US the greater access they have to the best of the best or if they lack it access to very little. The US also provides or did provide the greatest opportunities to create great success as long as you where in the right place, the right time and a little luck was tossed in there. This creates a situation of some poor people. Some very poor people. Some very desperate people. More important there are serious gaps all over for mental health, general health care, jobs, social nets and so on. This is what causes such extremes in violence and murders. Not the guns. The society itself being so complex. The bureaucracy is insane and it trickles down to all levels. Opposing philosophies keep things divided. The one thing I notice time and time again with Americans and American culture is how everything is black and white. There is no middle ground. This is reflected in all aspects of American culture. It is either defense or its murder. Its either a bad drug or a good drug. Its either you work hard and make your money or you have a social safety net and protect people. Its this way or the other way. With us or against us.

Either way the country is fragmented and with it people are falling through serious cracks all over the place and desperate people do desperate things. The mentally sick people fall through the same cracks and this is why the US has so many serious shootings too. And I really don't think any one can change much to correct it. It is what America is about. Not conformity but the independent struggle. Every person, every family, every neighborhood, every city, every county and every state has its own independent struggle to make it or not.

If you look at countries like the UK, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and so on, the societies are more uniformed across the entire country. Health care, education, mental health, laws, are more uniform and national. The form of governments in most cases are more plastic and more options for governments first a 2 party system. The attitudes of most those countries I listed are more in the grey area of thinking. Its not polarized around one way or another.

I guess my point is if you dont want to read everything I said above is that in order to fix America you would have to break America and remove what it is that makes America.
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:26 AM
 
I agree, Athens. We do seem to have a mentality that if we're not winning we must be losing. Both at an international level and a personal level. Like what could drive a spree shooter.... once they realize they can't be the "best" at life like Americans are "supposed" to be, they figure their next best bet is to be the "best" at evil. Being happy with the middle isn't something we're accustomed to around here.

There are probably any number of ways that this mentality could be reversed, but the only way that I can predict it happening is from us losing our unquestioned military superiority. If we were to be militarily humiliated (and it might take more than once), I think that would break our "fever" of fervor. I suspect one of the things that helps other countries and their people not behave like spoiled brats is that they can't get away with it. Unfortunately, we can. Would that constitute breaking what it means to be America? Arguably yes. I hope we would be able to keep the "can do" spirit that got us where we are, without needing to keep the "because F-you, that's why" spirit we've acquired since stagnating at the top for too long. But maybe we need to break both before we can re-build the former. I don't know.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post

So, is it accurate to say that you feel that politicians will be likely to take something like gun legislation and treat it as a lazy all-encompassing solution when it isn't, but you wouldn't necessarily be opposed to reforming gun legislation if it was accompanied by the other measures you listed?

If so, we are in agreement, I was never suggesting that gun legislation would be a complete solution, I just don't think it should be a no-touch non-starter sort of thing, and that there is something to the premise of putting deterrents in place.
I'm absolutely against new gun legislation, especially since we're not even enforcing the laws we have now. The guy in Delaware broke 24 laws before he even stepped into the school, 16 of them were felonies including one capital crime. That didn't slow him down and it won't slow down others, and they'll find guns too because there are so many. The mental/emotional problems are the key, fix those and we'll see this problems start to disappear.

The other part is for the media to voluntarily stop going ape shit over these occurrences, their attention simply encourages more twisted glory hounds.
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by raleur View Post
It's not.
Well, to be more specific, people on the right tend to have a very different understanding of compassion than what I think you're talking about, and for them it has no place in government.
No. We believe compassion is a choice and should not be forced by authority, to be abused and exploited.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I agree, Athens. We do seem to have a mentality that if we're not winning we must be losing. Both at an international level and a personal level. Like what could drive a spree shooter.... once they realize they can't be the "best" at life like Americans are "supposed" to be, they figure their next best bet is to be the "best" at evil. Being happy with the middle isn't something we're accustomed to around here.
There are probably any number of ways that this mentality could be reversed, but the only way that I can predict it happening is from us losing our unquestioned military superiority. If we were to be militarily humiliated (and it might take more than once), I think that would break our "fever" of fervor. I suspect one of the things that helps other countries and their people not behave like spoiled brats is that they can't get away with it. Unfortunately, we can. Would that constitute breaking what it means to be America? Arguably yes. I hope we would be able to keep the "can do" spirit that got us where we are, without needing to keep the "because F-you, that's why" spirit we've acquired since stagnating at the top for too long. But maybe we need to break both before we can re-build the former. I don't know.
I dont know about that. I don't really see Americans as spoiled brats as you put it or even that attitude. What I said was not intended to put America down btw. America is just a really complex country and society. And it seems to be getting more and more complex every decade.
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:45 AM
 
I didn't take it as an insult, but I don't see the logic of why complexity should produce more crime.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I'm absolutely against new gun legislation, especially since we're not even enforcing the laws we have now. The guy in Delaware broke 24 laws before he even stepped into the school, 16 of them were felonies including one capital crime. That didn't slow him down and it won't slow down others, and they'll find guns too because there are so many. The mental/emotional problems are the key, fix those and we'll see this problems start to disappear.
The other part is for the media to voluntarily stop going ape shit over these occurrences, their attention simply encourages more twisted glory hounds.
The US absolutely could use some tweaking in its gun laws. Just not for the reasons why the Media is clamming about. It needs to drop all current gun legislation and start from scratch with something simple and easy to follow and enforce.

The reason laws are not enforced now and this is true in Canada too, not just the US and I suspect even most countries around the world is that we have to many laws. To many that over lap each other to many on the books. I've always been a believer that every law should be audited every 10 years to ensure its still valid. If that was the case laws would be pruned to something manageable for the police, courts and people. Really stupid laws would disappear, nee-jerk laws wouldn't be passed or live long. Every category of law should be able to fit in one large massive book. And when the book is full you have to remove laws before adding more laws into it. Imagine if you could only have 1000 laws in the criminal law category. You have 1000 laws in place. You want to add its a criminal offense to poke a officer with a stick. What law in that 1000 would you have to remove from the book to put that new one in. Perhaps the one that says its a criminal offence to have your pants to low and a part of your underwear exposed?

As long as we have unlimited space and capacity of making laws, things are going to get more broken and laws will become more useless.

So we shouldn't add new gun laws. Should replace all gun laws with something better. For the record im against total bans of guns. But I am for background checks, mandatory safety course and usage training before being licensed and absolutely for licensing people to own guns.
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Dec 25, 2012, 10:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I didn't take it as an insult, but I don't see the logic of why complexity should produce more crime.
It creates massive cracks for people to fall through. John bob and Joe get saved in the social and medical nets, but Adam and Kyle get missed. Adam shoots up a school, Kyle murders 10 people over 4 years before being busted. John bob and Joe are medicated, counselled and living a mostly normal life. John bob and Joe just happen to be in the right towns, counties and states to be saved while Adam and Kyle where in the wrong places to be missed.
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Dec 25, 2012, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
There is a definite connection, which I'd hope to address with the stuff I listed below that as possible avenues for solutions, my point was that I don't think that gun legislation will have a particularly strong impact on crime and terrorism, although certainly I'd be in favor of limiting criminal and terrorist access to firearms if there was a way, and I'm open to the idea that perhaps gun legislation would help.
As your sock puppet, I must concede that this makes a lot of sense. But don't let your argument get side-tracked by nonsensical discussions of terrorism, mental illness, or quibbling over whether certain types of gun exist.

Gun legislation has the potential of easing the problem- not solving it, but don't let some idiot try to persuade you that it's not worth doing because it won't be perfect. Stay on course.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 11:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
So we shouldn't add new gun laws. Should replace all gun laws with something better. For the record im against total bans of guns. But I am for background checks, mandatory safety course and usage training before being licensed and absolutely for licensing people to own guns.
This is a fine and very reasonable suggestion. I don't really read anyone here arguing for a total ban, although there are a few who certainly want to characterize it as such.

As for background checks and safety courses, we already have those, but they don't work because the gun lobby has rendered them toothless. "Let's enforce the laws we have now" is not a valid argument because of this.

Furthermore, how would you enforce new rules when the people who have the responsibility hide behind paranoid nonsense such as "any gun control will lead to fertilizer-filled truck bombs" and "gun owners protect us from the government"? It's hard to reach a compromise with people who actually think that arming teachers will lead to fewer massacres.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 11:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by raleur View Post
As for background checks and safety courses, we already have those, but they don't work because the gun lobby has rendered them toothless. "Let's enforce the laws we have now" is not a valid argument because of this.
That doesn't make it an invalid argument. In fact that's just another example of the very same laws we already have which need to be enforced. Address the toothless part, that's the problem, not the lack of enough laws.

Furthermore, how would you enforce new rules when the people who have the responsibility hide behind paranoid nonsense such as "any gun control will lead to fertilizer-filled truck bombs" and "gun owners protect us from the government"? It's hard to reach a compromise with people who actually think that arming teachers will lead to fewer massacres.
They're saying the same about you, when you refuse to address their words in favor of dismissing them as people with labels like "paranoid" and "nonsense." You're as big a part of the gridlock problem as anyone.
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 01:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I didn't take it as an insult, but I don't see the logic of why complexity should produce more crime.
It creates massive cracks for people to fall through. John bob and Joe get saved in the social and medical nets, but Adam and Kyle get missed. Adam shoots up a school, Kyle murders 10 people over 4 years before being busted. John bob and Joe are medicated, counselled and living a mostly normal life. John bob and Joe just happen to be in the right towns, counties and states to be saved while Adam and Kyle where in the wrong places to be missed.
I still don't get it. Maybe I'm not understanding what complexity you're talking about. More laws? More different cultures? More services?
I can see how our whole "melting pot" cliche can make more complexity through more cultures, but I can't see how different cultures require different, conflicting services that would make filling them more difficult.
I can see how more laws can make fulfilling the intent of those laws more difficult, but that doesn't fit with your line about breaking what it is to be America; is more complex laws what it is to be America?
I can see how more services can step on each others' toes giving diminishing returns, but I can't see how that can leave us worse than if those services never existed to start with, which is what the "less complex" countries must be dealing with, so how would they be better at it than us.

So anyway, that's why I'm confused. What kind of complexity?
     
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Dec 25, 2012, 08:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I still don't get it. Maybe I'm not understanding what complexity you're talking about. More laws? More different cultures? More services?
I can see how our whole "melting pot" cliche can make more complexity through more cultures, but I can't see how different cultures require different, conflicting services that would make filling them more difficult.
I can see how more laws can make fulfilling the intent of those laws more difficult, but that doesn't fit with your line about breaking what it is to be America; is more complex laws what it is to be America?
I can see how more services can step on each others' toes giving diminishing returns, but I can't see how that can leave us worse than if those services never existed to start with, which is what the "less complex" countries must be dealing with, so how would they be better at it than us.
So anyway, that's why I'm confused. What kind of complexity?
Ok let me try and explain what I mean. I'll use pharmanet as a example. In Ohio State when you go get your prescriptions filled, its a locally run independent business correct. And you have thousands or hundreds of these independent businesses that handle prescriptions correct. I imagine under some sort of state rules and license system. But its still all independent. I mean all the locations are totally unaware of each other when it comes to what has been prescribed to you. Wal-mart pharmacy is totally oblivious to Safeways pharmacy on what drugs you have been given already right?

That is what I mean by fragmentation. You could get one drug at Wal-mart and the next week from a different doctor who was not aware of what your other prescription fill the new one out at a Safeway.

I didn't say Washington State because Washington State department of Health came out with something close to pharmanet to prevent abuse of narcotic drugs. Im not going to look up all 50 states to see which ones have something similar and which ones don't.

http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/pharmanet/netindex.html

http://www.doh.wa.gov/PublicHealthandHealthcareProviders/HealthcareProfessionsandFacilities/PrescriptionMonitoringProgramPMP.aspx

It would be very difficult for some one in BC or Washington to get interacting medications that could cause a psychotic event. But in states like Ohio and many others there is no safe guard.

Now add into the mix hundreds of small charities, dozens or hundreds of mental health companies which are independent from any information sharing systems that could be useful for hospitals, and GPs.

Another example of less complexity is BCs EMR, No matter which doctor I visit, hospital I go to, clinic I visit my health records are accessible to medical service I use. Again this helps against interactions or wrong prescriptions. Doctor can see I have history of mental issues can prescribe me something safe.

http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ehealth/emr_gov_physicians.html

You have a lot of independent agencies and that is what I mean by complex. Canada, Australia, UK we are all more uniform. All BC schools are pretty much operated the same. They detect problem students and involve the ministry of social services and ministry of health. Through Medicare, Pharmanet, There is information sharing between parents, psychologist, RCMP, medical services, school staff.

What do you have? Maybe a teacher notices something wrong. What does the school want to do. Well get them out of there of course. Its a liability on there insurance. Parents now stuck with a kid that isn't welcome at school. Worst the medical insurance company finds out and wants to raise premiums because they don't want to be stuck paying for it. They try to find a way not to cover it. So covered or not, family now has some pretty big medical expenses to deal with. Either total out of pocket care or deductibles and co-pays. (its actually best to try and hide it to save a buck) now the kid turns 19, isn't eligible to be cared for under parents highly inflated medical coverage and cant qualify for his own because of his condition. No more care, no drugs. Left out on his own. Maybe saying the system was complex was wrong. Maybe I should have said "Its not my problem" and pass the buck instead.
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Dec 26, 2012, 06:46 AM
 
Athens, that's an excellent example, and very similar to the problems we're having with background checks on gun purchases.

There is a federal law in place that technically prohibits the sale of guns to people with a severe mental illness, but it rarely works for similar reasons. For example, the law's background checks only apply to federally licensed arms dealers- so as many as 40% of all gun sales aren't covered. The law also uses a narrow definition of mental illness to disqualify people: they must have been declared seriously mentally ill by a court, or have been involuntarily institutionalized- so while you might have been held in a mental institution for observation ('held for observation,' not 'committed'), diagnosed as suicidal, or sociopathic, and under heavy medication, but don't have a legal paper trail, you're ok to buy a gun under federal law.

Like your pharmacy example, the background check system also relies on information that's supplied by those who participate. 27 states allow or require reporting to the federal database, 23 do not. Many states have privacy laws that restrict or forbid sharing, but several have started to change those laws. Nevertheless, it varies widely- while some states have made over 150,000 mental health records available to the database, 17 states have made fewer than 10 records available (as of October 2011- I wasn't able to find more recent info).

Of course, there are a variety of reasons for this non-compliance. Some states still keep mental health records on paper, and don't have the funding or personnel to transfer them to digital. Many of the agencies that handle mental health issues have no way of reporting to the FBI. And there are legitimate privacy concerns that federal statutes don't address; Congress could solve some of these to ease reporting and satisfy state requirements, but as you might expect, those efforts have failed.

And that's just for the mental health cases- many of the same issues affect other types of background checks. Put simply, the problem isn't that the laws aren't being enforced: they are. Obviously, if we want to fulfill the spirit in which those laws were made, they need to be replaced with regulations that have the power to do what is necessary- but how we do that remains elusive.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 07:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
What do you have? Maybe a teacher notices something wrong. What does the school want to do. Well get them out of there of course. Its a liability on there insurance. Parents now stuck with a kid that isn't welcome at school. Worst the medical insurance company finds out and wants to raise premiums because they don't want to be stuck paying for it. They try to find a way not to cover it. So covered or not, family now has some pretty big medical expenses to deal with. Either total out of pocket care or deductibles and co-pays. (its actually best to try and hide it to save a buck) now the kid turns 19, isn't eligible to be cared for under parents highly inflated medical coverage and cant qualify for his own because of his condition. No more care, no drugs. Left out on his own. Maybe saying the system was complex was wrong. Maybe I should have said "Its not my problem" and pass the buck instead.
What did you mean about this being what it means to be America? We're defined by being a patchwork of autonomous subunits? I don't get it
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I'm absolutely against new gun legislation, especially since we're not even enforcing the laws we have now. The guy in Delaware broke 24 laws before he even stepped into the school, 16 of them were felonies including one capital crime. That didn't slow him down and it won't slow down others, and they'll find guns too because there are so many.
I saw that NRA meme doing the rounds on Facebook too. I don't recall all the laws he broke, but I don't recall seeing any that realistically would have stopped him getting a hold of the gun in the first place, which is the easiest part of the problem to treat. You even acknowledge the problem: Too many guns out there already, but for some reason, yo won't take that extra step and admit that something really ought to be done about that.


Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The mental/emotional problems are the key, fix those and we'll see this problems start to disappear..
Easy right? If only all problems were this simple to solve.
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Dec 26, 2012, 03:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Easy right? If only all problems were this simple to solve.
It seems far "easier" to trample the rights of people whose rights you never cared about in the first place, than to do the work necessary to solve two problems which everyone already agreed were problems in the first place. Or course, those people whose rights you have no intention of considering will give your "easy" path a fair amount of resistance. Maybe you don't consider that to be foreseeable, but I do.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 04:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I saw that NRA meme doing the rounds on Facebook too. I don't recall all the laws he broke, but I don't recall seeing any that realistically would have stopped him getting a hold of the gun in the first place, which is the easiest part of the problem to treat. You even acknowledge the problem: Too many guns out there already, but for some reason, yo won't take that extra step and admit that something really ought to be done about that.
I saw no meme, I'm not on Facebook. "Acknowledge the problem"? Can't recall doing that, the problems are the violent attitudes, not the inanimate objects. I was stating that disarming the population won't work; one reason is because it's a Constitutional right (and you'll never get the state votes to amend it), and the second is because we already have 500 million of them.

Ignoring the Constitution, how would you solve this? Stop gun sales? The state and local governments won't enforce that federal law. The USSC would overturn it so fast your head would spin. Go around collecting the guns that exist? Want to volunteer to be one of the Federal officers assigned to that job? Hell, around here they killed "revenuers" for trying to take their moonshine, it would be 100x worse with guns. We'd have another civil war.

Identifying and treating the mental/emotional problems IS the easier solution, what you're suggesting is the path of most resistance.
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Dec 26, 2012, 09:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
What did you mean about this being what it means to be America? We're defined by being a patchwork of autonomous subunits? I don't get it
America is about independence not conformity. You work hard build your own life but you do it interdependently with out help. You boot the kids out and let them build there own lives. You don't depend on the city, state and feds. You get more opportunity to succeed and fail. That is the core of America. That is what makes America different from most of the rest of the world. Most other countries are have more conformity. As every city and every state has found its own solutions to problems they have developed there own ways of doing things. There is more top down direction and planning and management in Canada, UK, and so on.. The US is more bottom up, more local direction and planning. At best the upper powers just patch everything up and work with what they have instead of making every one conform.
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Dec 27, 2012, 08:15 AM
 
Yeah Ok I'm on board with that outlook
     
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Dec 27, 2012, 09:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
America is about independence not conformity. You work hard build your own life but you do it interdependently with out help. You boot the kids out and let them build there own lives. You don't depend on the city, state and feds. You get more opportunity to succeed and fail. That is the core of America. That is what makes America different from most of the rest of the world. Most other countries are have more conformity. As every city and every state has found its own solutions to problems they have developed there own ways of doing things. There is more top down direction and planning and management in Canada, UK, and so on.. The US is more bottom up, more local direction and planning. At best the upper powers just patch everything up and work with what they have instead of making every one conform.


It has obvious flaws, but so do the other systems. Pick your poison.
     
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Dec 27, 2012, 09:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The guy in Delaware broke 24 laws before he even stepped into the school, 16 of them were felonies including one capital crime.
What were the laws he broke? I ran a search expecting to see the facebook meme come up or whatever, but I couldn't find the answer.
     
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Dec 27, 2012, 01:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
America is about independence not conformity. You work hard build your own life but you do it interdependently with out help. You boot the kids out and let them build there own lives. You don't depend on the city, state and feds. You get more opportunity to succeed and fail. That is the core of America. That is what makes America different from most of the rest of the world
So the core of America is having no welfare system (which you have) and not supporting your kids once they are of school leaving age (Which I'm pretty sure a lot of you do). This is not what makes America different. I'm not saying America isn't different, it clearly is, but these are not the reasons why.


Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Most other countries are have more conformity. As every city and every state has found its own solutions to problems they have developed there own ways of doing things. There is more top down direction and planning and management in Canada, UK, and so on.. The US is more bottom up, more local direction and planning. At best the upper powers just patch everything up and work with what they have instead of making every one conform.
Everywhere has a mixture of local and national government. Local government is great when it comes to isolated subsystems like planning laws or roadbuilding (mostly) but some things require a more holistic view. Gun control is a great example of this because if one state restricts them but neighbouring states do not, then the criminals have a nice easy constant supply of weapons. You can see that this kind of law is sort of an all or nothing deal. Same applies to controlled substances. I'm sure there are plenty more.
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Dec 27, 2012, 03:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
So the core of America is having no welfare system (which you have) and not supporting your kids once they are of school leaving age (Which I'm pretty sure a lot of you do). This is not what makes America different. I'm not saying America isn't different, it clearly is, but these are not the reasons why.
I think a lot of the difference has to do with the idea of America that Athens describes: self-reliance is a powerful motivator. While the historical reality is quite different, it's clear that the belief has been an important factor in the country's growth. But I wonder if it can't be part of the problem, too?
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 02:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
So the core of America is having no welfare system (which you have) and not supporting your kids once they are of school leaving age (Which I'm pretty sure a lot of you do). This is not what makes America different. I'm not saying America isn't different, it clearly is, but these are not the reasons why.
Everywhere has a mixture of local and national government. Local government is great when it comes to isolated subsystems like planning laws or roadbuilding (mostly) but some things require a more holistic view. Gun control is a great example of this because if one state restricts them but neighbouring states do not, then the criminals have a nice easy constant supply of weapons. You can see that this kind of law is sort of an all or nothing deal. Same applies to controlled substances. I'm sure there are plenty more.
Except that isnt the case. The majority of illegal guns in Canada come from the United States. Yet we don't have even anywhere near the same level of gun violence. In fact most of our gun violence is either criminals killing criminals and less often, pretty rare domestic fights that turned into murder. Our criminals are armed yet they don't go shooting people.

I always suspected it was our difference in punishment. A armed robber is lucky to get 5 years of real jail time here. While in the US it can be 20+ years. There seems to be a more do or die aspect in the US. You just can't get caught if you do its all over so they are more violent to get away. That btw is my own personal opinion and assumption before some one asks me to back that up with anything. Our medical system is socialized. Its tax payer funded. You don't have to sell the house to pay for any kind of mental health for a child . There is no reason to turn a blind eye or hide it either. Its covered. Studies clearly show Canadians visit family doctors easily twice or more often then Americans. Part of it is the lack of any cost like co-pays and deductibles. I can only assume the same goes for mental health care. We just take more advantage of it because its covered. Im sure there are stats for that. Most of the time the nut cases that fall through the cracks are adults who have gone off meds. Like the Grey Hound bus incident a few years back or the husband that killed his wife and kids.

The US is full of guns and easy access to those guns. Its really easy to get US guns in Canada. But we just dont have the same problems. It might be partially cultural but honestly there is NOT a lot of differences between Americans and Canadians except for maybe the black and white, with us or against us attitude for Americans while Canadians seem to see things more grey or in the middle. That does not explain the difference in violence. I really deep down think its the social safety network, the socialized health care and early prevention here that makes the big difference for random mass violence. A lot of US gun crime comes from legally owned weapons used in domestic disputes between people where one or both happen to carry a gun on them. That is something that is very different in Canada. We don't carry our guns. We own them. We transport them to the range or to the bush. But we don't keep them in arms reach in the home or on our person outside of the home. If you get into a fight with the dude next door over say the lawn mower being to loud at worst its a fist fight that is broken up by the cops, if the cops are involved at all. And that is something totally unrelated to those mass murder suicides we are mostly discussing.
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Dec 28, 2012, 02:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by raleur View Post
I think a lot of the difference has to do with the idea of America that Athens describes: self-reliance is a powerful motivator. While the historical reality is quite different, it's clear that the belief has been an important factor in the country's growth. But I wonder if it can't be part of the problem, too?
It is (Over simplified I know)

American = I can protect myself and my family. I don't need no cops to do it.

Canadian, Australian, New Zealander, = Call the cops
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Dec 28, 2012, 04:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by raleur View Post

I think a lot of the difference has to do with the idea of America that Athens describes: self-reliance is a powerful motivator. While the historical reality is quite different, it's clear that the belief has been an important factor in the country's growth. But I wonder if it can't be part of the problem, too?
Some Americans live in his fantasy world that we have individual freedom, we don't.
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 04:42 PM
 
Five American/Human Common Myths: (from somebody who has never figured out whether or not to refer to Americans as "us" or "we", being a non-US citizen that has lived in the US for over 10 years) 1) We live in individual freedom. Human beings are tool builders, the societies that we have built being one of the many tools we have built. What we can do with our society (which includes our companies, charities/non-profits, and yes, government) is greater than what any of us are capable of doing individually. One might be able to say that America is a *relatively* free country in relation to some other countries (in a number of, but not all areas), it is inaccurate to say that we are free with no qualifications, or even that we *value* freedom consistently across the board. My point is that I believe it is easy to be manipulated by these unrealistic fantasies of what human beings are and aren't - we all seem to want to be the renegade cowboy (or cowgirl?) type! 2) The constitution is a sacred document that provides infallible insight into the best ways to run a modern society. Some would say that this was never the case and that this therefore is a strawman argument, and that allowing amendments is our way to modern the consititution as conditions change - fair enough, but let's face it, a great many just cling to the bits of the constitution that suit them when they suit them, are awfully inconsistent about invoking the constitution, and seem to rationalize this by creating this aura about it when it can be used as a tool to help propel their issue(s). Maybe the constitution should be thought of as being a little less biblical and not invoked every 5 minutes? 3) American exceptionalism. I'm not claiming that America isn't exceptional at a number of things, it is, but that this belief serves us well is unhealthy, at best, and inaccurate at worst depending on what sorts of values/strengths/issues are most important to you. It is unhealthy because any country from now to the end of time will and should learn from others around them and be willing to mimick successes, should be willing to acknowledge that there is always room for improvement, should be willing to acknowledge that their country, like any other, has its warts too, and should be combating complacency on a regular basis. I think many people understand this, but many seem to default to just assume that because it is American it must be exceptional, and that challenging this assumption should be shut down just because. There are also some that believe that should America's exceptionalism be challenged, this makes one unpatriotic. I would say that those that challenge America's exceptionalism (or perhaps the exceptionalism of anything) are the truly patriotic ones because they want to put thought into improving something, and moving things forward both as a country and as a species. Nothing is perfect, and we all pat ourselves on our backs at different frequencies. 4) That one undeniable area of strength, our ability to make money, makes the people that are good at it exceptional. Is Donald Trump exceptional? Kim Kardashian? The CEOs of the big US banks? Paris Hilton? You might say "yes" to one or more of these, but I don't think it can be denied that there are also exceptional people that do exceptional things and do not make a lot of money doing what they do. 5) That one must be living in (or a citizen) of a country to make claims like the above. As somebody that has been living in the US for over 10 years, yes, living in this country has provided me some insight into it, but only a part of it, and possibly a skewed sample of it. Do people living in southern California really have an inside edge on what north easterners think/believe/feel moreso than those living in eastern Canada? Do people living in the northeast really have an inside edge on what Texans think/feel/believe moreso than people living in northern Mexico? Maybe, but maybe not. I would say certainly not if you not make a concerted effort to learn and read about what is around you - not in this day and age. My point is that these sort of assumptions are not safe ones to make, shouldn't be made, and in my experience, are often made when one is feeling defensive and/or wrapped up in feelings of exceptionalism. It is natural to feel defensive about the things we care about, and sometimes people want to attack and put us on the defensive for the sake of doing so, but other times these can be learning experiences too. Because somebody outside of your country expresses something about it that can be interpreted as negative doesn't mean that he/she sees nothing (or an ample amount of) positive about it, or that he/she shouldn't feel welcome to express themselves the same way that we've generally embraced freedom of speech within this country.
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post

Some Americans live in his fantasy world that we have individual freedom, we don't.
Oh dear.

As your former sock-puppet, I am obliged to inform you that this is far too broad a statement to be useful for discussion.

Could you clarify a little? Do you mean that we have no freedom in the classical philosophical sense, i.e. that we have no free will? Or are you talking about specifically American ideas of freedom, such as freedom of speech, religion, etc.? Or something else?

Anyway, that might be a topic for a new thread.

Edit: after looking at your next post, I think I see now what you mean.
     
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Dec 28, 2012, 10:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by raleur View Post

Oh dear.
As your former sock-puppet, I am obliged to inform you that this is far too broad a statement to be useful for discussion.
Could you clarify a little? Do you mean that we have no freedom in the classical philosophical sense, i.e. that we have no free will? Or are you talking about specifically American ideas of freedom, such as freedom of speech, religion, etc.? Or something else?
Anyway, that might be a topic for a new thread.
Edit: after looking at your next post, I think I see now what you mean.
Yeah, that was a lead-in to my next post.
     
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Dec 29, 2012, 03:30 AM
 
The United States is a very heterogeneous society, as contrasted to just about every other country on the planet. This alone makes it difficult to pattern social actions on those of other nations. The U.S. further has a tradition of individuals having a particular right to independent actions that would be considered very antisocial elsewhere. We are also the only nation to have successfully won independence from a colonial power and/or monarchy and maintained it with essentially the same government in place for over 200 years. We are not like other countries in so many ways that simply saying "this worked well for country X, let's just go ahead and apply it here" would be both a waste of time and an exercise in frustration.

Given any specific example of banking regulation, business regulation, firearm ownership regulation from any other country, it would be fairly simple to identify several flaws with simply changing the words from "country X" to "United States". The harder, but perhaps useful way to do what is being suggested here is to look at what, how and why specific requirements are established in specific rules, and to determine whether they would work within the U.S. system of laws and social norms, then carefully write new rules for here that would at least have a chance of doing some good.

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Dec 29, 2012, 06:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Five American/Human Common Myths:
 
1) We live in individual freedom. Human beings are tool builders, the societies that we have built being one of the many tools we have built. What we can do with our society (which includes our companies, charities/non-profits, and yes, government) is greater than what any of us are capable of doing individually. One might be able to say that America is a *relatively* free country in relation to some other countries (in a number of, but not all areas), it is inaccurate to say that we are free with no qualifications, or even that we *value* freedom consistently across the board. My point is that I believe it is easy to be manipulated by these unrealistic fantasies of what human beings are and aren't - we all seem to want to be the renegade cowboy (or cowgirl?) type!
You don't have an exclusive on what lifestyles humans can or can't live, nor what fantasies we can or can't hold.
 

2) The constitution is a sacred document that provides infallible insight into the best ways to run a modern society. Some would say that this was never the case and that this therefore is a strawman argument, and that allowing amendments is our way to modern the consititution as conditions change - fair enough, but let's face it, a great many just cling to the bits of the constitution that suit them when they suit them, are awfully inconsistent about invoking the constitution, and seem to rationalize this by creating this aura about it when it can be used as a tool to help propel their issue(s). Maybe the constitution should be thought of as being a little less biblical and not invoked every 5 minutes?
That's a totally illogical argument. History has shown time and again that we are able to make amendments to the constitution when warranted. If your pet project is unable to manage it, it's not the constitutional system's fault, so maybe you should consider looking for the problem in a different part of the chain.
 

3) American exceptionalism. I'm not claiming that America isn't exceptional at a number of things, it is, but that this belief serves us well is unhealthy, at best, and inaccurate at worst depending on what sorts of values/strengths/issues are most important to you. It is unhealthy because any country from now to the end of time will and should learn from others around them and be willing to mimick successes, should be willing to acknowledge that there is always room for improvement, should be willing to acknowledge that their country, like any other, has its warts too, and should be combating complacency on a regular basis. I think many people understand this, but many seem to default to just assume that because it is American it must be exceptional, and that challenging this assumption should be shut down just because. There are also some that believe that should America's exceptionalism be challenged, this makes one unpatriotic. I would say that those that challenge America's exceptionalism (or perhaps the exceptionalism of anything) are the truly patriotic ones because they want to put thought into improving something, and moving things forward both as a country and as a species. Nothing is perfect, and we all pat ourselves on our backs at different frequencies.
But look at the title of this thread. The OP clearly thinks it's ok to invoke the exceptionalism of other countries, when it suits his argument. Double-standard much?
 

4) That one undeniable area of strength, our ability to make money, makes the people that are good at it exceptional. Is Donald Trump exceptional? Kim Kardashian? The CEOs of the big US banks? Paris Hilton? You might say "yes" to one or more of these, but I don't think it can be denied that there are also exceptional people that do exceptional things and do not make a lot of money doing what they do.
I have never ever heard this alleged myth given.

 
5) That one must be living in (or a citizen) of a country to make claims like the above. As somebody that has been living in the US for over 10 years, yes, living in this country has provided me some insight into it, but only a part of it, and possibly a skewed sample of it. Do people living in southern California really have an inside edge on what north easterners think/believe/feel moreso than those living in eastern Canada? Do people living in the northeast really have an inside edge on what Texans think/feel/believe moreso than people living in northern Mexico? Maybe, but maybe not. I would say certainly not if you not make a concerted effort to learn and read about what is around you - not in this day and age. My point is that these sort of assumptions are not safe ones to make, shouldn't be made, and in my experience, are often made when one is feeling defensive and/or wrapped up in feelings of exceptionalism. It is natural to feel defensive about the things we care about, and sometimes people want to attack and put us on the defensive for the sake of doing so, but other times these can be learning experiences too. Because somebody outside of your country expresses something about it that can be interpreted as negative doesn't mean that he/she sees nothing (or an ample amount of) positive about it, or that he/she shouldn't feel welcome to express themselves the same way that we've generally embraced freedom of speech within this country.
There's a big difference between finding fault and declaring what needs to be done about it. The former is merely a statement of fact, that can be verified or debunked. The latter implies ownership.

Would you feel at all defensive if Americans got in the habit of clamoring to add a 2nd amendment right to Canada's government? If I were to say "there's not enough guns in Canada" you could easily refute that statement, but if I said "it's time for Canada to have as many guns as the US" (and a bunch of other American's jumped on that bandwagon), you wouldn't find that a little too aggressive? What if I did it every week or two and never once acknowledged that I understood your valid objection to it? Don't bother replying, I know what it means when you don't reply to me, it means you admit you're wrong and you want a "do over" where you repeat yourself without acknowledging the legitimate faults I uncovered the last time.

If the other countries are so much better, why did you choose to move to the US? Can you admit that maybe it's the parts of the US you don't like, that contribute to making the parts that you do like so likable? Can you admit that maybe some historical geniuses were a little mad, but that madness is a part of what created their genius in the first place? That schizophrenia often accompanies artistry, but removing schizophrenia might very well deprive us of artistry in the same stroke?
     
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Dec 29, 2012, 10:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
The harder, but perhaps useful way to do what is being suggested here is to look at what, how and why specific requirements are established in specific rules, and to determine whether they would work within the U.S. system of laws and social norms, then carefully write new rules for here that would at least have a chance of doing some good.

The only quibble I would make here is that laws can also be used to change those social norms- not always with success. of course- because sometimes those norms have developed into something problematic.
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 01:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'm pretty sure this is completely incorrect.
Yes, raleur = lpkmckenna. In the begining, raleur didn't show his true PWL face, so it wasn't quite as clear.

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Dec 31, 2012, 01:55 PM
 
i'm not raleur. I don't know anything about him.

But if you know me, you know I only interact with people I disagree with. Raleur's posts are just like so many other posts: I skim them, if there's nothing really disagreeable about them, I ignore them. (This is why I waste so much time arguing with Athens, even though we are both Canadian and liberal.)

Cash has made everyone here paranoid about sock-puppets. It frankly amazes me how often people spout "hey, that's Cash!"

Hell, I was even accused of being Cash when I first showed up here about five years ago. I was like "Who the **** is Cash?" I imagine raleur feels the same way.
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 01:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Yes, raleur = lpkmckenna. In the begining, raleur didn't show his true PWL face, so it wasn't quite as clear.
-t
And they're both my sock puppets?
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
And they're both my sock puppets?
Well, you were here long before me.

I learned long ago that turtle is a delusional quasi-libertarian who sees Marxists under every mattress. I try to ignore him.
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 05:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I try to ignore him.
Try harder.

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Dec 31, 2012, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Try harder.
Ok. Ignore clicked. Buh-bye!
     
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Dec 31, 2012, 09:27 PM
 
Guys, in the interest of starting off the new year on the right foot, I have a confession and revelation to make....

Turtle777 is my sock-puppet.
     
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Jan 1, 2013, 11:19 AM
 
There seems to be a lack of focus on scale.

What works in Iceland (320k people) might be a good idea to try in South Bend/Mishawaka metro (318k people), but lacks any demonstrated scale to the size of the whole US (320,000k people).

What policies should the US consider that have been demonstrated on a similar scale in terms of population and area? I'm not looking for exact matches, anything covering 200-500 million people and 5-20 million square km will do.

Regions of reasonably comparable population and size off the top of my head:
- Europe
- coastal China (inland to 300km?)
- South America
- the western half of the former USSR
- the Middle East

What uniform policies from any of those regions should the US be considering?
     
 
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