Editorial: The Curse of Mechanized Efficiency

We are from, and of, the appliance industry.  For the most part we work with the necessities of life:  food and clothing, so the analogy is imperfect…….but bear with me:

Our business is the building and marketing of machines to do two things:

  • Make easier that which is difficult.
  • Make possible that which might be impossible.

It really is not more complex than this.  Though we certainly would cook food if appliances did not exist, we would not likely be making soufflés, or complex French recipes with hollandaise sauce, or any number of recipes that would be out of reach to all but the most accomplished appliance-free caveman.  But with these fantastic appliances, almost anyone has hope to replicate the great works of Julia Child.

Machines make clothing inexpensive through mass production, while washers and dryers make owning ambitious wardrobes made of exotic fibers possible.
Before this mechanized revolution, one could only hope to own a few ragged pieces of clothing.
As the machines got better, the difficult became easier and easy.  The impossible became a snap.

When machines are designed, built, and mass produced to simplify mass murder, then there will be more mass murders.  Where it is difficult to get these machines, mass murders are few.  Muzzle loaders were revolutionary in the ease of murdering one, but not more. 
As the technology improved the numbers ratcheted up.

The argument often heard at times like these, “that folks who want to kill will find a way to kill”, is a fallacious argument, that flies in the face of all that we know about human nature and technology, and all we know from every other country on Earth.  
This argument is really an implied defense of unlimited, unrestricted gun and ammunition ownership. 
It is an argument that leads to the events of yesterday, and the events of last week, and the month before that…..and unfortunately to the predictable events which await us next year, and all the years to come.  It is time we put the pin back in the grenade.

We propose that:

  • military style assault weapons be banned, and that units that exist be confiscated.
  • weapons that hold more than 6 rounds be banned and confiscated.
  • weapons and ammunition designed to penetrate bullet proof material, or designed for maximum damage be banned and confiscated.
  • that weapons with clips, or rapid loaders be banned and confiscated.
  • that the number of functional weapons owned by an individual be restricted.  Collectors would need to disable, and clearly mark, anything over that count, or leave the collection at gun clubs, or they would be confiscated.

We believe in protecting the tools of hunting, and allowing restricted ownership of weapons for personal protection.  Our founding fathers did not create our constitution to make the murdering of 28 people, 20 of whom are children, so easy, so casual, so fast.  A lark which could be accomplished without risk, and without effort through the widespread availability of improved killing technology.  Technology which has been used BOTH by the longterm sick and frustrated AS WELL AS the temporarily angry and insane.

We have all been accomplices in these reigns of terror.  
Isn’t it time we stopped making it so easy for them to kill so many of our kids.

And as if to make the point……China, which has had a run of incidents such as these of late, coincidentally had another on the same day as the Newtown attack:  22 children age 6 – 11, stabbed by a madman.  Two seriously injured, but no deaths.

18 Responses to Editorial: The Curse of Mechanized Efficiency

  1. I applaud you, Advisor, for stating so eloquently what can and should be done.  No private person needs military assualt rifles and no private person needs handguns period.  Especially those with 15 round magazines.  It is unfortunate that the Founding Fathers wrote that ambiguous language in the 2nd ammendment but, as you say, they never imagined 30 round clips.  I like fast cars (as my name would imply) but I willingly give up my "right" to drive 150mph on the freeway so that I and others, can be safe from inexperienced crazies doing just that and causing accidents.  I suggest that the gun nuts give up their assault weaponry, dozens of guns, military type handguns etc so that the rest of us can feel a little bit safer from the crazies out there.  The availability of guns makes the work of these crazies just that much easier and why do we want to do that?  If the NRA refuses to admit the facts that their ridiculous reasoning leads to these tragic events, then they have blood on their hands.  Children’s blood.

    • Do you guys REALLY think that just because the government bans guns and confiscates them that criminals wont still get them? Are you guys smoking something? I happen to own guns…shotguns and handguns. I do not own assault rifles, I dont see the need for that. But I really dont appreciate being referred to as a "gun nut".

      I have the RIGHT to keep and bear arms, and I will continue to do so. You guys want to live in a country that controls its citizens like that? Then go live in some other country. They can pass whatever the hell they want to pass, but they will not get my guns. I have a right to protect myself and that is the bottom line.

      If it makes you feel better….do I think that armor piercing ammo should be available to the public? NO. Do i think a citizen needs an assualt rifle? NO. Do I think that people need to pass a psych evaluation first before owning a gun or having a concealed permit, YES. But to spew stupidity about outright banning me from having my guns is just that….STUPID. Not going to happen. What do you think is going to happen the second they even TRY to do that?

  2. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Common sense would argue that our fore-fathers used this specific wording to apply to the militias, which were crucial to the overthrow of British rule in this country.  Common sense would also argue that, even if this right was intended to apply also to the "people"for self defense, the fore-fathers could have never imagined that weapons needed for "self defense" would include classes of weapons capable of firing so many rounds per second.  

    Unfortunately, a conservative Supreme Court including Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito ruled in 2008 (District of Columbia v Heller) that the 2nd amendment does apply to "people" rather than just militias, arguing that restrictions against handguns amounted to a prohibition of a "class" of weapons, limiting the peoples right to self-protection.  The NRA hails this ruling as confirmation that all "classes" of handguns and rifles are protected, as well as the right for the "people" to "keep and bear them."  

    I guess hunters are afraid if we take away their AK47s, it’s a slippery slope before we go after deer rifles.

    I agree with you Advisor, on every point.  However, before any such measures could be enacted we’ll need a revision of the second amendment, or a couple of more liberal justices on the Supreme Court.    

    • I checked what they wrote about that decision.  It says that the clause of the constitution you referred to relates to an individual right to own guns, defined here for the first time, but does not impact:

      • existing federal gun laws
      • restrictions on ownership by felons or insane
      • restrictions on carrying of guns in sensitive locations. (on TV, concealed weapons are always carried in sensitive locations…..the crotch)
      • ownership of "unsafe" guns, like machine guns or sawed off shot guns (or one imagines missiles)

      There seems to be wiggle room here……unless of course you are consealing your gun in your crotch.

  3.   The discussion on guns is an easy target because it is seen as the politically correct thing to address. Advisor, your comments do come across as a common sense approach (you don’t mention handguns which are a huge necessity for personal protection in many areas of our country) but the reallity is what you are proposing will have little to no effect for a number of reasons.

    • 1. Drugs are illegal, yet readily available to criminals. Guns would be the same way. Gunrunning would be the new huge criminal element putting an automatic weapon in the hands of anyone willing to pay for it and the law abiding citizen would be outgunned by the criminal element.
    • 2. Mass killings may be reduced with smaller magazines but with any ban on handguns/concealed carry laws individual murders would spike in big numbers.
    • 3. With the "workplace shooting" at Fort Hood do you propose banning automatic weapons for our military?

     A few more facts to consider.

    • 1. In Switzerland every adult male is issued an assault rifle and required to keep it in his home yet their gun crimes are some of the lowest in the world.
    • 2.  Alcohol related deaths kill many more people per year than assault rifles or guns in general, even on mass scales similiar to our mass shootings yet there are no efforts made to curtail the use or ownership of alchohol. No background checks, no licensing, no bans on kegs or large quantity purchases which no individual should have to have in his possession.
    • 3. Drug related deaths are even higher than alchohol related deaths yet there is a push on to make drugs legal like alchohol is.

      If our government would chose to not allow automatic weapons for our own protection would they forgo the same protection? After all, there would no longer be any threat that their 6 round magazine weapon would ever be outgunned since those weapons were successfully outlawed.

      It may be funny to mock the "black helicopter" crowd in times of peace and freedom, but what does a person do when that peace and freedom is gone and we have no way to get it back?

    "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one". The wise words of Benjamin Franklin still ring true today.

    • This is a continuous string of bloody insanity.

      • You are equating people who die doing things to themselves willingly, (alcohol and drugs), WITH people murdered, and in this case children murdered.
      • You have equated the military’s need to take the risks associated with their chosen occupation and the tools of their trade, with steps to avoid the mass murder of civilians.
      • You have asked if our safety could be guaranteed from our government if our guns were only to hold 6 bullets……because evidently the US Military would have no way to stop Yahoos like you guys if you were carrying assault weapons.  Do you read or think about your posts before posting?

      You said:  "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one"

      You live in a fantasy land, filled with podunks reciting lines like, "You Can’t Handle the Truth", dreaming of the day when they can rise to action with their shiny weapons and save the neighbors from the government……just like the movies.

  4. After learning of the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, I believe the time is right for a change in Federal Laws, regarding automatic weapons.   I live in New York and our state has excellent gun control laws (amongst the toughest in the nation), but people bring in weapons from other states.  That is why I believe there should be a federal law banning automatic weapons.

    The NRA is a powerful organization, that consistently opposes almost any type of legislation pertaining to gun control in this country.  One would think they would speak out about Newtown and the tragedy that just occurred, but I see no evidence of that.

    But, of course, why should the NRA have anything to say about this tragedy? As we all know, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This tells us something striking about Americans, by the way, because the average American is 40 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than the average Englishman or Canadian. According to the NRA, this has nothing to do with the fact that guns proliferate in America and are scarce in England and Canada. We just have to face the facts: Americans, unlike Englishmen and Canadians, are murderous by nature. The ready availability of assault weapons has nothing to do with it.

    If the United States had the same gun murder rate as England or Canada, approximately 8,500 American men, women and children who were slaughtered by gunfire in 2011 might still be alive today. If the United States had the same gun murder rate as England since 2000, 100,000 murdered American men, women and children might still be alive today.

    Of course, it is not only the NRA and its supporters who are accountable for this sorrowful state of affairs. It is also our elected representatives in Congress who have persistently lacked the common sense and courage to renew the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. This is, by any reasonable measure, a grievous failure of responsible governance.

    In the face of this national tragedy, President Obama says this is not the time for politics but for prayer. But this is the time for politics, before we do what we always do after such massacres — shed some tears, express our grief, say a few prayers, and then quickly go on to do what the NRA wants us to do — change the subject.

     Bob Nathan

    • I agree with this part. But to ban all guns is just plain stupid. As I said before, we can have our 2nd amendment rights and be responsible about it at the same time. I have a couple of handguns and a few shotguns. I dont own any "extended" magazines, or assalt rifles. Why would one need them?

      I still stand by my right to keep and bear arms though. I cant get a grip on those that want to ban them all together. Timothy McVeigh killed how many? And did he use a gun? Drunk drivers kill how many? Any gun there? Abortions kill how many innocent children? No guns there!

    • I believe that the Tennis Player made some excellent points. Part of this whole discussion has got gun ban and gun control confused. Everyone including the podunk (just kidding Dusty) agrees that there should be a ban on assault weapons and ammunition such as the  armour piercing variety.

       

      In Canada, England and Switzerland we have gun control, not a gun ban. Many people in Canada are hunters and have different rifles for different hunting. Some people have hand guns legally but we make them dance through hoops to get the license to own it. 

      I believe that gun control can work in the US also. Many people that own guns are very responsible people and would have no issue getting a license. Gun control would weed out those that should not have a gun including those wtih criminal receords. 

      Gun control has proven to be successful in reducing the illicit traffic of handguns. The same would apply in the US. Someone was comparing gun ownership vs. gun crime by state. With the ease in which guns can be transported intersate, the gun control laws would have to be Federal.

       

      I hope that we all agree that something has to be done and that the Status quo is no longer acceptable.

       

       

       

  5. Some here might recall that one of my careers early on was as a Police Officer, and as part of my responsibilities, I was an Ordinance Officer.   That meant that I received training to augment my years of exposure to weaponry.  I was often called upon to outfit plebe officers, and also was the Firearms Instructor for a number of Boy Scout troops.  I note all of this simply as support of my opinions … 

     

    In light of the Connecticut tragedy, I think focus needs to be zeroed in on a few aspects which, I fear, are being lost in the media frenzy … 

     

    1.  The rifle & handguns that the assailant used were obtained by his mother.  There has been no information offered to support why this woman would need such professional-grade weaponry !!!   Why was she allowed to purchase firearms used/needed ONLY by Military and Law Enforcement ???

     

    The very fact that she was able to legally obtain them proves that the screening process which allowed her acquisition is deficient … 

     

    2.  There has yet to be tangible proof as to how or where the assailant obtained the high volume of ammunition he possessed and used.   The presumption is that the mother made the purchases since it is reported that she taught him how to shoot !!!

     

    3.  The mother in this case, for some unbeknownst reason, was allowed to obtain these professional weapons even though she had a child who was (by the traditional designation) "retarded" … She was also allowed to teach him to shoot at, what we have to presume, was a licensed range.   Is there any amongst us who think this was morally and ethically right ???

     

    FYI:  The proper Oxford STILL defines "retarded" as:  " … less advanced in mental, physical, or social development  than is usual for one’s age …"  

     

    I’m sorry if the "PC" minded out there are offended by the proper use of the designation, or if politicians feel the need to outlaw the use of the word, but 26 people are dead because no one prohibited this mother from owning and exposing her "retarded" son to professional weaponry !!!

     

    Yesterday, the NRA expounded on the situation after a respectable period of observance.  I’d like to point out that I have never had membership with them because I disagree with some of their sweeping positions.  I do, however, have to agree with their points about vicious video games which, coincidently enough, this mother allowed her son to own and use …

     

    The bottom line is that there are few members of our society who are qualified, and thereby indeed deserving, of ownership of such professional weaponry.  That’s where I differ with the NRA … Hunting is hunting, so is Target Competition, and the common denominator amongst all those involved in these is a serious respect for their weaponry.  Under no circumstance could the professional weaponry used in Connecticut be considered "necessary" for either a Hunter or Marksman … and neither would EVER allow a "retarded" person to be anywhere near their weaponry !!! 

     

    I do not agree with many of the knee-jerk politicians who wish to make only superficial jestures to look as if they are taking a stance to their constituenties.  I believe that if you look at all of the shootings in recent memory, you will find one common denominator … mental illness … and the fact that the privacy rights of the "challenged" are considered to be above those of the responsible public !!!  It’s time for our society to stop the "kumbaya" elements from equating those who are "retarded" with those who are normal !!! 

     

    It’s time for that to stop !!!   26 innocents in Connecticut need to be the last straw … 

     

     

    • Bob,

      You question why Lanza’s mother was able to purchase an AR-15.  It’s because it is not illegal to do so.  Under current law a person may purchase an assault weapon or extended ammunition magazine regardless of whether or not they have mentally challenged relatives in their household.  In fact, assault weapons like the AR-15 can be purchased at most Walmarts.  Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) will propose a law in January banning assault weapons and extended ammunition clips.  This bill will face fierce opposition from the NRA, but hopefully, it will become law.

      As you correctly point out, an AR-15 serves no purpose for hunting, competition target shooting, varmit elimination or home protection.  If you need an AR-15 to protect your home from invaders, you’re probably already out-gunned.  Anyone who thinks they need an AR-15 to keep a rogue government from stealing their rights needs to quit watching Rambo movies and face reality.  

      Regardless of your political affiliation, I hope everyone will contact their Congressman and ask them to support Sen Feinstein’s bill.  This is not a Dem-GOP issue.  It will save lives. 

       

  6. It has been interesting watching so many people condemn the idea of putting armed guards in schools. I live in a city that has been run by democrats for probably forever and we have had armed police in our high schools for quite some time. I have heard the idea kicked around of arming teachers and there may be a time and place for this idea depending on their background and training. However, almost any public place you go to these days you will see armed guards. Why not more of our schools?

    • Most of the schools today do not have enough funds for enough teachers & learning equipment. Where is the money going to come from to pay armed guards in every damn school in the country??? Do you really want to try arming teachers??? There’s enough problems out there with teachers starting sexual relationships with their students. Im not sure you can now trust them having weapons either. What’s next. Arming Milk & Hall Monitors with assault weapons also???  GOD HELP US ALL!!!

  7. What a day we have had, this January 8th.

    • The trial of Aurora, Colorado Shooter who killed 12 and injured 58 people continues.  They played the 911 tape of a 13 year old girl attempting to save her 2 cousin’s lives.
    • Gabby Gifford, survivor of the Tucson shooting in 2011 when 6 were killed and 12 injured, started her PAC to support a reduction in gun violence.
    • Tucson Arizona marked the 2 year anniversary of the shooting today
    • The Connecticut Rep for Newtown tweeted "Gabby Gifford [sic] stay out of my towns!!"
    • Someone supporting gun rights, Alex Jones, met Piers Morgan on his CNN show yesterday, and succeeded in making me wonder about Mr. Jones’ sanity and the sanity of those who listen to his radio program (really….go ahead and listen to that interview).
    • Just over 3 weeks ago 26 kids were killed in Connecticut
    • Aurora, Colorado considers its shiny new multiple murder which happened last weekend.
    • Retired General Stanley McChrystal comes out in favor of gun control
    • Myself being pro-gun, I find it disgusting the level of hatred towards the gun.  But if you are anti-gun, then shouldn’t you be anti-gravity as well?  Gravity kills more people per year than guns due to falling to your death.  Shouldn’t we be anti-drunk driving for the number of people it kills?  Shouldn’t we be anti-hardware for the number of people killed by hammers?  Shouldn’t we be anti-knife because of how many people knives kill?  All of these other items have killed more people than guns used in murders.  Why do we prosecute a tool? 

       

      Capacity of rounds in a magazine?  Does not matter.  Had I been the shooter in Newtown, with all the ten round clips you want to regulate me down to…with just being restricted to 10 round clips in a single handgun, I could have done far worse damage than that *richard cranium* did in that school.  Should we limit the size of fuel tanks in cars because of how many drunk drivers cause deaths? 

       

      Criminals will always find a way to commit their evil.  I have never seen a firearm pick itself up, walk into any setting, and just start shooting.  It takes someone to pull the trigger or to stab with the knife or drive the car into another.  A gun is a tool.  Designed to kill, yes.  A responsible person uses them to defend, not to kill.

       

      While I disagree with our justice system giving so many rights to criminals, it is our system.  But why not make the punishment ten times more severe than they are?  That would stop a lot of shootings, stabbings, DUI, and intentional death by hammer.  Only the mentally disabled or the extremely committed would still commit crimes.  We would still have the same heinous acts that Advisor pointed out, for Tucson and Newtown were mentally *bleep* in the head.  But the capacity nor type of gun had anything to do with it.  They could have bought fertilizer and diesel fuel and filled a minivan or pickup and done 100 times the damage. 

       

      Enough going after guns.  They are here, they are too deeply entrenched into society.  Unless you give the police the authority to search every home, every car, every hiding spot imaginable, and the authority to do so without probable cause, you are not going to stop gun violence, just the same as you will not stop DUI, stabbings, or those evil hammers.  But you can minimize it with stiffer punishment.

       

      In fact, I think Hammurabi had it right. 

  8. I know this topic has seemingly been dormant for a bit of time but over the weekend I was at a house party and introduced to a woman who described herself as a Professor of Psychology for 25 years and was now working clinically.  After the party’s occasion, the weather, and other usual fluff, someone knowing my background wondered (out loud) if she and I might have interesting thoughts on the issue of the day on the Sunday talk shows …

     

    She was "game" even after I stated my qualifications as I did here … It was a cordial conversation and remained so, even after I discovered something very disconcerting … 

     

    I asked her to please  tell me what happened when the trigger was pulled on a "semi-automatic" weapon … 

    "Why, all the bullets are shot off …" she replied.

     

    I asked her how long she had believe that and she indicated that it was for "… a very long time …"

     

    I asked her how often gun control and tragedies became part of her college class discussions …

    "Well, many time each year … even daily after an event occurrred …" she noted.

     

    I asked her where she learned what she thought about semi-automatic weapons …

    "… probably from TV …" she admitted.

     

    I asked if she had ever operated a weapon of any kind …

    "No, never … I was an only child …" she confessed with a bit of a quiver in her voice.

     

    By now, she was beginning to look quizzically at me as I reminded her again of my qualifications and tried to keepthings light be admitting that I was the father of daughters but never taught my daughters to shoot.  I then carefully explained to her that she was woefully misinformed and that she had most likely passed on that misinformation to students who would consider her a trusted sage.  

     

    To her credit, the colour seemed to drain from her face.  She never questioned the validity of my comments.  She then did something that moved me tremendously … 

     

    "I wish I were still in the classroom …" she pronounced, "…it would somehow chasten my comments to my students … maybe make them go out and do their own digging …"   

    …  and while doing so, she reached out to shake my hand with both of hers.  Fortunately for both of us, it was time to cut the cake.

     

    Now, I honestly believe that this woman was profoundly impacted by this conversation, and I credit her with being open-minded enough to engage me and listen to me.  

    The glaring problem is that there are 25 years of impressionable students out there …

    25 years means that maybe one of them is a politician who will vote on well-meaning but vapid, misinformed gun control Legislation !!!

     

    It needs to be noted that neither the Legislation proposed in New York State nor Senator Finestein’s Legislation would have saved any of the lives in Newtown, Connecticut  … not even the life of the mother who taught her "retarded" son to shoot one of the guns that he killed her with … 

     

     

    • Professors of Clinical Psychology do not teach the finer points of gun hardware, so there’s no reason for her to know the difference.  In fact, I would doubt she every discussed weaponry in the classroom, unless she had quite an unusual specialty.

      She would not have had anything to do with writing legislation either, though she could have provided advice to law makers about the minds of gun owners, or gun collectors, or mass murders, of which she might be qualified.

      As for the "impressionable" minds of college students.  I hope you are joking.

      The Feinstein law bans the Bushmaster, which was the weapon used in Newtown.  Not quite sure how it would not save any lives……but if you are saying it is not restrictive enough, I agree.

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