Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Clear backpacks, monitored emails: U.S. students under constant surveillance (theguardian.com)
375 points by bookofjoe 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 536 comments





> This level of surveillance is “not too over-the-top”, Ingrid said, and she feels her classmates are generally “accepting” of it.

Of course they think that, they’re still kids. Who’s going to protect them from surveillance?

IMO this is way over the top - and it’s conditioning future generations to accept this level of surveillance as adults.


Once we all get old enough this will just be the crazy ramblings and no one will care. What the children are told and believe is true is what will be the truth.

Once we're all dead this won't even be an issue.

Maybe your old enough to remember a time when you could walk away and live somewhere without anyone from your old life being able to find you...I'm not.

Maybe you remember when "everyone" 15+ didn't have a constant connection to the internet or at least the police....I'm not.

Maybe you remember being able to go places alone as a child... I don't.

I remember being able to break school rules (running in the hall) and evade punishment because there was no way to prove it... these kids will not.

My great grandparents remember a time when going to another country didn't require the permission of your home country, when leaving your country meant you weren't a part of it anymore... I'd bet you do not.

--Edit (added conclusion)-- It seems like with each generation we become used to a little less freedom and a little more control. A little more comfort and a little less connection with the non man made world. Maybe this is how it's always been. Maybe it's just another by product of the agricultural revolution drawing us all closer together.


> It seems like with each generation we become used to a little less freedom and a little more control.

This has probably been true to a certain extent ever since we began organizing into tribes. However, I would put forward that even if you aggregate all of the liberty concessions humankind has made for the last few millennia, it would pale in comparison to the supreme control afforded by technological improvements of the last 20 years.


Yes things certainly are moving faster then ever before. I do quite wonder where it is were going

Bad places. But no one will care, because as long as you’re a good little obedient humming bee that doesn’t make noise outside the status quo, you will be safe and fine and ignored.

Fahrenheit 451 is a view of that future.


In China, definitely. They are halfway there, using Orwell's 1984 as a playbook now that the right tech innovations have made big brother surveillance possible.

Will it happen in the U.S.? Definitely not. Political influence on daily life is astoundingly weak here compared to China. Government is far more efficient in China too and can manage big projects like this (whereas the U.S. recently took 100 years to build a new subway line in Manhattan while China is criss crossing their vast country with high speed rail and probably hundreds of other transit projects).

Our knack for mismanagement of contracts and political disunity save us from ourselves. Plus you don't get sent to death camps for your political or religious ideology here unlike China and Oceana in 1984, so there isn't much worry even if one were built unless you are one to go off robbing and killing.


Fahrenheit 451 is a very, very different book from 1984. Pleasure and an obsession with non-offense eventually lead to where they were in that story.

I feel like Brave New World is another interesting side of this coin when you are attempting to see where the future is headed. Constant dopamine production stimulation and complacency with things seems to feel more relevant in the US (and most other western countries, I assume) than the straight up authoritarian dystopia ala 1984 (which is imo more resembling of China).

Agreed. And I wonder if the answer would be different if they asked parents instead of kids (who remember having regular, metal knives at school cafeterias; being able to bring a folding knife to school; etc.).

It seems to me that that public acceptance of such surveillance is a side effect of the mainstream media pushing scares and sensationalist coverage (because this is the only thing they have a chance of selling), not some grand evil plan, but not sure.


In some countries like the UK, even adults are discouraged and disallowed from carrying folding knives anywhere. Scenes like this are commonplace: https://twitter.com/MPSRegentsPark/status/974645778558980096

Okay, I was scrolling through this feed to find some proof that this is a joke account. But they are actually serious, right?

Are there laws in the UK that allow the police to enter your house and steal all your tools? For people who didn't click on the link: It is a picture with literally nothing but tools supposedly found during a "#weaponSweep"

This is fucking dystopian


I have all the knives they found in the wooden block in my kitchen. I would look like an arms dealer to them.

Just wait until narwhal tusk and fire extinguisher make it onto that list.

>Scenes like this are commonplace

What's your basis for saying that they're commonplace? One silly tweet doesn't really show anything.


> Scenes like this

The link points to one example.

The OP didn't support their assertion that constables commonly confiscate screwdrivers during weapons sweeps, but I don't think OP intended the picture prove that, just to show the definition of "weapon" in use.


Here’s another example: https://i.redd.it/hzigm9tmiyn21.png

School children do occasionally stab each other using scissors (e.g. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-47474896). Depending on the context, removing large scissors from the school premises is not obviously an overreaction. The ones pictured are much larger than required for most crafty purposes, and have sharp rather than rounded ends.

This is a red herring in any case, since schools in the US would be perfectly entitled to remove scissors, guns, machetes, etc. etc. from their premises if they chose to, regardless of the 2A.

Moreover, to the extent that items such as scissors actually are banned in any significant number of UK schools (I doubt it), this is a new development that has nothing to do with gun control. There has been no significant change to gun control legislation since the mid 90s, whereas I can attest that scissors were certainly available in UK schools into the mid 2000s.


You’re really fond of the fatuous technicalities, aren’t you? Of course confiscating knives, scissors, screwdrivers, and pliers isn’t technically gun control because these tools aren’t technically guns. Well-observed.

No, I meant to point out that schools in the US can confiscate anything they like - it's not a 2A issue.

The picture doesn't show the definition of 'weapon' in common use, as it's an isolated example.

If only the media were less sensational kids would not be under constant surveillance by the technology that HN posters are helping to develop.

> mainstream media pushing scares and sensationalist coverage

It's almost as if fear sells.

When someone's selling fear, only cowards are buying.


They probably won’t even feel safe without it.

From what I've heard of students, the surveillance they are under is a constant reminder that they are "not safe". People are just now starting to study what should have always been obvious: that active shooter drills are traumatic to students [1].

These topics are much easier to tackle than the real issues effecting students.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2019/11/10/778015261/experts-worry-activ...


I remember seeing a post on reddit from a school teacher describing the active shooter training they received from a local police department. Apparently it just turned into an opportunity for the police to berate and shout at the teachers and students.

Police training other people per-supposes that the police officers of the United States are well trained. If they are not, then the training they provide will be even worse

Who would have thought being told to corral like cattle under a table to rehearse waiting for rapid fire death wouldn't inspire much confidence.

I agree that it is way over-the-top.

Counterpoint to your conditioning point: kids tend to rebel against oversight, and will probably include this in the list of things they reject.


I think this is a gross over-exaggeration. While it is not uncommon for kids to rebel against, for example, their parents at a certain and whatnot, I think this is different than saying that the majority of kids will do it.

The public school system functions as a major conditioning environment to get children used to the norms of society, including deference to authority, following rules, and other things that are generally accepted as good. This is the ideal time for those things to happen because of how pliable the young mind still is.

However, we must be very careful how constrained we make such environments and the idea that safety is guaranteed by subjecting kids to what is effectively zero privacy means we've traded, yet again, liberty for security, thus relinquishing the effective right to both.

This will be as effective at rooting out violence in schools as bombing 3rd world villages has been in rooting out terrorism. Until the underlying issues are addressed (mental health, social disparities, racial divides, etc.) the kettle will continue boiling over and more-and-more unpredictable and chaotic ways.


Or they will observe the world doesn't burn down around them with this level of surveillance in place and will come to find it normal.

Which may very well be fine; perhaps it's a useful normal.


The problem is that it's very difficult to see the far-reaching consequences of policy that affects entire generations. People in the 1800s observed that using fossil fuels in abundance doesn't burn down the world around them, but we know now that that's not really true.

The world won't burn down, they'll just slowly and quietly lose their freedom over the course of decades. They might not even notice, since it will happen invisibly through self-censorship and implied consequences. The very idea of freedom will seem useless in their own hands and frightening in others'. Control will be centralized liberalism will give way to fear. Everything will keep moving, but the people will not be in control of their own rule.

What freedom is being lost that isn't already lost. You go to the grocery store? The mall? The ball park? City hall? Your doctors office? Your college? The package room at your apartment? The airport? The train station? The gas station?

All currently under surveillance and have been since the invention of the security camera. No one bats an eye, these are to document crimes that have occurred.

Suddenly public schools also use cameras for the same purpose, and this is where the line is drawn? Personally, I feel much more comfortable having a government that represents me and offers me a recourse in charge of security footage than some asshole who runs the gas station and does who knows what with the footage when he gets home.


The amount of freedom people are allowed is always a question of balance, not binary. If the world you described makes for a better life for the people in it, it's a better world.

In the US, we used to consider dueling to be a freedom and a proper behavior for gentlemen to engage in. We changed our minds on account of the unnecessary death. Maybe people in the future may consider "dropping off the grid" to be weird and quirky, or downright dangerous.

Maybe that's okay. We've known for millenia that unlimited freedom is more damaging on average than partially-constrained freedom. In the era of these new technologies, I don't think we're sure yet where the constraints should be.


>and it’s conditioning future generations to accept this level of surveillance as adults.

They will absolutely never be free of surveillance in a modern society, whether private or by government, anyway. Might as well get them used to it. They will always have devices on them that track everything they do. Society is beyond caring about privacy. Having toys and convenience is much more exciting. Hopefully they're also conditioning future generations to become docile slaves of their workplaces.


My Aunt has a child in early middle school - years 6 through 9 or so, for people outside the US.

Not only does the poor kid have a school-issued laptop with heavy monitoring tools installed on it, but they are also required to bring a smartphone to school! My Aunt had made them tape over the laptop's webcam and explained that everything the kid typed could probably be seen by the school, but she was still concerned about the microphone. And the kid is completely incapable of avoiding the more toxic aspects of social media and adtech, because the constant use of smartphones has become a central part of their education. At the age of what, 11-15?

I can only imagine what this is teaching the child. When we caught up over the holidays, they seemed to be more fed up and disgusted with technology than interested in it.


This is absolutely horrible. I feel so bad for your family.

There's already a plethora of studies about the negative impacts screen time may have on early child development and the development of their brains in particular. But even from the observable social aspect, the interactions with our smart devices with notifications always vying for our attention and flashing widgets distracting us, I'm really worried for kids who already have struggles with focus and attention.

I know that we get tired of the "sky is falling" rhetoric, but I will just point out that many aspects of modern life that have become "normal" for us are still bad. Sedentary lifestyle, short attention spans, need for constant entertainment, less time spent outdoors, larger processed food consumption – the health and social problems associated with all of these are just accepted now, and a couple of generations ago we didn't have them (at least, not to the same degree).

Was everything perfect before? No, of course not. But let's not lose the forest for the trees. We can adopt technology and progress responsibly, rather than w=recklessly as we have for the past few decades.


Have they considered home schooling?

Often modern home schooling looks more like private school (because almost no one actually does it home, they send their kids to parent run “co-ops”) and you won’t have to deal with most of this stupidity.

The Co-op my sister went to banned smartphones inside the building. IMO that was a little extreme and made logistics more difficult than they needed to be but it meant they just focused on school work.


Absolutely fascinated by this -- my partner and I are projecting ahead a few years and I've wondered what this kind of home-schooling would be like. What do the financials look like?

The constant use of smartphones has become a pretty central part of US culture. Shouldn't school reflect the environment the student is being taught to live in?

Not to be flippant, but so is alcohol usage, should we encourage students to drink at school?

Smartphone applications are designed to be addictive and have demonstrably negative effects upon the mental health of adolescents. Their usage should be vigorously discouraged by anyone who cares about the mental health of school students.


I mean, since you bring it up, there's some evidence that the abstinence-until-21 system the US uses for alcohol does it no favors. It means that instead of being able to learn responsible drinking at home or while younger, America's youth may legally start drinking in college and sort of make up a responsible drinking culture as they go along.

You mention drinking at home. The law bans the purchase of alcohol by children, but does it ban parents giving alcohol to their children? I dont think so.

It's created a cultural stigma that results in most Americans refraining from exercising that freedom, but you're correct; it is not illegal to serve alcohol to minors at home (there are details there that I'm not going to go look up right now ;) ).

Doesn't even have to be in the home. In Wisconsin you can drink under 21 at a restaurant if you're accompanied by a legal guardian, parent, or spouse who is 21 or older.

As I recall, many divey bars would settle for "sibling." As a teenager in Illinois I heard tale of a mythical land to the North where we could drink in restaurants with our parents.

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/125/I/07/...


That depends on the state. https://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/10/legal-for-kid... Five states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire, and West Virginia -- have no exceptions to their underage alcohol consumption laws.

>but does it ban parents giving alcohol to their children? I dont think so.

It is quite illegal to furnish alcohol to minors

>All states also make it a crime to supply an underage person with alcohol even when there is no money involved.

https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-def...

And:

>Depending on the situation, one can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for supplying alcohol to minors. Most often, supplying alcohol to a minor is considered a misdemeanor offense, but in some jurisdictions, it may be considered a felony depending on the circumstances. Felonies for supplying minors with alcohol are typically charged when there is some type of accident or injury involved with the use of alcohol or the person supplying the alcohol has been convicted of repeated offenses. Typical penalties are outlined below.

https://www.alcohol.org/laws/supplying-alcohol-to-a-minor/


Most states exempt parents from such laws. For example Massachusetts law says

> For the purpose of this section the word ''furnish'' shall mean to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, or provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age except for the children and grandchildren of the person being charged to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged.

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Cha...


> but so is alcohol usage, should we encourage students to drink at school?

Not a great analogy, since the effects on alcohol are quite different than the effects of using a smartphone.


In many contexts, e.g. while driving or attempting to think about abstract topics, the effects of one are difficult to distinguish from the effects of the other.

>The constant use of smartphones has become a pretty central part of US culture.

Only in the past several years, and in that time there's been a lot of pushback to it and a growing consensus that it is likely harmful when people don't moderate their usage. I was in high school less than 10 years ago, and phones of all kinds were banned. If a teacher saw an iPhone, it would be confiscated and your parent would have to pick it up.

The schools are optimizing for convenience and cost, not the cultural zeitgeist.


Yes, it's a good idea, but being forced to carry a device around with you that is used to track your movements is not okay. Parents need to be able to say no to that.

That’s somewhat akin to providing schoolchildren with a rum ration because drinking alcohol is a central part of culture.

Ahh yes. I remember back in my day I was sent home if I didn't show up to school with my rotary telephone and a fresh copy of the Times under my arm. Essential components of US culture, after all.

We were taught newspaper literacy at my school. We didn't have to provide our own copies though, since newspaper is easy to come by; the school provided it.

The comment isn't describing use of cell phones as a central part of US culture. It's describing tyrannical, invasive policies that happen to involve smart phones.

I don't own or use a smart-phone, why should my kid be forced to?

Hypothetically? For the same reason kids in high school are taught how to use graphing calculators whether or not their parents own or use one. Public education is supposed to work independent of the situation of the parents.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

We can't have children being used to constant surveillance and accepting this as a part of life. It sets them up for so many problems in the future, where they won't understand the serious implications of constant tracking and surveillance.

And sure, nothing too bad comes out of this stuff right now in most of the world, but have you seen China? The minute a government decides to do so, all that data that's been collected on you your whole life will be used against you to give you a flawed AI-generated social "score" that determines what you can or cannot do, or to determine whether or not you're a "threat" (see: someone who speaks out against wrongdoings) to such a government.


The flip side of the coin is that kids learn from a very early age what it takes to slip past the surveillance net. The smart ones watch everyone around them get caught for infractions. Taking note. Quietly gathering data. Towing the line, purposely being caught for the occasional minor infraction so as not to appear too good to be true. Until one day, they disappear from prison in the middle of a storm and take the entire foreman's investment portfolio with them.

Oh wait, I think there was a movie about this...


Then most people are still living in a surveillance dystopia / prison to stick with your analogy

I‘d rather not be in prison than hoping I‘m the chosen one who gets out


This scenario ends up being fairly elitist. Everyone should be free, and not everyone can crawl to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine -- or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards... that's the length of five football fields; just shy of half a mile.

My daughters teacher was monitoring her and her friend instant-messaging each other on school issued laptops.

The got around it by using a Google doc to chat in real-time.


Google-Docs-as-chat is extremely common in schools. Tons of schools use Google docs so they're not blocked, permissions (who you can bring to a doc) are usually wide-open, and monitoring's non-existent if you don't attract attention.

What movie is it? I would watch it.

Shawshank Redemption

Funny this article coming from the Guardian which I believe is a British publication. And London being the only city in the top 10 for surveillance outside of China. https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surv...

My local corner shop has about 16 CCTV cameras in it, covering as many angles in the shop as they can. This is common. Very common.

I'm totally OK with that kind of apparently 'pervasive' CCTV coverage - we're not talking government-owned networked cameras linked up to face/gait/whatever recognition systems or deep cold storage banks, we're talking small store-owners keeping an eye on junkies and thieves.

The oft-regurgitated "x cameras per thousand people" narrative tends to overlook obviousness like this.


Imagine each one of those cameras were being held by a person. How would you react then? This is the true nature of the situation.

Surveillance Camera Man made it explicit, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP5ZVPwP7bg : people hate being watched. Doing it with machines is an exploit for the human psyche.


The video on those systems usually is turned over every month. The video isn’t accessed unless there was an event.

These systems aren’t integrated into larger systems to help track and ID people.

That said, some of this could change if many shops go to nest or ring solutions... but most shop owners will not keep video footage indefinitely in the cloud as it’d be cost prohibitive.


Yep. That's exactly the kind of rationalization I'm talking about. You don't know any of that for sure for each machine camera and certainly don't know what a random person will do with a taken video.

Amazing how you got downvotes for that. I was just thinking why some people reacted so aggressively towards the guy filming. And tbh he behaves really annoyingly. If he really wanted to teach people a lesson about constant surveillance this certainly doesn't play in his favour.

But I think it also has to do with the fact that at least with him people actually have someone to be mad about. As opposed to their usual mode of surveillance where they are being filmed by a 'security' camera (hey, it's security people! nevermind if it doesn't actually make anything any safer) operated and owned probably by their boss or someone who they are not on equal grounds with.

It makes me kind of sad.


Do you think the people being filmed would've behaved less aggressively if the camera man had told them that he only keeps footage for a month, doesn't run tracking and ID-ing software on it and only ever re-watches it when there was 'an event'?

I bet the moment unlimited storage is cheap, shop owners will do it.

people hate being watched

So what's the deal with the selfie obsession and the instagram obsession and so on? Is it that people dislike being watched live? Or is it that people dislike other people having control of the footage?


I don't understand that, either. I don't use instagram, nor do I take "selfies"; I regard both as profoundly narcissistic, privacy concerns aside.

That said, the reason people get depressed by platforms like instagram is that they don't show real life but a photo-shopped, re-touched, carefully-curated version of life. People only see what others allow them to see.

Furthermore, I know that most of the footage taken by a surveillance camera is discarded. Most of the footage filmed by humans is created for a specific purpose and will be used. Someone else will likely watch it.

Finally, if I walk into a grocery store with a camera, I am going into someone else's establishment informed. If someone walks into a classroom and films me (like in the "Surveillance Camera Man" videos), there was no such agreement, implicit or otherwise.

I really do hate being watched, and hate others taking video. I hope surveillance cameras go out of use, and people stop recording everything on phones. However, there is a difference between that and some silly two-bit social network.


I'd say it's the latter. The selfie obsession is all about curating how you present yourself and your lifestyle. No one would want an IG or Facebook account with someone else at the helm.

> people hate being watched

in the old days we'd have God watching over our conscience.

now we have cctv.


Crime never occurred in the good old god fearing days, huh?

Crime doesn't occur these days, huh?

Funny how some people choose to react when the concept of 'God' is dropped into a response, irrespective of the author's belief or sincerity.


I prefer god. He at least doesn't talk to other people about his observations.

I prefer CCTV. Then we can actually go look at the footage and see what really happened, instead of arguing pointlessly and having no neutral reference.

I helped build a product a while back that helped those owners give access to the local police. Depending on what the owner wanted to do this could be just the street cameras or everything.
1996 10 days ago [flagged]

Do you sleep well at night?


Actually I do. I don't feel bad about writing any legal software. If laws suck they should be changed.

Mind showing me a camera that you can definitively say the government (or other actors) don't have the potential for backdoor access to?

I certainly can't.


Nope, and in case of crime, most local police forces can simply walk into local stores and request recordings from the last X days, so quite why they'd need illicit backdoors, I don't know.

I'm also entirely fine with this.

Backdoors in cheap CCTV being accessed illicitly at a mass-level is an entirely different problem, and one which I'd agree would need questioning.

I doubt there's much value in that concern for another decade, until the majority of CCTV cameras are ultra high resolution/30+fps, which they're not.


Not to mention camera technology that only records “junkies and thieves” and not the thousands of innocent people going about their day. There is nothing ok about pervasive, constant surveillance of law abiding people.

Any CCTV system that's air-gapped from the internet (records to local storage only) reasonably meets this definition.

Yes, there are possible exfil paths, but not ones that can reasonably be executed on a large scale. Realistically, the danger from break-in and hard drive theft (or warrant/subpoena) is greater for the average user.


Raspberry Pi Camera Module?

Unless you believe governments have backdoored SSH, I would say it's good. Definitely not a turnkey solution though.


That sort of acceptance is why amazons ring is so dangerous: there are new business models around aggregating and automatically processing and mining that footage

Wouldn't be hard to hook them all up to the government's backend, if it one day became mandated. For safety.

> And London being the only city in the top 10 for surveillance outside of China. https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surv....

While I've no doubt that London is highly surveilled, that data is, to put it bluntly, horse droppings, and should never be cited.

If you look at the sources they cite for stats like "There are 2,985,984 cameras in Shanghai" (Wow, look at the precision on those figures! Six decimal points, if we express it in scientific notation!), you will find that they take a random unsourced number from a blog post from 2013, then add 20% to it 6 times over, because they assume (Also unsourced) 20% year-over-year growth.

Meanwhile, that same source claims that there are only 3,600 cameras in San Diego. As anyone who's ever been in a convenience store, bank, airport, or workplace can tell you, that's complete baloney. You can probably visit enough businesses in a normal day that will have you walk past 3,600 cameras. (And the source for that number? A news article about the city government installing 3,000 new intersection cameras. Apparently we are to believe that across all the businesses, government buildings, and private residences of San Diego, there are only 600 cameras.)

I'm not sure if the authors in question are just incredibly stupid, or incredibly intellectually dishonest... But my money is on the latter.

tl;dr - please think critically about your sources, especially when they reinforce a pre-conception that you hold. Most of the 'data' you can find on the internet is garbage.


> London being the only city in the top 10 for surveillance outside of China

Only if you ignore Atlanta, GA at #10.


The source for the London figure is this article: https://www.cctv.co.uk/how-many-cctv-cameras-are-there-in-lo...

Unfortunately, the source for that article costs £100.


Why would the situation in London influence your perception of the article's content?

I think London is there mainly for the amount of CCTV cameras everywhere. The difference between this and place like China is how these tools are used - British society is fair and democratic to a high degree, in China this was never the goal. Of course priorities might change over time.

I think part of the problem of polarization is distrust in the respective other political isle. Constant surveillance and constant crises are probably key drivers here.

Some say it benefits security, but I think the calculation is flawed. You will never get engaged citizens in a open-air prison. People implementing these policies should be deeply ashamed of themselves.


I'd say that part of the problem is that surveillance data is monetizable, which increases every vendor's incentive to make that capability a fundamental part of the value proposition for the product or service.

I was born in the 80s and my dad was a network engineer with a hobby of privacy invasion. All computers in our house were open to remote login from him and all of our emails had to be through an email server he ran out of our home. Constant surveillance backfired on him in that it taught us how to be increasingly good at hiding activities and covering our tracks. Obviously that doesn't make up for the downsides of constant privacy invasion.

One side of things that has me worried is I recently spoke with my brother over the holidays and he's a highschool teacher. ALL of his students use VPN's to bypass the schools monitoring and blocks on what they can do. What has me concerned is how many of these students understand the implications of funneling all of their private data through VPNs and vetting their VPN choice in the first place.


When I was in highschool flash games were rising to prominance, and the admins naturally banned our favorite websites from the school network. We weren't savy enough for VPNs but we used proxies.

At this point I have a pretty flippant attitude to my private data because of how much is out there. Telemarketers know my number and personal details. Spam emails do too. Even snail mail junk.

My info has been bought and sold dozens of times by now, probably originally from Verizon as telecoms openly engage in this practice. VPNs leaking my info is the least of my worries, the cat is already far out of the bag.

However, what can these companies even do? Not like I engage with their targeted advertisements or junk mail. If my identity was actually stolen, credit card numbers sold, it would probably only be mildly annoying for a month or two rather than some catastrophic thing.


I do not think so either.

My own kids escaped much of this, and I was an active parent.

Turns out, I am going to have to help another one, my granddaughter due to son's big fail and meth. (Not good, I have no words. It is all insane hard for him now)

Maybe we can largely home school, or potentially move.

When I compare my school experience to this mess?

Who knew? It all seems crazy and so very unnecessary.

The other disturbing trend is criminal records at increasingly young ages. When do kids get to learn from mistakes without being badly marked before they even come of age?


The horse has left that barn. They're under surveillance from the moment they enter the maternity ward. The population of HN'ers who let a babysitter take care of their kids w/o a webcam is probably way below the general population.

Your kids will raise theirs under the watch of Alexa AI-Webcam and Apple Watch Child Protection kit.

And one day they'll sit on courts and find the Fourth Amendment quaint.


Maybe. Quite a few of us are raising kids free range.

Ideally, we can also pass along what life can be like.


What free range options exist for urban techs? I do find it reassuring to see more Jr High aged kids on Muni recently.

You gotta go take trips. Find some outdoors place and visit it often.

What about friends? If enough of you agree, the range is more free for the kids.

Finally, in your home, you can be permissive.


I hate to say it, but it's perfect training for the world they'll live in once they enter the work force. It's the same thing there - you have no expectation of privacy when you're using the organization's equipment, if you want to do something sensitive you have to use your own equipment and data plan, and even if you do that, you risk being disciplined for doing something personal on the organization's premises/time.

>We can't have children being used to constant surveillance and accepting this as a part of life. It sets them up for so many problems in the future, where they won't understand the serious implications of constant tracking and surveillance.

Credit Scores, Cell Phones, Social Media. These kids will be tracked for the rest of their lives whether they have clear backpacks and ssl mitm or not.


The bigger problem is the issues that led to the surveillance - the get an AR15 and shoot up a school culture in the US or the iffy government in China. Both those would be / have been a problem without any surveillance (eg. 30m + deaths in China earlier). On the other hand in our evolutionary environment we lived is small groups where everyone knew what everyone was up to and in the modern world your tech tracks you - it's just kind of part of life that doesn't really cause problems if people are nice.

What if exposing them to surveillance is actually educational? What if it helps them form models in their head that make noticing it’s overstep easier?

Maybe this elaborate demonstration of surveillance is being used as a teaching moment by a woke English teacher?


If you think that's bad. Check this out: https://www.wired.com/2010/10/webcam-spy-settlement/

This among the many reasons I don't want my children in the education system.

You have people teaching nihilism. This is the result of nihilism. If you want to eliminate this problem, then eliminate nihilism.

The solution to keep people from killing should focus on teaching others that life is not meaningless or worthless. Also, teaching kids humility wouldn't hurt either.

Edit: Perhaps this should be obvious, but teaching about nihilism is not teaching nihilism. People teach nihilism more, if anything, through their actions.


Can you explain who is teaching nihilism to whom and where? In school, while I did not have a clear backpack and quite obviously had internet monitoring on someone else’s network, I was never, not once, taught nihilism. In fact, in my education through grade 12, most everything was filtered through a compassionate lens.

It’s not like I was taught that the Holocaust will happen again because humans are inherently bad and such everything is meaningless; instead it was that if we seek the goodness in the world we can prevent something like that happening again. Furthermore, if we were taught anything about nihilism, it would be that the Nazis used it to justify mass murder, which we were taught is the worst thing ever, because it is. Just my experience


I was taught nihilism in grade 12, as part of my epistemology class, by the same teacher that made high school kids read Nietzsche. At the time, no-one adopted it, because we all still thought grades and test scores were somehow important.

The moral philosophy of the high school student is "get grades that are good enough to graduate and/or get accepted into your 'safety school'". If objecting to or evading surveillance, or using a non-clear backpack, risks suspension or expulsion, it is therefore a moral imperative to use a clear backpack and submit to panopticon surveillance.

It is only later, after graduation, that the experience of being treated like criminal suspects at all times is applied to their developing worldview. And their conclusion will be "the elder generations are all paranoid assholes". They won't be wrong.

I get the sense that the backlash will probably take the form of "You want to strip away my privacy and pry into my personal life? Fine. I will push so much of my personal information onto you that you will recoil in absolute cringe at my oversharing. Here are pictures of me doing all the things you find abhorrent, like having nontraditional gender and sexuality, or voting for a democratic socialist."


>in my education through grade 12, most everything was filtered through a compassionate lens.

The phony compassion delivered by public schooling taught me to be nihilistic. I think that's what the parent poster was getting at. It wasn't a strict adherence to some system I once got a lecture about (because I didn't get one either), but as a natural response to the platitudes they taught.

I could shake off that "wrong" way of thinking because I was under the impression it was abnormal and needed to blend in with the crowd. So in retrospect from writing this post... I guess what they really taught me was doublethink.


[flagged]


> At least for me, I don’t find any non religious argument a useful protection against nihilism.

You probably also define religion pretty broadly I suspect.

I could tell you that there is joy in life, beauty in the planet, happiness in relationships with our fellow humans and this is reason to live — spread love. Is that philosophy, religion (optimism?)?

The best "teachers" in my life have taught me, if nothing else, the joy of learning itself. There's no nihilism in that.


I find that art is an effective counter to nihilism, and I do enjoy the irony of liking Dadaist and Surrealist art.

When nothing you do matters, everything you choose to do anyway is art. So try not to make ugly art.


> When nothing you do matters, everything you choose to do anyway is art. So try not to make ugly art.

Is that a quote from someone else? I love it and want to properly attribute it when sharing.


No. That's me. Been working on it for a while to make it more quoteworthy. It's my "Well, actually, not all nihilists..." quote.

What does you comment have to do with teaching Nihilism in schools? Why does it matter that people are also discussing this elsewhere?

I don’t understand how this is a response to my post, rather than that thing where people put their hand up to ask a question and then just state their position instead.


[Citation Needed]

You need a citation to believe that "the rejection of all religious and moral principles" would incentivize people to make their own "screw the system" morals? Really?

As if "religious principles" in any way inhibit immoral choices and create a moral system outside of one beneficial to itself.

If you insist on linking morality with religion, yeah, I do need a citation

.....?

Which bit of this are you upset with specifically? Monitoring internet access on school devices? That's been standard in every single school and workplace for decades.

The clear backpacks are silly I'll admit, and also pointless. I agree that kids getting conditioned to be okay with surveillance is bad, but this is all coming from the private sector right now.

In China, you now have to submit your face to be scanned into a database to get a new phone. This has already been normalized by all the face swapping apps, like Zao. Kids in the west wouldn't think twice about accepting the Ts and C's for Snapchat or IG or anything else that includes face scanning tech.


> Monitoring internet access on school devices? That's been standard in every single school and workplace for decades.

Blocking has been standard in some workplaces, and stricter blocking has been standard in schools, but monitoring isn't. Small and medium businesses and academia often have little or no blocking.

No-one gets any alert if I write "I want to kill myself or maybe the president" here (over TLS), nor will they when you download this page. For some children, this does generate an alert -- even on a secure site.


Every large corporation I have worked with in the last 10 years has monitored internet access. Some block as well as monitor. The either monitor and block via network proxies and/or via locally installed software. When done locally the logs from the software are sent to a central logging system for the software. What the corporations do with that information has varied. Some don't actively look at it unless an issue arises and some send managers regular reports detailing the internet usage of their direct reports.

There hasn't been a company of any size I've worked for in the last at least 25 years which didn't require signing an acceptable use agreement which includes notification that all activities may be monitored.


Yes, and the point being made is that it's wrong.

> Monitoring internet access on school devices? That's been standard in every single school and workplace for decades.

What country are you talking about? Honest question, just curious. I am in the US, but even today many small and medium sized companies do not monitor internet (block parts, sure, but not monitor) and 10 years ago even large companies did not do it.


am in the US, but even today many small and medium sized companies do not monitor internet

Every URL accessed via a proxy will be logged, even no one is actively reviewing those logs regularly


In the early 2000's, I used to work at a medium size public company and managed the firewalls and proxy servers. I would regularly tail the logs for my own amusement. The amount of pornography streaming into that place was extraordinary.

When I was in high school, the admin regularly blacklisted new flash game sites as we started discovering and using them regularly on the school network.

Monitoring is done everywhere and has been done for a long time. Whether or not they check it depends on how lazy IT is.


I know for a fact BofA was doing it 10 years ago, because a family member tried to show me a YouTube video on their work laptop and it was blocked by the BofA firewall, even though they were at home. I doubt that there was a reprimand or anything, but I bet it was logged somewhere “just in case”.

That's still blocking, not actively monitoring. Probably because it runs all network traffic through their VPN.

Software like Forcepoint/Websense logs blocked attempts by default and can be configured to log all traffic. I don't believe there's a reliable source on what companies do.

The Levandowski incident at Google revealed that they had VERY extensive logs. They appear not to look at them routinely, but the logs are there when needed.


Was that the IP incident between Google and Uber? can you say more about the evidence here or post a source? just curious.


How do you block specific websites without monitoring which website is being visited? That doesn’t make any sense.

You can do it a couple of ways. You can whitelist sites, where all sites not on the list are automatically blocked, or you can blacklist them, where sites matching certain characteristics or on a particular list are blocked. Neither way necessitates logs or monitoring.

Hmm, what about this approach - monitoring adds a certain action on top of that blocked (or not) website you try to access. It gets reported, your credit/social/whatever score goes down. As a kid, you might have a talk with counselor, or your parents with principal. As working adult, you might get a warning or get fired. Your access to foreign travel, sim card, voting etc. might get altered.

That's both monitoring and blocking. I'm not sure you can block without monitoring.

Banks are strict on their work laptops. - Everything is tunneled through VPN

- 2 FA

- geofencing at VPN level (you can't take work laptop to Russia, India, China, etc)

- everything is whitelisted. Some employees can only access x.theirBank.com, everything is else blocked. This is the case with tellers, folks in the retail banking

- even for IT/dev, one should get explicit permission to get access to youtube, github

- every work laptop comes with an agent like ZScalar, which enforces these policies by coordinating with a central server.


...but that sounds like monitoring?

For example, downloading a list of prohibited domains to your device and running a local firewall. “Monitoring” in this context implies that someone will be able to later review the websites you’ve visited or tried to visit.

Every enterprises local firewall I know of can report back to a central system for logging.

I don’t have any special knowledge of enterprise firewalls; parent just asked how it was possible.

> That's been standard in every single school and workplace for decades.

Monitoring work or school internet use without specific prior suspicion is illegal in the entire EU; so this level of surveillance may be "standard" in some countries, but hardly globally.

> In China,

Not exactly the reference I was looking for, though from this perspective any level of surveillance is normal.


Plenty of places in the EU routinely monitor customers and block certain websites. Rail companies blocking streaming sites for just one very reasonable example. It can’t be as simply illegal as you say it is.

Monitoring and blocking are entirely different.

How can you block without first monitoring what sites people are trying to access?

There's usually a legal distinction. Blocking does require looking at the request, but the accept/request decision is made instantaneously and is usually based on a static blacklist (or whitelist). It doesn't necessarily require logging.

Monitoring usually means logging all activity and then automatically or manually sifting through the logs to look for things, possibly much later, and possibly in response to other subsequent events.

Monitoring is considered by most people to be worse, and may come with more legal liabilities.


Blocking certain internet resources has been in place for decades, not constant monitoring.

Schools have started constant CCTV surveillance. Often with flawed AI systems in place. Clear bags and all these practices condition them to value their privacy less, which is a very bad thing.

> Kids in the west wouldn't think twice about accepting the Ts and C's for Snapchat or IG or anything else that includes face scanning tech.

Surely you understand why that's bad, right? What they're taught hasn't been updated in decades, whereas the world around them has changed so much. They're taught as kids not to trust strangers. Why are they not taught to not trust random apps?


You really shouldn't cite China as an example of anything being justifiably "normalized".

Furthermore, children can't actually accept T&C's as a matter of binding law. The fact they just push the button notwithstanding.

What has been normalized is legal predation (something parents should be paying attention to and warning children about as they get older), and apathy toward actively slapping down abusive corporate business models. This is showing indications of turning around, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

In terms of monitoring Internet usage at schools; it may be done to a point, but I'm far more concerned with the trend toward omnipresent physical surveillance through facial recognition or device fingerprinting. It's one thing to try to police content to appropriate subject matter for a school; it's completely different to start holding a child accountable to having a digital footprint to manage all the time. Adults can't even manage that responsibly, and I don't think forcing them to do it while they are young will play well with ensuring they understand how to navigate the physical world well.

Given the adversarial objectives of most technology companies, I can't see the sense in putting in the effort to basically manufacture "trained consumers" for big tech. I'd rather see them taught computing in general and gradually introduce them to software creation and program awareness so they can make their own decisions. Of course, that seems to end up the kind of thing you get at vocational schools instead of primary Ed nowadays.


> Which bit of this are you upset with specifically?

To me the upsetting part is that these kids must feel unsafe / monitored. Which is exactly what they shouldn't go through in school, it's far from a good start in life.

But then again with all the school shootings I don't blame the security companies, it's a deep cultural/societal issue. It's similar to what happened in Europe in the last few years, now it's business as usual when soldiers in full gear + assault rifles patrol the streets in major cities or during big public events. It sucks but there isn't a perfect answer to the problem.


The odds of being shot at school are incredibly low (~1 in 614,000,000), and have been falling since the 90's. It's just that when it does happen, it's so horrific that we cannot bear even the 1 because that 1 might be ours - myself included. That's ripe territory for companies to come in a make some good money on those mathematically irrational fears. The ones who suffer, though, are still the kids. While the likelihood of getting shot is lower than that of dying while simply traveling to school in the morning, the odds of being stressed and paranoid about it in school are now fairly significant.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/school-shootings-are-...

Nothing drives an economy like fear.


I read a book a while back, and it is even more relavaent today.

The Culture of Fear - Barry Glassner

https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Fear-Americans-Minorities-Mic...


Parents subjecting their children to their own fears should be made aware of what they are doing.

> But then again with all the school shootings I don't blame the security companies, it's a deep cultural/societal issue.

Perhaps we should. Companies exploiting peoples' irrational fears and inability to do math are huge part of the problem. It would be less bad (but still bad) if they only scammed people, selling school shooting protection charms or other magical items. But instead, they're selling ineffective solutions with bad side effects, taking away freedoms, creating stress and feelings of insecurity.

Few things irk me as much as people making money from hurting other people.


> It's similar to what happened in Europe in the last few years, now it's business as usual when soldiers in full gear + assault rifles patrol the streets in major cities or during big public events

I've not seen a lot of that.. More at US Christmas markets.

At any rate, I view policing events in that fashion or China adding security guards for their knife attack problem as not actually the same as US schools. In most cases the perpetrator is an adult that is dropping out and hard to reach. The US is worried about youth going through their social integration system who become violent as a result and that it apparently doesn't catch deteriorating preemptively as much as other societies. Many arguments can be made as to why, i.e. a litigious society leads to little personal risk to address abnormal problems.

A child who goes to a US school and observes the precautions should become paranoid about trusting themselves and their friends not to go on a killing spree. A child going to a Chinese school should mostly be more afraid of a scarier world.


>To me the upsetting part is that these kids must feel unsafe / monitored.

Many larger schools have their own police officers, because they have to. My fiance is a high school teacher and just out of her classes in the past 2 months she's had one student arrested and expelled for bringing a firearm to school and another for bringing nearly a pound of marijuana (in a state where it is illegal at the state level) to school. Earlier this year they had two students expelled for having sex in a classroom after school while filming part of it with one of their phones.

Even from 1998-2002 we had school police. We had multiple people dealing marijuana, MDMA, LSD, and probably other stuff I wasn't aware about. We had several students investigated pre 9/11 for threatening to deploy pipe bombs at the school, we had more than one overdose (all MDMA I think), I'd watch a girl in study center once or twice a month sit there and rub her face the desk or her binder with pupils the size of saucers, we had students drinking on school property in the middle of the day. We had at least one student that I know of on an ankle monitor for most of high school. If you went out for a sport you would be drug tested regularly, without notice, pulled out of class at random and people would occasionally fail. While we had students doing FFA and being volunteer junior firefighters after school we also had people with extensive juvenile records and children.

When I was in middle/high school 16-21 years ago you could buy drugs/pornography/bootleg cdr movies/alcohol/other things that were age restricted like ephedrine (we abused ephedrine so much I have no idea how I didn't have heart failure) in the hall or bathroom between classes just by walking up to any number of people. I've found talking to people this is not a unique experience and most of the same is still occurring in high schools right now.

Many schools across the country simply are not utopian dream lands. If I had kids, I'd be 100% fine with them being forced to have clear backpacks and I'd go a step further and suggest they only be allowed to and from their locker upon arrival/departure and not allowed between classes. It's one small step that considerably reduces the risk of a kid lugging a weapon, explosive device, non-personal use amounts of drugs. Sure, I could have hidden a small arsenal and a large quantity of drugs on my person between my hoodie and jnco jeans in high school but a clear (or no) backpack drastically reduces the likelihood of these things being taken to school.


Kids do stupid things. But the "solution" presented, in form of increasing security measures, does not sound like a solution to me.

Maybe the schools need to change, and kids need to be integrated into the real world, instead of being retained in relatively pretty prisons with bad food until they're adults.


[flagged]


Gender has nothing to do with limiting what children can carry, or conceal, coming and going from the school building.

In Pakistan the gender segregation is almost certainly a religious thing given Islam is the religion of 96% of the country. Segregation by gender is also found in masjids/mosques, this is a normal part of Islamic culture.

Comparing a religious custom in a predominately Islamic country to clear backpacks in American schools is wholly irrelevant.


The point was they’re not trusted to goof off between classes unsupervised - that fraternization is the motivation is secondary. Also thanks for lazily generalizing about Islamic countries

Just give it another few hundred years and clear backpacks and other stuff will be part of american culture/religion.

It's not just internet access though. They flag private emails as well, is that not a violation of privacy?

Also, I find this part highly disturbing: “They don’t really give you a list of things not to do,” he said. “Once you’re in trouble, they act like you knew.”

This is eerily close to a typical oppressive state. See a troublemaker, make up a rule that you can prove they broke, punish them. Not a similar scale, of course, but it's still pretty bad.


>They flag private emails as well, is that not a violation of privacy?

No. If you are using a school/employer provided email account you should be using them for school/work stuff. If you are using a school/employer device, you should be using them for school/employer stuff.

If you want to tell Jack or Jane that they fuel your fire and you want to do sexy time or that you violently soiled your pants and wondered if they could bring you their gym shorts to the upstairs bathroom then use your own device on your own service.


Sure. Step 1, replace everything with a service. Step 2, make half of these free and employer- or government-provided, because people don't have time and money for dealing with subscription crap. Step 3, announce that if people want privacy, they should use their own devices.

Isn't that what is done essentially? The school provides the tech on loan and a school email account, just like companies do. And just like companies do, you keep work shit on work shit and personal shit on personal shit.

I'm most upset by internet monitoring. If I had had access to school devices and it had monitoring then I wouldn't trust the school with anything, because they wouldn't trust me with anything.

Clear backpacks is such an absurd thing that I still find it difficult to believe that adult human beings came up with such an idea in the name of security. It's something I'd only ever expect to encounter in a novel about a dystopian future.


Security Theater at its finest. If something happens they can always claim: "Look -- we did something -- it was utterly stupid and had no effect at all, but we did it, what else could we do?!?!"

>The clear backpacks are silly I'll admit, and also pointless. I agree that kids getting conditioned to be okay with surveillance is bad, but this is all coming from the private sector right now.

I think you'll find the opposite effect. Kids are being taught to hide things far better than before. Increasing their privacy skills for their adult lives :D


>In China, you now have to submit your face to be scanned into a database to get a new phone.

Is it not possible to buy a used phone there? I got my last several phones on Ebay; like cars, they depreciate a lot in the first year or two, so getting a 1-2 year old model will save you a ton.


Not that it makes it more or less effective, but my public school in Birmingham Alabama required clear backpacks back in 1996

If you experienced that yourself, or know people who have, how did that requirement feel? Was there self-monitoring or worrying, at the very least for personal hygiene or medical items?

I was 9, so didn't really think much of it.

>The clear backpacks are silly I'll admit, and also pointless.

My fiance is a high school teacher, in the past two months they've had a student come to school with a handgun and be expelled and handed over to the police and another expelled for having legit dealer quantities (nearly a pound) of marijuana (packed and placed in mason jars in her backpack) in a state where it isn't legal at a state level.

I can see why some might want clear backpacks.


It's still crazy. It's not like opaque lunch boxes and paper bags are luxury items. Concealing a handgun or drugs isn't all that difficult.

A few observations:

1. Active shooters, while rare, have completely eroded our trust in our fellow humans. Either a gun is safe to bring into a school or it's not. If it's not, then why do we allow open carry/concealed carry permits in public spaces? Active shooters have been both kids and adults. You might make the case that kids can't handle firearms safely -- though I was once a kid with access to firearms and I knew how to handle them safely. (Don't take this paragraph to mean I'm pro/anti gun control. It's just an observation)

2. Public Schools are public property. Private schools are private property. In either case, it's perfectly legal to have a surveillance system.

3. Parents feel more comfortable knowing the school has a means to keep their children safe. After all the school is responsible for the children while they are at school. Worse, should something happen to a kid on school property, there will be a lawsuit claiming the school did not do everything in its power to protect the children -- hence the need for surveillance.


> If it's not, then why do we allow open carry/concealed carry permits in public spaces?

It's often not allowed to carry in places like schools (varies depending on district or state). However, many pro-gun supporters make the argument that CC supposedly makes public spaces safer because active shooters don't really need a license to murder people anyway, so anyone carrying during a situation has more defense (just stating the argument, not certifying it's correctness). But I'm interested in hearing how often it's the case that some licensed idiot badly secures their weapon in a public space leading to an active shooter situation (and for this reason I definitely wouldn't trust students to CC. But I'm also not in favor of clear backpacks, as that similarly feels like a case of "solving the wrong problem").


It's not so much about how good or how bad you secure your weapons. It's about how likely are you to become insane when you have access to weapons. It seems to me that adults have been active shooters as often as children.

Note that in most of the geographic US, concealed carry is the norm, not the exception:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Conceale... (blue and green are either constitutionally protected rights, or the state is legally required to give a permit)


Poor, emotion driven risk management as usual. School shootings kill very few people per year and are rare events (especially in places that can afford this tech) despite what the New York Times would have you believe. Why not focus efforts on things that actually do kill young people, namely:

* Car crashes (teach people to drive more defensively)

* Suicides (provide better mental health services)

* Violence that occurs outside of school (intervene to stop conflict before it becomes an issue, which would also help prevent these shootings)

* Opiods


Comments like this look absolutely insane to anyone outside the US. Look at the numbers: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/21/us/school-shooting-us-ver...

> Comments like this look absolutely insane to anyone outside the US

No, it looks insane to the 6 countries mentioned in your article that have significantly less schools shootings.

The other 188 countries in the world are purposely not discussed, since many of them have extremely high violent crime rates despite restrictive gun control laws...


USA has 12.21 gun-related deaths per 100,000 population per year. It's 10th highest in the world, and all the countries higher up aren't considered developed.

19th highest in the world is Argentina and it has less than half the deaths US has.

In top 30 there are countries with less than 1/4th the deaths.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-r...


The US homicide rate is the 94th globally [0]. Looking at "gun related deaths" is misleading because it includes suicides, which in the US is very high. The vast majority die from disease so if the goal is to prevent premature death a marginal improvement to US healthcare system would save far more people than whatever this high school surveillance state is trying to accomplish.

That's not a reason not to implement these policies but infringing on privacy, which should be considered a fundamental right, for an at best insignificant decrease in the homicide rate is.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intenti...


> it includes suicides, which in the US is very high

I wonder why :)

Have you considered the possibility that easy access to guns make suicides more common?


> 12.21 gun-related deaths

Which includes suicides & accidents.

It also ignores the overall homicide rate, which is much more important. Do dead people care whether they are murdered with a gun or a knife?


> suicides & accidents.

Which are more common when the access to guns is easier.

> Do dead people care whether they are murdered with a gun or a knife?

Deaths caused by guns are easily preventable. Why not prevent them?


> Which are more common when the access to guns is easier.

Again, you are ignoring all the countries that have strict gun control laws and still have high rates of suicides.

> Deaths caused by guns are easily preventable

They clearly aren't, since there is no correlation between gun control laws and homicides.


That's only because most countries lack the resources to actually enforce gun control laws, not because they're ineffective. It's more likely that economic wealth and effective gun control reduces violence, instead of intrusive mass surveillance.

I agree, let's look at the numbers. ~ 300 school shootings in ten years averages out to 30 a year. There are about 100,000 schools in the US. That's a risk rate of 0.03% per school per year risk. Considering that very few people within a given school die per attack, this means that your risk of being killed in a school shooting is basically negligible. Further, your article talks about ANY shooting on school grounds including gang shootings, domestic violence (adults), and accidental firearms discharges so A. almost certainly incidents will be clustered and a middle class school in some random place like what's in the article will have far less overall risk, and B. the actual number of real shootings of the kind that would make the news is far less than 300 over ten years.

The risk of being involved in every other incident class I listed is higher, so that is where we should be focusing our efforts because ultimately a death is a death regardless of what people are scared of. This is basically the terrorism problem: terrorism in the US is this big scary boogieman until you actually look at the data and realize that there's very little terrorism. The school shootings make the news precisely because they are very rare and surprising (and because some media outlets have readership that is in favor of strict gun control so it will play well).

If you want controls to stop school shootings anyway then why not just put in place general healthy population controls: stop bullying, keep a cop visibly on school grounds to deter criminality, engage with parents, and create a healthy environment for learning. All of that costs basically zero dollars and would likely do far more overall good than these silly, expensive, and invasive surveillance systems.


> risk rate of 0.03% per school per year risk. Considering that very few people within a given school die per attack, this means that your risk of being killed in a school shooting is basically negligible. Further, your article talks about ANY shooting on school grounds including gang shootings, domestic violence (adults), and accidental firearms discharges

Using the same criteria there were 0 gun-related deaths in schools in my country (10% of USA population) in last 50 years, probably more. And it's not hard - you simply have to be rational and control the guns where it's easy (at the point they enter the market, when they enter the market) instead of controlling them where it's hard (in every school every day).

It's the low-hanging fruit of death prevention. It would save you money and hassle (no need to check every kid every time it enters the school, no need for transparent backpacks and all that security theater).

> If you want controls to stop school shootings anyway then why not just put in place general healthy population controls: stop bullying, keep a cop visibly on school grounds to deter criminality, engage with parents, and create a healthy environment for learning. All of that costs basically zero dollars and would likely do far more overall good than these silly, expensive, and invasive surveillance systems.

You should do all these things anyway (except for keeping cop in every school - that's just absurd and shows how far into irrationality USA has gone).

> All of that costs basically zero

Hiring 100 000 cops full-time costs basically zero? I would disagree :)


>(and because some media outlets have readership that is in favor of strict gun control so it will play well)

Don't forget ownership. Bloomberg never discloses that their owner has spent hundreds of millions to circumvent 2A when they cover mass shootings or gun politics.


Yes, US has a lot of school shootings compared to other countries. But it is not like all those other countries use surveillance to prevent it, the problem is elsewhere.

Furthermore, you could probably provide a number of free lunches for the cost of the surveillance tech and laptops for every student.

There's always money for punitive controlling "solutions". There needs to be a politically active obnoxious block always bellowing about it as unnecessary and a waste of money relentlessly for something to happen because apparently that's the only way things happen

Why not focus efforts on things...

Automobiles are something of a sacred cow. Even outside your neighborhood school, prioritizing pedestrians & cyclists, traffic calming, and the like are an uphill battle because it is inconvenient to drivers.


I've seen schools with underground tunnel crossings as well as pedestrian overpasses. However, if you research why these piece of infrastructure were built, usually it's a sad story of a kid getting killed by a car which made everyone suddenly realize how absurdly dangerous crossings are for small children. Safety infrastructure is built with blood.

I work IT at a school. I try to strike a balance. I try to avoid doing creepy things in the name of security theater. I don't do TLS MITM, even though it might make web filtering easier. We do have some classroom monitoring software, but it can only be used while students are on our network.

I agree that there is a bit too much reliance on technical measures (ex: monitoring software) to police computer usage. This can be in absence of teaching kids personal responsibility. However, in a classroom environment it helps teachers immensely. While 80% of your students might handle themselves mostly, trying to police those remaining manually can eat up a lot of instructional time.

One point on the article:

> Teenagers are warned that the school is tracking what they do, and that they can get in trouble for visiting inappropriate websites.

If the school gets gov funds for IT, they have to be CIPA compliant[0]. This includes filtering adult websites and logging access to them. Fail to do so and you lose access to a lot of government funding through E-Rate[1]. The law is vague and somewhat up to school admin interpretation. I've seen some pretty intense surveillance regimes implemented in the name of CIPA.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Internet_Protecti... 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Rate


Unpopular opinion: make private gun ownership illegal instead of forcing kids to be monitored to make sure they're not carrying

Unpopular opinion: basically no one dies by guns in schools so don't even bother with clear backpacks.

Part of the problem is not just the actual risk, but the perception of risk. People deserve to not feel like they are going to be shot when they show up to an educational institution, and that feeling has been withering away lately

If the problem really is the perception and not the reality, then the perception can be changed without a constitutional amendment. It would be a lot easier to raise awareness of how safe guns are for society than it would be to get rid of them just to satisfy those who are afraid of them because they aren't aware of the facts.

That's the vast majority of the problem, to be specific, as that perception is far out of proportion to the actual risk. So address the fearmongering and contextualize how rare these incidents are, insteading of blaming gun owners and further eroding civil liberties.

School shootings are unacceptably frequent in the US, regardless of how infrequent they are in an absolute sense. Many countries go decades without a single school shooting.

I don’t understand your comment. It seems to boil down to “they are obviously too frequent, regardless of how frequent they are”. Is that a fair summary?

Anyway, in principle any death for any reason is unacceptable. In reality, however, we need to decide how to allocate limited resources to making various classes of death less likely. Given that dying in a mass school shooting is much less likely than dying from a lightning strike, and is about as difficult to prevent[0], it doesn’t make any sense to focus on.

[0]: No, we can’t just “make guns illegal”. The political structure of the US makes this impossible.


I mean that they are vastly more frequent in the US than in any vaguely comparable country. It would be as if, e.g., 100x more Americans died of electric shocks than Europeans. This would suggest that something fixable was wrong.

You have to prioritize your problems and solve the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. I'm sure there are magnitudes more shark attacks in USA than in EU, but that doesn't instantly mean we should prioritize reducing shark attacks - the cost-to-value ratio of solving that problem is terrible.

America has a lot of problems. I would say school shootings are not terribly high on the list. Same with mass shootings. Gun violence is a very touchy subject in America, as outright bans violate the 2A of the constitution which many believe was inspired to protect against formation of tyranny. Personally, I see the value in citizens being able to own rifles; not so much with handguns (which seem to only be used for murder and suicide).

But imagine if Hong Kong had 2A rights. Protests would be much more violent, yes, but the violence would be up-front instead of postponed until the next revolution (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...). Beijing would be forced to either back off or straight up invade. Instead, I predict HK's rights will be slowly eroded in a war of attrition until they are all trapped under the tyranny of the CCP for generations to come (which is arguably worse than up-front violence).


You work on whatever problem you like. I simply pointed out that the US has a singular problem with school shootings. You appear to agree with that assessment.

You have no idea what would happen if Hong Kong had "2A rights".


> You have no idea what would happen if Hong Kong had "2A rights".

Right, because they don't. Just like every other country that slips into tyranny. The absence of 2A rights in countries ruled by tyrannical regimes is deafening.


I'm not sure what you're getting at. There are free countries with tight gun control laws and tyrannies with high levels of private gun ownership. There's no connection between the two things.

The framing of this comparison is fraught due to unequal bucketing. Most other countries are the size of US states or even cities, so they can boast individually low numbers while in the US everything gets bundled together. The US should instead be compared to something like all of Europe or all of Western Europe.

Sure, but what difference does that make? The US still comes out way ahead in school shootings if you compare it to all of Europe. And e.g. the UK has about 1/5th of the population of the US but vastly less than 1/5th as many school shootings. I don't think you can really have thought this through if you think that "bucketing" is the issue.

Perhaps, a comparison versus the rest of the G7?

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/21/us/school-shooting-us-versus-...


I suppose I'm conflating school shootings with mass shootings which is what most people worry about, a la Columbine or Parkland. The figures in your link are mostly gang violence, which is a completely separate although valid issue.

We do absolutely have higher rates of targeted gang violence than other countries, which after controlling for factors like density and poverty is highly correlated to young urban male demographics that aren't as prevalent in other developed nations. There is no single policy that can solve the numerous social and systemic failures that generate this problem, but due to the nature of these vendettas they would assuredly be carried out with knives and shanks in the absence of guns.


The figures in the article are literally school shootings, i.e. shootings on school grounds.

Maybe you should reread the comment you are responding to in order to understand why your objection is meaningless in the context of the discussion.

All mass shootings in schools are school shootings, but not all school shootings are mass shootings.


Why is the distinction important? We don't want school shootings, regardless of whether one or more people die in them.

You are far more likely to die crossing the street to school than having some homegrown terrorist appear one day.

A 4 year old girl was killed crossing the street to school in my neighborhood just over a month ago, horrible tragedy:

https://laist.com/2019/10/22/pedestrian_deaths_vision_zero_p...

This article shows it's not only LA that is failing at vision zero. https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/11/vision-zero-d...


And we should reinforce this perception by strip searching kids?

ummm, please explain?

Surely the US has by far the highest gun murder rate in schools among developed countries.

EDIT: The down votes are interesting - are you down voting because what I said is not true, or because you just don't like that it is true?


Look up how many kids are killed by cars. Then go see how many are killed by guns outside school. Then check how many are killed by guns in school.

Cars are designed to transport people from place to place, and cause death as an unfortunate side effect. Guns are designed to propel bullets at high speed, and cause death as the intended primary effect.

There can be other conversations about the effectiveness of public transportation, and how the US infrastructure was designed around cars instead of buses/trains, but there is a pretty big difference beyond the number of deaths caused.


What is your point? Everyone knows cars and guns are designed differently. Seems like you are trying to rationalize irrational terror. Statistics show a student should logically be more wary of dying in a car wreck on the drive to/from school than getting shot at school. Are you suggesting our students should ignore math?

At the end of the day, the dead don't really care how they were killed

The primary function is irrelevant.

It is an interesting aspect of human psychology that more people are afraid of a mass shooting in a school, though far more students will graduate knowing someone who died in a car crash than someone who died in a mass shooting.

... but it is how human psychology works, so the school must account for it.


Well 9/11 is etched in the collective psyche, still talked about, and the toll there wasn't great either. Acts of terror terrify. I don't think it's so much that people worry about the odds, they just categorically do not want to accept regular school shootings as a normal thing. Why should they?

It's essentially the same thing as air travel safety vs cars. What seemed to work for air travel is to make it into trivia so that any time this point comes up somebody repeats back the trivia.

Far more school shooting deaths than any other developed country by my count. You're choosing to brush it off because it represents a small percentage of the population. That's a ridiculous position, you could hold the same if school shooting fatalities were in the 10,000s instead of 200s; too insignificant. The weight is in whether it's acceptable or it isn't, not how likely your kid is to get shot. It's been worse in the past 20 years than the 20 years prior. You're either a) tacitly saying that the certainty of future school shootings is absolutely fine with you, or b) that it can't be helped, which isn't true. Pick one.

We don't have to accept high rates of vehicular deaths either. Automation will make this moot in the end, but far stronger punishment for inebriated driving is due, among other things.


> You're choosing to brush it off because it represents a small percentage of the population.

That is what you concluded from what I am saying. Why did you conclude that?

> you could hold the same if school shooting fatalities were in the 10,000s instead of 200s; too insignificant

Oh but look at those magnitudes!

> You're either a) tacitly saying that the certainty of future school shootings is absolutely fine with you, or b) that it can't be helped, which isn't true. Pick one.

I did not intend to say either of those things. That's your interpretation. But again, why did you think that? My take: A good chunk of the population in the US is sold on alarmism and "something needs to be done".

> far stronger punishment for inebriated driving is due

Great. Another non-solution giving the appearance that something is being done.

Then when that doesn't work you cry for still more to be done. More punishment. More prying. It's a cycle I won't participate in. I'm disgusted by it!

Why aren't we discussing the resources these kids had, or didn't have, facing their adulthood? How come they decided the way to feel in control was shooting their peers? They're not the only ones! A lot of kids feel that. Few act it out. Thankfully. Why do they feel that? No matter, let's watch their backpacks for guns.


> That is what you concluded from what I am saying. Why did you conclude that?

> Oh but look at those magnitudes!

You're saying again exactly what you're being cute about in the first sentence. Not much to deduce here.

> I did not intend to say either of those things. That's your interpretation. But again, why did you think that? My take: A good chunk of the population in the US is sold on alarmism and "something needs to be done".

That's interesting because your "take" completely ignores those suppositions you insist do not apply to you. It it CAN be helped, those who believe so would explore solutions: which one do you favor, and why?

> Great. Another non-solution giving the appearance that something is being done.

"Our calculations reveal that increasing rates of prosecution and conviction for DWI would reduce re-arrests for DWI and by implication drinking and driving more generally." -- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472385/

It works.

> I'm disgusted by it!

You're disgusted by putting drunk drivers in jail?

> No matter, let's watch their backpacks for guns.

I never said I was in favor of the clear backpacks, not once. That won't deter anything. I do however think the ease of accessibility to guns is great among disturbed young people.

> Why aren't we discussing the resources these kids had, or didn't have, facing their adulthood?

We should. No one says we shouldn't. And yet, are you going to vote or write legislators to allocate resources this way? I doubt it. It's just another way to brush off the whole thing from cons who don't give a fuck and wish people would just not talk about it.


> cons who don't give a fuck

Well thanks.


Funnily enough, you need to be trained, licensed, and registered with the government to legally operate a motor vehicle.

On a public road, yes.

There’s nothing legally stopping you from buying a car with cash, not registering it at all, and driving it on your own property.

I recall driving farm trucks (and tractors, etc.) while hauling hay when I was about ten years old.


Your argument is very, very weak whataboutism. Just because people die of other things more frequently does not mean that you are not supposed to prevent deaths. Your argument suggests that we should not be bothering with a justice system at all, because far more people die of cancer and heart disease than are murdered or crippled, therefore it would be dumb to put any money down for preventing and prosecuting murders.

No. If we look at the draconic measures being taken the reaction is way out of line with the problem. If we reacted to the other dangers the same way, society wouldn't function.

Schools are turned into high-security institutions, or the appearances of it. Watching kids for fear of them freaking out is not a good signal to send. It means you only care when it's too late.


A proper measure isn't about "scale of reaction" it's whether it's effective. These draconian measures are red herrings; I'm not sure they're even meant to prevent anything, because they won't work. They will not prevent school shootings, full stop. It's opportunistic bullshit from legislators.

Do you have any evidence that clear backpacks have a meaningful impact of deaths in schools from guns? Is that impact sufficient to warrant the culture of fear that is being incolcated into these poor kids?

It's not whataboutism, it's cost benefit analysis.


> It's not whataboutism, it's cost benefit analysis.

GP didn't make that analysis; they merely implied that nothing should be done about school shootings because more kids get run over. That's whataboutism in its purest form: "We should doo something about school shootings!" - "But what about all the kids getting run over???"


Imagine that 1 person in the US died per year by getting hit by stray golf balls, and 10 people per year in France. (I'm not saying this is true; just imagine).

It might be true that France has by far the highest stray-golf-ball death rate in the world. But this wouldn't mean it is a significant cause of mortality, or an important object of public policy.


Except that we're talking about innocent children being gunned down at school by their fellow citizens. Utterly preventable and disgusting. You might not think it's a big deal, but the rest of the world is horrified by it.

(Also your example is very poor - you should use per capita statistics so countries of different populations can be meaningfully compared.)


How would you suggest it be prevented?

I suspect it's some variant of “amend the US constitution to allow the federal government to ban guns”. This is essentially impossible in practice due to the political structure of the United States.

If your response to that is “well then, change the political structure of the United States” then that would involve a violent revolution or some other chaos, which would almost certainly kill more innocent people than mass school shootings do.

> you should use per capita statistics

It doesn't matter, since my example was meant to illustrate a point, not to be quantitatively meaningful. But since you asked, the corresponding per capita numbers would be:

3 per billion inhabitants per year in the US.

149 per billion inhabitants per year in France.


> I suspect it's some variant of “amend the US constitution to allow the federal government to ban guns”.

Sigh. You Americans have been taught to think in such black and white terms. It's either "have guns" or "ban guns". You honestly think there is no middle ground, which is utterly and completely moronic because virtually every developed country in the world has a way of dealing with this that America is convinced can't work. Even though the evidence is blatant.

In many, many countries (including the US actually) citizens are allowed to own certain types of guns, and not other types. I ask how many anti-aircraft guns Americans are allowed to own? Or missile launchers? Or tanks with live rounds?

Clearly there are some weapons that regular people can have, and some they can't.

All America needs to do is tighten down what's acceptable, just like other developed countries do. For example, I live in Canada. I have a large calibre hunting rifle, and it isn't even registered. My friend has a handgun which is tightly controlled. Australia is similar.

So people that "want guns" can still "have guns", but the murder rate is much, much lower in those countries than the US, because other more powerful weapons are restricted or even outright banned.

Further to this, it's a simple idea that people should be required to have licenses and training to own a firearm, just like a vehicle. So what if you need to amend the constitution to do that. You've already amended it 27 times - it's not like the thing was perfect the day it was printed and will still be perfect in the year 3500 or some such nonsense.

Be very clear, I am in NO WAY talking about "Ban guns" or "Take guns away". I'm talking about restricting certain types of guns, and restricting certain types of people, which of course America has already done.

It's really not hard. The rest of the world has done it very well, but you guys are still busy arguing black and white while kids are literally being slaughtered in schools, and people at concerts and movie theatres get gunned down.


>So people that "want guns" can still "have guns", but the murder rate is much, much lower in those countries than the US, because other more powerful weapons are restricted or even outright banned.

That right there is resting on a huge unsubstantiated assumption on your part. I personally don't think giving people the right to bear arms necessarily reduces crime but I say this because evidence doesn't really bear the notion out. You say the opposite without any backing evidence. By way of opposing arguments: In most Latin American countries (including the extremely violent one I live in) private gun ownership is either outright banned or extremely curtailed. Despite this, most of Latin America has murder rates per 100,000 that are several times to several DOZEN times higher than those of the U.S. Another example, in the U.S itself, homicide rates (same metric of deaths per 100,000 people) vary enormously from state to state, county to county and municipality to municipality, and the correlation between this variance has very little visible connection to gun ownership rates or gun access restrictions in those same municipalities. Go look at the stats yourself: this is why states like Wyoming, where gun laws are extremely lax, can have extremely low murder rates while places like the city of Chicago, Illinois or Baltimore, have enormously higher homicide rates despite having local gun laws that are nearly as strict as those of many European countries. Other factors besides gun laws are largely to blame for the higher-than-average murder rate in the U.S (by western standards), not access to lots of powerful guns.


I agree with almost all of your comment. I think as a matter of policy, handguns should be banned or heavily restricted, and if I were in charge of rewriting the US Constitution (which I think is quite shit and a terrible basis for running a modern country), I’d definitely get rid of the second amendment.

You seem to be arguing against what you think a typical American believes, rather than against my actual position.

I’m not arguing that policy shouldn’t be changed. I’m arguing that it’s so difficult or impossible to change, for relatively little benefit compared to other possible reforms, that focusing on it isn’t worth the cost.

The salient difference between the US and other developed democracies is the US’s uniquely broken political structure. What most people don’t understand when comparing the US to Canada or Australia is that the US can’t “just” pass a law making serious and major reforms. It’s simply not possible. In almost every country, when most people agree a law should change, the Parliament just passes it, the head of state agrees to it if necessary, and then that’s it. Not so in the US.

In our naturally gridlocked and fundamentally broken political system, there are only three ways a law can change in a major way at the federal level:

(1) It is obscure enough that nobody cares about it,

(2) It is so widely supported that it can actually get through the deadlock, or,

(3) It doesn’t go through the legislative process at all, but arises from the Supreme Court changing its interpretation of the constitution.

For example: the vast majority of Americans have believed since the 1970s (as far back as my data goes) that abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances. A majority have believed since the early 2010s that gay marriage should be legal. And a solid majority have believed since 2000 (as far back as my data goes, and to be fair it dipped to around half during the Obamacare debates) that the healthcare of all Americans should be the responsibility of the government.

But because of the brokenness of our system, the first two reforms could only be made by the Supreme Court, and we’re still waiting on the third.

We can’t even agree to switch to the metric system, despite practically every educated person agreeing it’s superior.

Given these facts, if you’re going to spend the huge amount of political capital, years of debates to the exclusion of everything else, waiting for once-in-a-generation supermajorities, etc. that were necessary for even a relatively minor reform like Obamacare, you’re better off focusing on something more impactful, like improving transit infrastructure, mitigating climate change, subsidizing poor people’s access to healthy food, or any number of things that will save more lives overall than making mass shootings less likely.


Thanks for the very detailed reply. I guess you're right - even though I've spent 5 months in the US this summer, I hadn't understood the difficulties involved in making stuff better.

It sounds terrible, and I'm sad so many people have to live like that.


All things considered, I think the US is a fine country by global standards. Canada is significantly better in many ways, but the US isn't exactly Syria or El Salvador.

I've never understood the fascination with comparing the US to developing or undeveloped countries. It's a waste of time, and only causes more inaction because "everything is fine, it's better than x,y,z"

Next you're going to tell me your pro football team is doing just fine because they're better than a high school team. (Even though they're literally on the bottom of the pro ladder)

Surely, what is ostensibly the best country in the world should at the very least be comparing itself to OECD countries if it ever hopes to improve.


You are the one who decided to compare the US against two of the best-governed countries in the world and then be shocked that the US is (almost by definition) not governed as well. Not me. So why am I the one who’s obsessed with comparisons?

I’m just confused about this attitude about the United States. I don’t see people being as smug about the entire spectrum of countries. I don’t see endless threads on message boards about how unbelievable it is that Eritrea and North Korea are governed poorly. And I think if you went to a forum filled with people from one of those countries and constantly talked about how it’s not as nice as yours, people would get annoyed.

We know our country has a ton of problems. Lucky you for being born in one that doesn’t, but that’s not a license to constantly lecture us about something we have zero power to change.

I bring up countries that people don’t hold to as high a standard despite them being so clearly worse-off than the US to invite you to reflect on why that is.

I think for most the most part it’s one of a few reasons: (1) people conflate geopolitical power with development, and think it’s abnormal that the most powerful country isn’t the most developed; (2) people conflate wealth with development, and think its abnormal that the wealthiest country isn’t the most developed; (3) people are just racist and think a country with a mostly Western culture should naturally be highly-developed and well-governed; (4) people see the unwarranted patriotism of a loud fraction of Americans and want to knock them down a peg.

Not sure which it is in your case, but I suspect based on your comments that it’s some combination of (2) and (4). But both are total fallacies.

Wealth is not particularly strongly correlated with quality of governance: Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE are all deeply corrupt yet richer per capita than the US. Hong Kong is one of the richest territories in the world and not a democracy at all. Uruguay and Botswana are vibrant, well-functioning democracies despite being developing countries. So it’s actually not very surprising that the US has a more poorly-structured political system than Canada, Australia, and most countries in Western Europe despite being monetarily richer.

As for point (4) it is obviously a fallacy because at no point did I ever claim the US is the greatest country in the world or that we have more freedom than anyone else or that Canada is a Stalinist shithole or anything else, regardless of the fact that some percentage of Americans might believe those things. On that note...

> what is ostensibly the best country in the world.

Your words, not mine. I think the US is better than most countries in the world, but worse than Canada, Australia, or most countries in Western Europe. Why is that so surprising or confusing?

> Next you're going to tell me your pro football team is doing just fine because they're better than a high school team.

I don’t follow football at all. I find baseball and soccer much more interesting. Funnily enough the political discussion parallels the soccer standings. Can’t tell you how many Europeans have a smug attitude about how “bad the US is at soccer” (as if that’s some sort of moral failing!) despite us having a FIFA ranking of 22 out of 210 federations. Funnily enough I’ve never heard anyone smugly shitting on the national soccer teams of China, India, Canada (sorry!) or Palau.


Aweful, horrible, tragic, but a sensational statistic at the end of the day. Crosswalks and the cars that ignore them are a more serious killer, but regulated into local news and not international headline coverage. Pedestrians die every 90 minutes in the U.S. due to cars.

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-09-15/pedest...


Exactly. Force schools to quantify this risk against others. More kids die cycling to school than by guns.

High-school kids playing football are more likely to die directly or indirectly from playing than they are from being shot.

More people die of hypothermia every year than get killed from mass shootings.

Hmmmm, we should also ban bicycles and sidewalks! /s

Schools aren't responsible for kids who die cycling to school.

No, but they are responsible for not subjecting them to unreasonable policies.

Do clear backpacks increase the risk of dying from cycling?

No. But clear backpacks do nothing at all to make them safer. And everyone with half a brain knows this. It conditions the entire population to accept security theater and government surveillance as part of everyday life.

This sets the entire society up to be unable to resist government overreach in the future.

Clear backpacks increase the risk of death from tyranny.


>But clear backpacks do nothing at all to make them safer

I must be missing most of my brain then because, to me, this sounds unfounded.


Someone looking to sneak a gun in would be hiding it in their pant's waistband or some other part of their clothes; inversely if they are looking to commit a public atrocity they'll skip the sneaking part altogether. Mandating clear backpacks is just as much security theater as is banning 4 oz liquid containers at the airport

I don't think that's a fair assertion. Even going in through the front doors with guns in their coats, the perpetrators of Columbine massacre used bags full of bombs.

>if they are looking to commit a public atrocity they'll...

Which gives everyone else a sooner notice to run away. This won't work for e.g. gang violence.

>Mandating clear backpacks is just as much security theater as is banning 4 oz liquid containers at the airport

Yes, they started that after someone actually tried to blow up a plane with bottles of explosive disguised as soft drinks.


The bags full of bombs were to kill people after the shooters were dead. They weren't to get in the door. They got in the door by outgunning the security guard (one handgun vs two rifles in a gun battle, so the guard retreated).

How were they stopped if bottles were allowed?

Someone who wants to pack heat to school isn't gonna be stopped by a clear backpack. They'll cut out a texbook or hide it on their person. Look to the TSA's track record to see why making the formerly hidden visible doesn't actually help that much.

Look at how that same argument fails to apply to suicide statistics being reduced by removing access to guns or falls from bridges. You're trying to apply a logical train of thought to an inherently illogical act of homicide.

But even if you can apply that, it doesn't work. The gun and ammo you can fit in a textbook is smaller than what can fit in a backpack. Backpacks are good at carrying things, that's why we - and school shooters - use them. So if someone wants to pack heat, they'll be less effective.

Maybe the effect from this is insignificant. But how sure do you have to be for the risk of dead children to be less bad than someone not being allowed a cute backpack?


There are an unlimited number of things that risk dead children. Chewing gum, shoelaces, bicycles, model rocketry, shop class, video game marathons, crosswalks...

How sure do we have to be to ban them all?

There is in my opinion a very clear danger associated with setting up draconian surveillance states borne out by history. How sure do we have to be before we ban those?


We do ban lots of things. They're children.

>There is in my opinion a very clear danger associated with setting up draconian surveillance states borne out by history.

In my experience, if everything that was compared to 1984 was actually like 1984, we'd be at war with Eastasia.


We don’t ban everything that carries as little risk as a backpack.

Suicide usually involves sevee depression and such a lack of motivation that opening every blister packs to overdose is a deterrant. It is very different from a desire to spree kill.

Besides if we deal with this low probability extremes shouldn't we factor in early blooming girls who kill themselves after being bullied and shamed over carrying their feminine products without any privacy?


> Suicide usually involves sevee depression

A minor correction: it's untrue to say that suicide usually involves severe depression.

For many people it's something more usefully described as "rapid onset despair".


What sounds unfounded?

I think the quoted part about "clear backpacks do nothing at all to make them safer" is what the commenter found unfounded.

No, but if we're forcing the kids to have clear backpacks because of an infinitesimal risk, we should ban them from biking to school, being driven to school and playing in the school football team.

Which is ridiculous.


Some schools actually have banned things such as biking to school, along with playing tag, balls, and even running during recess over the same safety boogieman. It's frustrating how the whole freedom vs security balance thing falls off a cliff when children's rights are discussed.

Sources edit:

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a20026414/why-biking-to-schoo...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/03/parents-outrage-...

https://www.thehealthjournals.com/youre-not-it/amp/


That sounds like prison.

As a child, it is exactly prison, it's not 'like' prison. You are controlled in location, action, and speech. You are told when to use the restroom, when to eat. Feeling sleepy today or maybe not getting along with an obnoxious inmate? Too bad for you, you're powerless.

I personally believe most school violence is induced by the prison-like nature of schools. They are inmate riots of 1.


That's a poor comparison though. Both of the others provide other benefits: a method of commuting to school or exercise. Potentially even scholarships.

Fashionable backpacks do nothing.


Imagine you're a teenage girl and you need to carry sanitary products with you. I imagine that for some of them this is essentially a nightmare scenario. That's a direct harm to kids.

This is a good point and I hope they can work around it (such as by allowing small opaque bags inside the bag).

At which point the clear outer bag is defeated.

Freedom from arbitrary restrictions does something.

Welcome to mandatory education

Seems like you agree with me that this has nothing to do with guns and everything to do with the dysfunction of the school system.

Yeah you are right. Following your logic and your risk assessment, I assume you are getting your children firearms rather than bicycles for Christmas, Happy Holidays...

Or just fix the underlaying issue. Switzerland has 2 million guns on 8 million citizens. Yet no school shootings. Why don't they have school shootings and can we apply the Swiss system to the United States?

I mean if we're talking about Switzerland we have to talk about how their gun laws would be considered extremely draconian and unconstitutional in the US. [see 0] For starters all guns and ammunition purchases have what are essentially background checks, and it's much easier to lose the right to purchase, carry permits are basically non-existent and most transit is explicitly only to and from shooting ranges or hunting. Just saying there's lots of guns in Switzerland so guns aren't the real problem is very disingenuous and ignores the fact that as they've continued to restrict gun ownership to align with broader EU rules gun violence (including suicides) have dropped.

[0] https://www.businessinsider.com/switzerland-gun-laws-rates-o...


They are not Draconian, they are in the ballpark of a blue state in the US.

If the progressives were willing to accept the Swiss laws in the US under the stipulation that they would never again be made more strict, the US gun owners should be thrilled.

Part of the problem is that US gun laws are often motivated by misunderstanding or spite rather than reason or compromise.


They would be called draconian by Republicans and the NRA, look how they react to any increase in gun laws today. Of course blue states get closer to the Swiss laws but IIRC no state has any kind of background check on ammunition [0] or universal gun registries both of which are part of the Swiss system.

[0] It would be practically impossible to enforce because states can't put up barriers from things coming into their state from other states.


They would be called draconian by Republicans and the NRA, look how they react to any increase in gun laws today.

That's because those increases are never compromises or exchanges. They are simply demands. Republicans and the NRA look at what the gun laws in DC and Chicago were before the Supreme Court cases and think: "That's their end game. Zero guns. Because look: when they had the political power to take them away, they did." They have no rational reason to support increases in gun control that come in exchange for nothing.

If the Democrats offered a compromise, in the form of a constitutional amendment, not repealing the 2nd amendment but detailing it out, we could probably see real talk and progress. If it's not an amendment then it's simply "pray I don't alter it any further".


Why would you demand "exchange" to introduce a law that is sensible and has positive impact? You don't have drivers' association demanding privileges in exchange for penalizing drunk driving or restricting maximum speed.

The whole NRA situation in USA seems so absurd from outside.


Because, unlike with guns, nobody is trying to ban cars.

And to the most common objection: yes they are. Gun control proponents often bring up and praise the UK (near total ban) and Australia (significant limitations compared to the U.S.) as examples to emulate.

And in Chicago and DC, before the Supreme Court cases, there were effectively total bans. And when the plaintiffs sued, they didn't say, "well I guess we went a little too far, let's establish a regulated framework under which responsible, qualified and trained citizens can own guns". Instead, they went all the way to the Supreme Court to try to defend their bans.

So, even if a gun owner agrees with a particular piece of proposed regulation (and I'm sure plenty do), they would be acting against their own long term interests giving the block trying to ban guns political momentum and capital.


> Because, unlike with guns, nobody is trying to ban cars.

That's actually wrong. Gun control isn't banning guns, and if you consider background checks a "ban" - then driving licence requirement is a "ban on cars" :)

If someone had the bright idea to put the right to drive a car in constitution - Americans would be now arguing whether countrywide requirement to have a driving licence to drive a car is ok or not :)


Not sure how to reply if you just ignore everything I wrote that addresses that.

Your first assumption (that cars are less regulated than guns) is wrong, why refer to the rest of the post if I can just show it's wrong.

Where did I assume that?

I said that there is a large political block trying to ban guns. Not that they are banned, or that they are more regulated than cars. Is that what you're referring to?


> Instead, they went all the way to the Supreme Court to try to defend their bans.

Their current tactic is to revoke a law that makes it too far into the judicial system to avoid having it receive constitutional review by the Supreme Court and thereby invalidate it nationally.

It speaks volumes to the underhandedness of the gun control proponents.


The whole NRA situation is absurd from the inside too. The organization is the propaganda mouthpiece of the gun lobby and GOP very poorly disguised as some sportsmen's club of yore.

There are guns around. Kids that want to shoot up schools could very easily gain access to one. And yet it doesn’t happen. Violent behavior is not a product to access to guns.

Another argument might be Mexico, they have gun control, but seems to be still having school shootings.

it's not as easy to get guns in switzerland as in the US

It's not that hard either (over 18, don't have any violent crime history or mental issues (self harm) and Swiss citizen (exceptions exist)) however not every type of gun or knife is legal. Magazines for guns over 20 rounds are not legal and neither are rifle magazines with more than 10 rounds. Fully automatic guns are not permitted unless it was received during military service. Butterfly knifes and throwing knifes are also illegal.

[1] https://www.fedpol.admin.ch/dam/data/fedpol/sicherheit/waffe...


Also ammo purchases have similar background check style requirements so it's difficult to bypass the systems unlike the US. It's always weird when people bring up Switzerland like it disproves the push for tighter gun laws, all it really shows is that tight gun laws work and you don't have to completely ban guns. [0]

[0] They do have a high rate of suicide by guns than the rest of Europe though and that number has dropped as, surprise surprise, gun laws have been tightened.


what is school going age in switzerland

It is though, manual arms are arguably easier to buy than in the US. Semi-automatics require more work, but it's still easier than buying an NFA item.

Are you proposing military conscription? Because that is a large part of what arms Switzerland; and most of those 2 million guns are service weapons.

Yes, but if you actually address the root cause then you can't use shootings as an excuse for mass surveillance.

This is a complete straw man. We are not discussing how many guns the Swiss have in absolute, not are we talking about how that could affect school shootings in the US. If we want to discuss the numbers, devices like ratios will serve us much better.

There are still 6 times more guns per person in the US than in Switzerland. Looking at the numbers also shows that Switzerland is far from being an outlier in any way, so I'm not sure why the Swiss system is more interesting than the Austrian system or Swedish system in that regard.

There are just way too many guns in the US (i.e. "it's just way too easy to get a gun in the US").

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_civilian_g...


The vast majority of those guns are sitting around harmlessly in gun collector's lockers.

US has a mental illness problem. At some point, a societal sickness entered the country. A sickness of nihilism and hopelessness. A sickness where (mostly men) feel lonely and unloved and powerless to change their futures. A sickness where hatred for peers is harbored for years until it festers and explodes out in a violent way.

Why does America have these kinds of people at such high frequencies compared to Switzerland?


It's because they are actually lonely and unloved and powerless, and also because they have been fed lies about America and their station in it since the moment they could first understand language.

The mental illness occurs when their cognitive dissonance is strained to the breaking point. When someone realizes that they have labored their whole life, possibly at significant risk to life and limb, for the primary benefit of other people, who do not even return a minimum level of respect, a psychic pseudopod of rage reaches out, questing, for someone or something to blame.

And it usually lands somewhere that is merely close, rather than deserving. They do not understand why their life has been considered disposable, and become determined to make their mark--even if it is to be a scorch mark or track mark--on the world. We are likely already familiar with some common modes of midlife crisis: buy a motorcycle, buy a sports car, buy a boat, get really into one's religion, volunteer for some charity, go back to school, etc. It may well be that when those sorts of outlets are financially unavailable, then "buy a gun, write a manifesto, and start the revolution" is one of the few that remain within reach. Or it may be that they just preferred that one from the start.

Perhaps Switzerland is better at making people feel important, and is not exploitative to a point far beyond the breaking point?


>A sickness where hatred for peers is harbored for years until it festers and explodes out in a violent way.

Could part of the problem be bullying? I've watched a lot of American movies and any time a school is depicted it has some pretty awful bullying going on. I've not heard of anything remotely like it elsewhere. Sure, there's bullying, but most of it ends in name calling or sometimes fights, rather than this harassment that goes on for years.


I agree, but it's not a currently defined mental illness so we should be more clear on terminology. What you're talking about is a cultural issue. It's massive and real. It's not mental health, however. Fewer than 5% of shootings in the US are caused by people with mental health issues.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318286/#!po=0....


You said "caused by people with mental health issues" but what the evidence supports is only "caused by people with clinically-diagnosed mental health issues".

I don't think it's mental illness alone, since these shootings are almost entirely perpretrated by men. Plenty of women are mentally ill, isolated or lonely, feel powerless, and yet they're not committing mass shootings.

Almost all of the mass shootings were committed by men with a history of domestic abuse and violence. I think the real root cause is entitlement and not seeing other people as humans.


> Almost all of the mass shootings were committed by men with a history of domestic abuse and violence. I think the real root cause is entitlement and not seeing other people as humans.

And what makes women immune to being entitled and not seeing other people as human?

Personally I would explain the fact that most of these shootings are committed by men by the fact that men are generally speaking more likely to react in a physically violent way to stress than women are. That plus the fact that these shooters are an incredibly tiny portion of the population would explain why most shooters are men.


I'd say that lashing out violently is a pretty good sign that a person doesn't have empathy for other people. And what's more entitled than thinking you have the right to end other people's lives?

>Personally I would explain the fact that most of these shootings are committed by men by the fact that men are generally speaking more likely to react in a physically violent way to stress than women are.

Men are not rabid dogs incapable of making their own decisions. If someone lashes out violently and murders a bunch of people, they're responsible for the choice to play god with other people's lives.


> Why does America have these kinds of people at such high frequencies compared to Switzerland?

Public schools.


They don't have public schools in Switzerland? I'm skeptical.

But maybe they have functional public schools...


It's a good thing the innate right to self defense, from which the right to keep and bear arms is derived, is not subject to your unpopular opinion.

We’d still monitor them anyway, to make sure they’re not carrying scissors. Seriously: https://i.redd.it/hzigm9tmiyn21.png

"Restrict more, different rights to make us safer^tm"

Most laws restrict some right to make us safer, and most laws succeed at that. For all the vehicular homicides in the US, there'd be more if we didn't require driving on the right-hand-side of the road and not driving on the sidewalk.

The question is always where the tradeoff point should be, not whether there's any tradeoff.


The difference is that driving is not a constitutional right.

Indeed, and the number of people who would be interested in a Constitutional convention to discuss that (as well as other things that are assumed necessary for a free and stable American society under just laws) is higher than a younger me would have anticipated.

... but a younger me was born before Columbine.


First of all, making something illegal does not make it disappear, and you're also grossly overestimating the occurrence (as are the people calling for clear backpacks) of school shootings. The vast majority of shootings are between criminal gangs - making the guns illegal will not magically make criminals into upstanding citizens.

Consider that the news cycle and FUD have created a terrible availability bias in our country that increasingly leads to draconian actions like those mentioned in the article.

https://quillette.com/2019/11/29/the-availability-heuristic-...


[flagged]


One school kid being run over by a car is far too many. We should ban cars!

What was I arguing? I merely pointed towards a well known psychological bias that's resulting in feel-good measures that do little to ensure _actual_ safety.

There are many more risks to our children we should consider before this one, and there's only so much political capital to do it. Authoritarianism is one of those risks...


> you're also grossly overestimating the occurrence

The bodycount might not be "spectacular" but the rate of school shootings in the U.S. dwarfs other developed countries. Fatalities 200+ so far. At any rate, you don't know what they were 'estimating' exactly.

> The vast majority of shootings are between criminal gangs - making the guns illegal will not magically make criminals into upstanding citizens.

Criminals retrieve their weapons through underground networks. School shooters do not. They're just students. They've either grabbed what was lying around at home or bought them. Such that, accessibility to school shooters is hampered were it the case that legal distribution were more restricted.

Add to the fact, circulation of guns in the underground is only possible and bloated because of the sheet number of legal guns.


So the vast majority of gun death happens because of illegal guns and yet the problem is that guns are legal. The wretched cesspools that we call public schools are creating a bullying environment that makes kids suicidal and in this way kills lots of kids (some of which translate their despair into murder-suicide) and yet it’s our 2A right that we should dismantle, not the public schools? Our kids are an international embarrassment and cannot even point to Tunisia on a map. And the most famous school shooting of all time, the one that started it all, columbine, sources it’s guns from an illegal gun dealer, not the home and yet it’s my right to defend my home that needs to be infringed?

> it’s our 2A right that we should dismantle, not the public schools?

Didn't say that, nor do I believe that. Just correcting the above.

> So the vast majority of gun death happens because of illegal guns

Well the majority are suicide, with legal guns. As for homicide, yes. But people don't care about that, really. They care about mass shootings, or school shootings.

> The wretched cesspools that we call public schools are creating a bullying environment that makes kids suicidal and in this way kills lots of kids

We don't know to what extent it's about bullying in the school system (kids haven't gotten meaner), or exacerbation of issues as a function of modern living (e.g. more isolation), or neither. What's clear is that guns are easily accessible to angsty homicidal loners.

I don't think schools in and of themselves are so different than those in every other developed country as to be responsible for shootings.

> And the most famous school shooting of all time, the one that started it all, columbine, sources it’s guns from an illegal gun dealer,

Yeah, they did, from unlicensed sellers. Not most.


I agree with none of that. You’re flat out wrong about schools. People from Russia for example who transfer often make note of how amazingly viscous American high schools are. There is a massive difference. Massive.

Lot of good it does to compare anecdotes. You believe it because you want to.

This is actually a popular opinion in almost every developed nation except the US.

Only inside your personal echo-chamber, though.

This, or literally any other action that isn't crazy in the sense of attempting to suppress personal privacy or the idea of protecting oneself. People want to feel safe and capable, not guilty and dependent.

yeah it'll be like when we made heroin illegal and then there was no more heroin.

You mean unconstitutional opinion.

Quite honestly, the amendment should have been worded differently and I believe that is part of the reason we are in the mess we have found ourselves in today. For some reason, many Americans only ever seem to quote the final clause of the amendment:

    ..., the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
However, the meaning of the final clause is modified by what comes before it:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, ...
Now, there are two important things to note:

1) in the context of the constitution, "person" or "persons" is used when referencing an individual or individuals but "people" is used when speaking generally about a collective group. This can also be seen in the 4th amendment:

    The right of the **people** to be secure in their **persons**, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures...
2) Madison wrote the 2nd amendment as a way to provide the States recourse against a corrupt Federal government. At the time when the constitution was drafted, states were much more distinct and separate entities, and the revolutionary war was fresh on the mind so the ability for individual states to train there own militias was an important stipulation.

Bearing this in mind, I do not believe that the 2nd amendment was written as a right provided to individuals but instead as a right afforded to states.


In that case, the 4th amendment is also a right afforded not to individuals because it uses the same wording that the 2nd does regarding "right of the people".

If you want to argue that the "persons" part means the individual, then that would require that you ignore the first part. This contradicts what you said earlier about "being modified by what comes before it".


No, not quite. Notice what comes after "the right of the people" in the 4th amendment: "...to be secure in there persons", then later: "...and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"

The 4th amendment outlines specific rights afforded to individuals. There is no such verbiage in the 2nd amendment. Instead, all that is referenced is the State.


> "...to be secure in there persons", then later: "...and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"

Exactly, that protects the state from it's persons being searched. Because as you just said, the phrase "right of the people" denotes a collective right:

> The 4th amendment outlines specific rights afforded to individuals. There is no such verbiage in the 2nd amendment. Instead, all that is referenced is the State.

When the 4th amendment mentions "right of the people" it means the right of the state. Any persons are just entities of the state and the right does not belong to the individuals. Otherwise it would have said "the right of the persons", as you had argued earlier in the thread regarding the language of the 2nd amendment.

QED.


The United States Supreme Court directly disagrees with you. See Heller.

I agree with the 4 justices who dissented: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZD1.html

Right. Meaning you misrepresented the law.

Outside of discussing 18th-century language, do you really believe Americans are going to turn over their guns because a politician comes along and says we have been misinterpreting it thus we must all turn in our guns?

Alone, most likely not. However, the second amendment has never been formally challenged in such a way and there is little legal precedent formalizing the right for Americans to individually own weapons.

It would be naive to think that any change to US law with regards to guns will change anything overnight but we have to start somewhere and allow for the culture around gun ownership to change over time.


> there is little legal precedent formalizing the right for Americans to individually own weapons.

As an American I don't need a legal precedent to say I can own certain property, a legal precedent needs to be set to say I can't own certain property.


I will never give up my right to carry a weapon. Liberals say they want to ban guns and then they turn around and foam at the mouth when cops try to take away the guns if it’s a black persons guns. I would consider giving up guns if liberals would let cops do stop and frisk. Or let cops do anything really.

But liberals don’t care because they live in their mansions, far away from any danger. And rich SV CEOs throw money at anti capital punishment efforts while they relax in their mansions where they are sure to never encounter anyone that it might be used on.


Likely unpopular reply: nothing would really change.

[flagged]


> The right to bear arms was paid for in blood and not just once.

And worse, gun restrictions only benefit criminals. There's plenty of people who legally own firearms and protect their homes and their property legally. They also avoid plenty of crime since criminals tend to run when a gun is pulled on them especially in stand your ground states.

They've tried banning everything in England and criminals will still kill people with just about anything. First it's the guns, then knives, then machetes. You can run over people, are you gonna make cars illegal too?

People who want to hurt people also don't care what laws there are, they can buy guns illegally.

Worse yet, depending on where you live, if something happens in your home, it's a lot safer to have a gun than to wait for cops to come to draw the chalk lines on you and your family.


>They've tried banning everything in England and criminals will still kill people with just about anything anything. First it's the guns, then knives, then machetes.

If these alternatives are just as effective as guns, why do you feel that you need a gun?

Of course, you know that guns are more effective at killing people - especially large numbers of people. That's why we in the UK have not had a mass killing in a school since private ownership of handguns was banned over two decades ago.

>it's a lot safer to have a gun than to wait for cops to come to draw the chalk lines on you and your family.

You're more likely to use the gun to kill yourself or a family member than you are to use it to kill an intruder.

Killing someone who breaks into your home is most likely an overreaction in any case. The chances are very low that they've broken in with the intention of harming you rather than merely stealing something.


> Of course, you know that guns are more effective at killing people - especially large numbers of people.

A knife is quiet, you could probably kill more people with knives, a gun is loud and everyone nearby will hear it, probably what a crazy shooter would want is to strike fear into victims.

> You're more likely to use the gun to kill yourself or a family member than you are to use it to kill an intruder.

Since neither of those two are a viable option for myself, I'd rather have a gun, and only ever shoot it at a range than not have one and watch the worse possible scenario unfold before me.

> Killing someone who breaks into your home is most likely an overreaction in any case. The chances are very low that they've broken in with the intention of harming you rather than merely stealing something.

I don't know that, and I don't have to kill them if I pull a gun on them unless my life is in immediate danger. There's cases where a mother held the intruder at gun point until cops showed up to make an arrest.


> You could probably kill more people with knives

So why are you worried about gun bans? You can just use a knife instead.

I think you must know, really, that guns are more dangerous and effective than knives. That's why you want the right to own one. It's also why the US has frequent mass shootings in schools, whereas there are no instances of mass stabbings in UK schools.

Just look at the recent terrorist incident in London. The guy killed two people with a knife before being restrained by unarmed members of the public.

>And I don't have to kill them if I pull a gun on one

The first principle of responsible gun use is not to point a gun at anything you don't want to kill.

As you illustrate, hardly anyone is capable of using guns responsibily.


As an attacker who wants to go unnoticed a knife is the better option. As a defender, who wants to stop an attacker, your best bet is a gun, since you don't have to get close.

> So why are you worried about gun bans? You can just use a knife instead.

You seem to be confused about the concept that self-defense is a different use case than mass shootings. Why is that?

> I think you must know, really, that guns are more dangerous and effective than knives. That's why you want the right to own one.

Are you under the impression that this poster would not object to a ban on knives? Why?

> It's also why the US has frequent mass shootings in schools, whereas there are no instances of mass stabbings in UK schools.

Thank you for providing a good example of post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy

> The first principle of responsible gun use is not to point a gun at anything you don't want to kill.

And that's why there's always bullet holes anywhere that a gun has pointed, because they always have to shoot anything it points at? Were you similarly not aware that it is possible to pull a gun but not point it at the person?


Your first points is obscured by snark. The second seems to be based on a misreading. The third is merely the observation that empirical reasoning is non-demonstrative.

As for number four, I see that you are another pro-gun poster who is unfamiliar with the absolute basics of firearm safety. That doesn't make a great case for private gun ownership. Here's what the pinky leftos at concealednation.org have to say (see point 2): https://concealednation.org/2013/11/the-4-rules-of-gun-safet...


> Your first points is obscured by snark.

What is obscured about the observation that your comment doesn't recognize the differences between self-defense and mass shootings, and how the qualities of the weapon affect the benefits for the user?

> The second seems to be based on a misreading.

You'll have to explain why questioning an intellectually defunct implication is a "misreading".

"that guns are more dangerous and effective than knives. That's why you want the right to own one."

Considering your claim is that desiring the right to own one is some kind of evidence that guns are "more dangerous and effective", it is thoroughly debunked if the person also desires the right to own knives.

> The third is merely the observation that empirical reasoning is non-demonstrative.

It should be noted that making a gigantic logical leap from "guns are more dangerous and effective than knives" to "It's also why the US has frequent mass shootings in schools, whereas there are no instances of mass stabbings in UK schools" is to ignore the social, cultural, economic factors that affect crime. That's not a good basis for understanding of criminal behavior.


That's quite a lot of pot calling.

And your last paragraph is just a complete misunderstanding of what the poster said. My comment was not to denounce the rule about where you point the gun, but to note that your claim about killing was unfounded.

> And I don't have to kill them if I pull a gun on one

The fact that you don't understand this is really troublesome. Are you one of those people who believes in that old myth about swords having to taste blood before being resheathed? Because this is on that level.


Hmm? The point is that whenever you point a gun at someone there's a significant risk that you'll shoot and kill them. Hence, you should not do it if this is not your intention. This precludes threatening people by pointing guns at them, except in the case where you are prepared to take full responsibility for their death, should this occur.

So you agree with the other poster that is is possible to pull a gun and point it at them without killing them. What a roundabout way of pretending to disagree.

> Just look at the recent terrorist incident in London. The guy killed two people with a knife before being restrained by unarmed members of the public.

The people restraining him were armed with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk, and he was ultimately subdued by the police shooting him with guns.

Also, since banning guns didn’t actually seem to fix anything, they’re now working on banning knives. So you can’t just use a knife instead. Better hope there’s a narwhal tusk handy when you need it.


>The people restraining him were armed with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk

I.e., whatever objects happened to be at hand. I don't think you'd have much luck using a fire extinguisher against someone with an assault rifle.

>Also, since banning guns didn’t actually seem to fix anything

Hmm? There have been no mass killings in schools since the handgun ban. What was anyone expecting it to fix that it hasn't fixed?

Bear in mind that very few British people owned handguns even before the ban (roughly 0.1% of the population), and none of them would have been carrying their guns around while going about their day to day business. One would not expect the ban to have had any great effect on anything - beyond eliminating the specific problem it was intended to address.


> I.e., whatever objects happened to be at hand. I don't think you'd have much luck using a fire extinguisher against someone with an assault rifle.

A rifle is not automatically an assault rifle... But also, if law abiding citizens have their own guns, they can shoot a mad shooter before they cause too much damage.


I said "assault rifle".

... that is, until they ban narwhal tusks too!

Don't forget fire extinguishers! There's no reason for a regular subject to have one of those, better to leave it to the professionals.

My home defense weapon of choice is my Louisville Slugger. If a crackhead in my place saw me chasing them, crazed, in a bathrobe, with that bat waving blindly, they are booking it. There is no question that they are getting clubbed with this bat.

However, if I had a gun, I'm not sure I'm prepared to end a life right there in my living room and deal with that for the rest of my life. Bloodying a crackhead with a bat I can do, and the crackhead knows that too.

As far as guns being loud, that's almost a good thing for a criminal. Witnesses run away, and by the time the cops show up you are gone and the gun is in the sewer.


> why do you feel that you need a gun?

A. In a free society, I am not required to justify my choices. I don’t have to explain my “feelings” about anything.

B. “Need”, there is that word again. In what ways are enumerated rights dependent on needs? If something better than a gun existed for personal defense, I’d want that, I don’t have to explain my “need” about anything. You seem like you are confusing rights with grants and privileges.

So you either don’t actually understand rights in the US, or you are arguing in bad faith because you just don’t like them.


I don't care particularly about gun rights in the US as I'm not American and no longer live in the US. My question was simply why someone who believed that knives were as effective as guns would feel that they needed a gun to defend themselves. I think you are getting the wrong end of the stick.

I don’t really care how it got there. You posed the question of why someone “feels” they have a “need” to a civil right.

No other right has to face such scrutiny. Do you ask people why they feel they need privacy? Or why the feel they need free speech?

Your argument is based on your own personal dislike for a right, that’s arguing in bad faith.


I'm asking why they think they need the gun, not why they think they need the right to own it.

> They've tried banning everything in England and criminals will still kill people with just about anything. First it's the guns, then knives, then machetes. You can run over people, are you gonna make cars illegal too?

We just had a Terrorist attack last week. He was armed with 2 knives and he killed 2 people before being taken down by some people with a fire extinguisher and a narwhal horn (I shit you not).

I'll take that over dozens in any shooting spree with victims in the dozens thanks.

And no, a "good guy" with a gun would have made things worse before you even start with that bullshit.


What would you call the police officer that came with a gun?

By giving up private firearm ownership you are putting the safety of yourself and your loved ones in the hands of the government. This article is an example of why it is dangerous to do that.


>What would you call the police officer that came with a gun?

Superfluous, in this instance. It clearly would have been possible to arrest the guy without shooting him. (I believe that they only shot him on the off chance that the suicide vest was real.)


Two things:

1.

> off chance the suicide vest was real

Would you argue that what the police officer did was wrong here? Is lethal force not justified with the credible threat of violence? I would argue that someone threatening you with a Airsoft gun with the tip taken out so it appears to be a real gun is enough to justify deadly force in self defense, you don't have to verify that gun is real. In hindsight, it is clear that you could have arrested him without shooting him, but that was not at all clear in the situation, and having that firearm could have saved dozens if the vest was real.

2. > In this instance

And, for arguments sake, if this was a different situation where the vest was real, what would you say?


Aren't these tangents? I didn't say that they shouldn't have shot him, just that it clearly wasn't necessary to shoot him in order to remove the threat. (It's obviously possible to apprehend someone armed only with a knife without shooting them.)

"gun restrictions only benefit criminals"

All the data from other countries that god rid of guns supports the opposite of this. Show some statistics or stop saying this.

"are you gonna make cars illegal too?"

Ones that can be easily used to kill people? Hopefully, eventually, yes. We already heavily restrict them, license them carefully, track them meticulously, require them to be registered, and constantly improve technology and legal standards to make them less likely to kill people -- unlike guns in America. Soon all new cars will have technology in them to make it very difficult to run someone over with.

"People who want to hurt people also don't care what laws there are, they can buy guns illegally."

So I suppose you're in favour of having no laws at all? Since people will just break them? This argument only works if you're in favour of total anarchism.

Both gun crime AND the overall murder rate dropped substantially since Australia heavily restricted guns in the late 90s [1] - i.e. people don't just switch to other weapons - murder, plus accidental death, actually decreases.

"They've tried banning everything in England and criminals will still kill people with just about anything."

Nope. Not having guns works:

Homicide rate per 100,000 people in 2017 according to UN-CTS:

United Kingdom: 1.2

United States: 5.3

[1] https://crimestats.aic.gov.au/NHMP/1_trends/


Go ahead and compare rural US where all the guns are to rural Europe. Similar rates of crime and violence. Take out the major US metropolitan areas that have gun control and see what happens to your comparisons.

When you compare an island the size of Mississippi with 29 citizens of 250k population and a much larger homogenous population, historically weak self-defense and higher reliance on government, etc etc to the whole of the US - I personally don’t think that’s an apt comparison at all.

Why is it size AND population similar countries aren’t ever compared when making this “gunz are bad” argument?


>major US metropolitan areas that have gun control

They don't have gun control in the sense that the UK and most other European countries have gun control. You can even get a permit to carry a concealed weapon in NYC, for example.


> You can even get a permit to carry a concealed weapon in NYC

Ok, I’ll do it for you. Rural crime in USA is 2.0 - 3.5 / 100k in USA depending on region. Where all the guns are, the shootings aren’t.

NYC... for example... SHALL ISSUE state, you’re effectively wrong. Only the connected and elite can get carry permits in NYC. That’ll change soon with the latest SC case coming up.

You’re right, it’s not “the same” gun control. Like Paris where guns for private ownership and stored in your home are effectively banned, yet, worse mass shootings than any in the US ever. Or Norway where black rifles are banned, but worse mass shooting of kids than any in the US.

You’re right, it’s not the same - but what we can look at is IN THE USA, the places with the most gun control have the most shootings, in inconvenient fact.

Ok, so... by your argument. It’s the people carrying legally in the US that are going around shooting people?

And I believe I proposed the question of why size AND population aren’t compared ever? I think it’s because when you compare Russia or Mexico or Brazil to US, with much stricter the gun control the argument falls apart. You need to pick small population and or small isolated homogeneous populations to make your argument - if you think that’s legitimate keep at it.


> Where all the guns are, the shootings aren’t.

So there are shootings without guns?

Norway and France both have vastly fewer shooting deaths per year than the US.


Are you arguing crime or events? France and Norway beat US in events, gun control doesn’t seem to work there.

If you are talking crime, yes USA crime is higher - in the areas with more gun control. I’d argue the cause of the crime is our poor handling of drug and poverty and not focus on the tool used.

Guns have increased DRAMATICALLY since the crime highs of the 1990s, but crime has dropped to just above the lows of the 1960s.

You have ZERO data for causation of more guns equal more crime because we have opposite evidence.

So while I can’t say more guns EQUALS less crime - I can definitely say more guns hasn’t CAUSED more crime like you are saying.


I don't know what you mean by "events". More people get shot in the US.

There are obviously lots of confounding factors in relation to crime statistics in different areas of the USA. It's more revealing to look longitudinally at the positive effects of gun control legislation in e.g. the UK and Australia.


NYC has an impressively low homicide rate, if there is such a thing, and has become a very safe city in the last decade or two.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-citys-murder-rate-hit-...


Yes, so what?

> And worse, gun restrictions only benefit criminals. There's plenty of people who legally own firearms and protect their homes and their property legally.

The real question is why are the US ranking so high in violent crime and murder rates compared to other developed countries. You shouldn't feel the need to "protect" your home in the #1 power in the world.


The US isn’t a European country that happens to be in the New World, it’s a New World country that somehow managed to become a superpower. It makes a lot more sense to see the US as an overachieving Mexico or Brazil than as an abnormally violent Britain or Germany.

As usual, colonial powers have difficulty acknowledging the effects of their colonialism.

I don't think it's guns, there's other countries where you have gun rights that don't have this problem. Then there's countries where guns were forced out of citizens hands and the government went rogue (Venezuela).

>The real question is why are the US ranking so high in violent crime and murder rates compared to other developed countries

This question has been asked time and again and the gist of the answer is that the people who make their living moving around illicit substances drag up the average. For people who don't associate with drug trafficking the US is basically on par with Europe.


> the people who make their living moving around illicit substances drag up the average.

Isn't that happening all around the world though ?


Gun ownership doesn't help public safety anywhere near as much as you think.

The number one and number two uses of guns inside a home are suicide and murder of a loved one, respectively. Defending against a home invader is statistically uncommon at best. But people get angry every day, and we all have moments of weakness and vulnerability.

To your point about criminals, have you ever been robbed? A robber isn't going to announce his intentions from 20 feet away.

Does having a gun under your shirt help you if somebody pokes a knife into your back? Maybe you could draw and murder them in revenge as they leave I guess.

I know that gun-safety classes are mandatory for any kind of concealed-carry permit. But I can 100% guarantee that they don't prepare you for the psychological reality of killing somebody.

And let's say you actually find yourself in a situation where drawing your gun makes it better instead of worse - do you use it? If so, prepare yourself to pay every dime you have to a defense attorney, and to give up a year of your life to court proceedings. Even in a stand-your-ground state. And that's assuming you don't miss and hit somebody else by mistake.

Human-nature is to stand by and watch when something bad goes down. Carrying a gun doesn't change that. And a three-day course on gun safety doesn't prepare you for the reality of drawing on a human and firing.

On the other side of the argument - when guns are easy to buy, lots of people buy them legally. Then some of those people have them stolen or sell them. And others resell them.

When guns are cheap and cheerful, it's easy for a criminal to get one. When guns are expensive and hard-to-get, some criminals might still get one. But a lot of other criminals won't go through the effort. Why find an illegal gun dealer when you can buy a kitchen knife at Costco? And believe it or not - that's a big win for overall public safety.

Also if we could get guns out of the hands of the general population, we'd be able to make a better case for de-militarizing our police. And that would be a _huge_ win for public safety.

The US's founders weren't gods, and they didn't have a crystal ball into the future. We shouldn't treat their words as some kind of immortal and perfect document, to be interpreted on a word-by-word basis like bible scholars. And when the US was founded, the common gun needed a ramrod to load the single shot it carried.


Some good points but I disagree. I got caught up in a situation where I really needed a gun. You say that guns aren’t useful for street crime. That just isn’t true. My experience made me an overnight 2A advocate. It’s insane that we give all this power and leniency to criminals and strip innocent people of the ability to stand up for themselves. Nobody will ever convince me that guns don’t help because I have lived it. I am living proof that that isn’t true. And it’s a shame that people in liberal communities have to live it in order to understand it.

There are countries with guns and low crime. Uk has no guns but a stabbing epidemic. The key to public safety is preventing crime with good education, opportunity and very generous disincentive, preferably a swift execution for violent crime.

For my particular situation, in the USA, the people who want gun bans are the same people that refuse to let police do stop and frisk. So it just doesn’t make sense for me to give up my right to have a gun. We shouldn’t need a ban in the first place. It’s other things that cause the underlying violent behavior.

You are so right about the civil suit. Especially in liberal states, you might as well just shoot yourself instead of the bad guy. But that’s a problem with the legal system, not guns. The legal system in general is responsible for all kinds of problems. A person who loses their case should have to pay the other persons legal fees, too. Lots to change. In the meantime I’ll defend myself in a way that is legally sound and with a gun camera that automatically captures an image of the guy attacking me before the trigger is pulled.


Education is a right, and imho it should rank higher than guns.

> Education is a right

I can't find that in the constitution.


Owning guns is a right, and imho it should rank higher than education.


How do other countries get along so well without the right to bear arms, and have they paid any less blood than the US for the society they formed?

Ask Venezuela or Iraq or Iran or Hong Kong or basically any of the countries in the Arab spring how it’s going for them right now.

Are you arguing that people in the U.S. should have guns so that they can shoot at U.S. police and military if they disagree with a government policy?

Yes, depending on the government policy, that is precisely what I'm arguing.

It's a fantasy Americans seem to uniquely believe in that arming the populace is a good deterrent against bad government policy.

If it actually worked, one would expect the US to be two separate nations now. After all, what was the Civil War if not a mass of Americans deciding extra-legally that the laws should not apply to them and taking up arms to break free of government oppression and form a government more inclined to protect their freedoms?

And yet, after a bloody conflict that claimed more American lives than World War II, the country is still one nation and Americans still cling to a strange belief that private gun ownership protects against tyranny (as if a tyrant wouldn't bring their own guns to bear against the citizenry, like Sherman burning towns south of the Mason-Dixon to hamstring the morale of the rebels).


It's not perfect. But what it means is that if you're going to impose a policy that unpopular on half the population, you may have to go as far as the Civil War did, including accepting that many of your own people dying. That's... somewhat daunting.

And a tyrant, while perfectly willing to bring their own guns to turn on citizens, would have a military that might not be willing, especially if they didn't agree with the tyrant. (The Civil War wasn't just the US army against the citizens of the south. It was the army members from the south against the army members from the north.)


It's far from perfect. It demands a tax in blood during peacetime as a faulty guard against tyranny in time of civil war (to say nothing of the fact that---as the Civil War indicates---there's no particular guarantee that the armed civilians will be defending particularly virtuous rights against government interference; it was, after all, the state's rights to nullify laws curtailing slavery that was the crux of the conflict).

You think your AR 15 is going to stop a guided missile launched by an 18 year old with a joystick on a destroyer in the middle of the Atlantic? I think we've all played the AC-130 mission in Call of Duty by now. We are way past the days of a militia dealing with the U.S. government.

But back in 1776 when you and uncle sam had the exact same musket, sure, that was the last chance.


Yeah, probably best to just surrender your weapons and pray for mercy.

Instead of praying for mercy, Americans can vote for good leadership, be active in their local, state, and federal government, hold each other accountable, and take responsibility for living in a representative democracy.

It is, ultimately, these things that make for a free and stable society, not the proliferation of firearms. When you elect a tyrant, all the private firearms do is ramp up the bloodshed the tyrant will bring.


If only democracies could be trusted to not elect tyrants. Unfortunately, there are many, many examples to the contrary. That fact was one of the primary motivators for the Bill of Rights. You are right that there would be bloodshed when facing a tyrant (certainly more than if there were no way to fight back). In my mind, better that than the gas chambers. Let’s not forget that Hitler came into power by popular vote.

I've heard argumentum-ad-Hitler used as an example of why private citizens should be armed.

What I've never heard is a strong argument that a German citizenry armed as the US is armed now wouldn't have simply resulted in faster, gas-chamber-free deaths of minorities in Germany and German-occupied territories, as the government in charge gave quiet assent to extra-legal killings enacted by private citizens against "undesirables" and the citizenry bought into the mythology of the ubermensch.

After all, the hypothesis of the equalizing effect of private firepower assumes that "good guys" have the guns.


I think that both having guns makes it marginally less likely that either shoots. That applies at both the micro and macro scale.

Then given the proliferation of firearms in the US, the firearm-related homicide and injury rates should be lower than in countries that ban firearms (not absolute instances; lower rates, if more guns makes it marginally less likely that any party shoots).

They are not.


In most (nearly all?) circumstances, one party is not armed.

Then at what ratio of armed citizens do the benefits you anticipate kick in? 60%? 80%? Should we all expect to show up to church strapped with a 9mm, just in case?

Can you provide an example of a country where such a high ratio of armed citizenry has worked out well? There should be a positive example we can turn to. The US isn't it by the numbers.


I never claimed gun ownership reduced gun violence overall, but excluding suicide it doesn’t seem to increase it either.[1] At the macro scale, I only mean to say it makes hostile government action less likely. Likewise, at the micro scale, I only mean to say violent confrontation between individuals is less likely when both parties are armed than when only one is armed. This much to me seems self evident (and underpins the macro thesis as well). At the micro scale, I might agree that there would be less gun violence if neither party were armed, but mass confiscation will never happen in the US. It would be ineffective given the lack of a central registry and it would likely incite civil war. In that light, even barring the macro thesis, it strikes me as prudent to be among the armed. With, of course, basic safety training.

[1]https://medium.com/handwaving-freakoutery/everybodys-lying-a...


I don't actually think mass confiscation would be necessary. Offer nationwide buyback and severely curtail manufacture and first-sale, and the equations change wildly. America is hyper-capitalist and capitalist incentives tend to work on people.

It's win-win; those who want their guns more than the money can keep their guns.


Can we can also ask Denmark, Sweden, Germany, or other European countries that tend to be considered the US's economic and cultural peers?

Sure, but I'm not sure the answer would be relevant. As an analogy, just because you haven't used your first aid kit doesn't mean you won't one day need it. To the contrary, we have many examples of countries that left the first aid kit behind only to realize they desperately needed it.

But we're not talking about first aid kits, we're talking about guns. And I think the burden of proof is on those who claim freedom of private firearm ownership works as an anti-tyranny deterrant to play around in the historical fiction realm of how Venezuela, Iraq, Hong Kong, et. al would have turned out differently with a more armed populace (remembering to factor in the possible scenario "Basically the same as it did, only with an awful lot more death when the entrenched military power ramped up the violence level to deal with a populace that could shoot back"). It's probably also relevant in that historical fiction direction to ask whether the "background" level of civilian peacetime death would have been higher or lower and by how much.

Ubiquitous firearm ownership in a society is a bit of a wildcard.


I don't necessarily disagree, but neither would I call it "historical fiction." Armed populaces have fought back against their governments repeatedly throughout history. In any event, I'm one of the guys who would rather go down shooting than in a gas chamber. And, yes, that kind of liberty comes at a price.

... but it's a price generally paid by people other than the person who is armed in peacetime.

No, it really isn't. The majority of the gun deaths in the US belong to suicides compared to homicides.

I disagree. Fortunately for me, I have the benefit of the Second Amendment, which shifts the burden squarely to those who would deny the right, presumably by further constitutional amendment.

Support for repeal of the 2nd Amendment is at 20%, which is far higher than I, for one, would anticipate for a fundamental Constitutional right. For comparison, 12% of Americans answered "Do you agree or disagree? Homosexual couples should have the right to marry one another?" with "Agree" in 1988.

With repression and fewer liberties, mostly?

I don't get the sense that people in Sweden or Germany feel over-burdened by a lack of liberty.

Germany has barely made it to the 30 year mark of “not being a dictatorship” if you count the East. America has been one of the freest countries in the world for at least 150-some years.

Correct. So free that women got the right to vote in 1920s. African Americans in the 1960s.

East Germans got the right to vote in the 1990's. Largely as a consequence of American diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union, I might add.

Which other countries were much better? Obviously the fact that women and African Americans got the vote so late is not good, but America could still be one of the freest countries in the last 150 years if most everyone else was even worse.

I think there are lots of Western countries that have never had laws barring people from voting due to their race. E.g., there has never been any such law in the UK. Women in the UK also got the vote slightly earlier.

The UK is an abnormally successful democracy by world standards. I suppose you could quibble about the British Empire, but the main difference there is that Britain colonized much more of the world than America did.

The main question I have concerns Britain’s history of anti-Catholic discrimination. It’s all well and good to point out that Britain never disenfranchised black people during a time when approximately zero black people lived there. Although I suppose Britain is responsible for colonizing South Africa and Rhodesia....

But sure, let’s concede Britain for the moment. France, West Germany, and Italy were effectively fascist dictatorships until the mid-1940’s. (Vichy being a “puppet government” is a lie concocted to spare French pride—Petain was a fascist sympathizer since before the war and he took power within the French political system at the time—its not like the Germans overran the government and installed him like they did in other occupied countries.) Spain and Portugal until the 1970’s. Yugoslavia had a communist dictatorship until the 1990’s. Which is incidentally the same decade that Switzerland achieved universal women’s suffrage.


>But sure, let’s concede Britain for the moment.

Great - that was the point of my post. Not sure why you are going off on a bunch of other tangents. You haven't mentioned any other country which banned people from voting on racial criteria.

>It’s all well and good to point out that Britain never disenfranchised black people during a time when approximately zero black people lived there.

You say this as if Britain started disenfranchising black people once they were present in significant numbers, but this is not the case. (This is not to deny, of course, that there is a long history of racism in the UK. I'm merely pointing out that the US is relatively exceptional in passing actual laws banning black people from voting.)


Because you’re comparing a continent-wide federation to a tiny island-sized country.

> You say this as if Britain started disenfranchising black people once they were present in significant numbers, but this is not the case.

No, they just colonized Africa and disenfranchised them there. Totally different.


>Because you’re comparing a continent-wide federation to a tiny island-sized country.

I really don't see what you're getting at here. You yourself have been making (irrelevant) comparisons to France, which has about the same population as the UK.

There is no such size as "island-sized". Islands can be big or small.

>No, they just colonized Africa and disenfranchised them there. Totally different.

Indeed, this is completely different.


> I really don't see what you're getting at here. You yourself have been making (irrelevant) comparisons to France, which has about the same population as the UK.

I’m comparing the US as a whole to Europe as a whole. If you want to cherry-pick the best example of Europe, maybe I should cherry-pick one of the northern states that abolished slavery and enfranchised black people in the early 19th century. If you get to claim that France, Spain, Portugal, etc. don’t count, I should be able to claim Mississippi doesn’t count.

Conversely, maybe we can compare the US to the entire British Empire. How many imperial subjects were truly enfranchised? Not the Indians, not the black Africans. Hell, even within the UK itself there was the entire Irish issue. But I guess Irish and Catholic aren’t technically races.


You were not comparing the US as a whole to Europe as a whole.

It is not clear to me what point your are intending to make with this array of different comparisons.


My overall point, I think, was adequately well-stated with my first comment in this thread: America has been one of the freest countries in the world for 150 years.

Your counterarguments seem to consist of, “so was Britain” (which is insufficient to refute my point) and “Britain didn’t disenfranchise based on race” (which is factually dubious when you consider colonization as well as insufficient in terms of proving that Britain was substantially freer than America as a whole).

You also alluded to “lots of Western countries”, which is why I specifically broke down specific periods where many (most?) Western countries were not free within the past century. This is when you doubled down on the UK angle, which is a fair point but proves very little.

You also claimed the UK enacted women’s suffrage before the US. I didn’t bother fact checking this at the time, but the US enacted full women’s suffrage eight years before the UK.

> In 1928 the Conservative government passed the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act equalizing the franchise to all persons over the age of 21 on equal terms.

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_suffrage_in_the_Unit...)

The US:

> After a hard-fought series of votes in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920.[4] It states, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_suffrage_in_the_Unit...


You're reading a lot of things into my original reply that just aren't there.

If so, it’s only because I was making the IMO generous assumption that your original reply was meant to actually refute my thesis that “ America has been one of the freest countries in the world for at least 150-some years.”, and CDSlice’s argument that “America could still be one of the freest countries in the last 150 years if most everyone else was even worse.”

If you were intentionally making insufficient and hence irrelevant points, why wade into the thread in the first place?

> I think there are lots of Western countries that have never had laws barring people from voting due to their race.

This might technically be true, because many of those Western countries have taken the further step of abolishing democracy altogether. I hope you would agree that the various fascist and fascist-adjacent dictatorships of 20th century Europe were “even worse” than racial disenfranchisement.

> E.g., there has never been any such law in the UK.

The use of “e.g.” here implies that you’re discussing Western countries in general and not just the UK. Also, this point is rather fatuous for reasons I’ve already discussed.

> Women in the UK also got the vote slightly earlier.

This is false, as I’ve already discussed.


>If so, it’s only because I was making the IMO generous assumption that your original reply was meant to actually refute my thesis

It wasn't. Note that I was not replying to your comment.


You were responding—fatuously—to CDSlice’s comment that “America could still be one of the freest countries in the last 150 years if most everyone else was even worse.” Which is a restatement of my thesis.

And right to gay marriage in 2015.

[flagged]


I'm going to assume you don't mean to compare the citizens of Sweden and Germany to captive animals.

Then what do you assume I wanted to say?

I have made no assumptions; I believe I misunderstand you. Can you clarify your meaning?

If you put someone into a situation that isn't optimal, they generally have the means to adapt and not look disadavantaged. This is true for caged animals and humans that lost some of their rights. If you do it slowly enough, you can strip away basically all freedoms without the victim even noticing.

Similarly, people will come to regard high levels of violence as normal if they spend enough time immersed in a violent culture.

Yes, people adapt. I'm saying you can't look at someone and determine whether how things are for them are good, just because they look fine. An animal raised in captivity looks fine, but maybe it would be better if it was raised in freedom. Or maybe it wouldn't. The point is you can't tell by looking.

Sure, but that's a critical difference between animals and people.

In addition to sampling a whole host of metrics related to a person's health, life expectancy, purchasing power, &c, you can also just ask them how they feel about where they are in life and where they're going. You can't do that with an animal.

Sweden, for example, is showing an OCED Better Life Index of 8.5 for safety and 8.9 for life satisfaction [http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/sweden/]. This is compared to the US's rankings of 7.5 and 7.4, respectively.

If the Swedes have sacrificed their freedom (assuming "freedom" is a quantifiable that the US hasn't sacrificed), I wouldn't draw the conclusion they haven't noticed; I'd conclude they actively don't miss it.


My point is that you can't tell, because people adapt. You could come to the same conclusion about people without Internet access and then come to the conclusion that we should ban Internet access, because people without it are happier.

That's not an unpopular opinion, though it probably is on this site.

It's a very unpopular opinion w.r.t. to America.

Gallup conducts a firearms poll every year, and the closest thing to a total ban question is a total ban on handguns.

"Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?"

should be: 29

should not be: 70

no opinion: 1


You've cherry picked the most restrictive "total ban" question, though, and used it as a strawman. Here's the actual poll page: https://news.gallup.com/poll/1645/guns.aspx

I don't think anyone sane would read that page, the questions, and in particular trends, and come to the conclusion that gun regulation is a "very unpopular opinion".

But on this site: yes, it's unpopular.


The parent you replied to was about a total ban. It's not cherry picking to try to match apples to apples.

Isn't that the law in most (all?) states now in USA, that you need a license to possess a gun legally (ie need to be an authorised person)?

This sounds more like, in common with most polls, it shows how the manner of asking a question alters the answers given?

I'd be really interested in how the poll would go without "the police and other", and with using a construction based on "allow ..." instead of "ban ...".


> Isn't that the law in most (all?) states now in USA, that you need a license to possess a gun legally (ie need to be an authorised person)?

Not really. Only a few states have FOID or FID license requirements:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_United_States_...

You might be thinking of license to _carry_ which every state has, though some of have been making progress in removing that requirement as well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_carry


You don't need a license to posses a gun in many (most?) states. You do need a federal background check to purchase a gun from a vendor. And a license to carry a concealed gun. But as far as owning a gun, no license needed in any state I've lived in.

Possibly worth noting that this works for cars as well; you're allowed to own as many cars as you want, and the vehicle license is to operate it on public roads (and the driver's license is to be the operator, again on public roads).

The US usually puts the balance point at "own" vs "operate in public" for how rights are structured. There are rare exceptions where even ownership is considered too dangerous.


So anyone can have a gun, you just have to get someone else to purchase it?

I was under the apparent misapprehension that the license you needed to purchase a gun was an ownership license - ie you got the right to own, then could purchase.


> So anyone can have a gun

Yes, unless prohibited by law (criminal conviction, judged mentally infirm)

> you just have to get someone else to purchase it?

No, that's not lawful.


Well, that clears it up ... /s.

Just a note - in 16 states, no license or permit of any kind is required to carry a firearm concealed.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: