Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fun in Social Psychology

My professor of this class is a Democrat, which is neither here nor there. Today we talked about aggression. He started out his lecture by talking about guns. I'll preface my writings by saying that I think both sides of the gun control debate are a little overly simplistic. Are there a lot of guns that are misused in the US? Absolutely. Are there unnecessary deaths? Absolutely. Has there been some success with gun control in other countries? Yes, but there have been warnings for us, too. On the other hand, are there countries that have widespread gun ownership and extremely low levels of gun crime? Absolutely! Norway and Switzerland have among the lowest crime rates (of any kind) in the world.

Lessons can be learned from these two examples of gun ownership. One thing, first of all, must be understood: a gun is a tool and it can't kill people. People kill people. A gun is inanimate and can do nothing by itself. They understand that very well in these two countries. Switzerland has mandatory military service for all men, and therefore has a very well-trained population. If I were a criminal, I would be most worried about those with guns than those without. Additionally, I would be very deterred from committing a crime if the likelihood of the other person having a gun was great, especially if they know how to use it.

The second amendment isn't going away. We are going to have guns. I propose mandatory training on firearms. In many places we have mandatory sex ed., the purpose being to limit unsafe sex. Why in the world don't we try to limit unsafe gun use and ownership when far more people die from misuse of guns than from misuse of sex? I'm just saying.


  1. That is very interesting. I find myself torn on this debate, but I think I do lean toward the gun training for everyone, if nothing else than to keep young people from doing something stupid. On the other hand, I don't want guns anywhere near my house or university or my kids schools. But, I'm not convinced that gun control is the answer to those worries. Well, thanks for letting me babel incoherently!

  2. This is an interesting debate, and if you go back and look at the original reasons why the 2nd ammendment was put in, you can get a clearer picture of why it is allowed. Partly we have the right to bear arms because we each have our individual freedoms to own what we want. Just because guns are a deadly weapon doesn't mean the state has the right to prohibit ownership (knives are deadly too so they would have to prohibit them under this argument). Partly the ammendment was put in because of course at that time there was a need for people to own guns for their own protection (they had just ended a war which was faught around their homes). It was also entered in because at the time state militias were primarily responsible for defense and the state did not supply arms. It was expected that those serving in the militia would bring their own gun. Now we have the National Guard and they do supply the guns and not everyone is expected to volunteer at some point in their life.

    Really the debate should center around whether or not it is an infringement of someone else's right if I own a gun. I don't think it does. I know several people that own guns who would never use the gun to infringe on someone else's rights. They only have guns to either protect themselves and their family or for hunting reasons.

    So, after a long winded comment, I am really just saying that I agree with Tom. I think that the state's liability is reduced if mandatory gun classes are instituted. If someone wants a gun, make sure they know how to use, and store it correctly. The classes won't eliminate gun violence. It hopefully would limit the accidents, but might not. Most importantly it would allow the people the freedom of owning what they wish to own, while allowing the state to lower its liability.