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July 22, 2014

30 Days: Gun Nation

by Paul Goebel, posted Jul 1st 2008 11:28PM

Pia(S03E04) I have never been a fan of guns. Sure, I enjoy movies where gun violence plays a major part. I've always held a fondness for Dirty Harry and the few times I held a gun, I definitely thought it was cool. All that being said, I don't know if I could ever shoot a gun at another living being. I don't really care to find out.

What I would like to know is if there is some way that responsible Americans can enjoy hunting and feel protected while at the same time, psychos won't be able to walk onto the playground of my daughter's school and shoot innocent children. This was an episode I was really looking forward to.

From the beginning of the episode, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful Pia was and I found it disturbing, quite frankly. Last week's subject, Kati, was a very nice lady but it seems to me that a hot aerobics instructor who wants to stop gun violence is bound to be more sympathetic than a middle-aged housewife who wants to ban gay marriages. As much as I love this show, I think it was a mistake to put these episodes back to back, if only because it makes the liberal slant a little more visible than it should be.

At least they made a point of showing us Pia's bigoted preconceptions about gun owners. I found it ironic that she was afraid of arguing with someone who didn't have all the facts, but already assumed her host family would be uneducated and insensitive enough to fly a Confederate flag on their porch.

Upon meeting Ken and seeing how he lives, I couldn't help but wonder why he doesn't spend a little less money on guns and finish building his freaking house? I'm going to assume that's why his wife left him. Who in their right mind wants to live in an unfinished tornado magnet while her son and husband are spending all their spare time blowing holes in things?

I have to agree with Pia on one point. What is it that Ken feels he needs defending against? Is his "shotgun shack" really that attractive to life-threatening criminals? I grew up in Arizona where the law still states that anyone can own and carry a firearm as long as they don't take it into a bar or a church. When I was a kid, my parents knew this guy who had a lot of money and a lot of free time and he loved to walk around the city of Tucson with a hand gun on his hip. Now, while some parts of Arizona are still desert, Tucson is a major city and it's changed quite a bit from the days of Wyatt Earp. Yet, every citizen still has the right to carry a gun. Oh, I should also mention that this friend of my parents was blinded when he was fighting in Vietnam. I wish that I could travel through time to explain to myself the irony of a guy who lost his sight while defending democracy and basic human rights, one of which is the right to bear arms strictly as a fashion statement.

I really enjoyed watching Ken and his friend at the fun shoot. He made a lot of good points about gun safety starting with blaming the gun itself. It really does seem foolish to demonize an inanimate object. Moreover, seeing all the different types of weapons being fired was kind of cool. It's not all that different from a person who digs motorcycles and gets together with his biker buddies on the weekend to ride around and make noise. I don't know the statistics, but I'm guessing more people have died riding a motorcycle than firing a gun. I guess the question is how many people have been killed by a motorcycle being ridden by someone else?

I don't really know what to say about the segment on the University of Utah except that I found it really disturbing. If you were in a class with the kids featured and you knew they were packing, how would you feel? I definitely would not ask to borrow a pencil, that's for sure.

I was shocked to find out that half of the criminals who use guns get them from dirty gun stores. Maybe I'm simple but it seems like stricter punishments for shops that sell to criminals would go a long way towards ending gun violence. It also reinforces the "one bad apple" truism that seems to be more and more prevalent in the world today.

I thought the lady from Cease Fire made a really good point about Ken only lobbying when it affects him, it's too bad that her point was so clearly lost on him. I was hoping it wouldn't happen but I heard way too many platitudes from Ken about the second amendment and criminals getting guns. My feeling is if you have to use the same old arguments over and over to defend your point of view, it's time for a revision.

Pia's interview with the guy who defended his family with his gun was awesome. I can't imagine what that experience must have been like. As far as I'm concerned that guy can have as many guns as he wants. I can't help thinking, however, that his experience has to be uncommon.

At the end of the thirty days, I didn't feel that much was accomplished outside of Pia having a better insight into the mind of a gun enthusiast. It's clear to me that nothing will change until the gun lobby stops spouting the second amendment and makes some concessions and those who favor gun control stop demonizing a hunk of metal and admit that guns can be fun.

How did you feel about Ken's house?
Get a maid9 (6.1%)
At least finish the drywall66 (44.9%)
Looked cozy to me14 (9.5%)
I'd move in tomorrow19 (12.9%)
If I had to live there, I'd use a gun on myself39 (26.5%)

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Robin Lionheart

I was hoping it wouldn't happen but I heard way too many platitudes from Ken about the second amendment and criminals getting guns. My feeling is if you have to use the same old arguments over and over to defend your point of view, it's time for a revision.

If you hear the same counterargument over and over, he doesn't need a revision -- you need a response. No one in this episode gives a good answer to it.

July 24 2008 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fred

http://www.reason.com/news/show/28582.html
Gun Control's Twisted Outcome

Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.

and well have we learned nothing from the "war on drugs"? banning something doesn't make it disappear. It just makes sure the law abiding do not have them. That woman was just pathetic, crying like that after shooting a gun once. She's obviously seriously impaired, like a person who survived a plane crash traumatized so much that they campaign against all airliners.

btw if you've been following british media over the last couple years and much more so during the last couple weeks theres been mass knife hysteria going on there. There are calls for random searches and harsher penalties just for carrying a knife. I guess they haven't learned their lesson, they are disarming their public, making them easy targets for much crime, and the people that would be criminals are never affected and just become more brazen. the poor defenseless sheep like public then become hysterical with fear and give the government ever more power and control. but no amount of spending is going to give you a personal police officer, more likely than not they are there just to deal with you after the fact, if you were lucky enough to survive. such is the reality that the people in the uk do not want to face.

July 04 2008 at 7:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jesse Custer

All you anti-gun folks are gonna feel pretty stupid when the apocalypse happens and the bloodthirsty dead rise to walk the earth, indiscriminately murdering every living person. So you keep your knives and bats and other close combat weapons and see how long you survive. I'll be in my well stocked, well armed survivalist compound. We'll see how long it takes you to come running.

July 03 2008 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miriam

About the University of Utah segment:

The 30 Days piece didn't mention that the campus administration actually had banned guns on campus for a long time (since 1977). The conservative state legislature threatened to withhold state funding for the University unless they revoked the ban, which the administration refused to do. The State Supreme court ultimately ruled in 2006 that the ban violated state law, and thus guns were again allowed on campus.

July 02 2008 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
khamel

guys, dont forget, freedom costs a buck o' five.

i really wish someone would go on this show and actually know how to argue. it seems like when there is a controversial subject the producers find a very non controversial person to go on the show and it does a disservice to the topic.

case in point - guns dont kill people, people kill people ... WITH GUNS! Yes, 'criminals' will always manage to get guns but if there were no guns for everyone (japan) then it would be harder for those criminals to get guns. while thats an extreme example the point is that alot of these arguments (on the show) never go more than skin deep. also if people kill people with guns and you cant regulate people (before the fact - really) then you should regulate guns to stop people from getting killed.

i dont really care about this topic either way, i just wish the show would find better people.

July 02 2008 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to khamel's comment
InsomniacHamster

The key thing here is that People Kill People. Guns are simply a tool to do so, restrict them and the tool with just change - Cars, knives, keys, pencils, bricks... pretty much anything in reach of you can be turned into a deadly weapon if you want it to be.

The level of regulation you're talking about does absolutely nothing except change the means and deny law abiding citizens a means of defense.

If anything should be done regarding the number of firearm related deaths it should be that adults and children alike should be taught how to properly handle firearms.

Working to reduce the poverty level would be a huge step as most firearm related crimes involve people in less than ideal situations.

Improvements to the NICS database would also be a huge step considering it's largely incomplete as far as criminal and mental records go. Make it mandatory for states and hospitals to report criminals/patients (as of now it's mostly optional as far as patients go).

It's not guns that are the problem, it's the failure of society to deal with the root causes of our problems.

July 02 2008 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello!

Sorry only people gun bans keep guns out of their hands are the law abiding ones. It does not stop the criminals. Look at the cities with the stringent control bans and they are the ones with highest rates of crime especially shootings. WONDER WHY?
We had a shooting on our campus. Its a GUN FREE ZONE. Guess who did the shooting? It was 2 guys intent on shooting someone. The GUN FREE ZONE SIGNS did NOTHING!

July 02 2008 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D-Bo

Well this turned into a train wreck rather quickly...

I think the episode did a good job at showing the mentalities on both sides of the debate. It was a difficult line to walk and I think the show did it well. I think your review while a bit biased was fair to the show except when you say that you "didn't feel much was accomplished". Someone who associated the sound of a gunshot with a child or friend being killed to being able to competently use a firearm is quite an accomplishment.

My best friend was shot and killed in front of me when I was a teenager after a short argument in the parking lot of a gas station in an "ok" part of town. I can see how his parents could agree with the Cease Fire folks (his sister grew to be very anti-gun) as they have all been irreparably scarred by a tragic and horrible event. However, I take issue with the one lady's argument that she is working to protect others and the gun owner only looks out for him/herself. She is clearly doing this for herself, I imagine as a parent (which I am as well) that there is a tremendous amount of guilt and blame associated with the loss of a child and it seems to me that this has manifested itself in a vehement objection to the role of firearms in society.

I am curious about one portion of your review Paul, and that is why did you find the portion about legal carry on campus in Utah disturbing? Why would you make the leap from "he has a gun" to "he's so scary I wouldn't ask for a pencil"? I mean if you're bat shit crazy (like I think we can agree anyone who walks on campus and kills 30+ people is) are more rules and regulations going to stop you from acting our your paranoid schizo fantasies? Would the knowledge that students may be armed deter said batshit crazy person from trying it on campus?

Japan has outlawed guns and recent attacks on a number of random people have involved knives. Should they now ban knives?

I had a sporting interest (through Boy Scouts since my parents were very anti-gun) in firearms before my friend was shot and killed. Now I have an understanding that a firearm is a tool that can be used by criminals (or said batshit crazy person) to kill someone I care about or can be used by myself in order to protect someone I care about. Laws that restrict one's ability to do the latter (like the DC handgun ban that was overturned after the recent decision in DC v Heller by the US Supreme Court) do little to stop the former.

July 02 2008 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
misterm

StillBash...are you kidding me? Why don't you admit already that you wish you could live here? Tell me where you're from so I can bash your country. Douchebag.

Oh, and a 'live feed' from the darwin awards? Please explain the 'live' part to me because I think I'm missing something here. Why are you even reading TV Squad? You like American entertainment?

July 02 2008 at 6:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to misterm's comment
No1Dad

"StillBash...are you kidding me? Why don't you admit already that you wish you could live here? Tell me where you're from so I can bash your country."

He's got all the paranoid ramblings of a Canadian. No offense to the sane Canadians, mind, but some of your countrymen are suffering from a serious case of 'national penis envy'.

July 02 2008 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Franklin

This'll make your head explode:

Bash is GERMAN.

Once you get up off the floor from all the uncontrollable laughing due to his cartoonish hypocrisy, you can respond to him with relevant points as they pertain to his country of origin.

You're welcome.

July 02 2008 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Sorry I keep laughing because I can't get the image of seat belt campaigns out of my mind I saw in 2006 when I was in the US the last time.

I mean in a country where putting a helmet on while riding your motorcycle is by many considered a fashion statement it's kind of funny to see people arguing about gun control.

To me this is all a little bit like watching a live feed of the Darwin Awards.

You guys don't have health insurance, a minimum wage that hasn't been raised since 1997, fast food companies supplying your children's school cafeterias, the highest obesity rate of all the first world countries, 300 million citizens and 2.5 million of those incarcerated. The largest amount of live atomic bombs in the world. You didn't sign the Kyoto protocol. You started a war without reasons.

Just keep your guns as long as you promise not to use your a-bombs on us I'm fine with you guys killing each other, driving yourself to death, eating yourself to death, dying because of the lack of health insurance, starving to death, getting killed in a senseless war et cetera et cetera.

The sheer insanity of all these things is mind blowing.

I really wonder why, with all these guns, nobody ever staged a revolution against the establishment, against government.

Oh wait. 2.5 million people in jail. I get it.

July 02 2008 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to StillBash's comment
No1Dad

"You guys don't have health insurance"

We do have health insurance. Did you mean free healthcare?

"a minimum wage that hasn't been raised since 1997"

It was raised last year.

"fast food companies supplying your children's school cafeterias"

Most US schools don't allow that or even soda machines.

"the highest obesity rate of all the first world countries"

Actually, that would be Australia.

July 02 2008 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Franklin

No, what's really funny is a German making judgements on anyone else. Of course you're happy to see a free country practicing habits that might cause death, it saves you people from the trouble of trying to kill those that differ from you yourselves. Of course you're appalled that we don't have socialized medicine; Germans have never been proponents of freedom or personal responsibility.

And the funniest line of all:
"You started a war without reasons."

Coming from Germany, that's the most hypocritical statement of the century, unless of course you consider "the right reasons" to be genocide, world domination, unspeakable horrors inflicted on women and children, and good-old killing for fun. Enjoy Germany, God knows only a German could.

July 02 2008 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

"I guess the question is how many people have been killed by a motorcycle being ridden by someone else?"

Or have killed themselves on purpose on that motorcycle. 55% of all (33,000) gun deaths in the U.S. per year are suicides. Guns have the highest success rate when attempting suicide (90%) and public health studies show that the mere presence of a gun in the house raises the likelihood of a suicide attempt. The recent ruling on the DC gun ban featured numerous suicidology experts pleading for the ban to be held up for fear that it could cause a rise in suicide rates.

July 02 2008 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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