At 11/9/05 02:34 PM, alexsmolik wrote:
That being said, nowadays, there really aren't so many reasons to have guns, you've got to admit it. It's not as if it was the Far West anymore. It's wild, but not as wild. You almost can't be in a situation where government fails and law enforcement disappears nowadays. At least, from my point of view. And I think weapons are much more used for violence than in the precise situation you depicted: protect their families and property.
How naive; you are in the situation where government and law enforcement fails at this very moment.
Since you live in France and have been denied the right of self-protection, and only understand firearms in terms of Hollywood and what the press/government feeds you, it is clear you are not capable of understanding the use of firearms in society. It is not your fault. The protection issue is just one of many, but probably the most valid. While riots and natural disasters are relatively rare, such as your current rioting in France, the New Orleans riots from a few months ago, the Los Angeles riots from 1992, etc., there is still the ever-present danger of home invasion, robbery, assault and battery, etc., posed by the thugs and criminals who exist in all societies. By allowing the law-abiding population to be armed, it means they can refuse to be a victim. It also lets the criminals know that anyone they attack might possibly be armed. This has helped reduce violent crime in the United States significantly over the last 30 years compared to many other industrialized nations in Europe where guns have been outlawed over the past two decades. Violent crime in England, in particular, has exploded since guns were taken away from the law-abiding citizens. It is now a free-for-all for the criminals because they know that they can get away with crimes without being in any sort of danger. Even the police there rarely are armed.
But protection is only one reason for the ownership of firearms. There is a plethora of other valid reasons that are all illegal in your country because your government does not trust you. Your government also wants to ensure you can never challenge their authority or actions. In the United States there is a large part of the population that hunts for sport. Hunting is something I personally would never do, but I do admire the environmental record of hunters because of their drive toward wilderness and game protection and so forth.
While you are correct in that the "Wild West" has been tamed, we do have the explosive border on the south with Mexico were violent street gangs and drug cartels are having turf wars spill into American neighborhoods. I live seven miles from the border; I know what is going on. Related to the "Wild West" are the people who enjoy reenacting the period, what is referred to as Cowboy Shooting. They go to competitions and what not dressed in period attire, and carry modern replicas of the guns used in the 1860's though 1890's or even the real thing. Cowboy shooting is a large hobby of gun enthusiasts out here in California where I am.
In America we like to have a military that wins, and San Diego is a major military town. Many Marine and Navy personnel have large gun collections because they need to keep up their shooting skills. This also applies to law enforcement officers. Yet, lets not forget another common reason for gun ownership: the simple act of target shooting at a gun range. Target shooting is a lot of fun whether you are practicing by yourself or competing with friends.
Now there are still many more reasons for owning a gun. I personally own 34. Now you are wondering in your little biased mind "what would someone ever need that many guns for?" The answer is that I collect military antique firearms as a part of a larger military memorabilia collection because I have a passion for history. Too many people ignore the lessons of the past, but I feel history provides guidance to what will happen in the future. Gun collecting is big. Antique military guns is one segment, as are just regular antiques, or someone might specialize in Winchesters or another specific brand, old West guns, shotguns, derringers, you know it. The hobbies and uses of gun ownership are as varied as the people that make up this great nation. The vast overwhelming majority of all gun owners strictly follow the law. Over half of all American households possess at least one firearm. If you really do think they are only used for violence, then now you know the magnitude of your misjudgment.
I doubt I will have altered your brainwashed state of mind, but I at least wanted to address the issue with my proud American point of view. Please do understand that every society is not like yours (which is not necessarily a bad thing), and that you really should not trust Hollywood. Entertainment is not education.