Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Car vs. The Gun

     I'm sure that 99% of us have heard some gun fanatic state: "Cars can kill people too, why not ban those along with guns?" In today's post I will debunk this pathetic red herring. I will begin by explaining why this is a red herring before I attack this saying directly. A red herring is a logical fallacy where an individual gives an argument designed to distract an opponent from the point being argued. When level-headed people debate gun control, we discuss why regulations are needed and the dangers of regulation-free gun ownership. Rarely is the outright banning of guns or an unnecessary hatred of all things gun-related expressed. The above quote is a red herring because it assumes we only advocate gun control because guns can kill people and that we want guns fully illegalized, thus distracting from the main points we actually make. The saying is also designed to make gun control sound ridiculous by assuming we want to regulate guns for inappropriate reasons, also distracting from the real reasons for gun control. Now to attack the quote: I propose that guns, like cars, can be lethal weapons but measures exist to prevent deaths due to cars that do not even remotely exist in concern to guns.
     Cars have killed countless people around the world via car accidents, drunk driving, and intentionally hitting people. However, governments and people recognize these dangers and implement countermeasures to prevent these atrocities:

     1) First and foremost, if anyone wishes to drive a car they must take a certified course in how to operate cars and demonstrate competency before receiving a license. These licenses only last for a set period of time and individuals must demonstrate that they still know how to operate a vehicle before being re-licensed and returning to the roads. Buses and taxis carry individuals other than oneself and thus people must acquire an endorsement or whole new category of driver's license to show that they are capable of driving additional passengers and maintaining their safety. Semi-trucks, especially those transporting hazardous materials, pose a greater danger to others and are more difficult to operate. As such, state agencies require additional training and licenses/endorsements before one can operate these dangerous machines. Furthermore, planes are very difficult to utilize and pose enormous risk if mishandled so enormous numbers of flight hours must be logged and extensive schooling must be undergone before one can fly even a bi-plane. Larger passenger planes naturally take more time and training. Long story short, governments require people to take courses in and demonstrate capability to utilize vehicles before allowing citizens to drive due to the inherent dangers of driving.

     2) People and companies alike must register their vehicles. The relatively non-controversial requirement to register motor vehicles has worked wonders among car-related incidents. When someone commits a crime which a car, an observer can record the car's license plate number and report it to the police. The police then check their records for the owner of said car, giving immediate access to the information of the owner. The owner of the car may be the criminal and thus the crime is solved, or the car owner may not be the criminal and let the police know if it was perhaps stolen or they let someone borrow it (the borrower then becomes a suspect). Either way, the license plate abd car registration grants the police headway towards solving a crime. This knowledge also prevents crimes as would be criminals choose to avoid illegal activity knowing how easy it is to become caught (On a side note, it's easier to carry weapons, bodies, and stolen goods, as well as being a lot easier to flee a crime scene with a car than without a car). Additionally, if your car is stolen you can let the police know and the registered license plate makes finding the correct car intimately easier. A registered car also gives easy access to who's license is expired and thus who needs to re-test to get a new license. By keeping track of who needs a license renewal, we ensure that everyone who is driving is licensed and thus competent. Car registration requires a maintenance check to determine that the car is still safe to drive, thus ensuring the car's on the road aren't any more a danger than they need to be. Also, car registration makes identification of victim's of crashes fast and efficient. Another long story short, car registration protects everyone by preventing crime, solving crime, and ensuring that all cars and drivers are safe.

     3) Car's undergo yearly mandatory safely improvements and are thus safety minded. Every year, new laws and requirements go into affect to improve the safety of motor vehicles to both the occupants and the public around them. Everything from ABS, theft alarm systems, steel shells (SmartCar), moving head rests, OnStar, etc. etc. etc. Every year the risk of death from a car decreases as cars become more and more protective. Hell, Ford now has a system that primes the breaks and flashes a warning on the windshield if it's radar detects your approaching an object too quickly! These safety improvements are continuous, revolutionary, and a top priority in motor vehicles.

     The analogies to gun regulations in the above three points should be fairly obvious so I won't go into extreme detail but I will overview the impacts:

     1) Requiring that any owner and user of a gun take a course and obtain a license from its use (and I mean more than the pathetic Hunter's Safety Course) would greatly decrease injuries and deaths due to guns. Proper training prevents accidental discharges, inaccurate shots that harm bystanders (like your hunting buddy), and ensures everyone is aware of how to store and maintain their gun to prevent others from accessing it and ensuring it works properly.

     2) Gun registration works miracles. If guns are registered, than any gun at the crime scene or any photo of the registration number (which should be easily visible and fairly large) could identify the owner and therefore most likely culprit. Once again, someone could have stolen or borrowed the gun which the owner could easily tell the police granting another lead in a case. Also, if the law required each gun undergo ballistic fingerprinting then even a single bullet could identify the gun and thus it's owner providing the same leads as the gun itself (and while painting over your gun registration number may be easy, recovering bullets you shot into someone is not). As with cars, registration helps ensure everyone is licensed and guns undergo periodic safety checks to ensure it is working properly.

     3) Guns need be safety first. As with cars, they are dangerous and should keep safety features a priority. I won't deny that guns have gotten safer with time, but the rate of gun safety features as opposed to the rate of car safety features doesn't even compare. The potential argument that "cars are larger and are larger and can thus have more safety features, guns just can't  get much safer" is frankly bullshit. Here's two examples I came up with as I wrote this article (and if I can make them up in the spot what can the experts do?): a fingerprint scanner on the trigger akin to the scanner on the new iPhone home button and the SentrySafe pistol case to ensure only you can fire your weapon; a small computer chip that keeps track of the time each time the gun is fired (this would help police as texting records helps catch people texting and driving and let's the owner know if their gun is being used without their permission). Basically, there's tons of potential to improve gun safety, so start mandating it.

     Yes, both cars and guns are dangerous. Yes, the second amendment protects your right to own guns (I'd actually argue against that since it explicitly states in the Second Amendment that the Second Amendment exists for the purpose of maintaining a state militia, but that's an argument for another article). No one wants to outlaw cars and few people want to fully outlaw every gun in existence. What we want is gun regulations similar to car regulation. Cars are dangerous so we regulate them, guns are dangerous but we don't do anything about it. This needs to change. We as the common people of America and victims of gun crime in America must petition and fight for increased gun control. I encourage everyone to do so by signing the following petition and sharing this article with everyone.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Supreme Court Windsor Ruling

     Last Wednesday, June 26th, the Supreme Court finally made a ruling on the Supreme Court case Windsor vs. United States that I've mentioned in several of my blogposts and have been following. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Section Three of DOMA states "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Now that this Section is no longer valid, the Federal Government must recognize all homosexual marriages. So what does that mean for homosexual couples across the United States? It means several things:
  • Homosexual couples can now receive federal benefits and protections for their marriages
  • Homosexual couples can get married out-of-state in states that allow homosexual marriage and it will be recognized by the Federal Government anywhere (so if a homosexual couple in Utah wanted to get married they could go to Washington, get married, and that marriage will be Federally recognized)
  • Many adoption agencies required that the adopters be a married couple, so many homosexual couples will now be able to adopt
  • One more step has been taken towards granting homosexual couples the full protection of the law and full equality with heterosexuals
This Supreme Court ruling does NOT force States to recognize same-sex marriages (so, in the above example, Utah can still ignore the same-sex marriage but the Federal Government cannot) but we are one step closer to having this occur.
     Ultimately, homosexuals have gained an enormous advantage that will lead to further advancements in Civil Rights. Just as the blacks gained rights one piece at a time, just as the Japanese gained rights slowly over time, just as ANY minority has slowly earned their proper rights denied to them in America, homosexuals WILL eventually achieve full equality with heterosexuals. This Supreme Court decision puts us one step closer towards equality and has given us the momentum to further gain equality. Please share the good news of the Supreme Courts just decision with everyone!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Posts and Brokeback Mountain

     I know it's been a very long time since I last published, that mostly has to do with the fact that the last month has consisted of nothing but AP and IB testing. I've been exhausted. I will start publishing on Sundays (except next Sunday since I will be camping). Sundays are a very convenient and easy way for me to publish as it's the day I typically have the least amount of work. I have a very interesting post coming up next time, but today I'll keep it short and simple.
     A month ago, I watch Brokeback Mountain with my girlfriend, and I cried. I don't often cry at movies, but I cried. For those who have not seen Brokeback Mountain, it is a movie about two homosexuals (one played by Heath Ledger) who must keep their relationship a secret. After being discovered, one member is brutally murdered and the other is lied to in order to about the circumstances of his lover's death. It's an incredibly sad tragedy about a world that doesn't understand homosexuals and a world that hates homosexuals. It's a very worthwhile watch and I would recommend that everyone watches it. Until next time, thanks for all you guys do for the homosexual community!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Upcoming Weeks

The next few weeks are quite busy as I will be AP and IB testing for the next month. I will try to post when I can but do not expect many posts in the next month. Thank you my followers for wanting to make a diffrence in this world.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Homosexual Marriage Debate

     Hello readers! I have recently been arguing for homosexual marriage with an individual on Google Plus. For those who do not know, I recently made an argument against this article by a Mormon apostle found in my blogpost not too long ago, here is a link. Following this article, a "friend" on Google Plus attempted to provide a counterargument. The link to his counterargument is located here. Please read his essay before reading mine as it will make my essay make much more sense. Also, it is beneficial to have his essay open side-by-side with mine as it will make the essay make much more sense (note that the word "you" below is a placeholder for his name so as to keep him anonymous):

           I find that the best way for me to argue your points without becoming accusatory is to rebuttle each point one at a time, as such my essay will largely model yours. You will probably want your essay open when you read this as I will not be explicitly mentioning what paragraph of yours I am debating.
        I agree with your point that gender is a core characteristic that is fairly permanent (however it is changeable via surgery and hormone treatments). But your gender should make no difference other than for reproductive reasons. Yes, men and women have natural secondary characteristics and differences in ability, such as men tending to be stronger and women tending to be more flexible, but that is no reason to treat them different socially. Why can a man not be a house husband and the women the main breadwinner? Why can a woman not be a body builder and a man be a gymnast or ice skater? The fact is that anyone of any gender can be their own individual separate of gender biases and traditional gender roles. It is to my understanding that you agree with this so I should make it clear why I bring this up: it is a response to you saying that “equality” is removing everything about gender. Essentially my point is that the only permanently unique characteristic of each gender is which role they play in reproduction and the line stops there.
        You mentioned that marriage is “ancient, millennia-old, universally recognized” as if its universality and longevity is an argument for maintaining its current form; it’s not. Slavery, selling of children, and torture were all once, and in some cases still are, “ancient, millennia-old, universally recognized.” Yet these three institutions, among many others, are inhumane, harsh, and degrading. So an institution being “ancient, millennia-old, universally recognized” is a completely invalid reason for maintaining marriage as it is, however you have other arguments of a more valid nature that I will soon debate.
        I don’t understand what’s wrong about “genderless marriage” or even what it fully means and don’t want to make an argument against it that is going to be off topic or miss the mark. Could you please elaborate?  
        I’m not saying separate all values from law, I can see where my statements were ambiguous. What I am saying is that values that are solely religious should not be incorporated into law, ever. I know you disagree that homosexuality is solely religiously based and you have made several arguments, however I will debate those later. For now it sufficeth to say that the fight against homosexual marriage has no logical basis other than the “majority prefers it” (which is not true, a recent poll puts the number of American’s supporting homosexual marriage at roughly 58%) and the majority once preferred slavery, torture, etc. A majority preference is often oppressive and is typically a weak argument for law. Also, laws should not be based off pathos. Laws need be based of logos. Laws based off pathos have often led to harm and oppression. I repeat that there is no sustainable logical argument against homosexual marriage.
        The lawyer makes a good point between tolerance and endorsement and I agree. However, endorsing an action for one group and not another is oppressive. Saying that one social group as a whole can exercise a right or power but another is prohibited from making those same decisions is to endorse one group over another. In other words, it still marginalizes and damages a social group, typically a minority. The law needs to endorse all social groups, or not. To elevate one social group or another is naturally oppressive and harmful.
        To your question about why have marriage at all, I actually agree with that point where the government is concerned. I don’t believe the government should have any say in a social ceremony other than for immediate bodily protection (such as crowd control and traffic control during large gatherings). And, in fact, couples are very capable of raising families without being married. In fact, one can raise a family just as well without being married as if they were married. The only reasons statistics differ from my above statements is because many “less-than-optimal” households have unmarried parents. It is not the lack of marriage that makes them bad parents, but rather the type of people that the parents are that causes them to not get married. In the same sense, anonymous individual, I’m sure you’d be just a good of a parent whether you were wed or not. Marriage does not spontaneously increase one’s parenting skills. There are only two purposes for marriage: to gain a social sanction to have sex, and for a couple to create a socially binding promise to be loyal to one another. The first point (social sanction for sex) only applies to couples who believe that extramarital sex is wrong and care what others think about their having extramarital sex. The second point (commitment) is only for couples who see marriage as having a binding power to create a commitment; in other words, if a couple believes that they are capable of commitment without marriage and doesn’t desire marriage because they see no value in it, it is useless. To reiterate the above few sentences, marriage is an inherently useless institution that only has the power that individuals grant it. So the question naturally arises: why am I fighting for homosexual marriage if I would prefer no government involvement in marriage? It is a point of inequality and oppression and it is much more likely to get the government to sanction homosexual marriage than to take their hands completely out of marriage.
        Your paragraph concerning harm dealt to society by less-than-ideal households is by far your strongest point. As such I will spend some time on this point. You are very much correct in the assertion that less-than-ideal households produce children more likely to commit crimes and be overall detrimental to society. However, homosexual households don’t produce children of this nature. Slightly over 20% of homosexual households are raising kids either from a previous marriage, rape, or adoption. These children are no more likely to be violent or criminal in nature than children raised by heterosexual parents. The only study that states to the contrary defined homosexual parents as any adult (in a heterosexual union or otherwise) that has had the desire to cheat on their spouse with another of the same gender. In other words, they didn’t truly study homosexuals as a comprehensive whole, but rather those with a desire to cheat and potentially ruin their current relationship. The study did not accurately sample the homosexual population and is therefore completely void. The notion that homosexual couples’ children are more likely to be homosexual is also highly false. Homosexuality is biologically determined and not taught, so it’s not possible to teach a child into a sexuality. On the reverse side, sanctioned homosexual marriage would decrease divorce rates and crime rates. A decent number of divorces are due to a homosexual marrying a heterosexual in order to hide their homosexual nature and gain social acceptance, not for love. As such these marriages often end in divorce. Also, many homosexuals living together stay together for life. Allowing homosexuals to marry would decrease divorces due to the first mentioned reason and increase the number of permanent couples due to the second reason. Finally, since homosexuals cannot have their own biological children (actually, a friend who I won’t mention and I came up with a biologically valid method for homosexuals to have their own offspring and supposedly such research is being conducted) so many homosexual couples adopt. Orphaned children who aren’t adopted by the time they reach maturity are often lacking in proper parental care and harbor angry feelings. These children are more prone to crime and other detrimental activities. By increasing the number of adopters, more children will be adopted increasing the number of children who receive proper parental attention and thus reducing the crime rate. In addition, as homosexuals adopt kids, it increases the quantity of many available to orphanages and decreases the number of children the money must be spent on. The newly enriched orphanages can perform give much higher quality care to the children left in the orphanage and better fund campaigns to get people to adopt. Allowing homosexuals to marry is all-around beneficial for any society.
        You apparently misunderstood why I related homosexuality to the soda ban. I was showing that declaring a law as “arbitrary and capricious” is, via precedent, a valid way to attack a law. I was also comparing the ridiculousness of banning homosexual marriage to the ridiculousness of banning large sodas.
        “What happens in your house doesn’t affect what happens in my house” is a very valid and true statement. If what I do does not affect your rights, than why inhibit it? If a man choosing to marry another homosexual does not take away from your rights (which it doesn’t), than why prohibit it? If a woman decides to marry another woman, what forceful affect does it have on you? Nothing. A homosexual couple marrying doesn’t take away from any of your rights. They’re not taking away from your rights, don’t take away from theirs. Finally, about your last few sentences of that paragraph, what happened? Your arguments had at least some basis until these sentences. Let’s reiterate those sentences in a few other contexts to show their invalidity:
·    Atheist: But what happens when I'm trying to teach my children about what I believe, and I have to explain to them that these nice people are oppressing minorities in the name of an imaginary being and that society is wrong about something I know and believe is right?
·    Different religion: But what happens when I'm trying to teach my children about what I believe, and I have to explain to them that these nice people are doing something our God says is wrong and that they’re wrong about something I know and believe is right?
·    Liberal/Conservative: But what happens when I'm trying to teach my children about what I believe, and I have to explain to them that these nice people are doing something politically wrong, and that the government is wrong, and that society is wrong about something I know and believe is right?
Etc. etc. etc. These are things that cannot, must not happen. Because you do not agree with your neighbor does not mean you can force their hand. Freedom exists. I legitimately feel like your final statements of that paragraph are a direct attack on freedom. Let people be themselves.
        I adequately addressed your final paragraph in my last essay, I will not bring it up here.
        I have a final point to offer. Before you get offended, I am not attacking your religion, I’m being legitimately curious. You believe that your god gave us agency to choose. You believe that he is the one to judge mankind and that man are to not judge others. Why then do you not allow homosexuals the agency to choose to marry and, if your religion turns out to be correct when we all die, for your god to judge them and punish/reward them? Why do you feel it to be your need to force others to conform to your god’s standards?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Freedom to Marry

There is an organization called Freedom to Marry that is very proactive in the pro-homosexuality cause. They keep their members updated on the legal battle for homosexual rights and have recently asked their members to post a few pictures. I encourage everyone to join their email group to receive notifications of how the homosexual fight is progressing and what you can do to assisst it. The pictures are found below. For more images follow my:
Google Plus page or Community: Voice of the Minority
Twitter: @Alexminorvoice

I won't share many more photos on this blog as it is more article oriented and it makes more sense to post pictures on websites better designed for images.

Note: I'm not being payed or asked by them to advertise them nor do we have any form of relation beyond ny being a member of their organization.

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