CDZ Why The NRA Debate Obscures The Real Problem

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by Shrimpbox, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Shrimpbox
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    Shrimpbox Gold Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Well fig let’s go down this rabbit hole with your logic. More people are killed in car accidents than by guns in the last fifty years

    Death rates from guns, traffic accidents converging

    And let’s especially look at this quote

    Such statistics are misleading, said John Lott, an economist and author of More Guns, Less Crime. That's because gun-related homicides and accidents have gone down, while suicide deaths by firearm have gone up, he claims.

    He said there's no need for legislation: Since the assault rifle ban ended in 2004, he said there has been twice as large a drop in firearm deaths.

    But experts from the National Academies of Science's National Research Council have taken issue with his numbers, which also don't gel with the CDC's findings. In 2004, there were 11,624 gun homicides -- up from 10,828 in 1999. When the assault rifle ban ended, the numbers shot up to 12,632 in 2007 before slowly coming back down to 11,098 in 2010. There has been a corresponding decrease in violence in those years, leading researchers to say a correlation between the end of the ban and fewer gun murders is impossible to make. Deaths from accidental discharges dropped from 824 in 1999 to 600 in 2009. Firearm homicides rose from 10,828 in 1999 to 11,493 in 2009, a 6% increase.

    11,000 out of a population of over 300 million. You do the math.

    And since your distaste for guns seems to be based on the noble cause of saving lives, I am sure you will make this a priority too. After all 250,000 die a year from this preventable exercise, making gun homicide a pimple on the us fatality scale.

    Medical Errors Are No. 3 Cause Of U.S Deaths, Researchers Say

    Enough with the sophistry.
     
  2. IsaacNewton
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    IsaacNewton Gold Member

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    No need to post, we already understand you have an excuse for everything under the sun and even if 1,000 children were murdered in a mall one day you couldn't care less. Everyone gets it you don't give shit. Run along, as with those that believe the Earth is flat you are to be ignored at this point. It's time to push past the selfish of the population and make sure guns are well regulated. As the Constitution demands. People didn't want to give up riding horses a hundred years ago but society eventually just left them by the side of the road and moved on.

    It's time to do that with the gun lickers who never get past 7 years old. Bye now.
     
  3. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    Lotts' "numbers" aren't the problem the NAS and others have with Lott. It's his spurious analysis of and inferences drawn from them they critiqued.
    You really should be ashamed of yourself for citing Lott. Not has More Guns, Less Crime been resoundingly shown to be "junk science," but his so too has his subsequent research that attempts poorly too posit the merit of gun possession/use over gun control measures as a way to reduce gun-related deaths and crime in general.

    Lott did publish that book; however, his remarks and conclusions in the book are based upon this study, "Crime Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," he conducted two years prior to publishing the book.

    In the study, Lott and Mustard analyzed crime statistics in 3,054 counties from 1977 to 1992. The study made the claim that, if all states had adopted “shall issue” laws by 1992, 1,500 murders, 4,000 rapes, 11,000 robberies, and 60,000 aggravated assaults would be avoided annually.
    Lott’s research relied heavily on advanced econometrics, a highly specialized sub-field of economics. Using an econometric model with a blistering array of controls, including 36 independent demographic variables, John Lott analyzed a total of 54,000 observations for 3,056 counties over an 18 year period. Such a massive dataset would ostensibly permit Lott, for the first time, to identify the specific effect of concealed carry laws on crime with great precision.

    The book was extremely well-received by the pro-gun community, being described as the bible of the gun lobby, and has since sold 100,000 copies. His book inaugurated a new era in the pro-gun movement: for the first time ever, organizations like the National Rifle Association could articulate their advocacy in the language of public health, rather than in constitutional terms.

    The problem is that, as Tim Lambert showed roundly, Lott's conclusions don't hold water.
    • There weren’t significantly more guns,
    • There wasn’t less crime, and
    • Guns wouldn’t have caused the decrease in crime anyway.
    Lambert's and others analysis of Lott's methodology and conclusions identified and include (but are not limited to) material failings in Lott's work:

    Lambert:
    In an audacious display of cherry-picking, Lott argues that there were “more guns” between 1977 to 1992 by choosing to examine two seemingly arbitrary surveys on gun ownership, and then sloppily applying a formula he devised to correct for survey limitations. Since 1959, however, there have been at least 86 surveys examining gun ownership, and none of them show any clear trend establishing a rise in gun ownership. [1] Differences between surveys appear to be dependent almost entirely on sampling errors, question wordings, and people’s willingness to answer questions honestly.

    Lott replied to this accusation [2] by arguing that, even if there weren’t more households owning guns, there were still more people carrying guns in public after the passage of shall-issue laws. However, we know this assertion is factually untenable, based on surveys showing that 5-11% of US adults already carried guns for self-protection before the implementation of concealed carry laws. It’s extremely unlikely, therefore, for the 1% of the population identified by Lott who obtained concealed carry permits after the passage of “shall-issue” laws to be responsible for all the crime decrease. Lambert also notes that many of the people who obtained concealed carry permits after the passage of shall-issue laws, were already illegally carrying firearms in the first place. This means, of course, that “shall-issue” laws would produce almost no material changes in the reality of gun ownership.

    Lott replied with an ever-weakening series of explanations, suggesting that the 1% of people who obtained permits likely had a higher risk of being involved in crime, and thus disproportionately accounted for the crime decrease. Except, yet again, this statement does not comport with reality. One study by Hood and Neeley analyzed permit data in Dallas and showed the opposite of Lott’s predictions: zip codes with the highest violent crime before Texas passed its concealed carry law had the smallest number of new permits issued per capita.

    Empirical data from Dade county police records, which catalogued arrest and non-arrest incidents for permit holders in a five-year period, also disproves Lott’s point. This data showed unequivocally that defensive gun use by permit holders is extremely rare. In Dade county, for example, there were only 12 incidents of a concealed carry permit owner encountering a criminal, compared with 100,000 violent crimes occurring in that period. That means, at most, getting a permit increases the risk of an armed civilian meeting a criminal by .012 percentage points. This is essentially a round-off error. What’s particularly revealing about this episode is that Lott had to have known about Dade county police records because he cited the exact same study in his book when the records supported a separate position of his. In other words, Lott simply cherry-picked the evidence that supported his conclusion and disregarded the rest.

    Even academics on Lott’s side of the argument strongly doubt that concealed carry laws could have such profound effects on crime. Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, for example, writes:


    David Hemenway from the Harvard School of Public Health, writes a similarly devastating review of “More Guns, Less Crime” in his book, Private Guns, Public Health. He notes that there are five main ways to determine the appropriateness of a statistical model:

    Methodological Flaws and Analytical Failings
    As Albert Alschuler explains in “Two Guns, Four Guns, Six Guns, More Guns: Does Arming the Public Reduce Crime,” Lott’s work is filled with bizarre results that are inconsistent with established facts in criminology.

    According to Lott’s data, for example, rural areas are more dangerous than cities. FBI data clearly shows this is not the case. Lott’s model finds that both increasing unemployment and that decreasing the number of middle-aged and elderly black women would produce substantial decreases in the homicide rate, conclusions that are so bizarre that they cast doubt on the entire study. Indeed, as Hemenway explains, while middle-aged black women are rarely either victims or perpetrators of homicide, “according to the results, a decrease of 1 percentage point in the percentage of the population that is black, female, and aged forty to forty-nine is associated with a 59% decrease in homicide (and a 74% increase in rape).”

    Lott claims also that there is only a weak deterrent effect on robberies, the most common street crime. As gun violence researcher Dennis Hennigan writes, “the absence of an effect on robbery does much to destroy the theory that more law-abiding citizens carrying concealed guns in public deter crime.”

    Strangely, Lott’s data also shows that, while concealed-carry laws decrease the incidence of murder and rape, it increases the rate of property crimes. Lott explained that this result meant that the criminals were encouraged to switch from predatory crimes to property crimes in order to avoid contact with potentially armed civilians. But as one researcher skeptically commented, “Does anyone really believe that auto theft is a substitute for rape and murder?”

    Another problem with Lott’s methodology is that it does not account for the fact that crime moves in waves. In order to even begin to account for the cyclical nature of crime, one would need to include variables on gangs, drug consumption, community policing, illegal gun carrying, and so on, which are needed to track the peaks and troughs of crime waves. Instead, when John Lott tries to correct for the absence of these variables through time trends, he uses a linear time trend, which is inappropriate because it incorrectly predicts that increases in crime at one point in time will increase forever.

    Despite these glaring methodological concerns, bizarre results, and fundamental empirical problems, Lott’s hypothesis apparently remains popular (Shrimpbox invoked it, after all). That even as more studies began to shoot more holes in the more guns, less crime hypothesis.

    Ted Goertzel, a retired professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, published a paper in The Skeptical Inquirer in 2002, cataloging the most egregious abuses of econometrics in criminology. Unsurprising, John R. Lott’s most significant work, More Guns, Less Crime, was at the top of the list.

    Goertzel shows that Lott’s studies consistently rely on extremely complicated econometric models, often requiring the computational data-crunching power exceeding that of an ordinary desktop computer. That in and of itself isn't problematic. Lott then assumes the rather convenient position of insisting that his critics use the same data and the same methods he used to rebuke his claims, even after both his data and methods are repudiated. That he uses that sophistic rebuttal is a failure of reason; thus leaving unanswered (as opposed to unresponded to) the criticisms of his findings. [3]

    John Lott’s strategy, then, is the academic equivalent of “security through obscurity.” [4] In response to criticism, Lott simply papers over his mistakes with even more perilously complex models and tendentious data analysis. This technique allows Lott to preordain a certain conclusion as truth (e.g. “More Guns, Less Crime”), and simply pick the model that produces this result.

    Two respected criminal justice researchers, Frank Zimring and Gordon Hawkins, wrote an article in 1997 in response to this strategy, explaining: “just as Messrs. Lott and Mustard can, with one model of the determinants of homicide, produce statistical residuals suggesting that ‘shall issue’ laws reduce homicide, we expect that a determined econometrician can produce a treatment of the same historical periods with different models and opposite effects. Econometric modeling is a double-edged sword in its capacity to facilitate statistical findings to warm the hearts of true believers of any stripe.

    Within a year, two econometricians, Dan Black and Daniel Nagin validated this concern. By altering Lott’s statistical models with a couple of superficial modeling changes, or by re-running Lott’s own methods on a different grouping of the data, they were able to produce entirely different results.

    Black and Nagin noticed that there were large variations in state-specific estimates for the effect of “shall-issue” laws on crime. For example, Lott’s findings indicated that right-to-carry laws caused “murders to decline in Florida, but increase in West Virginia. Assaults fall in Maine but increase in Pennsylvania.” In addition, “the magnitudes of the estimates are often implausibly large. The parameter estimates that right-to-carry (RTC) laws increased murders by 105 percent in West Virginia but reduced aggravated assaults by 67 percent in Maine. While one could ascribe the effects to the RTC laws themselves, we doubt that any model of criminal behavior could account for the variation we observe in the signs and magnitudes of these parameters.”

    From this, Black and Nagin understood that a single state, for which the data was poorly fitted, must impell the bizarre variations and magnitude in state-specific estimates. They determined Florida was the culprit due to its volatile crime rates in the period under analysis, and regularly changing gun laws. Indeed, Black and Nagin discovered that when Florida was removed from the results there was “no detectable impact of the right-to-carry laws on the rate of murder and rape.” They concluded that “inference based on the Lott and Mustard model is inappropriate, and their results cannot be used responsibly to formulate public policy.”

    John Lott’s response to this, in his most recent edition of More Guns, Less Crime has been to explain that Black and Nagin’s argumentative technique is deceptive, that it was a form of “data mining,” in which the researchers intentionally selected parameters that would break Lott’s model. With no apparent irony, Lott moralized that “traditional statistical tests of significance are based on the assumption that the researcher is not deliberately choosing which results to present.” It should be abundantly clear by now that Lott does not deserve the benefit of this assumption. To be clear: excluding Florida is a legitimate and obvious test of a model’s robustness. The fact that Lott’s results completely depend on the inclusion of a single state means that the model reflects nothing about the actual effect of concealed carry laws on crime.

    After the release of the Black and Nagin paper, Goertzel had a conversation with Lott concerning a fundamental problem in his study, namely: “America’s counties vary tremendously in size and social characteristics. A few large ones, containing major cities, account for a very large percentage of the murders in the United States,” and that, as it would turn out, “none of these very large counties have “shall-issue” gun control laws.”

    This means that Lott’s dataset is powerless to answer the very questions for which it was designed. Statistical tests require that there be substantial variation in the causal variable of interest, in this case, there needs to be “shall-issue” laws in places where the most murders occurred. This type of variation is simply absent.

    Lott’s response to Goertzel was to shrug him off, insisting that he had enough controls to account for the problem. Fortunately, Zimring and Hawkins identified the same problem, noting that “shall-issue” laws materialized predominantly in the South, the West, and rural regions, areas in which the National Rifle Association was dominant. These states already had lax restrictions on guns; thus their implementation of “shall-issue” laws cannot be shown to have radically changed the social landscape there. This pre-existing legislative history means that comparing across legislative categories merely confuses regional and demographic differences with the social impact of some legislative intervention. Zimring and Hawking conclude their damning criticism by explaining that, “[Lott’s] models are the ultimate in statistical home cooking in that they are created for this data set by these authors and only tested on the data that will be used in the evaluation of the right-to-carry impacts.”

    What criminologists actually believed happened is that the crack epidemic spiked the homicide rate of major eastern cities in the 1980s and early 1990s. Lott’s argument, then, necessarily implies that “shall-issue laws” somehow spared rural and western states from the crack epidemic, while eastern states were not as fortunate. As Goertzel writes, “this would never have been taken seriously if it had not been obscured by a maze of equations.”

    University of Arkansas Law Professor Andrew J. McClurg, in a critical review of Lott entitled, “‘Lotts’ More Guns and Other Fallacies: Infecting the Gun Control Debate,” concludes that Lott’s entire project is one large example of fallacious post-hoc reasoning. Although Lott concedes that there is danger in inferring causality from specious correlations, he defends himself by insisting: “[his] study uses the most comprehensive set of control variables yet used in a study of crime.” Lott further explains that the correct method of argumentation is to “state what variables were not included in the analysis.” As McClurg notes, however, Lott manages to control for a dizzying array of irrelevant or redundant demographic variables, while ignoring a nearly endless list of important factors that could influence crime.

    Perhaps the most glaring weakness with Lott’s paper is its lack of predictive power. It simply does not matter how complex a model is, if it lacks predictive power, it’s simply useless. Any model that is fully capable of expressing the true impact of concealed carry laws on crime, all things equal, will also have predictive potential outside of the scope of a single study. Fortunately, Lott’s initial data set ended in 1992, permitting researchers to test Lott’s own model with new data.

    Researchers Ian Ayres, from Yale Law School, and John Donohue, from Stanford Law School, did just that, and examined 14 additional jurisdictions between 1992 and 1996 that adopted concealed carry laws. Using Lott’s own model, they found that these jurisdictions were associated with more crime in all crime categories. In other words, “More Guns, More Crime.” Ayres and Donohue conclude with the rather damning paragraph, “Those who were swayed by the statistical evidence previously offered by Lott and Mustard to believe the more guns, less crime hypothesis should now be more strongly inclined to accept the even stronger statistical evidence suggesting the crime inducing effect of shall issue laws.”

    John Lott, along with two other young researchers, Florenz Plassmann and John Whiteley, wrote a reply to Ayres and Donohue attempting to confirm the “more guns, less crime” hypothesis. However, when Ayres and Donohue examined Lott’s reply, they discovered numerous coding errors and empty cells that, when corrected, showed that RTC laws did not reduce crime and in some categories even increased it. In a latter email exchange with Tim Lambert, Plassmann even admitted that correcting the coding errors caused his paper’s conclusions to evaporate. Eventually, Lott removed his name from the final paper, citing disagreements over edits (which turned out to be a conflict over a single word) that had been made to Ayres and Donohue’s paper.

    (Source)​

    The above is just the tip if the iceberg. [5] Click the source link just above, along with these....
    1. John Lott's Website: Response to Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes' cl… -- Response to the article referenced above
    2. John Lott and the War on Truth: A Response to Lott’s Continued Lies - Reply to the response.
    ...to read yet more ways in which Lott's approach and resultant analysis is grossly flawed.


    Notes:
    1. Perspicacious observers/researchers may care also to read the averrances found here:
      • Declaration of Gary Kleck -- Kleck delivered the testimony in December 2013 and the qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to them comes from 2003-2012.
        • Criminals rarely fire large numbers of rounds in a given crime incident, so possession of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition (termed “large-capacity magazines” by the San Francisco ordinance and thus referred to as “LCMs” hereafter) merely provides surplus rounds that are not fired and thus rarely can injure additional victims.
        • The only kind of shootings in which large numbers of rounds are commonly fired are mass shootings [Kleck qualifies the term as six or more victims killed], incidents that involve many victims.
        • In the extremely rare mass shootings in which large numbers of victims were shot, the shooters virtually never needed LCMs to injure or kill as many victims as they did, because they either (a) possessed multiple guns, (b) possessed multiple magazines, or (c) had ample time and opportunity to reload, using smaller-capacity magazines. The killers in mass shootings did not need LCMs to quickly fire large numbers of rounds or wound large numbers of victims – they either just switched loaded guns or reloaded their guns without interference from bystanders.
          • One circumstance in which use of an LCM could affect the number of casualties even if the shooter possessed multiple guns or multiple magazines is if there were bystanders willing to tackle the shooter during his attempt to change magazines or firearms. The use of an LCM prior to that time could affect the number of victims shot, since the killer could have fired more rounds before needing to reload or switch guns. The only mass shooting in this 20-year period in which this definitely occurred was the Springfield, Oregon murders on May 21, 1998, in which the shooter (Kip Kinkel) used an LCM, but was tackled while attempting to reload.
    2. Much of the argy-bargy between Lott and the folks who've the spurious nature of his findings (Lambert isn't the only one) can be found here: The Lott/Mustard Controversy.
    3. To understand why this is problematic, review how the scientific method works. The short is that an assertion about "what is" and how "things" work/happen necessarily implies a variety of corollary outcomes; thus an assertion that "X" is causal to a general pattern of some sort means that pattern should be observable and can be observed across not only across the whole body of extant data/events but also preponderantly among subsets of them. A key shortcoming of Lott's findings is that they are anomalous; they describe exceptions rather than rules.

      What gives rise to results being exceptional rather than typical? Most often, deliberately cherry-picking (or deliberately "cherry-omitting") data samples or an existential set of unique circumstances. Occasionally too, it can be that there simply is no rule that aptly describes the preponderance of observed events; however, that is not the case for gun-related behavior because we know that while individuals may exhibit unique behavior, human behavior is consistent. To wit, mass shooting, indeed killing in general, is an exceptional behavior, and we want it to become increasingly more rarefied, which is why societies implement ways to attenuate it.
    4. Unrelated to Lott's argument and guns: Donald Trump's principal basis for many of his claims/denials rely in part of the notion of "security through obscurity." Moreover, that principle is the foundational strategy of not only Trump's but many others' use of non-disclosure agreements in the non-judicial settlement of sexual abuse charges, the obscurity being established by creating a situation whereby only the accused may utter public attestations and descriptions of the events and settlement.
    5. Yes. For as much as I've chosen to excerpt, there remains tons more that I didn't include above....mainly because by the time I'd finished reading the essay and the linked content -- the links I've provided above are more current links to the documents referenced in that essay -- it became patently clear that Lott's theory lacks probative, or even indicative, merit.
     
  4. Spotted Drongo
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    Spotted Drongo Rookie

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    i see it this way.
    Children in schools are being murdered by people with automatic weapons which hold 30 bullets.
    There is a debate about banning them. this is fine because then there will only be six shooters to pop off your kids with.
    The death count will be a lot less and I am absolutely certain that is a number the american people can live with.
    However if I lived in America and had school aged children I would never let my child near a school.
    i would encourage all parent to form a movement and keep their children out of school until all guns are handed in and removed from the public sphere. I would allow a 2 year amnesty and anyone found with one after that would get life imprisonment.
    I would also have a referendum and delete the second ammendment, after all this stuff is not set in stone.
    Then I would form a politcal party and vote for a parliamentary system . this would get rid of the many corrupt party hacks that are such a drag on the present system.
    OK BOYS GIMME BOTH BARRELS!
     
  5. usmbguest5318
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    usmbguest5318 Gold Member

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    Obviously from the content posted in post 23, I don't agree with this conclusion. LOL I don't concur with your apathetic conclusion because having reviewed Lott's claims and the rebuttals to them, I think it important to shed light on his folly.

    I don't really care what be that member's motivations or emotions. I care only that he cited Lott to support his claims, and, as is shown in the content in post 23 and its linked content, Lott, quite simply, is not a credible source with regard to the viability of the notion that more guns produces more crime. Common sense alone informs anyone with half the sense God gave a goose that the notion that more guns being purchased/possessed and used produces less crime is as nonsensical as the notions that more sugary/fatty food consumption yields less obesity, or that more recreational drug purchases and use will result in fewer debilitating health outcomes.

    While I don't cotton to the other member's implicit insouciance about the impacts deriving from the pervasive presence of guns in our society and the "toothless" approach (or more aptly, torpidity) our legislators and government executives have for scores of years demonstrated with regard to materially abating gun-related deaths, I recognize his right to be thus glib. I acknowledge that right because, for example, there are certain economic policies about which I'm a staunch positivist/empiricist, and for which the only response I can give to the emotionally-based rebuttals of "but look at what impact that will have on 'such and such' a class of people" is that as a social Darwinist, I'm okay with those outcomes. What I don't do, however, is deny that those outcomes may well materialize were the positions I espouse implemented absolutely; unlike gun rights advocates, I'm at least willing to own and own up to the downsides of my preferred stances.

    That gun rights advocates hold the views they do and assert that their preferred policy tacks will yield outcomes they simply will not is an integrity, a character failing that I cannot countenance. Quite simply, I'm unwilling to trust folks who won't own both the pros and cons of their stances on positions/policies that have directly lethal consequences that cannot be reliably mitigated. The permissibility of and making easily possible irrational, imprudent, and/or immoral individuals' acquiring guns like the AR-15 is one such policy. Lest one misconstrue me: I have no problem with people owning and enjoying guns and gun-sports and hobbies. I take exception with temperamentally and mentally unfit individuals doing so.
     
  6. oldsoul
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    oldsoul Gold Member

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    That sounds alot like you are advocating fascism. I truly hope that you are not. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they are your enemy, nor does it give you, or anyone else the right to subvert their 1st amendment right to free association and free speech.
    Also, what "wealth of information they can use against people." to you foresee "finding" my seizing the NRA membership rolls?
     
  7. Tipsycatlover
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    Tipsycatlover Gold Member

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    Hmmm. Not giving your personal information to any organization is now fascism? Really? I'm not going to ask how you got there. You are a democrat, that much is obvious. Not agreeing with me does not make someone my enemy. Being a democrat DOES. Or do you intend to make that decision for me because you aren't a fascist and all?
     
  8. oldsoul
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    oldsoul Gold Member

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    My apologies, I was unclear. The statement I was responding to was, "If the government should seize the member list of the NRA they have a wealth of information they can use against people."

    For the record, I am not a Democrat, have never voted Democrat, and I doubt I ever will.

    "Not agreeing with me does not make someone my enemy. Being a democrat DOES." So, which is it? Does a differing opinion make me your enemy or not? I am really unclear here. The two statements seem to contradict each other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  9. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    Are we debating if my Facebook or Twitter with my 40 real friends reaches more people than if I stood up in a bar or park in 1970 and yelled what I thought?

    I suppose its more permanent in a way, then again if I said something interesting in the bar people would talk about it just like ppl on Facebook share it?

    Or if I wrote something down and tacked it to a door in the 16th Century its kinda like tweeting my ideas?

    This I do give, things spread faster online than when we had to call and talk to each other on the phone about where someone's hands went at a party on Friday night.

    But hey, far as "discussions" on here, if this is what we have to disagree about we must be virtual soulmates!
     

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