Monday, January 02, 2006


In the 21st century, the whole idea of "guns" and "gunpowder" seems incredibly sad. Let's ignore "hunting" because there just are not that many people who officially hunt any more. Today a gun is used to do one of two things:
  1. To stop someone when that someone does something that you do not like (aka murder)

  2. To stop a group of people when they do something that you do not like (aka war)
You can make a self-defense argument, but self-defense falls into the above two categories.

Currently the technology we use is a hand cannon. The cannon hurtles a small piece of metal at high speed at the person we wish to kill.

Because we have seen so many science fiction films, we tend to think of a "blaster" or "phaser" as the next stage of development in the arms race. We also tend to think of some sort of "shield" as a way of blocking a phaser (or perhaps even small high-speed metal objects).

The question I would ask instead is this: "Is there a way to eliminate the need for murder and war?" Can human beings ever get enough control of their emotions, and develop ways of communicating with each other, and have shared concepts of right and wrong, so that the need to kill one another no long exists?



At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a centralized worldwide government, something denying people the freedoms to fight (like most governments do inside countries today).

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Kallahar said...

Also remember defense against animals. When camping in the wilderness it is a good idea to have a defense against large animals like wolves, bears, etc.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Javier Marti said...

Your blog style is an example for all of us, other bloggers.
I also pose questions in mine
I think that if more and more people like us help the others think, instead of trying to convince them, we are on the right way forward to a better world
Thanks Marshall!

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Jon said...

You could also say guns could be used for recreation as some people enjoy going out and shooting things and target practice. Of course, they could also shoot arrows or slingshots as well...

Will humanity ever stop killing each other? The odds are small.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Flatulus Ancienne said...

The question I would ask instead is this: "Is there a way to eliminate the need for murder and war?" Can human beings ever get enough control of their emotions, and develop ways of communicating with each other, and have shared concepts of right and wrong, so that the need to kill one another no long exists?


At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think we can get there, but I think we can get a lot closer than we are today.

There's always a way to cover just a little more ground. But the path is rarely a straight line.

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you don't try to reason with the next crack addict that breaks in your house.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous said...

There will always be competition for resources. Crime is competition for resources. Read the book "On War" by Carl Von Clausewitz.

Actually you have to go to the other extreme and kill criminals faster (1000 times faster) so that the average citizen isn't affraid.

I am all for parolleing low risk criminals, but when someone gets multiple charges I say kill them or pack them like sardines.

You can't spend enough on welfare to keep criminals away from crime. They work under simple rules of game theory. If it is profitable they will do it. I have had money stolen and my car proken into and a laptop stolen. The police just looked at me clueless.

With criminals suing police for harsh arrests and victums for hurting them in the commision of a crime that can be even more profitable.

Once again it is basic game theory.

I know they were all good people once, but you have to be brave like the end of Old Yeller and put them down humanely.. as sad as it is.

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think so, humans has deep emotions wired in the brain through evolution.

What we can do is to reduce it.

Globalization will make a world more unite and with less frontiers. We are going in the right path for peace.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tendency of humans to commit murder and war is there because in the past it sometimes gave our ancestors an advantage. The goal of society is to punish those things - like murder and war - that reward an indivudual (or individual tribes, groups, countries) but are negative towards humanity as a whole. If society is successful, then evolution should slowly select against those traits - people who commit murder or start wars will end up in prison and will not pass on their genes. But it is a very long process, even if society is successful

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Globalization will not reduce crime. When people are made aware that someone has more they become jealous. This leads to crime.

America is obsessed with Islamic terrorist when it needs to go after the street gangs who are also terrorist and far more vicious. I would like to see the Neonazis, Mafia, Asian Triads, Crips, Bloods, MS13 treated as seriously as Al Queda.

I know it would amount to inner city civil wars but it has to be done.

Let peacefull multicultural communities flourish when you don't have an minority within a minority stigmitizing it.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Marshall, I've enjoyed a lot of the things you've had to say. I'm 26 and was thinking about picking up a copy of The Teenager's Guide to the Real World... I suppose I'm considering my future and the children that might be a part of it.

Anyway, to address your latest post:

I think the problem with the "can't we all just get along" plee is that terminating the life processes of a frustrating, mostly-water bag is more functional and expediant in this world we live in where morality is not as absolute as mortality.

While virtue my triumph over evil in the long run, the "time perspective" from which most people gauge the effects of their actions is much more immediate.

I guess I'm trying to point out that it's easy to have high moral standards when you have food, love, and toys to make you happy. I'm one of those people and I'm a pretty idealistic person. But at the same time I lived in a third world country during my teen years and saw a lot of poverty, but more importantly, saw a lot of "blue collar" working people (the majority of the people) scrambling to make a buck. People can't readily disregard morals towards others when it comes to their own livelihood.

You would act no different.

Neither would I.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

doh! that last "can't" was definately supposed to be a "can" !

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous #2

Here in western Pennsylvania hunting is MOST CERTAINLY NOT passe
The first day of deer season is VERY dangerous if you don't wear ORANGE and it's FOOD for the family for the winter. I'm sure that this is true west of the Mississippi also --- maybe west of the Applachians.

Your premise is soo Utopian and unreal -- also the idea that we should give up our form of government to bring peace is so outrageous as to bring to mind a wish for slavery.

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I think there is a way.

We just have to figure it out.

I think most people aren't broken; They just don't have the necessary connections.

For the people who are broken, there's always jail. If they can find a way to reform themselves, we can let them out, and plug them into the system.

With the Internet, there are even ways to plug people in, who are in jail. They can have all their network activity observed by volunteer watchers.

I think we're going to make a civil society with the Internet, and I think we're going to find that the world is a big enough place for everybody.

It's going to take some figuring out, but we'll do it.

At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crime is about more than just posessions. It can also be about power. Power can not be given by a government to a criminal, therefore they will take it. This means using force on another. Unless we are willing to forego all freedom, there will always exist those who want to exert power over others and will use force to do so.

Demonstrating power produces rewards in self and among peers. There will always exist those among us how lust for power whether they wear a nylon over their face or a suit and tie.

Guns, victims who fight back and societies that enforce punishment make crime more dangerous for the criminal.

To your question, can we ever eliminate the need for murder and war?

The desire for paradise on earth has lead to more death and misery than any other illusion among men. I think hoping for world without conflict and murder is asking for one of these paradises.
Life is messy.
As long as we are human we will always have statistical outliers who crave power and control and find a means to achieve it.
Even when manufacturing machines, some machines are just scapped because they lie too far out of the norm.
A technological future will still have this problem.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Roland said...

I'm pretty hopeful that war and violence will decline in the future.

One reason is that globalization, free trade and spontaneous online collaboration increasingly mean everyone's interests are tied together.

The second is that competition over resources will be hugely reduced if advances in nanotechnology are administered safely. Nanofactories can provide cheap clean energy, water and a western standard of living for everybody. Along with virtual reality and cheap mass communication you can imagine the world turning into a vast interconnected knowledge economy with national borders and geographical location less and less important.

I've also heard Steven Pinker talking about how we have become more peaceful and caring in a process called "juvenilization" that has been seen in other animals like bonobos. This happens because antisocial or aggressive-looking people are less likely to breed in advanced societies.

Over the past 35,000 years our skull size has decreased 20%, men have come closer in size to women, teeth have got smaller and appearances have become more childlike. Being a seven-foot murderous thug is no longer an evolutionary advantage.

In fact if you look at wars they've been declining in frequency and intensity for over a hundred years, with WWI and II as aberrations. In fact even with a bigger population there are less people killed in wars today than in the 30s.

It's just as well because future weapons will probably be much more dangerous than today's.

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh now....i think thats all bullshit, and ill tell you why....

first of all, i live in new hampshire, and i have some guns. i have them because i go camping alot with my dog. now i have seen some scary shit, such as a pack of coyotes in my back yard, wildcats, cougers, mountain lions, and fisher cats. a fishercat was trying to get into my house a while ago, but i fired my gun a few times, it vanished into the night. that thing would have ripped my pets apart if it got in. i saw a mountain lion on my doorstep a year ago, just looking threw the glass. my dog and cat were freaking out, needless to say. but if it got in, i could have ended its life. another reason i own guns is for defence. there are some CRAZY fucking people out there. and i dont know about you, but "just talking" to someone holding a gun to your head while hes raping your wife isnt going to cut it. "oh excuse me mr. crazy fuck, can you stop raping my wife?" he'd blow your head off. the minute i hear him break in, bam, hes gone before im gone. its a constitutional right, and it should stay.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i own guns to protect myself, from crazy motherfuckers and from the mountain lions, wolves, wildcats, fishercats, and bears i encounter from time to time. you try your hippy "reasoning" with a pissed off mother bear, or a pack of rabid coyotes, im sure they'll listen. "oh hey coyotes, cant we just be freinds?" oh i never thought of it that way lets not eat this guy's corpse after me rip out his throat. thats real logical..

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“It’s my goddang constitutional right to bear arms, and so I’ve got depleted uranium tipped missiles here for all the wild critters that I’m sure live in my city. And if any crazy rapist breaks in I’m gonna nuke his ass! Cause I’m da man! And I even let the kids take guns to school, cause it’s their goddang constitutional right!”

Primitive American gun nuts. Get with the 21st century already. So sad.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Guns and weapons are extensions of a deeper misunderstanding - namely the belief that you can somehow get peace from violence. All you get is more hatred and fear, and thus more violence. Just turn on the news.

The only way to break this chain is through helping people see that, though it appears to offer immediate results, in the long run, violence simply doesn't solve most problems.

Which is not to say that pacifism will not occasionally get you killed. So maybe the question is, what do you want your death to stand for?

We all make our choices and live (and ultimately die) with the consequences.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Kyle Dobbs said...

Saying that hunting is a thing of the past in this country is a massive overstatement. It may be true in many metro areas, but the United States is still a very rural country.

Every attempt at gun control legislation implemented so far has failed miserably. When guns are flat out banned, violent crimes (particularly muggings) become much more common place. The city of Chicago is a good example. How is this possible? The majority of guns used by criminals were illegally manufactured and illegally imported. They generally cost less than half the retail price of a comparable legally procured gun. Gun amnesty programs are even worse. The guns collected (and paid for!) by police departments and governments are nearly all obsolete or damaged beyond repair. During Brazil's gun collection program over the last few years, the trend has been to turn in junk and use the proceeds to buy cheap surplus AK47s from paraguay.

As far as removing the human impulse to use guns (or knives or cinder blocks for that matter) to harm each other... Generally well balanced people in industrialized countries with strong civil liberties have very strong incentives not to kill. In these situations gun bans are not necessary because so few people misuse the privelage.

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, another anonymous post. Let me look at this from a philosophical approach.

Intentional killing is a result of fighting, excluding murderers, psychopaths, and the like. Fighting happens when someone has a reason to fight, and that reason overrides his wish not to fight. This reason can be summed up as such--to prevent a scenario from happening or to make a scenario happen.

Let us take the example of a mugger jumping someone, and a fight breaking out between them. The mugger fights for the outcome of more money. The man fights to prevent that outcome, and perhaps for the outcome of escaping relatively uninjured.

Note that these reasons, like all reasons, come in flavors of moral, questionably moral (i.e., could be argued either way easily), and immoral. Now comes the question of the year--could a fight break out where both sides have moral reasons for fighting?

I say yes. If there was someone who was blamed mistakenly for a crime, with the death penalty a certainty, then should that person not fight for his safety? To say the opposite would be to say that to defend one's life is unjust. However, if the government has judged to the best of their ability, should not it do everything in its power to secure the man? If not, then justice is immoral, or questionably moral.

So, to remove fighting, one must remove the will to fight, which is really any overriding desire--for one cannot remove the ability to fight from a human aside from barring interaction with other humans or remove many body parts. If we were to remove any overriding desire, then we would have lost something uniquely human, and turned ourselves into little better than machines.

At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes it does sound great if we could live in utopia. It just isn't realistic.

As for our constitutional right to bear arms. We were given that right to protect ourselves from an overzealous government that may try to take away our freedoms. I firmly believe if you take away our guns you take away our freedom.

I would also like to comment on the posts that are optimistic that a global economy will lead to stronger peace. It just ain't so. When the industrialized nations such as the U.S. have to compete for limited resources with developing countries what happens? The standard of living in industrialized nations will drop due to increased demand on a limited supply. This is especially true when it comes to energy. Who truly believes that America or any other industrialized nation is strong enough to survive a long term dropping of their standard of living. You do not have to look real hard at history to see what happens when a nation finds itself there. Hitler came to power under similar circumstances after WW1.

In conclusion, the absolute most important issue facing humanity at this time isn't guns,terrorism,the enviroment or even nuclear proliferation. It is ENERGY. If we solve the energy problem with renewable resources then most of the aformentioned issues will go away or atleast stabilize. Renewable, affordable, enviromentally friendly energy will save more human life than any or all arms treaties ever signed.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous C. Doud - VA said...

Take away guns, we'll just go back to clubs and fists.

Business likes to say that 'influence' works better...

Guns, bombs, propoganda, negative positioning and buzz-killing marketing tactics; humans inhierently have a way of trying to 'kill' in one form or another.

It comes down to self-respect, acceptance, and education.

I am not anti-capitalism...I am rather for it; as it has treated me quite well. However, "grabbing all you can" without any loss to someone or something within the system is not possible: at least at this time in our progress as humans.

I detest guns. ...but respect the choice of those who own, use, and carry them within their legal rights. Two of my family members are permitted to carry firearms in a concealed manner...though they know they are not to enter my home with one. It's a mutual respect we have; and unwritten trust that needs no contract or lawyer to uphold its terms.

It comes down to respect and trust. "I trust you and respect you to do the right thing because I believe you have my best intentions in mind." -- A Wise Man's Proverb

Respect and trust are born of understanding...and both of those come from personal experience and knowledge of a person, place, or thing. At present, there are billions of 'persons' on the planet.

Maybe we should all just have lunch sometime? Oh....MAN! I am going to need to get a bigger SIM card for my only holds like 300 contacts. billions of contacts would need like 50 gigs at least....awwwwwwww nooooooo!

Thanks, Marshall....NOW I NEED TO BUY ONE OF THOSE 600.00 80 gig phones from Apple.

where's my credit card....


At 5:37 PM, Anonymous J. West said...

I'm glad to read so many intelligent posts here. I'd like to add one more minor note...

If somehow (magically) worldwide disarmament were achieved, it would only last about 5 minutes. It's not difficult to make a gun.

If anything, we need more guns in the future. Everyone deserves the right to protect themselves.

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