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Monday, January 28, 2013

A Discussion on Violence

Here is a Facebook post and a conversation that followed. Please contribute.

For those that don't know him, Major General Peter Cosgrove is an Australian.
General Cosgrove was interviewed on the radio recently.

Read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children. Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you have to love this! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. In a portion of an ABC radio interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military Headquarters.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

GENERAL COSGROVE:I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

GENERAL COSGROVE:I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

GENERAL COSGROVE:Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?
The radiocast went silent for 46 seconds and when it returned, this interview was over.

Responses that followed:

Stuart Welch Poor response her part. She is correct in saying that equipping and training someone with a gun does put them closer to being a violent killer, just better trained and an improved shot. She should not have let his antique morals on prostitues or sex workers muddy her response. Prostitutes rarely prepare for killing someone violently. His was not a good answer nor was her lack of response an answer either.

  • Shiloh A Landolfi I slightly disagree Uncle. Training an individual how to properly utilize a firearm doesn't put them closer to being a violent killer. Any act of murder is violent regardless of the tool being used. That's an argument for that persons mental state and their value of human life, not ability to use a firearm. Any responsible person with a firearm should be trained to properly use it. That would be like me learning to properly utilize a knife to cut an array of meats, veggies, cheeses, etc but considering me a potential violent killer because I better equipped to use my knife or learning martial arts for self defense or for health reasons and categorizing me as a threat to innocents because I've been training on how to utilize my arms, legs, elbows, and knees for protection.

    As for his comment, as ill-mannered as it was, I think his point is what's important. Just because you have the ability, doesn't mean you're going to exercise it. Violence is something that comes from inside and is not brought forth because of training. Her response should have been followed up with a question for him to explain why he believes its a good thing to train the boys on how to properly use and fire a weapon.

  • Stuart Welch But if guns had not been present in the first place, or if the need for a Major General to head an Army would be irrelevant. Training to shoot a gun would be irrelevant and does not make you a violent killer, but what if their training would have been in gardening, solar energy, meditation or anyone of a 100 peaceful forward thinking pursuits instead of properly using guns. I dont disagree with you but before we can change the society, we must address dramatically changing the culture. Remember we used to smoke in restaurants and on TV, but that changed in 20 years.

  • Shiloh A Landolfi I agree with you on that point. If we could live in a world were everything was peaceful and we didn't need to worry about violence then we would have no place for firearms (other than hunting) or any defensive weapons. Unfortunately, I believe, even if we changed our culture (I agree we need to) it wouldn't put a stop to violent acts and people would still need a way to defend themselves.

  • Stuart Welch It is difficult to perceive a culture that is not so enamored and imbedded with violence. Throughout history, our society has made many revelations and has changed course dramatically and drastically. There is no doubt it took time for these changes to be recognized and accepted as commonplace. However, at one time the Earth was the center of the Universe, the earth was flat, microscopes allowed us to view another world that had been in front of us the entire time, rock and roll would destroy Western Civilization, inter-racial marriages were wrong, there was a God then multiple Gods then a single God and now a somewhat withering away of the concept or organized religion altogether.

    All of these things were strongly felt in our society and in past societies but they have now faded away to near extinction. Acceptance of violence as a means of expression, of expanding the concepts of war and the violence that surrounds it rather than curtailing its existence, will only prolong our understanding that the world is flat and everything revolves around us.
  • Andrei Mihai Blaming guns for violence is much like blaming forks for fat people. Look at the violent crime vs gun crime in UK. The gun crime did drop, but the violent crime has skyrocketed. What banning guns would do is simply make it so that your average person would have to use their bare hands to defend themselves against a criminal aggressor. People have killed people long before guns existed; and they didn't do that for a living, they were farmers, hunters, smiths and tailors. It didn't stop some from inflicting harm onto others, so the belief that you can train a sociopath killer in making solar panels and all of a sudden he'll sit around a camp fire, roast marshmallows and sing kumbaya, is simply a delusional utopian dream that will never happen.

    The other thing, I've lived in a country where there were no guns in the hands of the population. Trust me, it's bad when you need to go up against those with guns (government). Can you seriously say you trust our government to be the only ones with guns? History is littered with examples of what happens when governments run amok... I can't think of one example of a liberal/progressive/socialist/communist utopia, where only a central government has guns/power, and everyone is equal and has everything they need/want...
  • Jeff Strong I blame the wheel!!!!!!
  • Stuart Welch I suppose if you still believe in the useless labels of liberal/progressive/socialist/communist, if you still believe that we still follow the same tenets that we did when we were farmers, hunters, smiths and tailors and that we still believe in Paganism, Thunder is a God that we must worship, werewolves, Zuarasic, then it makes sense that you believe it will always be a violent world we live in. If you think nothing ever changes, then I won’t trot out the 1000’s of examples of how our culture has matured over the last 100,000 years or so. If you still believe (or live under the delusion) that you live in a Democracy that there is Communism and that the people have the power over the government, I will cease. No point in going on.
    Really? We live in a Democracy? Damn, I had better look for the land of fairies, cotton candy and free cheese!
    You saw “a delusional utopian dream that will never happen”! Gosh, I better light up my cigarette, prepare to sacrifice a virgin for my crops, set aside my time for king worship and warn as many as I can that if we take a missile to outer space, we will puncture a hole in the membrane that protects the planet Earth (Oh, that last one is what the LEADING scientists of the day believed until the 1950’s. Good thing they were wrong as well!). Better stand over there with Jeff and blame the wheel!