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Australia It's funny.  Laugh. Handhelds Music Transportation Apple

Australia To Fight iPod Use By Pedestrians 450

Posted by Soulskill
from the hard-to-fight-that-logic dept.
Kilrah_il writes "In recent years the number of people killed on roads in New South Wales, Australia has dropped, but strangely enough, the number of pedestrians killed has risen. Some think it's because of the use of iPods and other music players making people not attentive to road dangers (the so-called 'iPod Zombie Trance'). Based on this (unproven) assumption, the Pedestrian Council has started a campaign in an effort to educate the people, but apparently it isn't enough. Now, some are pushing for the government to enact laws to help eradicate the problem. 'The government is quite happy to legislate that people can lose two demerit points for having music up too loud in their cars, but is apparently unconcerned that listening devices now appear to have become lethal pieces of entertainment,' [Harold Scruby of the Pedestrian Council of Australia] said. 'They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare and that of others. ... Manufacturers should be made to [warn] consumers of the risks they run.'"
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Australia To Fight iPod Use By Pedestrians

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  • What the.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:23PM (#33494488)

    Who is RUNNING Australia?

    I mean seriously, this is STUPID

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:24PM (#33494492)

    Darn - Australia has gone to goodie two shoes fascists. Seems like all the news coming from there is about less freedom.

  • by syousef (465911) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:32PM (#33494558) Journal

    Having music devices around isn't the problem. Stupid overprotective mollycoddling laws are the problem. What you're probably seeing is the result of lowering the speed limit to 40km/hr around school zones while cutting back on educating kids about the danger of cars. The number of kids who should be old enough - in late highschool - to behave at least somewhat sensibly and look both ways, but instead blindly walk out in front of oncoming traffic because they know they won't be blamed if they or someone else is hurt is mind boggling. It is now way too RARE to see kids actually look both ways crossing a road.

    This is just a prime example of how badly the Australian political system has gone off the rails. In Australia we're happy to throw away freedoms left right and center, and if anyone else is doing well or having fun, we like to put a stop to it. It's sad, because I've lived here all my life and while there was always an element of Tall Poppy Syndrome [wikipedia.org] here it has gotten WAY out of hand. This country use to be a lovely place. In polite company manners counted. Now if you catch an (overcrowded hellish) Sydney train you're lucky not to get shoved out of the way or sworn at.

    We don't need new laws. We need enforcement of the existing laws. There is already a law in NSW against pedestrians walking out in front of a car. My cousin while 12 was almost charged because he blindly stumbled out from behind a bus and was hit. I'm in 2 minds about this. On the one hand at least the driver wasn't penalised when he could have done nothing to prevent the accident. On the other, do you really think it is a good idea to charge the victim of an accident, who may have been mamed by it? Or penalise the parent who now has to look after a sick child? Is that really what a stretched police force should be out doing? And these are already existing laws. Do we really need more of the same? The "Pedestrian Council of Australia" needs to have it's head read. I can just see it now "Were you wearing headphones when you were hit ma'am?" "Ah yes but I..." "No buts ma'am. I'm afraid we're going to have to place you under arrest".

    IDIOTS.

  • Re:The reason why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:35PM (#33494568)

    Seems like all the news coming from there is about less freedom.

    It's largely because all the news is bullshit. Australia does not have an internet filter. Nothing is happening in regards to this story Somebody making a noise about something, even if that person is a politician in government, is not the same as them actually doing something.

    The fact that Australia has politicians who are even willing to test the waters by floating such ideas says a lot by itself. It's how they wet their finger to feel which way the wind is blowing. If the idea shows support they run with it. If not, they distance themselves from it and the impression they leave is the one you express there.

  • They have a point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:38PM (#33494594) Homepage Journal

    If you ride a bike on a shared footpath in Victoria you are required to warn pedestrians before you approach them. You can do this with a bell or a verbal warning. But the vast majority of pedestrians wear earphones.

    So whats the point requiring a warning if it is not going to be heard? The only problem I have with the proposed changes is that it won't be applied to the drivers of vehicles too. Headphones and telephone use should be outlawed entirely.

    As a bike rider I don't want distracted pedestrians stepping into my path. Thats as dangerous for me as it is for them.

  • by syousef (465911) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:42PM (#33494618) Journal

    The Walkman wasn't/isn't nearly as interactive as the iPod/iPhone. Much more random access storage and the ability to check e-mail and SMS and worse yet respond to such things is what trip people up.

    Mobile phones have been around for some time too. So have books and newspapers. Do I need to mention billboards? They have definitely cost lives, especially where they are of scantily clad women. What about daydreaming? Perhaps we should legislate against that too? Anythign to avoid having to educate people to watch where they are going.

  • Re:The reason why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:42PM (#33494622) Homepage Journal
    The theocracy that backed the filter is still alive and well, just under cover again.
    They know the tech works and will just wait to re introduce it under a left or right gov.
    It was tested, great interest was shown and much political capitol spent on it.
    I expect ID for ISP use to move in, IP tracking to a home address without court order might gain traction too.
  • Re:The reason why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumBeep (748940) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:47PM (#33494648)

    Go read aggregated local news anywhere in the US. Make sure you pay attention to actions by school boards.

    The world has no lack of abject morons, sanctimonious hypocrites, lawsuit-happy soccer moms, and pointy-haired bosses. And it's nothing new.

  • Re:The reason why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:50PM (#33494676)

    The fact that Australia has politicians who are even willing to test the waters by floating such ideas says a lot by itself.

    Far be it for me to defend politicians, but this little bit of "policy" as you'd like to call it has come from a not-for-profit group that pretty much amounts to a "Club for Pedestrians".

    To wit: [walk.com.au]

    The Pedestrian Council of Australia is a non-profit organisation whose objectives are: the continuing improvement of the safety, amenity, access, health and environment of all pedestrians throughout Australia.

    Sounds a lot like the Women's Christian Temperence Union. So perhaps I jumped the gun a bit; the politicians are the ones who follow shortly after.

  • Re:demerits? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:52PM (#33494696)
    People never understand when high score = bad score.
  • by evilsofa (947078) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:53PM (#33494704)
    How about people who are deaf like me? Will we get written up for walking around in a dangerous fashion and relying only upon our eyes to stay alive on the streets?
  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:55PM (#33494720)
    They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare

    Everything that's wrong about nanny state in one sentence.
  • by meerling (1487879) on Monday September 06, 2010 @10:58PM (#33494732)
    Many places here in the USA have laws against driving with headphones on, even though we are driving in cars that have more and more soundproofing and those without headphones are often playing their car stereos far louder than the effective volume the headphones could ever generate. (There are a bunch of idiots around here that often have their car stereos so loud you can clearly make out the song from inside my apartment 2 blocks away, and the windows are shut.)

    If it's a safety issue, they should mandate that cars have no soundproofing on the cabin and that any radio/stereo/etc can exceed a maximum decibel level equivalent to normal conversation at any time. That isn't going to happen, but still, it points out both the folly and stupidity of such rules.
    Screwing with pedestrians who listen to headphones while wandering around is just as stupid.
  • by causality (777677) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:00PM (#33494746)

    Electric cars emit much less noise.

    Shit man, if we're not careful people may even have to start paying attention when dealing with potentially dangerous situations. That'd be a real bummer, as it would waste a little precious time that could be spent on texting, music, and games. Thank God people have their priorities straight!

    It's also a great thing that laws could be made to sort this out. That would work like a charm, of course. It's only natural that people don't care if poor decision-making gets them killed, but they'll wise up really quick when it might get them fined.

  • Re:Screw Godwin! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:01PM (#33494758) Homepage Journal
    And lets not forget the corollary:

    LAWS do not stop people doing things (see drugs, illegal, the continued use of).

    LAWS just allow POLICE to arrest you, and LIFE INSURANCE people to reject your payout.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:09PM (#33494802)
    Then bike on the street, where things with wheels are fucking well supposed to be.
  • by causality (777677) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:27PM (#33494896)

    And many people don't have enough assets to sue for.

    In an ideal world you'd be referring to the parents of the little bastards who actually walk out in front of cars on purpose. In the event that something happened, the driver should be able to successfully sue them for damage to his/her vehicle, any medical bills (for any occupants of the car), and emotional harm from having to find the best way to remove blood and brains from clear coat. They so clearly failed their duty as parents to instill any degree of sense into their children that they should be liable for all such damages.

    And don't give me that "how can anyone sue grieving parents" crap. The time to care about them is when they're still alive and can be taught better than that. It shouldn't take a smaller-than-standard coffin to make them wake up and realize that the TV wasn't such a great babysitter. Really, I'm tired of shitty parenting and the society of broken, whimpering, dependent, passive, shallow, childish, impatient people it's been producing.

    Some of you bleeding-heart types may think that's inflammatory. I'm not going to make you feel better. I'm going to tell you to get over it because it's the fuckin' truth. All I'm saying is this: if your kids think that deliberately walking out into traffic and scaring the hell out of drivers or maybe making them have an accident is great fun, while risking their own lives to do it, then yeah you've failed as a parent. That's exactly the sort of stupidity and bad decision-making you're supposed to have equipped them to identify. Really the whole immediate-self-preservation thing is one of the more obvious ones.

  • Re:Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:43PM (#33494992) Homepage Journal

    Six months ago I gave up cycle commuting because I had medical problems. I am back commuting now. At the time I decided to keep fit by riding around a local velodrome at night. It got boring cycling in circles in the dark so I bought a cheap MP3 player and head phones. I tried it out a couple of times but the sensory deprivation got to me. I would imagine movement near me and stop the music to listen for a while. It was actually quite dangerous so I gave up on the music player idea.

  • Re:Harold Scruby (Score:2, Insightful)

    by harrytuttle777 (1720146) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:47PM (#33495008)

    So when the Gun Victim's Council of Australia (or whatever group is was) managed to get your guns taken away, where they a fringe element run by the media. Just because a group is wacky, doesn't mean you should just ignore them and not address the issues they present. If they are truly a media whore, I would be very afraid of them. People as a whole will go along with whatever the media tells them to do. All you need to do is repeat the message constantly. This is how all advertising works. Hell If you can convince people that they need to buy a paticular brand of shoes, you certainly can convince them that all their problems are caused by jews, or cannanites, or communists, people wearing ipods. The sensicallness (i might have mispelled this word) has nothing to do with the issue.

  • Re:Selection (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @12:11AM (#33495112)

    I doubt it. It's probably his "my shit don't stink" mentality. It's easy to imagine he has, or will, at some point in his life, have an avoidable close call.

    Why can't he believe that stupidity has a price even if he has done something stupid? Is there no room in your worldview for someone to have a belief and recognize that it applies to themselves as much as it applies to anyone else?

    You automatically assume blatant hypocrisy before anything like this occurs to you. I wonder if you appreciate what that means.

    Put another way: There is not a statistic out there that says nobody who knows how to configure a web-server has ever been hit by a car.

    Web servers have nothing to do with it, which must be why you're the first to mention them. There's only one kind of contrast here whether it comes from observing the world around you or having your own personal near-miss. One person thinks this is a product of chance or luck if they think about it at all. They are the higher-risk category. Another takes a look at the behaviors and decisions made that contributed to the event and made it more likely than necessary. They are the lower-risk category. This is straight observation. There is no claim of perfection in any of it.

    Back to the topic, this means that ever since some pedestrians have gotten killed this way, anyone who didn' t already know can learn, from their example, that paying attention is important when interacting with traffic.

    Now, you mentioned a "my shit don't stink" mentality. I'm reluctant to say it but you produced a bit of shit there yourself. It smells like someone who cannot understand a viewpoint that isn't his own, not because he has found a serious flaw in it, but because he doesn't like it. So you argue against an imaginary claim to personal perfection that no one was making. Does anyone see how that works? It's usually unintentional but unfortunately it's a common pattern in discussions everywhere.

  • Re:What the.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @12:29AM (#33495198)
    Yup - and guess what? It'll be a politician.
  • by causality (777677) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @12:39AM (#33495228)

    Please be aware that the pedestrian council is not a council at all. Its a Commercial Business owned (and ceo'd) by Harold Scruby. They have been sprouting anti car and anti driver bullshit for years. There is no real reason to listen to this mob, and Im unsure why anyone does.

    I hear you, but its status as a corporation makes it even more likely to have some political clout.

    Besides, dumb ideas like this need to be called out. Look at all the similar nanny-state laws on the books in many different countries. Mr. Scruby is definitely not the only person who adheres to this philosophy. The problem with people like him is that they don't recognize when they are trying to implement a fundamentally flawed idea. When it fails for any reason, they just assume they aren't trying hard enough.

  • by Falconhell (1289630) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:13AM (#33495368) Journal

    The best thing we ever did in .au was get rid of most semi automatic guns.

    It seems only the US has the bizarro love of the gun.

    I have lived here for 40 years and have not even once felt the need to own a gun, and have never even seen one in the hands of a private citizen on the streets. As they are extremely rare, only the worst criminals carry them, and usually only use them on other criminals-shootings involving innocents are virtually unknown. Possesion is treated very seriously.

    To quote Yes Minister.

    "We are not entirely convinced having loads of armed people on the streets make anyone safer".

  • Re:What the.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:31AM (#33495456)

    Unlike some penal colonies.

    We voted them out,

    Pfft, wars are for the insecure, we just told them to leave.

  • by angus77 (1520151) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:46AM (#33495548)

    In an ideal world you'd be referring to the parents of the little bastards who actually walk out in front of cars on purpose.

    As I teacher, I've seen more than my fair share of siblings where the one is a goody-two-shoes straight-A student, and the other was the classic problem child who didn't care about failing as they were too busy learning to light fires, etc etc etc.
    Would you praise the parents for the one child while condemning them for the other? They were raised in the same environment, came from the same set of genes.
    Parents can have an influence on how a child turns out, but they do not have the last say.

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:47AM (#33495550)

    Speeding violations generate lots of ticket revenues in the name of safety despite most accidents not being caused by speeding and that's because of people like this.

    Whenever the police minister pulls out the 'the fact is speed cameras save lives', it really begs for the [citation needed] because it sounds like absolute bullshit to me.

  • by Cimexus (1355033) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:08AM (#33495644)

    No, it hasn't.

    Slashdot constantly keeps reporting about every little stupid idea that any Australian politician, local council member, random uninfluential lobby group or guy off the street comes up with. And reports it as if it were a) a done deal; or b) imminent and unavoidable. See also: mandatory Internet filter (Slashdot ~seems~ to think we have one, or that one is coming Real Soon Now. It's not. The proposal is essentially dead and buried).

    Some random person's ideas/proposals for new 'facist' laws does not mean those laws exist, or will ever exist.

    Most Slashdot headlines about countries outside the US are poorly researched, inflammatory, and in many cases, completely wrong. (This is probably also true about many headlines concerning the US too!)

  • Re:What the.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:25AM (#33495712) Homepage Journal

    He is a fruit loop who likes to cause trouble

    And therefore one of the most powerful and influential people in a modern democracy.

  • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:32AM (#33495746)

    Holy fuck how do you not notice an ambulance?!

    Never mind how loud the music would have to be to drown out the siren but ffs, it was at night and she didn't notice the flashing lights? Was she blind and had severely impaired hearing?

    And yeah, it is sad to die in such a preventable way and it's sad that the only words I can think of in response is "How do you fuck that up?"

    If you can't hear, you look. You look left, you look right, and you look left again. You watch for headlights coming up ahead and from behind. You keep watch on turns, parked cars, bushes, anything that blocks your view of potential traffic.

  • Re:What the.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:46AM (#33495814) Journal

    I have some British ancestry. Feel free to tell me I drink too much tea, my wife's hideous, and I'm probably a repressed homosexual. Our chief Empire export was hypocrisy.

    I have some Spanish ancestry. We're a bunch of sadistic bullfighters, overly macho (or balls-chopped feminist, depending on how recently you visited Spain), horribly greasy and... oh, it's too hot, the rest of the sentence can wait 'til tomorrow.

    Casual racism/nationalism/whatever sometimes has elements of truth, and just as often conceals another truth or still relevant historical nugget: maybe some of your country's authoritarianism does come from its penal history? maybe USA/Puritanism similar? For both reasons, don't try too hard to oppress it. Even when the denigration (omg is that like apartheid?) has no basis, you are probably going to get by better tolerating a certain amount of teasing or engaging in proud word appropriation, as the whole world won't change for you - at least not when you're not looking. It's better if they say the same thing in good humour to your face than bitterly behind your back.

    tl;dr Solve problems in the current world, not an idealised version.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @03:11AM (#33495918) Homepage Journal

    Actually roads are designed for a range of different vehicles, travelling at different speeds and with different requirements. Some people drive tractors, others drive sports cars and some people drive bicycles. On my commute I travel at the same speed as other vehicles on the road more often than not.

    The biggest failure of bicycle riders, in my view, is the failure to consider themselves a normal part of the traffic flow [wikipedia.org].

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @03:25AM (#33495970) Journal

    They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare

    Everything that's wrong about nanny state in one sentence.

    Ever bought a cigarette or alcohol?
    You've paid "appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare" in the form of taxes.

    Ever see a home that's so run down it gets condemned?
    That's "appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare."

    I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point.
    Society has many laws designed specifically to 'nanny' people for either their individual or the public good.

  • Re:Harold Scruby (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hairyfish (1653411) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @03:44AM (#33496058)
    Gun control is not a fringe element, it had majority support, has still does in most parts of the western world outside the US. Interestingly there was a article about the effect this has had just last week: http://www.smh.com.au/national/howards-gun-legacy--200-lives-saved-a-year-20100829-13xne.html [smh.com.au]
  • Re:Selection (Score:3, Insightful)

    by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @04:28AM (#33496222)
    I'd have no problem with a person taking risks and getting killed due to it, as long as they didn't put anyone else at risk. Even if you ran across a busy freeway, you'd put others at risk because they might get into a wreck trying to avoid you. You could argue that it's their fault for trying to avoid you, but if they didn't, they'd put pedestrians at more risk, including those who don't do stupid things.
  • Re:What the.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1s44c (552956) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @04:34AM (#33496256)

    Yup - and guess what? It'll be a politician.

    Where are my mod points when I need them?

    Too many people miss the obvious point that no matter what you vote for the top jobs always go to people schooled in lying.

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @05:45AM (#33496498)

    The best thing we ever did in .au was get rid of most semi automatic guns.

    Yep, legislation induced by blind, irrational panic is always a good thing. I mean, sure, you're restricting the rights of all citizens for no reason whatsoever, but it just feels so good, doesn't it?

  • by ChristTrekker (91442) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @08:54AM (#33497526)

    As long as we're quoting....

    I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand. - Susan B Anthony

    If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. - Dalai Lama

    A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. - Sigmund Freud, General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

    Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. - Mohandas K. Gandhi

    An armed society is a polite society. - Robert Heinlein

    The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let's not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country. - Adolf Hitler, dinner talk on April 11, 1942

    He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. - Jesus, Luke 22:36

    I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. - George Mason, during Virginias Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788)

    Gun bans dont disarm criminals, gun bans attract them. - Walter Mondale

    The right to life means nothing without the right to possess the means to protect and defend ones own life. - James Mullen

    That rifle on the wall of the labourers cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It our job to see that it stays there. - George Orwell

    We don't let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns? - Joseph Stalin

    All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party. - Mao Tze-Tung, Problems of War and Strategy, Nov 6 1938

    It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law. - Malcolm X, March 12, 1964

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @09:19AM (#33497728)

    So there are no rapes or home invasions in Australia that law-abiding citizens would need to defend themselves from??

  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @10:12AM (#33498146)

    You're begging the question. To you it's "blind, irrational panic [...with...] no reason whatsoever."

    Other people look at, for example, the fact that the US has more gun deaths (per 100,000 people, so let's please not bother with the standard "ZOMG BIG COUNTRY!" claims) than any other nation in the world with available data[1], including Mexico where roving gangs of drug lords meet out vigilante justice on anybody they please. We have more than five times more gun deaths (per 100k) than our cousins in Australia and 33 times more than England, not to mention and 217 times more than they do in Japan where they have strict gun control legislation.

    Now, to be sure, a significant portion of these differences are cultural and in that sense, the comparisons are not as fair as they appear. Many of the US gun deaths are also suicides[2]. I don't see that as an excuse, however. If we're more prone to using our guns as a society, on ourselves and our fellow citizens, then I fail to see how that is an indication that what we really need are more guns. The excuse that they're needed for hunting is just that; an excuse. If you want to go hunting, fine -- we'll write in an exception for rifles and shotguns for you. You don't need a handgun. In fact it's going to be less effective and less efficient if what you're really trying to do is kill an animal and not play with a handgun. So far as I am concerned, the only valid question in the debate is "is it too late to get the toothpaste back in the tube?" Have we gone too far down the road of allowing guns to back out with any measure of success?

    So far as gun control being "for no reason whatsoever," that's an extremely biased view, to the point where I'm not sure it has any value whatsoever. It's an attempt at public safety in the same way that not letting you have a bomb building factory in your basement is. Maybe it's misguided (we will clearly disagree here but I'm willing to accept other viewpoints), but it's hardly without reason.

    Since you mentioned blind, irrational panic, by the way, I'm compelled to say that I find "allowing guns increases gun crime" (and the corollary that outlawing guns reduces gun crime) to be far more fact-based and rational than the fear some people have that somewhere out there is a person with a gun who's going to break into their house, and only their own weapon can provide protection for themselves and their families. Of course it can happen, but the vast majority of people will never experience it. That's what I call blind, irrational panic.

    I realize my post is US-centric, and you declare yourself not to be an American. It's a rather unavoidable consequence of not knowing where the hell you are from and the fact that most other western nations have considerably stronger gun control legislation. Perhaps you live somewhere where there is strong gun control legislation and yet high ratios of gun deaths? I'd be interested to hear it. Otherwise I suspect the points will hold true elsewhere or are actually reflected in the differing ratios between the US where just about anybody can get a gun and other nations where most people can't.

    As an American, I'm also compelled to make an admission: I think gun control legislation here is unconstitutional. I think it's an extremely good idea, one that absolutely needs to be put forward and enforced and yet one that currently flies in the face of the Second Amendment. Then again people who get paid to decide those matters have let our current crop of gun control laws stand, so I suppose it's little more than my worthless personal interpretation.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate [wikipedia.org]
    [2] If we take only homicides by guns, we fall alllll the way to #10 -- worse than every western nation in the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, the ratios between our most closely-relate

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