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1  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Neverwinter on: May 04, 2013, 12:37:42 AM
I've been giving this one a shot. At first my impression was 'So it's basically Guild Wars 2 with crappier combat.' But as of level 15 I have to say... holy hell, do they pack content in. This seems like another case of an MMO that's gone around and picked the absolute best of the best parts of various other MMOs and crammed them all into their own title in a way that works well.

That said, I am sick of english accents. Can't complain too much about that - last time Kingdom of Amalur tried something different and I ended up hating those even worse.
2  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Palin: After Biden 'Chains' Remark Obama Should Replace Him With Hillary on: August 17, 2012, 10:22:34 PM
Quote
I think we know *exactly* how a Republican would frame this.

Pretty much the exact way I said they would.  nod
3  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Palin: After Biden 'Chains' Remark Obama Should Replace Him With Hillary on: August 17, 2012, 06:26:46 PM
Apparently, they took the advice. It's just that Hillary said no.

Quote
Klein has sources deep in the Clinton camp and he said that they said she is eager for a rest followed by a makeover. "She clearly is exhausted. She needs to lose weight and get her energy back for a four-year slog."

I'm trying to think of how a Republican would frame this. "Democrats tried to take Palin's advice on how to get Obama re-elected. However, Hillary Clinton thought she was too fat to do the job."
4  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 11:14:39 PM
By the way, one last thing before I skip out on this one as promised.

I think picking one someone or bullying them - picking on them in school or at work, mocking and belittling them - because of their sexual attraction is reprehensible, and should be condemned, even punished. Granted, I think you can poke fun at times - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkB4OzvILvY for example - but it's often pretty easy to tell the difference between fun and actual bullying. I despise it, and I think any decent person would condemn it. The same goes for fat people, shy people, and the rest. I think a lot of the past treatment of people on this front has been despicable.

But no, I can't get behind government officials deciding that if they dislike the political opinions of a given person or group, that they can be fired, or their business can be punished through the use of their power, etc. If we're doing that, let's flip right on back to the spoils system - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoils_system - and make it official what we're doing. And I'd suggest that anyone who thinks the wind is at their back and that the future is theirs, be warned: even if the moral and ethical concepts of freedom of thought and opinion don't persuade you, the *recent* history books are filled to the brim with people who didn't foresee how the culture would change in 10-20 years, to say nothing of the longer view. Make the decision that the use of law to hammer on private citizens because of their political and social beliefs at your own peril.

And here it is, more replies.

gellar,

Quote
You can't even say short term because we have no idea what the losses have been even over the last two weeks or so,

What we can do is talk about the reports of that one day, the evidence we have, and qualify it properly when drawing conclusions. Really, intentionally or not, you're coming across as wanting to say that the public support, the lines wrapping around the block at Chik-fil-a locations, etc, isn't even a data point, much less a positive data point for Chik-fil-a. That's silly.

I mean, sure, if you have a poll taken the day (or even two weeks) before an election and it's showing Obama 70 Romney 30, technically Romney may well win because what matters is the actual vote - why, there can be a massive change in sentiment in the space of 24/2 weeks hours. I think if someone did that - if someone couldn't at least say, "Well, this looks like good news for Obama's election chances" - it's become evident they'd just rather bite their tongue off than concede the obvious.

Fireball1244,

Quote
You could make the same argument for racial animosity being rooted in a biologically-ingrained xenophobia. We rightly reject such nonsense in an enlightened society.

Insofar as we reject it, we reject it on the grounds that a trait being biological - even to the point of being beyond their control - does not in and of itself justify, much less sanctify it. You can see where this complicates matters.

Quote
It is intrinsic, whether biological, hormonal or genetic is immaterial. It is not chosen and cannot be changed.

Again, disputed - and this isn't a very clear-cut issue. The very existence of bisexuals and the supposed validity of the Kinsey scale complicates matters. And this stands in tension with your previous statement - do biologically-determined/influenced dispositions become justified due to their biological rooting? Be careful.

Note that this doesn't get into the issue of "reparative therapy" and all that crap, not directly anyway.

Also note, "cannot be changed" is suicidal on this issue. We live in an era of gene therapy, hormonal therapy, and more. What you're saying "cannot be changed", even if it has the biological/hormonal rooting you say it does, may well be able to be changed in time, and not much time at that. And that's before recognizing the gulf between the inclination and the act itself, as below.

Quote
This has nothing to do with sex.

And I'm warning you, it has everything to do with sex for a lot of people, certainly a lot of religions. Everything from the specific biblical denunciations (they target act, not inclination) to the doctrines (see: Catechism of the RCC, the various protestant statements) turn on the sexual acts rather than the sexual attraction. (The RCC will say the inclination is disordered, but occupies the same 'disorder' as any other inclination to sin, which is regarded as nigh universal.) Not exclusively - you can find plenty of guys who are against "TEH GAYS" rather than, say, "sodomy". But I'm telling you what the arguments are in many circles, and which ones are probably/possibly going to get prominent as time marches on. They already are prominent in the areas I've referenced.

Autistic Angel,

Quote
Such a decision falls entirely under the jurisdiction of the local alderman, and he can choose not to bend the rules for any reason he sees fit.

Sure can. And he decided to do so because he didn't like the political opinions of a given person in charge of a business. Pretty reprehensible. Joe Paterno redux - he followed the letter of the law, apparently. Even if he did, it's a pretty crappy, condemnation-worthy act on his part, though of course not nearly in magnitude. (It's a fucking place that sells delicious chicken, not a case of child molestation.)

You're making a bad play here. If the guy said, "Well, I've SUDDENLY decided that Chik-fil-a would be too noisy and smelly for this area, and thus I am siding against them on this one - wink wink" we'd be able to play the game where his decision was totally within his rights and it had nothing to do with the COO's stance and people are misunderstanding things. But nope, we're dealing with guys stating why they're making the decisions they are, and the reason is "I dislike that political opinion!" Saying "well he's legally capable of doing that" isn't much of a defense.

Quote
Which do you think should be a greater source of regret: asking a fast food chain to find a legally viable place for their newest franchise, or denying women their Constitutionally protected rights?

Can I find it reprehensible for a political official to use his powers to punish people and businesses for the crime of expressing political opinions they disapprove of, *AND* reject attacks on people's constitutional rights in another context? Is that allowed? I haven't seen the rule book.  icon_neutral

Also, can I point out that if violating Constitutional rights and/or free speech is justified, it opens the door to being violated more in the future, including by those the original justifiers may disagree with themselves? Can I at all gesture towards the dangers of a scorched-earth policy for dealing with political dissent? Can I do so *even if it's taken place at multiple points on the political spectrum*?
5  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 10:05:46 PM
Quote
One day of 'record setting sales' does not mean jack shit in the grand scheme of Gay-Chicken-Sandwich-Gate.

Sure, the long-term consequences remain to be seen. That's why I said, "thus far".

But thus far? Yeah. 500k+ facebook likes, whatever that's worth. A considerable outpouring of public support. A world record setting sales day, from what headlines I've seen. People thinking the public officials are abusing their power, regardless of whether or not it's legal. It's data.

I don't think there's any way to cut that other than "a good day for Chik-fil-a and a bad day for people who called for a Chik-fil-a boycott". The long-term consequences may play out differently. Hey, maybe the Jim Henson company will go bankrupt owing to their decisions, for that matter. But right now, we can take a look at the data and make some qualified judgments.
6  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 09:50:07 PM
Quote
This is an ad hominem. This is an insinuation about the author of the argument rather than the argument itself.

Yeah, that's not ad hom. Again, read the wiki entry. Read other definitions of ad hom if you like.

An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.[1]

At no point did I say or even imply, "Your arguments are wrong because you're a (whatever)". I said that you're communicating more than you consciously intend to. Call that what you like, but an ad hom it's not. Really, someone can flat out engage in namecalling and that's not an ad hom case unless someone says "your argument is wrong because you're (x)" or words to that effect. Again: "Your argument is wrong because you're a bigot."? Ad hom. "You're a bigot."? Not ad hom.
7  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 09:35:13 PM
Quote
Congrats on the ad hominem.

I'm not sure what you think an ad hominem is, but you may want to read the actual definition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

A more true to form example of an ad hominem would be, say, "Your opinion is wrong because you're a bigot." or words to that effect. Not that anyone's said that here, of course.

Quote
Yes, from a moral and ethical standpoint we should absolutely have consequences for hateful speech. I'd prefer societal consequences, which is what is going on with Chick-fil-a, but sometimes you need the extra oomph that formal government action provides. We needed it in the 1960s and, unfortunately, it looks like we need it again.

The societal consequences of what went on with Chik-fil-a was, thus far, a day of record sales, a major showing of public support and sizable public backlash against what even some supporters of gay marriage think is a condemnation-worthy abuse of government power. So, good job, I suppose.

Anyway, I'll bow out of this one - I asked what I think are the most telling questions, and I've gotten answers that speak for themselves - while giving a link I think summarizes my view of most of both sides on this issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHOWzDP3qso&feature=autoplay&list=FL-r7y_FheTjrp8zxGgHUrWw&playnext=2

And since this came in while I was typing this, a couple last replies.

Quote
Your example is problematic, because there is a fundamental difference between political opinion and intrinsic biological traits such as sexuality. The law in no way protects one from consequences due to their political opinions, and it can be argued that it shouldn't. The same is not true for intrinsic traits like gender, sexuality or ethnicity.

Dangerous defense, and here's why. First, disapproval of certain sexual acts, even inclinations, may well be at least partly biological in basis. Second, the degree to which sexuality is wholly biological is disputed. (From my reading on this subject, it also depends on gender - my gay/bisexual friends have told me some interesting stories about the male/female LGBT cultural differences.) But let's say we grant your response entirely. You're still left with a problem.

A biological trait of sexuality != sexual acts. Your standard would make it an open question whether someone could or should be discriminated against owing to their sexual behavior, regardless of actual sexuality. In fact, for those guys running around opposing gay marriage for religious reasons, that's the formal, intellectual tradition: someone having same-sex attraction doesn't merit any kind of condemnation, at least no more than anyone who experiences any kind of temptation. Now, specific sexual acts? That's where the problem comes in, and that's where the argument would take place on that response - you can protect people with SSA while at the same time opposing people engaged in same-sex intercourse. Or hell, any kind of intercourse, since an act is an act.

Another problem - political opinions? Maybe not. Now, religious beliefs? Those typically see more protection. But really, you can just run roughshod over that too if you like and have the ability, so that may not be a concern.

Autistic Angel,

Quote
The Boston mayor declared his intention to stymie Chick-fil-a's requests for business licenses and inspections because of the owner's bigotry.  This is manipulation of the law to punish someone he doesn't like, and it's wrong.

The Chicago alderman announced he was denying a zoning variance for Chick-fil-a because of the owner's bigotry.  This is a refusal to manipulate the law to reward someone he doesn't like, and he is exercising the powers of his office in exactly the way he's been elected to do.  It's no less ethical than forbidding the construction of a motorcycle repair shop in the heart of a residential neighborhood.

"A refusal to manipulate the law" is a silly way to frame it. I'd agree that it's no less ethical than forbidding the construction of a motorcycle repair shop in the heart of a residential neighborhood - purely because you didn't like his political opinions, whereas before it was okay. Again, I'll grant that it's entirely legal to do that, by the letter of the law, for all I know. I'll grant that it violates no formal ethical limits on the same terms. But yes, I think it's wrong and unethical for government officials to punish people for their political opinions like this.

I'm also not surprised, and think it's going to keep happening - on issues other than this. And eventually a lot of people who think this is a grand idea may well regret it.

But again,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHOWzDP3qso
8  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 08:51:47 PM
Quote
In a right-to-work state, they certainly could be without recourse for the person fired. If an employer finds out that someone is racist, it's very likely they would be fired as well.

I'm not asking about the specific laws of right-to-work states. I'm asking about ethical and moral considerations - but really, the rest of your answers show where you're coming from.

So there you go. With the work question up in the air, it should be allowed to bar people from from adopting, legally unable to form groups on campus, be discriminated against in housing, owing to their beliefs about sexual behavior.

Quote
As a society, we're saying loud and clear that being intolerant because of someone's sexual orientation is unacceptable.

You're saying quite a few things loud and clear. Possibly more than you realize.
9  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 08:40:13 PM
Quote
I would say that if someone applies for a *variance* -- that is, to have a particular law waived -- and if that variance is at the discretion of an elected official, that the elected official has a broad prerogative to approve or deny it. Under Chicago law, these things are not spelled out. An alderman can deny your variance because he doesn't like your haircut. Do I think he should? No. But it's not illegal, nor does it run afoul of ethics rules.

I didn't say it was illegal or that it "ran afoul of ethics rules". Joe Paterno adhered to the letter of the law, from what I hear - even if he did, I don't think what the man did could easily be called "ethical", much less moral or "ight.

I pointed out it was a case of public officials - not just one, but multiple, supposedly in multiple cities - stating outright words to the effect of, "We're going to try and harm your business as a result of your political stance." Say it's technically legal. Say that the ethics laws on the books allow it. It doesn't make it right, or moral, or ethical.

Quote
I will bet that hundreds of times each year, whether or not a variance is issued is directly related to whether or not the person requesting it supported the elected official in the last election. That's not fair, but then no one is entitled to a variance. I do not like it. But it's not illegal, and its not going to be.

Yeah, except hundreds of times each year (lowballed, no doubt), those elected officials aren't stupid enough to get up on a platform and say what they're doing and why they're doing it. In this case, they were, so we get to discuss the problems with how they think and use their power. We can even condemn them for perceived abuses of it. And in this case, it looks pretty rotten.
10  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 08:10:27 PM
Quote
I don't support government action against Chick-fil-A over this, but let's be fair: No one actually tried to bar Chick-fil-A. At most, a Chicago Alderman said he wouldn't support issuing a zoning variance, something that to me seems well within his rights -- declining to allow a company to opt out of a law isn't the same as using the law to persecute it.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/13988905-418/ald-moreno-trying-to-block-new-chick-fil-a-over-boss-stance-on-gay-marriage.html

So, wait. You think it's "well within the rights" of a public official to say, "I don't like your political stance. So you know what? I'm going to use my position to harm your business."? And let's say it is legally within his rights - do you think this is ethical?

Again, just to put a point on it: straight-up "I don't like your political views, so I - the mayor/alderman/city councilman/whichever - will use my power to bar your business." is A-OK by you? Or is it not?

Quote
"Supposed"?

I didn't dig through and verify the list, and I don't even know the list of groups donated to or how much. Yeah, for me, it's "supposed". That doesn't mean "untrue", it means "I haven't verified this, and I'm saying as much".
11  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 07:54:44 PM

Quote from: Scraper on August 02, 2012, 06:02:16 PM

Quote from: ATB on August 01, 2012, 08:42:59 PM

The owner said nothing bigoted, but rather that he supported a biblical definition of marriage.

Gay hatemongers twist his words and lie like they often do (see NC marriage ammendment)  and cause a firestorm.

Liberal politicians citing their amazing tolerance are completely intolerant about a company with different views and that has no history of discriminating against anyone.  Irony is lost on them. So is the 1st ammendment.  Yay facism!

Nice reversal, calling out pro-equality people for their intolerance of the intolerant anti-equality people. Makes SOOO much sense.

Well, the "pro-equality people" are partly composed of public officials trying to bar businesses from their areas on the grounds that they disagree with the COO on a political/social subject.

I think that does damage to the claim that this is being done by "pro-equality people" who are "tolerant". I also recognize that a good number of people, some even in this thread, support gay marriage but think those moves were pretty despicable.

I also think it sucks the moral high ground out of the pro-gay-marriage side to endorse or turn a blind eye to that. See the list posted in this thread about the supposed list of things the groups Cathy funds have pushed. Well, public officials barring businesses from entire areas on the grounds of the political or religious beliefs of their managers changes a share of that list from "unfair persecution of people" to "fair play".

Actually, let's run with that a little, just to find out something.

Let's say someone is opposed to gay marriage. Their employer finds out. Should they be fired, even if this never came up on the job - say the employer found it during a facebook check.

Should they be allowed to adopt? Should it weigh against them if they're attempting to adopt?

Should anti-gay-marriage groups be allowed to form on a university or high school campus with the same rights (and access to funding) as their opponents?

Should someone be allowed not to rent to an anti-gay-marriage person owing to their beliefs?
12  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Chick-fi-a Today on: August 02, 2012, 04:54:57 AM
Honestly, the politics aside, when there was a Chik-fil-a in my area I loved the stuff. I think it's really simple, something like "they use peanut oil instead of something else to fry the chicken", but it was delicious. Same with the waffle fries.

Keep in mind my regular diet alternates between sea urchin guts, mycoprotein, salmon jerky and straight swigs of rumpleminze, but I'll attest to the whole "Chik-fil-a is pretty damn good taste-wise" thing.
13  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 28, 2012, 05:05:16 AM

Quote from: Eel Snave on July 28, 2012, 03:06:56 AM

However, let's say that there was a ban on, say, assault rifles. After all, yes, they're for "hunting," but unless you're hunting the Predator, it's hard to find an instance where you would need to vaporize your target in a hail of gunfire. Since the shooter purchased his guns legally, he may not have had an AR-15 to fire into the crowd.

As I said before, I don't like hypotheticals like this, so I'll skip over that.

That aside, I think the typical reply is that guns aren't just for hunting - they're for personal defense, both on a personal level and on a larger level (here come the anti-tyranny claims, the counter claims that the government would always win, and the evidence/counter-evidence on both sides.)

I actually wonder what most people who reject the 'check against tyranny' argument think of the American Revolution itself. Due to a combination of claims that had more than a little to do with complaints about inadequate representation and high taxes, citizens start a violent revolution. Huge mistake?
14  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 25, 2012, 07:56:35 AM
Quote
I agree that it's complicated, but not impossible to successfully ban firearms.  Clearly other countries have done it.  The point I'm making is that if you actually set out to ban guns and take the required measures to do so (again, something we will never do), you would certainly reduce the amount of gun related crimes just by virtue of raising the barrier to entry.  It's not going to reduce it to zero, of course.

Which countries? And what counts as success? What about the areas that tried this and failed?

The reason I'm hesitant to grant that it follows easily is because it's not as if the number of guns in a populace is the only factor. To throw out a hypothetical situation - say you introduce a gun ban. It's very successful numerically - you can say, guaranteed, that there are now less guns in the country than there were before. But you can have that happen while largely disarming the regular citizens, and hardly disarming the criminal and likely criminal population. And if that occurs, I can see a situation showing up where you've got less guns, and more gun crime.

Now that's a hypothetical situation - it's made-up fantasy-land, not reality. But hopefully it illustrates what I think is a legitimate concern.

To use a related (but not 1:1 exact example) that I was told back in my macro-econ university days - will adding more streetlights result in less crime at night? It's a no-brainer in a way - more lighted areas means safer areas, end of discussion. I don't have the source for this, but it was a textbook example: in some areas, it had the opposite effect. More streetlights meant more people out at night, more people out at night meant not only more opportunities for crime, but more opportunities for people to walk into bad areas. That's not an argument against well-lit walkways necessarily. But it helps illustrate why solutions don't always work the way we'd expect. Especially solutions that ignore the actual human element.

Quote
This I do not at all agree with.  There is no level of training that could prepare any normal human being for the stress and adrenaline that would be there under a live fire scenario.  Unless we're going to make military service compulsory, that is.

I disagree - why even go to the military example? What about police? And even if you don't achieve some kind of 'now everyone is like Dirty Harry' clone result, which isn't at all a realistic goal, I think you could at least see a whole lot of improvement result. Especially if we agree that guns are here to stay: I mean, it's not as if you think discouraging training and responsible gun use/care is the way to go, right?

This is especially relevant considering a lot of the complaints about gun ownership/use often revolve around things like accidents, stolen weapons, etc. What's to be lost by an education and training emphasis?

I want to stress: I think there's more to this than gun training and education. I think the biggest concerns are cultural, which are typically not solved by legislation, and and for which the solutions are not easy whatsoever. But training and education certainly seems like a reasonable start.
15  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 25, 2012, 05:42:39 AM

Quote from: gellar on July 25, 2012, 03:50:38 AM

Holy fucking shit.  Are you actually making these two arguments at the same time:

1) Guns being illegal wouldn't be a deterrent for any crazy/violent people.
2) However if everyone had guns, those same crazy/violent people would be deterred because they might be in a gunfight when they decide to go crazy.

Seriously?

No, I didn't say either of those things.

Regarding 1, I said that there's a gulf between 'guns are illegal', 'guns are unavailable' and 'less crazy/violent people have guns', because it's not as if you just pass a law and suddenly guns vaporize and are off the street in an explosion of rainbows and unicorn farts. You only have to go as far as the prohibition, or hell, modern drug laws to see that.

The gulf exists - that's not an "argument", it's a fact. Recognizing the gulf does not cash out to saying "passing laws against gun ownership won't act as a deterrent". It certainly can be, but you still have to deal with that gulf to get there, however effective or ineffective it is.

As for 2, no, I said I wondered if it would be a factor. I have no idea if the lunatic who decides to shoot up a place takes that into account, but I do know that even lunatics aren't necessarily stupid - you can see as much from Ted Bundy to Anders Breivik. Does some guy who has a fantasy about walking into an area and plugging a roomful of innocent people have his fantasy checked if he thinks he's not getting a room full of victims, but possibly armed people? I have no idea. That's not an argument, that's honest curiosity.

And that's when it comes to crazy people. Violent people? Yeah, I wonder there too. Some violent people are selectively violent. Do you think muggers look at a crowd of people and go, "Alright, let's pick someone at random. Yeah, there we go, the guy in the uniform with the holstered gun on his belt. I bet he's loaded, look at all the lights and electronics in his car!"?

Quote
I'm just anti dumbass arguments for why there should be more guns.

This is just stupid. I'm not going to say "there should be more guns!", because I know the question is a lot more complicated than just dumping guns on the street and yelling "Hey everyone, free guns! This'll solve the crime problem!" The complexity is exactly what I'm pointing out. Even in the case of Australia, which has apparently seen a rise in assault and sexual assault since their gun ban, you don't see me saying "see? there's more crime because criminals aren't afraid of gun-owners!" I go as far as pointing out the trend and putting it into context, because for all I know there's ten other relevant factors at work with the Australian situation.

Tentatively I'd say, yeah, more responsible people with firearms, with proper training, would probably help matters. A dozen other changes, most of them cultural rather than legal, would help as well. But it's never as simple as "let's get rid of all the guns" OR "let's make sure there's a lot more guns", because the issue's more complicated than that.
16  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 24, 2012, 08:15:38 PM

Quote from: Victoria Raverna on July 24, 2012, 07:30:15 AM

Not only biased, that article is wrong.

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun-control-in-australia/

If it is wrong (and I'm trying to suss out where they are - they could be using statistical tricks) it doesn't seem to be completely wrong.

http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/violent%20crime.aspx

Recorded assault increased again in 2007, to 840 per 100,000, compared with 623 per 100,000 in 1996. The 2007 rate was the highest recorded since 1996.

The rate of recorded sexual assault increased between 1997 and 2007, from 78 to 94 persons per 100,000 per year.

The homicide rate was 1.9 per 100,000 in 1996 (which includes the 35 victims of the Port Arthur massacre) and was at its highest in 1999, at 2.0 per 100,000. In 2007, the rate was 1.3 per 100,000, the lowest recorded (since 1996).

So it does seem like sexual assault and assault rates have been jumping in Australia since the gun ban. Robbery is difficult to get information for - I'm seeing conflicting information from AIC's own site. Homicides have decreased.

Let's look at America over the same term - 1996 to 2007.

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

1483999 Violent Crimes in 1996
1408337 Violent Crimes in 2007 (with population jumping from 242m to 301m, same period)

19650 Murders in 1996
16929 Murders in 2007

96250 Forcible Rape in 1996
90479 Forcible Rape in 2007

1,037,050 Aggravated Assault in 1996
855,856 Aggravated Assault in 2007

Those numbers seem to decline further over time, and really, they seem to be in decline across the board over that same period.

The site I referenced (again, http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847 ) even says outright:

Moreover, Australia and the United States -- where no gun-ban exists -- both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America's rate dropped 31.7 percent.


They weren't suggesting Australia had a homicide spike. They did say that overall violent crime was on the rise in Australia, and while I couldn't find an 'overall' stat, the assault and sexual assault stats do seem to bear that out.



Quote
Quote
Have murders increased since the gun law change, as claimed? Actually, Australian crime statistics show a marked decrease in homicides since the gun law change. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, a government agency, the number of homicides in Australia did increase slightly in 1997 and peaked in 1999, but has since declined to the lowest number on record in 2007, the most recent year for which official figures are available.

Furthermore, murders using firearms have declined even more sharply than murders in general since the 1996 gun law. In the seven years prior to 1997, firearms were used in 24 percent of all Australian homicides. But most recently, firearms were used in only 11 percent of Australian homicides, according to figures for the 12 months ending July 1, 2007. Thatís a decline of more than half since enactment of the gun law to which this message refers.

What is higher? 24 percent in the 7 years prior to 1997 or 16.3 percent of 2006?

Yep, if the article was wrong, it seems to have been wrong on this point. They cite "DC Examiner" for the claim, but I can't even find the article they're referencing.

http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide/weapon.aspx shows firearm use in homicides decreasing. Of course, it also shows knife use rocketing up, so...

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As for the total homicide incident rate per 100000 (not only firearms related)?

That's Australia, correct? Either way, see the above information. Total homicide incident rate has been dropping in the US as well over the same period. And the apparent total crime drop in the US over the same period, versus the rise in assault and sexual assault.

Edit: Just wanted to comment on this.

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Isn't that outdated? Guns were useful in overthrowing oppressive colonial masters, but in modern world, you need bigger firepower and military equipment to do it.

It truly depends, since not every conflict (not even ones centered around overthrowing oppressive overlords) is a straight up head to head conflict. I think if there's one lesson we keep seeing, at least in international hotspots, it's that superior raw military force only counts so much against a determined populace with small arms access, when the goal is continued occupation and control - not "well, let's put these two sides up against each other on a nice level field and see who survives".
17  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 24, 2012, 03:00:20 AM

Quote from: gellar on July 23, 2012, 11:36:51 PM

Man I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here.  A ban on guns will stop *many* criminals/crazies from having guns and will make it significantly harder for *all* criminals/crazies to have guns.  I cannot understand how this is an arguable point.  

As a strange analogy - I love drinking with my friends.  I do it quite often.  I'm a pretty big fan.  If prohibition were to come around, I'd stop cold turkey.  Not cause I don't like drinking, just cause I don't like it quite enough to break the law for it (even if I felt that law was retarded).

 There are lots of crazies out there.  Many can/will do crazy things with guns.  However if guns were not something they could easily (relatively) acquire, then some of those crazies would not have guns.

Whether or not it would have prevented *this particular* crazy from carrying out his lunacy, that's up for debate.  What's not up for debate is that it certainly would have been harder and provided some additional chances for prevention.  Whether that is worth our Freedoms (tm) is the eternal debate.

However the argument for MORE guns because if they were there in the theater things wouldn't have gone down like they did is one I find completely fucking asinine.  

The problem is that you assume "ban on guns" == "guns not easily acquired" == "less crazies/criminals would have guns".

To use one example, here's a report on how Australia's gun ban has affected gun crime.

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It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer.  In 2002 -- five years after enacting its gun ban -- the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime.  In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner.

I'm sure someone's going to call bias on the site, but the stats are what they are. Passing a law is not equivalent to enforcing the law. The Prohibition shows as much. Don't confuse a ban on guns with the literal lack of availability of guns, particularly for people who are willing to break the law anyway.

I don't like arguing about single cases (If gun laws were looser/if concealed carry was allowed in this theatre, what would have happened?) because that really gets off into fantasy land, in either direction (They would have shot him early! / They would have shot each other!) I will say that if you live in a culture where law-abiding citizen have a fairly high chance of being armed, even fantasies about doing what this guy did become more difficult. Suddenly, you can't really assume you're walking into a crowd of unarmed people you'll have at your mercy, even with perfect plans and tear gas. I honestly wonder if this would have an effect even on a flat out lunatic. There's that old joke about Stalin coming to mind: "He was crazy, but he wasn't stupid."

tl;dr version - "A ban on guns" does not equal "Less people, particularly less criminals and crazies, have guns" itself. I agree that the argument over self-defense is priority - even if the stats went in the other direction, I don't think gun rights supporters would necessarily care. But really, legislation and enforcement is a far trickier issue than that.
18  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 23, 2012, 01:33:58 AM
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So I think your thread is a straw man, KD. Maybe you're seeing some opinions from the muttering majority, or maybe pro-gun people are overreacting to a threat that's not materializing.

I don't think that's fair. A straw man is when an argument is misrepresented and passed off as the real deal. I don't see where KD did anything of the sort. He even made it clear what level of 'muttering' he was responding to - FB conversations. Even with your own stats shown, '54%' is a sizable number.
19  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Aurora and gun control on: July 22, 2012, 11:51:23 PM
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Better safety training, better education on firearms and handling, etc. would lessen the gun accidents and fear of firearms.

I'm surprised that this isn't a universally endorsed option for anyone sincerely concerned about gun-related death, particularly accidental. I now and then get the impression that some people are so against gun ownership by citizens that the mere idea of someone even having this knowledge and training is itself considered somehow threatening.
20  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Egyptian Presidential Elections: Islamists win? Military Keeping Power? on: June 20, 2012, 05:33:25 AM
Everyone loves democracy so long as they vote the right way. Even dictators. slywink

Anyway, it looks like there's progress in Egypt. They're about to ratify a "one gun, one vote" policy!
21  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Guild Wars 2 on: June 10, 2012, 01:29:42 AM
Tera definitely seems like direct competition to GW2's gameplay, but I still find myself really liking their combat setup. If nothing else it comes across as having a lot of depth, and the PVP (first time I dived into it) was fantastic. Exactly what I missed from the old days, complete with huge standoffs at choke points, trying to get enemies to charge when they really shouldn't.

My favorite moment there thus far was when the two sides were facing off at a choke point. The side I was on was massed up on a cliff, with the enemy down below behind a building. They'd run out taking potshots, etc. I decided to jump down and act as bait. It worked perfectly - suddenly a handful of enemies decided to try and gank me, seeming to forget they'd have to do so with a small army of hungry ranged sitting on the cliff. I think they went through 6 guys trying to take me out.

It was a blast.
22  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dark Souls Coming to the PC! on: June 10, 2012, 01:10:43 AM
I'm kind of hoping this plays out that the game is vastly better on the PC than on the consoles, and the devs just keep going on about how they never did anything to optimize the game, leading everyone to speculate that magical programming gnomes got involved.

I already have it on the PS3, but I'll get it again on the PC just for the hell of it. This and Demon's Souls did a lot to promote some new thinking in game design, and reintroduce palpable difficulty to standard gameplay.
23  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo III --Impressions start on page 36 -- on: May 22, 2012, 10:13:20 PM
There's no set price just for being yellow. In general, everyone gravitates towards core stat + vit. Generally price around 2-10k, maybe check for comparable items in that class. Price low/to sell fast, since you only have 10 auction slots, and for all but the choicest gear it's a buyer's market.

I didn't check the thread, but just flat out sell crappy blues/yellows to merchants rather than breaking them down, if no one mentioned yet. Last I checked you could buy a stack of crafting mats for dirt cheap. Similar with paying to combine many gems versus straight up buying them.

As for nightmare, I managed to largely solo it (even soloed Diablo) on it as a DH. Main thing is good build and being sure to get the best gear in the sub-10k range off the AH. I know that upgrading my gear led to really dramatic differences, for about 25k total spent.
24  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Santorum Wins Iowa - Kansas - Alabama - Mississippi on: March 18, 2012, 07:54:13 AM
<I>The guy is a religious fanatic and has no business running the free world. It amazes me that the people voting for him can't see that he is really no different than the "Mooslim" extremists they despise.</I>

I dunno, man. I'm pretty sure the "mooslim extremists" are at least suspected of chopping off people's heads, female circumcision, forced conversions and sharia law. You can argue "well most muslims reject those things", but that's the perception of them. I'm pretty sure that those liberals who think that summarizes Islam are no fans of it either.

Santorum, meanwhile, is against abortion and contraception. I doubt most people would say the former stance is fanatical in and of itself, even if they disagree. Even if you grant that the latter is, that seems pretty far away from the comparison being made here.

As for Catholics backing Romney over Santorum or Gingrich - Gingrich's catholicism is recent and not exactly trumpeted. Santorum's catholicism isn't trumpeted very much either (take a drink whenever someone refers to Santorum as "fundamentalist" in an article, though the contracpetion dustup probably brought his catholicism more to the fore).
25  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Just Cause 3 on: October 27, 2011, 12:42:33 PM
My big complaint about this game was that it was such a humongous world, ripe for DLC - new missions, new challenges, new gameplay types. And... all we got were what, some vehicles and weapons? That were only available on a per-item basis, if I recall right.

Edit: Whoops, I meant 2. Not 3 of course.
26  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: These "Occupy Whatever Groups" Define Idiocy on: October 10, 2011, 08:42:17 AM
The problem I have with this is that "astro-turfing" doesn't just happen over time - it's pretty rapid. And it's not just a matter of either of the two major political parties co-opting the group, but anyone who can.

There's a lot on that list that's valid, and I agree that they're also sentiments the tea party would agree with. Other parts are outlandish. Poisoning the food supply? Where? How? And "colonialism"? I don't think whatever anger is building up in this country is over freaking colonialism. Nice to know they're letting sophomores contribute to the list, though.

But where they really lose me is treating a college degree as a "human right". First because it's another case of people pulling "human right"s out of their ass. More than that... the university/college system is damn near obsolete. It's a little like demanding that all citizens get awarded adequate farmland so as to build a homestead, work the land for sustenance, and mayhap raise a barn. Not only unworkable, but pretty damn late.

Then again, it looks like someone recognized that with the comments on the 99% bit. So hey, maybe there's hope. Hell, if these guys and the Tea Party actually teamed up, I think it could scare the crap of the people who are in dire need of scaring.
27  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Orcs Must Die! on: October 08, 2011, 05:38:51 AM
I gave the demo a shot. Extremely pretty and well-animated. Very fun concept. The humor's pretty irritating - that dorky dance your character does whenever you complete a mission kinda makes me want to get him killed - but it has a pretty good feel to it.
28  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Orcs Must Die! on: October 07, 2011, 11:12:53 PM
I'm going to give this one's demo a try tonight for one main reason: I got a strong "Tecmo's Deception" vibe off the video I saw previously, and man, that was one game series I absolutely loved and still miss. Hopefully this will be close enough.
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