Guns, gods, and government

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EDITORIAL Humans tend to believe that we're smarter than we really are. It's a problem that can be exacerbated by concentrations of wealth and technological expertise, which can cause some people to believe they have an almost God-like power to manifest solutions to any challenge they confront, particularly when they have lots of money to throw at the problem.

But that's really just hubris. It's the story of Icarus striving for the sun and falling back to Earth when his technology failed him. Knowing our limits and feeling a sense of humility and social responsibility are the first steps toward dealing honestly with problems we face. And last week, we were reminded again of this reality by venture capitalist Ron Conway, the libertarian-leaning power broker who has taken a paternalistic hold on the city (see "The Plutocrat," 11/27/12).

Being a newspaper that has always believed in gun control, we share Conway's newfound desire to reduce gun violence, a cause he suddenly adopted after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in December 2012. Conway and his Smart Tech Foundation last week unveiled some early designs for high-tech guns that only work in the hands of their owners, and which will notify those owners when someone has moved them.

"Let's use innovation to bring about gun safety. Let's not rely on Washington," Conway told the San Francisco Examiner, which put the story on its Jan. 29 cover.

There are many levels of ridiculousness to Conway's belief that his gizmos can do more to reduce gun violence than even modest federal regulation of the more than 300 million guns in this country. After all, guns are designed to inflict violence, and just 3 percent of gun deaths are accidental shootings (62 percent are suicides and 35 percent are homicides). Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza used guns from his home that he'd been taught to use by his mother, who ended up being his first victim, so it seems unlikely Conway's guns would have changed that outcome.

When reporter Jonah Owen Lamb asked Conway how his technology differed from widely available trigger locks, he compared them to the iPhone, which invented a new market for its product. So the answer to gun violence is creating a new market for a new generation of guns that only their wealthy owners can fire?

While we're not huge fans of the Second Amendment — the one that conservatives like Conway consider sacrosanct — we do understand that it was written to give the masses tools to resist wealthy and powerful oppressors. That includes people like Conway, fellow venture capitalist Thomas Perkins (whose comparison of progressive activists to Nazis has been lighting the Internet), and the Establishment politicians whom they sponsor.

Guys, society doesn't need your gizmos, libertarian ideals, or hubris to address the most vexing challenges we face, from gun violence to global warming to creating a modern transportation infrastructure. We just need some of the obscene wealth you've been hoarding.

 

Comments

stop shooting each other in the ghetto?

Steven, you really have excelled yourself this time.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

Didn't you just read that? How dare you have another opinion.

Posted by guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 2:26 am

Yes. This is actually what would happen.

Hold it, hold it, take a deep breath --

This… would… actually… happen.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2014 @ 3:24 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

"give the masses tools to resist wealthy and powerful oppressors"?

It does refer to a well-armed militia, although I suspect you have little time or respect for the various well-armed militia that do exist in various part of the US.

Much of the reason for arming the populace had to do with the threat for foreign invasion, and Switzerland continues to this day to have something similar.

But gun rights did not exist to allow a revolution against the US government or to confiscate wealth from the more successful. That is fanciful nonsense.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

"While we're not huge fans of the Second Amendment — the one that conservatives like Conway consider sacrosanct — we do understand that it was written to give the masses tools to resist wealthy and powerful oppressors. That includes people like Conway, fellow venture capitalist Thomas Perkins (whose comparison of progressive activists to Nazis has been lighting the Internet), and the Establishment politicians whom they sponsor."

I had been told pitchforks and torches might be necessary to breach the walls built by the wealthy oppressors on the backs of the oppressed, but the editorial phrasing reminds me of the Sagebrush Rebellion back in the late 1970's. On the cover of one of the monthly magazines were a few of the rebels standing in an open prairie with scowls on their faces and rifles at the ready. It was perfect.

Ronald Reagan was a big supporter: "I happen to be one who cheers and supports the Sagebrush Rebellion. Count me in as a rebel."

The left could use a Ronald Reagan type figure who, with a joke and a smile, could connect the growing frustration and hostility towards the the government and powerful elite status quo and sell it to a broader audience.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

Too fat, happy and lazy.

We haven't had a decent protest since Vietnam

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 8:25 am

Only, after that it descended into the Leftist Pit.

There is only one message that has any foundational validation in this country:

GOTWALMA

Get Outta The Way And Let Me Alone

Capiçe?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

.....when you're an editorial writer for a newspaper with a bad case of hoplophobia based on......

.....paranoid delusion?

Oh, I forgot: Those who wish to disarm law abiding citizens see no need for facts to back up their demands - probably because all the facts point to a conclusion they don't wish to see.

Posted by Mike the Limey on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

BLIMEY, Limey! Good t'see ya!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 3:11 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

Wuzn't talkin' t'YOU, mate.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

.....when you're an editorial writer for a newspaper with a bad case of hoplophobia based on......

.....paranoid delusion?

Oh, I forgot: Those who wish to disarm law abiding citizens see no need for facts to back up their demands - probably because all the facts point to a conclusion they don't wish to see.

Posted by Mike the Limey on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

"There are many levels of ridiculousness to Conway's belief that his gizmos can do more to reduce gun violence than even modest federal regulation of the more than 300 million guns in this country."

Really? I don't think that is what Conway is saying at all. If some venture capitalists want to get together and design some "gizmos" that could save even a couple of lives, why object? They aren't asking for public money or anything like that, it doesn't affect you at all. And lets face it, the federal government has done next to nothing to reduce gun violence, even post-Sandy Hook. If not after an atrocity like that, when?

If this thing saves 10 lives that otherwise could have been lost or ruined, who are we to snark at it??

Posted by guestD on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

If it was coming out of, say, CCSF (which is risible anyway) then SFBG would be heralding it as a game changer.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

The vast majority of deaths from gun violence happen with legal guns, not stolen guns. Techno-gizmos won't stop any suicides, school shootings, or domestic gun murders. But more stringent background checks and assault weapons bans will.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

Funny, looking for government data to show how much gun control has reduced violence by the bad guys, and we never see any GOVERNMENT data to support your lie, why is that? Especially since sane people understand that one determines an effect by measuring from the date of implementation, to a later date,.

Like how since 1991 the US has increased guns in law abiding civilians hands by 42%, yet our violent crime rate has fallen -39% and the rate of killings by illegal use of a gun has fallen -52.21%, both the largest single decreases in the ENTIRE WORLD!

Thought you claimed more guns in law abiding gun owners hands would equal more violence....guess you are indeed full of schiite!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 3:14 am

What Conway did is to raise $4 million dollars as an incentive for someone to invent a gun that becomes unusable after it is stolen. There is no "belief that his gizmos can do more to reduce gun violence than even modest federal regulation". He isn't blocking or fighting against any regulation, he just wants to attack the problem on a second, technological front.

There are laws designed to reduce the risk of fires, but that doesn't mean that smoke detectors are evil or in some way detract from the effort.

The statement in this editorial about "a new generation of guns that only their wealthy owners can fire" is particularly incoherent. Um, no. The objective is to create technology that could be built into all guns as a disabling mechanism. Would it prevent all gun violence? No, but every life is precious, those of us who aren't blinded by our hatred of the wealthy will take whatever help we can get.

Posted by Guest2 on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

disable the gun if you are not.

Poor Steven.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

This is some really 'smart' high tech thinking! Guns are presently stupid so lets educate them. They are letting themselves being used to kill innocent people. And even worse they are unable to prevent their owners from killing themselves. After all humans just can't be trusted to act responsible in presence of guns. I was confused about this; I had thought guns were evil but the great thinkers have enlightened us with guns actually being just stupid. Thanks for this info. Now I know I don't have to lock them up like insane criminals anymore and can give them an education and all will be well. Utopia is getting closer than I thought.
Confession: I never before this considered that my guns are smarter than all those other guns in the news and movies but always wondered why they never killed anyone.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 11:05 pm

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