back to article Republican reps push for mandatory gun ownership

Republican politicians in South Dakota have filed a bill that would require every citizen in the land-locked virtually empty state to buy a gun as of next year. The bill, put forward by Sioux Fall representative Hal Wick, would require every citizen over 21 to buy a firearm "suitable to their temperament, physical capacity, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Gun Ownership

    Cool idea, make mine a .50 cal barret sniper rifle and a 3 inch morter. Need to sort out both slugs and moles in the back garden. (I know moles should eat slugs, but my moles are veggies and deserve to be hit with a 3inch morter shell)

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    1. Raggs

      So what's the difference?

      How come police, fire services, welfare (the amount you have), border services are all constitutional? Everyone is made to have them, everyone (who works) pays for them, and get no say in it. How is nationalised healthcare any different to police and fire services? There's probably hundreds of nationalised services (damn socialists!!!!!) around, that everyone is just used to.

      The US government already pays far more per head on healthcare than most (if not all) nationalised healthcare countries.

      1. Pablo

        @Raggs

        Because Obamacare is NOT nationalized healthcare. It's simply a requirement that each person buy health insurance from one of the same miserable insurance companies that already exist. This is directly analogous to forcing people to buy any other product.

        Same thing, it's reasonable for the government to take your tax dollars and buy guns (for the military, police, etc) but it's not reasonable to force YOU to personally buy a gun.

        1. Annihilator Silver badge
          Stop

          @Pablo

          "Because Obamacare is NOT nationalized healthcare. It's simply a requirement that each person buy health insurance from one of the same miserable insurance companies that already exist."

          It's the same thing, it's just making sure that insurance companies (and their lobbies) buy into it. National healthcare would be the same thing, with the gov cutting out the middle man - something big business wouldn't care for.

          We in the UK pay for healthcare too, but we just pay for it through tax and NI contributions. Obama has just done a sleight of hand with how it's paid for, and kept the lobbies on board. The alternative would be a tax increase and a massive reduction in health insurance.

          1. Michael 34

            this would be "constitutional"

            "The alternative would be a tax increase and a massive reduction in health insurance."

            Such a thing would be Constitutional in the United States.

        2. Anton Ivanov

          Which is the system that actually works

          Most "nationalised" health systems out there work under this principle. It is considered to be the best working system.

          In fact most of Eastern Europe converted their NHS style healthcare into mandatory insurance based one over the last 10 years.

          As far as "miserable" there is a minor difference between a mandated insurance and the classic US dog eats dog version. In a mandated insurance system the prices are regulated so that the different providers and insurers cannot drive the usual "profit at the expense of a dying man" spiral.

          If the Obamacare bill also introduced the sam pricing controls as presently used for access to medicare/medicaid funding I am not surprised that all neocons have started screaming murder. It is a system that actually is known to work.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Actually, there have been a reason for that.

        IIRC, in the past, private fire companies and police agencies started blackmailing potential customers by employing tactics normally associated with the Mafia (Buy a contract with us or you never know what might happen to your house, hint hint). It was a case of capitalism and competition gone haywire, and everyone was doing it in a desperate bid to earn enough money to be viable. The government was pressured to act, and the end result was to establish de jure monopolies on those services...by running it themselves so that there was a chain of responsibility in case things went wrong.

        Mind you, I could be mistaken, but that's what I read once.

      3. Barry 1
        Thumb Down

        Pop bubble

        Sorry but we don’t have a National Police, Fire service or Emergency services. Those services are not listed as Federal government responsibilities. Only the Federal Government can make agreements (treaties) with other countries and that the bases of the Border Patrol/Immigration Service/Coast Guard and other similar Federal Agencies.

      4. Michael 34

        That's "why"

        "How come (should be: why are) police, fire services, welfare (the amount you have), border services (are) all constitutional?"

        The answer is these are neither commanded nor prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. Cash money welfare is not and probably cannot be a federal program, there is no constitutional provision for it. The British don't really have a system of autonomous states -- Wales, Scotland and so forth are vaguely similar in that regard. But crime and welfare are state issues; each state has its own criminal code.

        The US Federal Government has a long list of things it is not supposed to do and a short list of things it is permitted to do. Everything else is left to the states or to the people (10th Amendment and the foundation of the modern American "Tea Parties").

        Anything not prohibited is therefore also not unconstitutional.

        Involuntary servitude is prohibited. Mandatory purchase of life insurance is effectively involuntary servitude of the amount of labor it takes for you to earn the money to purchase the mandatory life insurance. in the past such schemes were known by "poll tax" and is dangerously close to mandatory union dues to join a mandatory union to obtain employment in a "closed shop" state. This is the Dark Side of socialism -- socialism and liberty CANNOT co-exist except in the extremely rare instance of people actually choosing a cooperative lifestyle (Iceland is or was a pretty good example 20 years ago).

        "There's probably hundreds of nationalised services around, that everyone is just used to."

        Yes indeed, but all are fairly recent developments. As recently as 1925, the town where I am now living had THREE distinct electrical distribution companies -- each with its own power distribution wires and poles.

        Curiously enough, a British-style National Health System would be constitutional. Not particularly wise, but at least Constitutional and the British continue to provide excellent examples of its good and bad (allowing a man to die of thirst in a HOSPITAL!) sides.

        To use a historical example, the United States is believed to have come into existence more or less as a consequence of the Stamp Act by which the King of England imposed a tax on tea. Today that seems pretty ordinary but it ruffled some serious feathers.

        It appears that the King should have taken a page from the U.S. Democratic party and required American colonists to BUY TEA, and of course, pay the tax. Alternatively, you could pay the penalty -- the price of the tea, and not actually take possession of the tea. A poll tax in other words. You will pay $5,000 per year because you exist.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Michael 34

        Poll Tax

        "let's call it say a "tax", and imagine if that forced payment was used to pay for services people might not want like police, fire services, and the military."

        Indeed. Many people have had serious problems with this. Google "Kent State" for an example of people wanting not to participate in, or pay for, the military.

        The difference between legal taxes and Obamacare is (1) in the case of taxes, you pay the government but in the case of Obamacare, you pay a corporation. (2) in the case of taxes, they are indexed usually to income and are also usually "progressive" in that the rate of tax is less for poorer people. Poll taxes are a fee for existing, basically, the same for everyone and would be considered extremely "regressive" in a tax scenario. A rich man of 30 years old may be paying the exact same $5,000 per year that a poor man also of 30 years old must pay.

        "I mean it's just stupid, if I want to be able to murder someone why should I have to pay a for a police force for example? They'll only come and arrest me for murder and that's not what I want so I shouldn't have to pay."

        Indeed it would be stupid for a murderer to obey all or any other law. A person is either law abiding or not (more or less); which is indeed the whole point of the gun control (elimination) versus gun control (steady aim) debate -- criminals already obey NO laws except as an accident or convenience.

        This is why famous gangsters such as Al Capone were eventually jailed on tax evasion charges. Murderers really don't have a reason to pay taxes.

        "I mean no one should be able to force me to do anything against my will."

        Perhaps you could reveal an instance where anyone DID succeed in forcing you to do anything against your will. Keep in mind you used the word "force"; I will accept strong persuasion if you cannot think of an instance of actual force being used against you.

    3. Jason Bloomberg
      Troll

      And does this make sense?

      "Once Congress can force you to do something against your will "because it's good for you" there is a slippery slope that never ends"

      And it is also true that once Congress can force you to do something against your will "because it's bad for you or bad for others" there is a slippery slope that never ends.

      The conclusion must therefore be that, to avoid any slippery slope, Congress must not dictate anything to anyone. So it can be gotten rid of, people can sort out their problems for themselves, last man standing wins, law of the jungle applies.

    4. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      A compulsory education might have been in your best interests.

      Are you one of the cranks who also argues that taxation is unconstitutional? Or does the not-even-slightly subtle distinction between universal healthcare and obligatory ownership of an item really stretch your braincells?

      Oh ... and Constitutional is not the same as legal on either side of the pond. Although on this side of the pond it could also refer to taking a stroll. Perhaps we should make those obligatory ... it would have been a better use of your time than burbling on about slippery slopes.

    5. Mad Hacker

      It turns out, the Founding Fathers would beg to disagree.

      The people who drafted the constitution already created mandated healthcare so you obvious aren't in touch with the ideals behind those who created the country that you claim to love.

      http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/01/17/congress-passes-socialized-medicine-and-mandates-health-insurance-in-1798/

      1. Eddy Ito
        Grenade

        Re: It turns out, the Founding Fathers would beg to disagree.

        One minor niggling point. Damn near everyone in the US with a job already pays some variant of TDI (Temporary Disability Insurance) that is a compulsory deduction from their paycheck. I suppose it would be nice if it were only 1% and I'm sure someone pays that little. More to the point, it isn't the 1% really it's another 1% and another and another.

        You forgot to mention, gubbermint also requires some professions to piss in a cup or pay to join the professionals club or pay state certification fees. The point is, back then the sailors could choose to say "screw this" and go work on a farm out on the frontier which could be just as dangerous. Hospitals? Half the time, it was some politically connected oligarch running you into the ground. With the current compulsory health insurance, the only alternative a person can choose is to die, oh wait, that's illegal unless it happens naturally but the docs can always hook you up and make your body tick on so that option is out. Here I thought it was rough getting them to pull the plug under the republicasses.

        Besides, why should we need more broken insurance? If they want to nationalize it, just do it and stop screwing around. It's like the bloody cigarette tax. "We won't ban them but we'll tax" the living shit out of smokers under the pretense of paying for health care. What do you mean that isn't enough? A pack of butts in NYC is over $10 on a product cost of under $1. Here's an idea, tax health care at the same rate and every little trip to the ER when Jonny has a runny nose will cover the poor schlub who has a heart attack on the metro stairs.

        I could understand perhaps catastrophic health insurance for the major problems, you know, blown motor or bent chassis type of things. But, I don't see a need for insurance that covers lube jobs, tire rotations and the like and yet that is all we get to choose, I mean, will be forced to take. Let me choose my insurance, I can handle a high deductible and I'm sorry if you can't. I really only need someone to cover that kidney or some such down the road should mine go bad before the rest of me. Unfortunately the Mass. law limits deductibles and if yours is too high, you get fined even when you already have insurance. Why should I have to cough up a $15 co-pay and be limited to 30 pills each month on a $22 prescription? Thank goodness for online Mexican pharmacies. I appreciate the gubbermint's efforts but why do they have to be so god damn stupid about it? I suppose by Un^H^HNanny Sam's standards, I should feel privileged I get to wipe my own nose instead of being required to hire some certified "professional" in a white frock to do it for me.

        It wouldn't bother me so much if gubbermint weren't full of incompetent half wits who sit about pondering what to screw up next and then proceed to do it.

      2. Michael 34

        No Need to Do It Again

        "The people who drafted the constitution already created mandated healthcare "

        Then obviously there is no need to do it again.

      3. Michael 34

        You Misrepresent the Story

        Enacting a TAX is constitutional, using that tax to operate hospitals is also constitutional. That is what your cite speaks of. It is NOT speaking of an illegal scheme to force sailors to pay Aetna Insurance (for instance) directly. Such a thing is NOT Constitutional, although its end effect may not be particularly different.

        I suggest also the 14th Amendment prevents unequal treatment -- citizens of the United States would be paying "tribute" to Aetna Insurance (for instance), which might not necessarily even be a United States Corporation, and in return, Aetna then becomes unequal -- superior to -- the citizens from whom it collects this tribute.

        "First, it created the Marine Hospital Service, a series of hospitals built and operated by the federal government to treat injured and ailing privately employed sailors. This government provided healthcare service was to be paid for by a mandatory tax on the maritime sailors (a little more than 1% of a sailor’s wages), the same to be withheld from a sailor’s pay and turned over to the government by the ship’s owner. The payment of this tax for health care was not optional. If a sailor wanted to work, he had to pay up."

      4. Michael 34

        Say What?

        "Or does the not-even-slightly subtle distinction between universal healthcare and obligatory ownership of an item really stretch your braincells?"

        I don't even understand your question.

        There appears to be no discussion in the United States about universal healthcare. The debate is about mandatory purchase of a piece of paper from a corporation. It might, or might not, turn into healthcare for any particular person for any moment in time depending upon need and availability.

        1. Some Beggar
          FAIL

          "I don't even understand your question."

          Well no. But then you don't understand the slippery slope fallacy or the difference between legal and constitutional either. I'd love to help you out of your greased pit of ignorance, but there's a limit to how much I can type in these boxes so all I can really do is repeat my recommendation for mandatory comprehensive education.

    6. Steven Knox
      Boffin

      Make Sense

      1. "Constitutional" and "legal" are not the same thing. "Legal" means something is consistent with all statutory law. "Constitutional" means only that something is consistent with the Constitution and its Amendments.

      2. Since the heath care package is a federal bill and this is a state bill, the constitutionality is completely different. Besides, some individual mandates have already been upheld at both the state level (state-specific auto insurance requirements, for example) and the federal level (e.g, income tax filing and payment.) So this bill parallels the health care bill in much the same way that a walrus parallels a dimetrodon.

      3. The individual mandate in the health care bill has NOTHING to do with forcing you to do what's good for you. Health insurance doesn't improve your health one bit. The mandate is in the bill to ensure the largest possible pool of insured individuals. This would, in theory, keep the insurance cost per individual as low as possible because it's spread among more people.

      4. The slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope#The_slippery_slope_as_fallacy). In particular in this case, you argue that allowing Congress to pass one individual mandate will lead to them passing more and more intrusive individual mandates. Yet as I mentioned in point 2, the former has already happened, and the latter has not happened as a result. Instead we continue to have strong debates in this country every time an individual mandate of any form is proposed -- and even those few that do get passed are almost invariably challenged in the courts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The mandate Has nothing to Do With Making the Pool Large

        I agree with you on all points except number 3

        The mandate has nothing to do with ensuring the size of the pool. It resulted from the simple fact that you cannot force the insurance companies to ignore pre existing conditions without forcing everyone to purchase insurance. If the insurance companies cannot bar you on the basis of preexisting condition and you were not mandated to purchase insurance then no one would. You would simply wait until you are sick or aged to purchase insurance .. the old idea of a moral hazard.

        This is also the reason that the piece meal approach suggested by the Republicans like most other things they have been pushing for the past few years makes no sense. The bill could only have been comprehensive and had to have the mandatory clause if it was going to also have a no pre existing condition clause.

        Its also odd that the reps opposed the bill so strongly given that it was mainly a set of recycled republican proposals from Nixon era and from their proposals in 1993-94. In fact the mandatory proposal was the root part of their 1993 proposal.

        Makes it real obvious to sensible people that the axe they are grinding is related to something else and that at best they have no credibility.

        Remember, the only significant Healthcare bill they passed in their immediate 8 years tenure was the Medicare Drug Bill which was written by the drug companies and is expected to cost as much as $1.3 trillion

      2. Oninoshiko
        Coat

        Actually,

        I would be rather suprised to find any US state mandates auto insurance.

        Prohibiting driving without it is another matter entirely.

        Mine's the one without a driver's license in the pocket.

      3. Michael 34

        Bad Analogy

        "Yet as I mentioned in point 2, the former has already happened, and the latter has not happened as a result."

        Since the former has NOT happened, the factuality or lack thereof of the latter remains to be seen.

        What you and ten million other dimwits are saying is the former -- automobile insurance -- fails as an example. NOBODY is compelled to buy automobile insurance -- it is a requirement only for people that wish to use government-provided highways and exists in direct response to the danger that you pose to those other people also using the highway.

        A proper parallel would be IF you wish to use government health care, THEN you must pay. That is reasonable and is already the case. Payroll taxes already deduct rather substantially for this purpose.

        Second, not every state requires "insurance". Many western states allow to post a bond of financial responsibility. Rich people, for instance, don't need "insurance" as they can easily pay outright the same amount that insurance would pay, typically $100,000.

        Americans already know these facts but continue with the bad analogy anyway for less-obvious socialist purposes.

    7. DrXym Silver badge

      Actually it makes no sense

      Bullseyed I'm starting to wonder if the US is populated by morons. How else to explain the anger that the government is trying to extend health cover to everyone, to remove some of the most egregious abuses by insurers, and actually save the taxpayer money in the process by reducing / eliminating existing plans. That's without even considering how many people who might not die thanks to having some form of health cover. The outrage!

      Anyway your argument is a classic slippery slope fallacy.

      1. bhtooefr

        Actually, it does make sense

        The problem is twofold:

        1. The US government is completely incompetent at running many social programs, healthcare for the poor being one of them. Fraud, massive corruption within the organization, and mountains of paperwork that mean that you die before you finish the paperwork to get the healthcare you need mean that our government shouldn't be allowed anywhere near healthcare. Even if government can do healthcare right, OUR government can't.

        2. This isn't government healthcare (well, OK, the government will pay for healthcare for lower income citizens.) This is the government mandating that everyone buy from the existing plans from the existing corrupt, abusive companies - not reducing the plans. It does compel insurers to provide coverage, whereas they didn't have to before, but it has no price controls. Before, insurance companies had to compete with not buying insurance at all. Under this, you have to buy from the oligopoly of insurers, whether you like it or not, and therefore it's far WORSE than before - insurers can jack up their prices FAR higher, because your other option is going to jail.

      2. Danny 6
        FAIL

        Apples and oranges

        The thing I find highly ironic is that if the Democrats had had a pair amongst them and pushed for a single payer, government run health system the plan WOULD pass Constitutional muster. Essentially we'd be talking Medicare/Medicaid writ large. The US government would collect more income taxes (allowed by the 16th amendment) and wasted the money to cover medical expenses. Instead they turned chicken and passed a bill with the "individual mandate" that isn't going to work.

        There's a fundamental principle at work here that apparently some people are too obtuse to grasp. If the US government wants to operate a plan and tax the public in order to do so, it's Constitutionally allowed. Foolish, wasteful and ultimately doomed to failure but Constitutional.

        On the other hand if the US government says "you must buy this product because we say so" then we have a problem here. After all, if the US government by act of Congress can make you buy health insurance then what CAN'T if make you buy? If the commerce clause has no limits to the authority granted Congress then a number of our rights specified in the 5th, 7th and 9th amendments become meaningless.

        We haven't touched the fact that health insurance policies are NOT in fact issued across state lines so the idea that Congress can regulate it as interstate commerce is a rather shaky proposition to begin with. One that the courts haven't had a chance to comment on at this time.

        How many people will die, "saving" taxpayer money are all nice emotional arguments that really miss the point. I'm being kind here because some political figures have no excuse for not understanding the problems with the individual mandate program. There are lots of things government "could" do that would save a lot more lives like banning automobiles and motorcycles altogether and making everyone use some sort of public transit. Or outlaw any activity that could result in bodily harm such as skydiving or bungee jumping. But at what cost to individual freedom? Freedom to only make nice, safe choices isn't freedom at all. Cattle are safe. Cattle are fed regularly, get free health care and, for a cow, a nice place to stay. Cattle are NOT, however free.

        If you want to be cattle, fine by me. I'd plan on staying free.

    8. Quantum Leaper

      Why?

      Why then do I have to have Car insurance? If I don't have it, I get a fine up to $1000. What the difference between Car and Health insurance?

      1. Michael 34

        Are you really this... I cannot think of a word for it

        "What the difference between Car and Health insurance?"

        One insures damage either TO your car or caused BY your car. The other pays all or part of the cost of medical treatment to you.

        My mother does not have Car insurance. She also pays no registration fee! She is also at no risk of a fine, penalty or jail.

        How is such a thing possible? Were you lying? No -- you just aren't telling enough of the truth to make it "truth".

        My mother does not drive. At all. Hasn't done so in probably 40 years.

        Automobile insurance exists to protect OTHERS from your own foolish driving behavior.

        You don't even need that in most western states; you can post a "bond of financial responsibility" with the state.

        Finding a doctor RIGHT NOW is no easy task. Just wait until 30 million more people are suddenly chasing the same doctors. You probably think that "health insurance" is somehow the equivalent of "health care".

      2. zourtney
        Megaphone

        Liability

        Auto insurance primarily protects others. Health insurance primarily protects self. But you knew that :-)

      3. TomG
        Paris Hilton

        Why?

        The difference being if you don't own a car you don't have to buy car insurance. To not buy health insurance you have to be dead. Obviously, you have a choice about buying car insurance. You don't have a choice about buying health insurance. Actually you do have a choice.However, you can buy a car later, you can not come back to life.

        Paris because she may be able to do what medical science cannot do.

    9. Ammaross Danan
      Pirate

      The Problem

      First, the analogy is wrong in the fact that gun ownership is a one-off purchase vs medical insurance which is an ongoing commitment.

      Secondly, the problem isn't so much people don't want healthcare. They do. It's the fact that some people (like my wife) who are young, in excellect health, visit the doctor only once or twice a year for a wellness exam, still have to pay $250/mo. for "insurance." And that wonderful insurance requires the usual $50/visit copay, and only covers 75% (sometimes 90% depending, but sometimes 50% or less depending too) of whatever services rendered. If you get into decent plans that don't cost you 50% of a visit out-of-pocket, you're looking at $400+/mo. And to mandate everyone fork over such fees, especially when some young (no longer on parent's plan) blokes only earn $6-10/hr, would utterly destroy their ability to be self-sufficient. So no, the problem isn't the healthcare, it's the incumbant cost of the insurance, in addition to the out-of-pocket costs of actually having to use it.

    10. CheesyTheClown
      WTF?

      I'm in favor of single dimensional uneducated arguments are bad for you

      so you shouldn't be allowed to use them.

      The "You're a fatty, you should join a gym" thing actually works well in places that enforce that. Currently, there are trials in areas of Japan that tax companies for employees with unacceptable waist line measurements. So, you better be worth it or they'll find someone that won't cost them that extra tax to employ. Either that or try something filling and healthy for lunch instead of that 42 layer fast food burrito lard ass. In fact, it's a damn good idea. Something like that could possibly save my fat ass sister's life and avoid making my niece and nephew unhealthy fat assed orphans.

      9 year old kid won't eat his vegetables... well guess what... he/she is a kid, they wouldn't fine the kid, they'd fine the parent. And guess what. If your kid won't eat properly, the solution is simple, starve the little bastard until he/she picks up a fork full of carrots.

      I'm an American in a country where even the cops don't carry guns, health care is provided from my tax money, even for the asshole druggy pissing on himself outside the train station and I wouldn't trade it for the world. The health care quality here is far better than in the U.S. on average and snotty assed American's like me can still pay a little extra and get even better care if we choose to. The difference is, instead of having half the country sitting on the couch sucking up all my tax money on their welfare checks while drinking it all in cheap beer like Shlitz while shooting beer cans in the window with a .22 because the .44 rounds are too expensive, they're out working. In fact, the government even sponsors jobs for people that "can't work" doing things like licking envelopes or stamps and painting plastic dohickies we sell to idiot tourists.

      Because of that, more people get off their asses and work and we're one of the richest countries in the world. You want Obama to fix the economy? Well let him, universal health care is one of the #1 ways to do it. Problem is, you fat redneck ass might have to actually work for a living then instead of sitting around talking about how mexicans keep stealing all the jobs... Of course, I'm sure there are plenty of jobs like theirs waiting for you. Head out to a cheap motel and clean rooms for $1 a piece. You can wash the puke fested toilets, wash the hair grease stains from the head boards and peel the cum and public hair covered sheets off the beds. Maybe if you're lucky some redneck will offer you extra tips if you wear a minidress and pretend to be his naughty little bitch.

      Quit your democrat/republican bullshit and take some time to think for yourself. Instead of reading the headlines of new rags and watching Fox TV, try reading something intelligent instead. Educate yourself and realize that there's more to it than just what's on the surface.

      I am not in the loop and the only thing I can do to try and solve the problem is to attempt to educate mule brained idiots like you to at least keep your pie holes shut in the future until you have an intelligent thought to share. You on the other hand seem to prefer to just bitch about how the guys who are actually trying to make a positive difference aren't doing it in a way that provides you with 1% taxes and cheap beer.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    America! Fuck yeah!!

    But you should be able to buy "offshore". A Belgian P90 with a silencer and an Israeli Elbit Falcon red dot sight, please.

    On second thoughts, the silencer is probably prohibited by Federal Law. :-(

    1. thecakeis(not)alie

      P90

      Hell yes. It is right after the DAO-12 on my personal list of "favourite things to shoot whenever i get the chance."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    GAU-8

    Filed under 'personal preference'.

    If it shoots bullets, it's a gun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: GAU-8

      Outstanding! I'd love to see the holster for that one.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Pirate

        RE: Re: GAU-8

        Whilst the idea did make me chuckle, there are already very tight guidleines on what gets classed as a firearm and a multi-barreled aircraft cannon (even if you could lift one) is not included. However, there is nothing to stop you risking your wristbones with such OTT weapons as the Thompson Center Arms Contender in .30-30 (a rifle round more powerful than the M-16's 5.56mm NATO cartridge), the S&W .500 Magnum (for those "Deagles are for wimps" moments), or the .50 Alaskan (designed for killing the large bears found in Alaska!).

        As to the comment that the low population density might be responsible for the low murder rate, this is reflected in the fact that the places in the US with the highest gun murder rates are cities (Washington and Chicago) where personal firearms are banned, but then surely that just proves the old adage that guns don't kill people, politicians do.

      2. Anton Ivanov

        Just walk down any street in that state

        Plenty of holsters. They call them trucks there.

        1. bhtooefr

          Re: Re: Re: GAU-8

          To be fair, the 5.56mm NATO cartridge is fairly weak, as far as weapon cartridges go - allegedly, it was designed to badly injure, not kill.

          An injured soldier takes more of an enemy's resources than a dead soldier, assuming that the enemy soldiers care about their injured fellow soldiers. (And, I've heard that the US military is switching to larger calibers for the Iraq war, because of enemy soldiers NOT saving their wounded, and because 5.56 can't get through walls.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Geneva Convention

            The design of bullets used by Military personnel is governed by the Geneva Convention, that bans such things as Dum-Dums. This however does not prevent private individuals or law enforcement using really nasty rounds. Penetration is about more than just calibre though, obviously the bigger, heavier and faster the projectile the more it will penetrate, but a small object moving very fast can do as much damage as a heavier slow movingly object, it's physics.

            The thought behind just wounding your enemy is that, soldiers tend to fight better if they believe they will be rescued and treated for their injuries, so medi-vac tends to be a fairly large drain on resources, as each wounded man would take up to three people to evacuate.

            The average insurgent is safe in the knowledge that he isn't coming back, and his enemy will take care of him if he's wounded.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            A rusty hackeysacker is better than a new one...

            Training a soldier is very time consuming and expensive. So is getting green troops seasoned so they last longer. Removing an arm or leg is preferable to having a dead soldier. Even if they're sent back home, they can still fight. You'd have to show that injuries such as paralysis and mental degradation outweighed non-functional injuries, which you can't.

      3. MJI Silver badge

        No - I want a Gau 19

        If it is good enough for Drake it is good enough for me.

        Anyone guess the reference?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Grenade

          Pfft.....

          Screw uncharted, Blaine started it with the general electric M134 Minigun.

          It made him a god damned sexual tyrannosaur.

          1. MJI Silver badge
            Go

            Predator - great film

            I had completely forgotten than quote - thanks for reminding me.

            You know why Aliens don't visit us?

            They are scared of Arnold Swarchenegger

          2. TeeCee Gold badge
            Joke

            Re: Pfft.....

            Actually it was the chewing tobacco that made Blaine a god damned sexual tyrannosaur.

            Presumably the fact that he used an M134 also made him a serious motherfucker which, when combined with the former, is a fairly nasty place to be. Especially if you are his mother.

  5. Paul_Murphy

    Hmm..

    It would be interesting to see data on the different states and if there is a link between gun ownership and deaths by guns (or bullets, not rounds, anyway).

    I would imagine though that 'gun ownership' is a lot different to 'access to a gun' in that I'm sure that there must be plenty of guns in the hands of people other than their proper, licensed, owners.

    I'm sure that if there was conclusive data that showed that the more guns there were the higher the gun-related death rate, people would be giving up their guns in no time....

    ttfn

    1. Scoured Frisbee

      Some data

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/health/interactives/guns/ownership.html

      http://os.cqpress.com/rankings/2010/Crime-State-Rankings-2010.html

      http://www.census.gov/statab/ranks/rank21.html

      I only did states where gun access [aka what I could find in 30 seconds] was above 50%. Gun study was 2001, crime was 2010, so YMMV there. List is: state, % access, overall crime rank (1 is bad), violent crime rank (50 is bad)

      Al 51.7 40 23

      Ak 57.8 37 6

      Ar 55.3 41 11

      Id 55.3 5 42

      Ms 55.3 28 31

      Mt 57.7 7 41

      Nd 50.7 3 49

      Sd 56.6 9 46

      Wv 55.4 11 39

      Wy 59.7 6 43

      To my eye, no clear correlation between reported crime or violent crime and gun access, but I'm not a statistician.

      1. Steven Knox
        Boffin

        @Some data

        Methinks this data set is too small, but I put it in a spreadsheet and created a chart and regression lines anyway.

        The lines showed a decrease in overall crime for an increase in gun access, and a flat line for violent crime.

        However, the coefficients of determination were 0.04 and 0 respectively, meaning that there is no significant correlation within this small dataset.

    2. sisk

      Access vs ownership

      I would venture a guess that just about everyone in the US can get access to a gun fairly quickly (within a couple hours) should the need arise. I could certainly get my hands on several in 15 minutes or less even though I don't own one. Gun ownership is widespread enough here that odds are everyone in the country is probably on good terms with at least one gun owner.

      1. TomG

        guess

        Your guess is probably right. However, if someone is breaking into my house at 2 AM I don't think I want to wait 2 hours to get a gun.

    3. Michael 34

      Data is abundant

      "It would be interesting to see data on the different states and if there is a link between gun ownership and deaths by guns (or bullets, not rounds, anyway)."

      I think you might be a provocateur of some sort -- this kind of data is easily available.

      In states where gun ownership is very high (Utah, Alaska), deaths by gun is very low, most kinds of violent crime are very low. Instead there is more petty crime. Certain kinds of crime are almost non-existent such as daylight burglaries.

      Conversely, states where gun ownership is either low or illegal, such as Illinois or Washington DC, have very high gun-related crime and correspondingly high daylight burglaries.

      Establishing a LINK is not so easy. Google "Gary Kleck" for research on the topic going back several decades.

      In other words, do people buy guns BECAUSE of crime in their area, or do guns ENABLE crime? It is not very easy to say because both situations look the same in "statistics". It is very likely circular in a feedback loop.

      What is more clear is that the "culture" of Utah and Alaska is less violent and criminally minded, and more uses exist for guns (hunting, varmint control, bears). Make no mistake, Utah and Alaska DO have the occasional serial killer -- but with a much larger population of citizens able to defend themselves it is less of an actual problem.

    4. Michael 34

      The Other Side of the Coin

      "I'm sure that if there was conclusive data that showed that the more guns there were the higher the gun-related death rate, people would be giving up their guns in no time...."

      Not necessarily. The flip side of the coin is the "utility" of guns -- how often they achieve their stated purposes (defense, hunting) compared to illegal purposes. The same is true of automobiles.

      Automobiles kill from 33,000 to 45,000 people every year in the United States. Should they be banned? Obviously, the more automobiles are owned, the more people are killed.

      But the *utility* of automobiles is compelling.

      Gary Kleck, as well as government agencies, have studied the flip side of the coin -- and while numbers vary somewhat, it is clear that guns DEFEND from crime as often as a million times per year. These situations don't usually get reported since, after all, the crime was averted.

  6. Jim Oase

    To find out if we have a gun...

    If you want to see what kind of gun we're using to day, look in our pickup. If you stranded and needed get someplace, the key is in the ignition.

    Its called self reliance, its called integrity. Try it you will like it.

    1. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      How handy!

      No need to actually *buy* a gun, then?

  7. John F***ing Stepp

    I do carry two 1911a1 45s but still. . .

    This is a very bad idea.

    Not everyone out there is a candy ass nice guy like me.

    And think about it, do you really (without knowing how nice and cuddly I am) want me to be required to carry 20 pounds of guns and ammo?

    Probably not.

  8. Evil Auditor

    Good idea!

    Make it mandatory for all 'merkins to buy a weapon which is not suitable to their temperament or physical capacity and sufficient to provide for their ordinary mass destruction. And health care won't cost a dime in the near future. Mind you, such may e.g. also solve NHS funding problems.

  9. doperative

    doesn't go far enough

    I want one of these ..

    http://tinyurl.com/Russian-Tank-For-Sale

    http://tanksforsale.co.uk/Surplus%20Russian%20BMP1%20APCs%20%20for%20sale.html

  10. Arctic fox

    Ok then let us, by this gentleman's "logic", repeal all laws........

    .........we do not feel like obeying. There may be good arguments against "Obamacare" (objectively speaking although I have difficulty regarding the NHS as some kind of offense against human liberty) but this grandstanding crap is not one of them.

    1. Will Leamon

      Obama Care not NHS

      Oh but I wish it was. Our version is everyone must buy from 'the market' of face a fine. It's ok for the Government to tax me and then DIRECTLY provide a service (e.g. police, fire, what have you) but to simply require something off the market just because I was born here is a bit rich. Tax us all and provide health care? That's something I would at least consider.

      This setup though is just a sop to big Pharma and a tax on healthy people. Nothing more.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Very similar...

        I believe many states in the US do the same, but in the UK it is mandatory to have insurance if you drive a vehicle on the road. I see no problem in this. I sometimes wince (especially recently) at the prices I am forced to pay, but in the end I agree with the reasoning behind the rules, and would prefer this system to having to take people to court to claim back the damage they cause to my vehicle (or me) by their carelessness.

        I know there is a difference. Nobody is forced to own a car, so you have a "choice" (although not much of one when the only other option would be 5 trains and 2 buses to get to work, taking approx 4 hours each way). But having a mandatory health insurance will not only lead to benefits to society (less people dying of curable illnesses just because they can't afford treatment), but should also lead to lower insurance premiums.

        I'm just glad I live in a country where I don't have to worry about this. The NHS has it's faults, but it's better than the alternatives (IMHO)

        1. Will Leamon

          title

          There is no cheaper premium then no premium at all. And at today's prices it is insane for a relatively healthy person aged 20 - 40 to pay high premiums for health insurance they will barely use.

          The ability to chose (no matter how limited by buses and trains) is important and worth protecting in my mind. As I said before if they want to tax me and then provide a direct service that's a whole other issue. In fact I've always maintained that if the Government requires car insurance they should be the ones to provide it. Make it a part of the sale of the car. That way we don't all have to carry 'uninsured motorist' riders on our car insurance.

          From a Social Security point of view I would also like to know how 'less people dying of curable illnesses just because they can't afford treatment' is that much of a benefit. Especially when some of those 'diseases' are things like smoking (which I indulge in) and other avoidable ailments.

          P.S. All 50 states require basic insurance on cars. Most also have a car tax every year as well.

          1. Michael 34

            NOT

            "P.S. All 50 states require basic insurance on cars. Most also have a car tax every year as well."

            Incorrect. All states require some form of financial responsibility as a prerequisite to operating a motor vehicle on government roads.

            TWO important distinctions here: you are operating on government roads -- if you don't, then you do not need financial responsibility -- if you do, you need financial responsibility which in some western states can be met with a bond of financial responsibility rather than "insurance".

        2. Danny 6
          Thumb Down

          Not similar at all

          The idea behind requiring car owners to carry insurance is to cover damages you may do to someone else (liability). I doubt there's a government requirement to purchase comprehensive insurance although your lender might.

          Since you are operating a private vehicle on a public road this makes sense and at least in the US is constitutionally allowed. You aren't obligated by law to purchase a private automobile. Here in the US vehicles that aren't operated on public highways (farm trucks for example) are not required to be covered by liability insurance. Commercial and public vehicles must be insured by the OWNERS not the operators. Again, the point of requiring liability insurance is to ensure an owner's ability to meet financial responsibilities in the event his or her vehicle is at fault in a collision.

          In this case, the US government is requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance. Health insurance is designed to cover the policy holder in the event of injury or illness, not to guarantee everyone has access to health care. And, in fact, the bill as passed doesn't improve access one bit.

      2. Arctic fox

        I should have phrased it a little differently as in.....

        ....I find it difficult to regard the NHS here in the UK, for example, as some kind of offence against human liberty.

        I was not saying the "Obamacare" is like the NHS although I was implicitly referring to the reaction of a particular section of the right-wing in the US who have made it quite clear that they regard ANY form of universal health regardless of how it is funded as communism/nazism all rolled into one.

  11. Sven
    Thumb Up

    Roof mounted

    gatteling gun for me please.

  12. craig chester
    Coat

    Proper Measurements please...

    Population of 800,000 that's just over 2 Bristol's worth. 77166 Sq Miles that's approximately 9.61 Wales's...

    Coat... Lost mine...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Poor bullseyed ...

    appears to have attracted a lot of ridicule, but he does sort of make a point ...

    it's a fine line between the state passing laws which affect a person in the name of society, and the state passing laws which affect a person """"for their own good"""".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is for the good of society

      The mandate isn't for the good of the people who are forced to buy it, it's because without it you couldn't force the insurance companies to have maximum fees and not to reject applicants. If it's not mandatory, but there is a maximum fee and no-rejection provision, then people will wait until they feel sick before applying. Having a maximum fee is the benefit; mandatory coverage is the cost.

  14. Alex Walsh
    Thumb Down

    Hmmm

    It makes sense I suppose since every time someone massacres a bunch of innocents in the USA, the gun lobby jump around saying the disaster could have been averted if more people had been carrying guns in the vicinity so they could have shot the bloke part way into his rampage.

    Of course this ignores the chaos that half a dozen people pulling guns and firing wildly would have on what would already be a chaotic situation but there you go...

    1. Geoffrey W

      RE: Hmmm

      I agree. And even worse if everyone has a gun.

      There were people with guns at the Arizona shooting, and there was a report (probably from that commie channel MSNBC) of there being one man with a gun who almost shot another man with a gun because he thought he was the original shooter. Someone held him back in time.

      This does strike me as a major flaw though. If everyone in a crowd has a gun and pulls it out then how does one figure out who is the bad guy if you didn't actually see who began it? You see someone shooting someone else so you shoot that guy. Someone else sees you shoot him and figures you must be the bad guy and shoots you. And on and on, before the police come along and shoot everyone, just to be safe.

      1. Michael 34

        Good analogy for the 1800's

        "You see someone shooting someone else so you shoot that guy. Someone else sees you shoot him and figures you must be the bad guy and shoots you."

        I think you overstate the desire of everyone to actually carry a gun all the time. Having one at home to defend against rapists, burglars or other nefarious intruders is fairly common, actually having a gun all the time is NOT common.

  15. Alicia

    How about...

    Well, how about somebody has a look at if there's a correlation between overcrowding and a desire to kill your neighbour? They say that in murder cases the most likely suspect is the spouse and that could be as a result of proximity.

    If it turns out that crowded places are more likely to have murders and places with guns are more likely to have gun related crime than the govt. can issue a law that declares every individual *must* live a set amount of distance from any other individual.

    1. Michael 34

      Reasonable assumption

      "Well, how about somebody has a look at if there's a correlation between overcrowding and a desire to kill your neighbour?"

      Probably. The only clear example I know is Iceland, where violent crime exists pretty much solely in the one and only area of high housing density, a high-rise apartment project east of Reyjkavik.

      But even there it isn't strictly *density* but Malthusian scarcity of resource. WHY do people live in high-density circumstances? There you will find your answer to peace in Washington DC and peace in Africa.

      More people exist than resources exist to feed them. That is the whole answer in a nutshell. The murder capital of America happens also to be the welfare capital of America (so far as I know) -- Southeast Washington DC.

      DC gets a bad rap; it is the southeastern quadrant that is really bad. This is where many years ago several tens of thousands of black war veterans came and camped, denied benefits that had been promised to them and they promised to stay until they got the benefits promised. Well, they're still there, and probably still waiting for those benefits.

      Employment is almost non-existent in the entire quadrant. It is surrounded by the "beltway" which forms a convenient barrier. Google "crime in Prince Georges County" which is immediately adjacent and partly inside the same quadrant.

      The people aren't "bad" there, most of them anyway, but they have no place to go. A single mother on welfare is in a lucrative economic position; she'd have to land a $3,000 per month job just to match the welfare benefits and that was 15 years ago.

      So the economic input is welfare money -- and that means "parasites" exist. Gangs. Most of the violence is gang versus gang, doing what Thomas Malthus predicts for all nations some day.

  16. Annihilator Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Deliberate irony?

    Can't tell if it's being deliberately ironic and he was looking to introduce a bill that was the exact opposite? "Your bill will improve people's health, well mine will drastically reduce people's health - booya!"

    I can't imagine bar fights, drunken nights etc when everyone was locked and loaded..

    1. Jaap stoel

      I can

      They'd be a lot shorter, louder and always require an ambulance or a hearse.

    2. Michael 34

      Think 1800's

      "I can't imagine bar fights, drunken nights etc when everyone was locked and loaded.."

      People tended to be more polite, actually.

      Do you have any idea what is meant by "locked and loaded"? How can you POSSIBLY load your gun, if you have just locked it?

      I know, but I see this phrase often from people that couldn't tell a gun from a cigarette lighter.

      It comes from the M1 Garand rifle. You load the magazine from the TOP of the receiver, down past the bolt. So, you lock the bolt back, push the magazine down, and when the magazine hits bottom it unlocks the bolt automatically and will take your thumbnail off if you are not quick enough with your hand. It dang near took a piece of my thumb.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a big difference here

    The US Constitution in the 10th Amendment limits the powers of the federal government to only those powers listed in the Constitution, all other powers are reserved for the states and the people. No where does it say that the federal government has the power to force people to buy anything. Since that power is reserved for the states, this law might be federally constitutional. It may go against the state's constitution, but I don't think it goes against the federal constitution.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    It's only time...

    The US economy is going down the pan -- too much spending on foreign murder (sorry, national interest). With debt levels where they are devaluation is the only way -- and the Chinese are not going to allow that (as they own all the debt).

    So 30-40 years from now there's going to be a lot more impoverishment; and a growing clamour for more Socialist policies. So these idiots who only give a damn for themselves, and have no time for their 'social responsibility,' are going to be shouting more and more.

    I wake up every morning rejoicing that I'm not an American.

    A grenade, because it is the American way.

    1. Ty Cobb
      WTF?

      Thank you.

      I for one will now wake up every morning rejoicing you are also not an American.

      You might not have noticied, although both of our countries have our issues it seems Brits are more inclined to bash Americans than the reverse. Do what you think is right for you and your country, and rest assured we will be doing the same.

      And no, a grenade is not the American way. A difference of opinion is.

    2. Michael 34

      Not a grenade

      "A grenade, because it is the American way."

      Not really. The American Way is probably a Clint Eastwood .44 Magnum, or a John Wayne six-shooter, or a Sharps rifle.

      You identify your enemy and engage your enemy and only your enemy. If you have no enemies, you can go shoot dinner with the same weapon.

      I suppose you could grenade a lake and scoop up dead fish.

      "So 30-40 years from now there's going to be a lot more impoverishment; and a growing clamour for more Socialist policies."

      Yes indeed, and at some point it is like a losing hand in Monopoly -- doom. Not enough people working for those that are not. At that point it will snowball very rapidly to total collapse.

      At which point the survivors will be the ones with guns.

  19. SirTainleyBarking
    Grenade

    Can we have that law over here please?

    The neighbours cat keeps crapping on my lawn.

    Oh and can I put a reservation on a 0.5 caliber Desert Eagle as well?

    In Chrome naturally

    1. Michael 34

      Why a reservation?

      "Oh and can I put a reservation on a 0.5 caliber Desert Eagle as well?"

      Why do you need a reservation?

  20. s. pam
    Alert

    Team America, Fuck Yeah!

    We got G*D, Guns, Guts and John Wayne.

    Oh, the King's dead

    We got Guns!!

    Kill Baby KIll, oh that's not what a gun does, that's what a humanoid do!

    1. Michael 34

      Exactly right.

      "Kill Baby KIll, oh that's not what a gun does, that's what a humanoid do!"

      I've had a military career, and never once has a gun killed all by itself. I have held them in my hands; and still never once has any that I have held killed a person. I did kill a bird once; I am an excellent marksman, and I sort of regret killing the bird because I did not need to.

  21. PershingDriver
    Coat

    Gun ownership already mandatory...

    ...unless of course you trust your government.

    Mines the one with the M1 Garand over the shoulder.

  22. W. Keith Wingate
    FAIL

    Moral equivalence? I don't see it.

    So passing a law which requires you to chip in to keep people healthy is constitutionally equivalent to being required to own WMD's?

    Each of the three US States in which I've lived already required me to buy car insurance to legally drive, many different types of insurance to get a government insured mortgage, etc.

    I love how the first things the US marines do when occupying a third world country is round up all the weapons, but doing the same in Tuscon, AZ somehow violates the NRA's corrupted interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

    The reason you can't correlate crime statistics is because the jurisdictions are too small. In Chicago gun ownership was tightly controlled but any gang banger within 45 min. of the Indiana border (e.g. anywhere in Chicago) should have no problem stocking up on cop-killer weapons and ammo.

    A better comparison would be say, Washington DC w/ Toronto, ON. Look it up!

    1. Michael 34

      Legally use government hospitals

      "Each of the three US States in which I've lived already required me to buy car insurance to legally drive,"

      So, choose not to drive and see if you still are required to have "insurance".

      I expect the government will require you to pay for government hospital care.

      But that is not on the table.

  23. Rombizio

    Nobody steals our chicks...and lives.

    Duke Nukem lives in South Dakota.

  24. Ubuntu Is a Better Slide Rule
    Megaphone

    Also Mandate Ownership of Kilowatt-class HF Radios

    ..in case you need to defend your right to communicate. And jam the air force radios in case they abuse their RC135s and Guardrails to geolocate "homegrown communication terrorists spreading terrorist messages".

  25. Stuart Duel
    FAIL

    Riiiiight....

    Because the U.S. health care system is so great for people WITHOUT any health insurance.

    1. Michael 34

      Yes

      "Because the U.S. health care system is so great for people WITHOUT any health insurance."

      It is that, exactly.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    I see some classic fallacies here.

    For starters, I see several arguments here along the lines of "The government takes (tax/fees/money/whatever) under circumstances A, and then does B, and therefore must have the power to take under circumstances C, and then do D", or even worse "and therefore has the power to compel action E"

    This applies particularly to the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen, but there are several other examples strewn about.

    It's sloppy thinking, not to mention that it's not how it works.

    Furthermore, the Republican politicians who made the analogy to the Obamacare individual mandate provision were also sloppy thinkers, for a different reason.

    The federal Constitution grants the fedGov only enumerated powers for express purposes. Ironically, you could plausibly find federal power to require gun ownership in the power to organize the Militia, which has nothing to do with the claimed basis of authority for the Obamacare individual mandate, which is based on the expansive interpretation of the commerce clause whose roots are found in a 1941 case.

    State Constitutions and legislation are a different matter entirely, as each state has a different set of restraints placed on it.

    1. Michael 34

      Once was exactly the case

      "Ironically, you could plausibly find federal power to require gun ownership in the power to organize the Militia,"

      This was actually law and might still be. Militia of the United States is all males 18-45 and at one time, and maybe still, were required to present themselves on demand already possessing military style rifles.

  27. BarkingMad

    More like the Swiss

    Now that I am back in the States after two and a half years in Switzerland I am glad to see we are becoming more and more like the Swiss. For the first time in years I am proud to be an American.

    1. tony trolle

      yep Swiss gun law

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

    2. Michael 34

      That happens a lot after international travel

      "For the first time in years I am proud to be an American."

      I always was, but after some international travel I appreciated more why it was so.

  28. Stuart Duel
    Megaphone

    Those Yanks are an odd lot

    In Australia we have a public, universal, end-to-end health care system. It works very well. It's a large part of Government budgets but easily affordable for the country and cheap when compared to the economic damage of not having such a system in place. It's not economically healthy to allow your population to live in otherwise treatable sickness or with debilitating injury.

    Our Medicare levy funds the scheme that gives Australian residents access to health care. A levy surcharge may apply to high income earners who don't have private patient hospital cover but even that is modest, kicking in after AU $73K (NB. currently = $73K US).

    On a combined income of AU $110K with my partner, we pay a total of AU $780 for access to first class, advanced health care including every hospital specialty from birth to death. We also have universal access to subsidised pharmaceuticals with health care card holders (unemployed, most tertiary students, low income families, pensioners) paying just a nominal amount for any covered drug, which is virtually anything and everything available.

    I'm on a combination of drugs that keeps me alive, healthy and economically productive. I couldn't possibly afford it if I had to pay the "retail" price; my health would fail and I could look forward to a long, debilitating death which would leave me reliant on government welfare.

    There is no such thing as "we can't afford this drug to keep you alive or free of suffering" in Australia. This includes drugs for very rare conditions which normally cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

    Visits to doctors and many specialist services are also subsidised requiring in most part a modest fee of about $30. We don't pay for optometrists visits either. The only thing not really covered for most people in dental. But once again, health care card holders get subsidised access.

    I live in a country that believes it's the role of government to ensure we have a healthy productive population which is most cost effectively delivered by government. This is a society that firmly believes some things in society, such as health care and education, should be free of the profit motive, providing universal access to low or no cost and high quality system.

    Access to health care is a benchmark of a civilised society.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Sounds quite good

      I am another person who is going to say I am glad we have the NHS.

    2. mraak

      PM

      I heard that Ausie PM went for treatment to USA

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No Odd Just Generally Ignorant and Stupid

      One of the difficulties I face living here in the US is finding people to have decent conversations with. If they are not talking about Angelina Jolie or some Hollywood star or the latest reality show they are really an ignorant non thinking lot.

      Its hard to explain to anyone who is not from here. This is a population of people who do not and cannot think and are generally averse to anything that demands that they do some thinking.

      My wife listens to a lot of political debates and she just keep repeating that the politicians cannot be that stupid when they toe the general republican lines. I tell her the republican politicians are generally not stupid but they think that their base is a set of morons. And in that sense they are right . . .

      So understand this ... it is not about reason... reason is for people with some intelligence . . . It is just about what is right . . . all about ideology ... if you reason and have some intelligence you are an educated elitist and something is wrong with education and intelligence . . .

      What I said would offend me deeply a few years back if I hear anyone describe people this way but I am worn down. I am beginning to feel hopeless about our country and its people. Something really has to give . . .

    4. Michael 34

      Try to export that to a much larger, more diverse nation

      "In Australia we have a public, universal, end-to-end health care system. It works very well."

      It works in Iceland, too; or at least it did until the government ran out of money.

      It does not work in the former Soviet Union, the inventor of socialised medicine. it will fail anywhere you have a small number of producers and a large number of consumers.

  29. Jean-Luc
    Thumb Down

    Gotta love frivolous pols who come up with stupid points

    ... while the taxpayers get to pay for the jokes.

    A while back, my (Canadian) member of parliament decided she'd insist on doing a spot inspection of a US nuclear sub, just to make the point that the US should not insist on inspecting Saddam's nukes.

    Predictably enough, she was barred entry.

    Predictably enough, Canadian taxpayers had to pick up her and her staff's hotel and airfare.

    Ditto here, with the taxpayers paying those nitwits' time spent debating something pointless from the start.

  30. Big-nosed Pengie

    Is it just me?

    Or are most of the pro-gun posters in this thread illiterate?

    1. John F***ing Stepp
      Happy

      In Re:Is it just me? → #

      Just you; rest of us had married parents.

      Snerk.

  31. mraak

    US of A

    Once you've been there you see it's inches away from a third world country. Afghanistan has less murders, food is made of plastic and hugely overpriced, medical care, public transport like in Morocco, electricity goes above ground so after every storm there are outages, small snow fall and schools have to close down, etc.....

    So about guns, yeaaah.... Who needs trained police, I want nut jobs defending me and spraying pellets through shopping malls as soon as they feel like it.

    1. asdf
      Flame

      cant be a UK author

      Making fun of our food? You can't be from the UK. Me thinks you haven't spent much time in the true third world. The USA is a lot more like Europe and Japan than say Afghanistan. Sure we have our problems but starvation, and land mines at least we don't have. Sudden coups that take away all you own we also don't worry about.

  32. Captain Thyratron

    Mostly, I am amused at how mad people are getting about this.

    It is obviously a joke that is only meant to provoke discussion, and the discussion it has provoked has apparently been a whole lot of self-righteous condemnation from people who cannot possibly imagine that maybe, just maybe, not everybody wants to have to have health insurance. (Besides, if fewer people had health insurance, how many companies would feel like they could charge $900 for a box of medicine because they're sure someone's insurance will cover it?)

    Yeah, of course it's silly. So is requiring everybody in the country--especially the poor ones--that if they don't shape up and start gambling on the bet that something bad is going to happen to them--and paying into the very system that, alongside frivolous litigation, has been making healthcare more expensive all along--they will be punished.

    Remember what happened to the price of digital-to-analog TV converters in the US when the government announced that they'd help people pay for them?

    Why do politicians think this stuff is their business? Well, I read an article from a San Francisco newspaper about why the city of San Francisco has taken it upon itself to ban everything from plastic shopping bags to Happy Meals: Because politicians who are not wailing away on highly-publicized but relatively unimportant targets do not look "busy"; because solving real problems--and we have plenty--requires years of hard work that have a pretty low payout of politically convenient victory dances. When that's how you operate, there is no such thing as an end to the government's responsibilities--nor a beginning to one's own. Ah, I can see the appeal clear as day. Only the most clever of greed and hypocrisy get to dress up as selfless concern for the wellbeing of the public.

    This time, at least, the joke's not on us.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Following this logic...

    ..if EVERY US citizen, allowed to have a gun, HAD a gun, the whole place would be MUCH safer!

    You Americans are so quaint.

  34. Bounty

    Stop the country bashing. You don't know me.

    >The mandate has nothing to do with ensuring the size of the pool. It resulted from the simple

    >fact that you cannot force the insurance companies to ignore pre existing conditions without

    >forcing everyone to purchase insurance

    Then don't force them to ignore pre-exiting conditions.

    >But having a mandatory health insurance will not only lead to benefits to society (less people

    >dying of curable illnesses just because they can't afford treatment), but should also lead to

    >lower insurance premiums."

    Why? Nobody is forcing them to lower premiums. The "uninsurable" will now have to be insured, certainly rates will go UP. Also, the same # of people will die, they'll just die later. Which I'm not sure is a "benifit" to society. It'll drag Social Security down, increase national debt, fill our hospitals and force up the retirement age while at the same time lowering real wages. There is potential benifit, however the problem is there is a also a tipping point. Our programs as written are not balanced.

    >"In Australia " blah blah....

    It doesn't matter, since the system is nothing like Obamacare. Government ran doesn't equal mandated private purchase.

    One last thing.

    "Hospitals and physician spending take the largest share of the health care dollar" in the US. We spend 19% GDP around 10% more (read DOUBLE) than Australia on healthcare, and the most in the world. In the US the Hospitals are getting well paid. Therefore I would gladly consider actual basic (not advanced treatments/expensive drugs) socialized care, instead of government mandated rich guy making. Also, for the advanced (private care) issues, health is a natual monopoly, you don't go shopping when you're on your death bed. Therefore health care providers should be regulated as monopolies.

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