Sanity in the US – the map

A little more grist to my mill identifying just which are the craziest states of the United States of America.

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conrad
conrad
11 years ago

I guess that one isn’t as surprising as it might first appear if you consider the percentage of people that don’t vote at all and also people that don’t vote for mainstream parties.

meika
11 years ago

I wonder what the map of Afghanistan looks like in comparison.

Nathan
Nathan
11 years ago

This is a false dichotomy, both of these are incredibly important rights to a free state. The fact that the question was asked is evidence of the craziness that have burrowed into the fabric of American politics.

ennui
ennui
11 years ago

Had to smile at a comment on a recent Slate article re the inanities of the Tea Party

“I blame all this on Polka and Square Dancing goin’out of fashion. Them oldsters just need to be kept off the streets with wholsome activities”

I guess Conrad has a point when you get voter turnouts of 50% or so – the value placed on voting is just not that high!

Having worked in both West Virginia and Louisana – a few years back – it is really of no surprise.

Eric
Eric
11 years ago

And people say America is the greatest democracy in the world…..

Jason
Jason
11 years ago

Yeah man, the other night these guys broke into my house, so I simply voted them out by using my right to vote. Good thing they didn’t have voteproof guns, huh! This other time we were trying to find food while stranded in the woods, so we voted a deer right onto our plates. It was awesome the way the entire natural world bent itself to the will of our right to vote. And throughout history, there have been so many times when governments went off the rails and attacked their own citizens — but thank goodness the right to vote stopped anything bad from ever happening.

These are just three ways the right to vote is more essential than the right to bear arms; I’m sure you’ll help me think of more.

elnonio
elnonio
11 years ago

Something doesn’t look right. California is hardly the bastion of gun rights activism, yet it leans towards valuing gun rights more than voting rights?

Chris Jones
Chris Jones
11 years ago

Not as crazy as it looks.

The vote of a conservative in a blue state or a liberal in a red state is not worth all that much. You can go on voting for years on end and not see any practical result. Hell, I happily voted for Obama in 2008 and I don’t see a whole lot of difference from Bush on the issues that really matter to me. It made me feel good to be part of “throwing the bums out” but the good feeling didn’t last all that long and it is about all I got out of it.

It’s easier to see how one can make a difference with a gun than with a vote. I don’t share that point of view but I can see how it makes sense.

Look at it this way: what would you rather give up, your right to vote or your right to free speech? your right to vote or your right to due process? or equal protection? The right to bear arms is just as much a constitutional right — a part of our liberty — as any of those. If we lose our liberty it will be cold comfort that we can vote for which tyrant we want to continue to oppress us.

Matt
Matt
11 years ago

Where is this information coming from? How do they know Idaho actually wants to give up their right to vote?

Tyler
Tyler
11 years ago

As a Texan College Student I request that you re-examine your map. The southerners are the sane people and the north-easteners the insane.

The “mill” post you link to accuses us of insanity but please examine the crime-maps. . There is a strong correlation with states that strongly favor the right to bear arms and lower crime rates. The states bordering mexico are the only exception to this but as a Texan I can state there is spill-over from Mexico.

mongolikescandy
mongolikescandy
11 years ago

Foolish study. What if someone wants to lose neither right?

Leave me my name
Leave me my name
11 years ago

You can always “vote” a man out of your house when you can properly use your gun. You can’t immediately defend yourself with a “vote”. You will not be alive to vote without the right to bear arms.

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Guy
Guy
11 years ago

Perhaps we can be charitable and argue that some folks are likely to give emotionally exaggerated responses on issues like the right to bear arms, and that this might be skewing the outcomes somewhat here…

capt
capt
11 years ago

I wonder what the map of Afghanistan looks like in comparison.

I wonder what the map of any European country looks like in comparison.

WC
WC
11 years ago

Wait, which one are you saying is crazy? They’re both important rights.

I don’t own a gun, but you can bet that if they take away my right to vote, I’ll exercise my right to bear arms. And if they take away my right to bear arms, I’ll exercise my voting rights.

Unsurprisingly, I live in a yellow state.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
11 years ago

“Perhaps we can be charitable and argue that some folks are likely to give emotionally exaggerated responses on issues like the right to bear arms, and that this might be skewing the outcomes somewhat here…”

Well yes, but the fact that we apparently have a society where the attachment of some people to their guns is so deeply emotional that they could give such skewed responses in the first place is truly bizarre and, to my mind at least, “crazy”.

Then again, when you consider that the country most likely to assume world leadership in stead of the US is China, it all becomes so disturbing that maybe it’s best not to think about any of it and be thankful that we live in a country where most people are much more interested in Brendon Fevola’s gambling habits and ex-girlfriend than in guns or politics.

bse2dmd
bse2dmd
11 years ago

It may just be that some feel as though a government that will take away one constitutional right will soon take others. Maybe they just figure that what good does a vote do anyway, if the government has gotten so powerful that it could change the constitution.

Ally
Ally
11 years ago

You know, I live in an european country and we can bear arms. Of course, only hunting shotguns if we’re civilians and you have to pass a test that certifies that you are sane enough to own one.It’s highly regulated, but you can get one if you really want.

The bright side is that criminals can’t get their hands on guns easily either. You can live in a dangerous neighborhood and never see a gun in all your life.

That map makes me think that the US is highly unsafe for its inhabitants (at the level of a third world country, if civilians feel that unsafe in their own homes and neighborhoods), or that there’s a lot of paranoia around.

SP
SP
11 years ago

I wonder what the map of any European country looks like in comparison.

Im from the UK, so that makes me a European country. We aren’t allowed guns in the UK so i suppose our country would just be green.

What i don’t understand is your all too busy wandering why there is such a high gun crime figure in the USA, and then you want to keep your right to bear firearms. :S If you took everyone’s gun away, then no-one would be able to shoot anyone else, you also have the self defence arguement i see but your forgetting all the risks entailed with carrying a gun.

Here its knife crime, not gun crime. but how are we going to stop knife crime if any idiot can buy a knife?

i don’t need a reason to shoot a dear because i make sure i have enough food to eat before i go hiking.

I don’t need a gun unless im going to kill someone, afterall, a gun is hardly a kitchen utensil like a knife is.

nasied
nasied
11 years ago

All american peopple are crazy.

Tel
Tel
11 years ago

I think it is fair to point out the strong statistical correlation between the distribution of political power amongst any population you care to name, and the distribution of military power amongst the same people (the third member of the triangle being economic power, especially as it applies to military matters). This is a correlation that spans both History and Geography.

Athens: military power centered around rowers, archers and light melee footmen, votes were bestowed upon any male who completed military training.

Sparta: military power centered on an elite circle of highly trained spearmen and their wives who handled logistics and management, these were the people who formed the main assembly and the foundation of political power — slaves and serfs were excluded from both.

Medieval Europe: a small group of well trained and well equipped knights could so dominate a battlefield that peasants (both their opinions and their arms) could largely be ignored. Political power was highly stratified and centralised.

From Napoleon to WWI: massed armies of relatively poorly trained soldiers equipped with firearms and artillery left no place for an elite warrior. Numbers won battles. Democracy gradually came back into style and political power disbursed away from the elite.

After WWI and through WWII war was primarily determined by production and logistics. Women were put to work in factories for the war effort and low and behold, women also obtained the right to vote around the same time.

Modern China: army and party go hand in hand, have done since Mao made his famous statement about guns.

Afghanistan also fits the pattern in as much as both military power and political power remained decentralized in the hands of tribal groups and the male warrior population. Women have no guns and no rights.

Of course, my very brief thesis has largely ignored the not inconsiderable influence of economic power, but it does at least demonstrate the rationality of individuals keeping a hold of whatever authority they might have, regardless of where it comes from, or how tenuous that authority is.

One could argue that in an era of satellite surveillance infrastructure, remote control killer drones, high energy weapons, and Playstation (TM) warfare, the humble rifle has finished playing its part forever — consigned to museum showcases alongside claymores and trebuchets). War is once more becoming a gear-sport for the hyper-trained elite… however I’d guess we are not quite at that stage yet. The iron-age Afghan tribesmen are still (just barely) holding out against a far more expensive high-tech invasion force; and the poorly equipped but highly motivated Hezbollah scored a surprisingly good round against the attacking IDF. Large numbers of motivated humans carrying mass-produced late 20th century weapons remain tough home-turf defenders. It certainly is confusing how being crazy can be the most rational choice under certain situations.

Then again, when you consider that the country most likely to assume world leadership in stead of the US is China, it all becomes so disturbing that maybe it’s best not to think about any of it and be thankful that we live in a country where most people are much more interested in Brendon Fevola’s gambling habits and ex-girlfriend than in guns or politics.

Quite so.

Part of the ritual of paying thanks is to stay mindful of how we got here and what keeps us in our current position of comfort. Studying the history of Tibet might be useful… perhaps considering how that history could have been different if percentage of gun ownership had been significantly higher.

Getting to that time of the year where we all shout beers at the local RSL and debate matters with the old bastards who sit a fraction closer to historical events. Maybe try asking the same question; bit of a conversation starter.

Tonewah
Tonewah
11 years ago

I seem to recall Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Maoist China banning guns. Voting sort of lost it’s teeth after that. The sad fact is that you can’t really have one without the other. If you only have voting rights for the people, the thugs in control will tell you how to vote. If you only have guns, you’ll have a war until you’re allowed to vote or until you lose all of your guns.

The question of the survey is moot, however. While on paper we have both a right to vote and to bear arms against tyrants, we don’t really have either in 100% actual practice. Go to Blackboxvoting.org to see how much your vote counts, and if you think you can fight Apaches, 50cals and predator drones with a .22, 30-06 or 12 guage, your death will be horrific, but mercifully quick.

David
David
11 years ago

This is a false dichotomy, both of these are incredibly important rights to a free state. The fact that the question was asked is evidence of the craziness that have burrowed into the fabric of American politics.

The fact that you think that the right to bear arms has the same importance as the right to vote is really surprising to me, an European citizen. If i’m to choose between them i would choose the right to vote over the right to bear arms anyday. I would like to add that, in my humble opinion, the fact that there are so many arms in the US is not preventing crimes, quite the opposite…

Ramon
Ramon
11 years ago

Bankers don’t shoot each other, Nicholas. They exchange credit default swaps.

If you are thinking about Switzerland then you are wrong. Finland or Norway would be better suited to the description.

Larry
Larry
11 years ago

Isn’t it strange that countries that don’t allow it’s citizens to “keep and bear arms” also don’t allow free and honest elctions?

Marvin
11 years ago

All those idiots that choose guns over voting should stay home on election day and we’d all be better off.

Grey
Grey
11 years ago

I don’t see what’s crazy about valuing the right to bear arms more than the right to vote. I’d rather lose the right to vote than basically any other right (and I’m not a gun owner). As an individual, all the other rights you have, have enormous practical value, whereas the right to vote has almost none. The chances that your individual vote will ever change the outcome of anything are effectively zero, whereas its completely possible that you’ll have to defend yourself at some point.

Anon Y. Mous
Anon Y. Mous
11 years ago

Losing “the right to bear arms” may very well lead to losing “the right to vote”.

Charlie
Charlie
11 years ago

Technically speaking… There is no right no vote. Voting is a privilege. Voting clauses within The Constitution make no mention of voting rights, but they do guarantee that a person may not be disallowed to vote based on sex, race, etc.

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11 years ago

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YOURMOM
YOURMOM
11 years ago

I find it interesting that the nation essentially is divided by the Mississpippi with the exception of California, which is already a ridiculous state.

Bill Bennett
Bill Bennett
11 years ago

As long as I have the right to bear arms I can guarantee my right vote!

CJ
CJ
11 years ago

Lol elnonio Cali is PRO-voting over guns. Read the question. Which would you rather give up. Cali gave up right to arms.

Poor Richard
Poor Richard
11 years ago

Too bad the data couldn’t be a tighter granularity–Colorado, for instance, would have much different data along the east side of the Rocky Mts than the west side. I’m sure there’s other states with similar differences–Texas, for instance would be much more “guns” in the panhandle region and much more “votes” in the hill country region around Austin.

cben
cben
11 years ago

of course CT would say the right to vote we’re such squares!

NPOV
NPOV
11 years ago

FWIW I completely agree that from any individuals’ point of view, the right to bear arms has more obvious value than the right to vote. But it’s equally plain to me that a country full of citizens with a right to vote but not to bear arms is a far preferable one than one full of citizens with a right to bear arms but not to vote. It’s one of any number of examples of where the best result for everyone involves every individual making the same sacrifice (e.g. Prisoner’s Dilemma).

Nabakov
Nabakov
11 years ago

Quite liked Tel’s observations@24 although perhaps the medieval warfare point kinda broke down when it came to Crécy.

“Studying the history of Tibet might be useful… perhaps considering how that history could have been different if percentage of gun ownership had been significantly higher.”

Indeed, as 700 dead Tibetan militia could attest after encountering Sir Francis Younghusband.

As for bearing arms securing the right to vote, well one thing you can learn from history is that US Governments (of all stripes) are quite prepared to use overwhelming force against armed dissidents eg: the Whiskey Rebellion, the US Civil War, Waco, etc.

Also as Poor Richard points out, it’s actually pretty misleading to break this down at the state level. It’s probably much more of an urban/suburban/regional/socio-economic split within states.

Generally I agree with NPOV@40 but in reality it’s not as though it’s an either/or case in most countries. For example, you’d expect France to have pretty tight gun laws yet I once went partridge and pigeon shooting in a very rural part of Burgundy where the locals turned up with an amazing range of guns and rifles including even an old FN FAL.

NB: If you shoot a pigeon with an FN FAL, all that’s left for the pot is some feathers and scrag ends. V. nicely balanced rifle though.

Nabakov
Nabakov
11 years ago

“…although perhaps the medieval warfare point kinda broke down when it came to Crécy.”

Mind you, the whole concept of old school medieval warfare broke down at Crécy anyway.

Nabakov
Nabakov
11 years ago

And again revisiting tel@24 – while I’m in general accord with the thesis you’re advancing, let’s not forget the Royal Navy from the 17th century till WW2 – a technocratic and elite globally focused force that wielded immense geo-political power yet generally kept out of political affairs – Pepys and Winnie aside.

Richard
Richard
11 years ago

Wow

Reading these comments, I finally understand how George W Bush got elected…. not onece, but twice…!!

Anyone who is disturbed enough to equate guns with democracy deserves neither.

David
David
11 years ago

I’m really astonished to read what some of you wrote.

Isn’t it strange that countries that don’t allow it’s citizens to “keep and bear arms” also don’t allow free and honest elctions?

This is absolutely false, most of the countries i know, with the exception of US, countries do not allow it’s citizens to bear firearms and they allow free elections!!! Why do you need a riffle assault at home? I just don’t get it… To defend yourselves? What’s the police for? If you can have a firearm to protect yourself so can a have it anyone

What makes world safer, everybody holding a riffle assault or everybody holding nothing?

I’d rather lose the right to vote than basically any other right (and I’m not a gun owner). As an individual, all the other rights you have, have enormous practical value, whereas the right to vote has almost none. The chances that your individual vote will ever change the outcome of anything are effectively zero, whereas its completely possible that you’ll have to defend yourself at some point.

Ok, so you prefer a dictator who allows you to bear firearms over a democratic government? Right to vote doesn’t have any value?? I think that our great-grandfathers would be really dissapointed… So much fight for nothing.

Losing “the right to bear arms” may very well lead to losing “the right to vote”.

That’s just an hypothesis based on no facts, do you think somebody will invade you and will abolish your rights? Do you think some fanatics would be able to abolish your rights?

What if we put it the other way around, losing the right to bear arms may very well lead to lower the crime rates, accidents with firearms, massacres… That’s based on logic.

Tel
Tel
11 years ago

Royal Navy from the 17th century till WW2

Point taken; but all navies at the time required a steady supply of non-elite manpower, and usually also plenty of marines (not sure whether you consider marines to be elite fighters, but recruits tended to be drawn from the broader base of society and training and equipment were provided by the employer, making them significantly different from medieval knights).

I agree that the British Navy was into tech more than their contemporaries. I also agree that although the “officer class” were regarded as elite and well respected, they did not get any direct political privileges (well, none that I know of, but I’m a bit of a generalist). I’m willing to regard this bit of British history as somewhat unique, and many people would also support me in as much as no other small nation ever put together such a world-beating mix of technology, politics, commerce and military power.

As for bearing arms securing the right to vote, well one thing you can learn from history is that US Governments (of all stripes) are quite prepared to use overwhelming force against armed dissidents eg: the Whiskey Rebellion, the US Civil War, Waco, etc.

Although a statistical correlation between arms and votes exists, the direct effect of one on the other is far muddier. Especially when you consider how these structures evolve over time. Saying “securing the right to vote” is far too strong.

Yes, the US government has shown willingness to resort to force (as all governments do from time to time) but such events are expensive in terms of political capital and national stability. Governments simply cannot do this sort of thing every other week. Having a deeply divided sub-population with genuine ongoing grievances is a disaster for nation building (e.g. the Irish problem, and the Israel/Palestine problem).

Nabakov
Nabakov
11 years ago

Yes Tel, the RN was always a bit of an outlier when it came to the armed forces of the world.

But even below decks, they always had immense esprit de corp based on hundreds of years of tradition and serious bonding at sea – and epic port punch ups. My dad, an old RN man, said that post WW2, the main outlet for the RN’s energy was beating up the USN, until the British Army joined in. Then the limeys and swabbies would join together to punch out the army – any army.

And my dad also observed that in such circumstances, and unlike army or air force officers, naval officers would get rapidly and cheerfully stuck in too. It’s a ship thing.

“Yes, the US government has shown willingness to resort to force (as all governments do from time to time) but such events are expensive in terms of political capital and national stability.”

I’ll say. The US is still feeling the aftershocks from the Civil War (only seven score and ten years ago).

“Governments simply cannot do this sort of thing every other week.”

True. At least with their own populace. Doesn’t seem to stop ’em from endlessly doing it in the Balkans, Mesopotamia or the North West Frontier.

gilhad
gilhad
11 years ago

44. David: In Europe (except UK) citizen still have right to have guns – only it is burocratically limited and made more complicated – as it is in some states in USA too BTW.
In “communistic era” we had no right to have guns, but we had right to vote. Effectivelly it ended in 99.9% votes for hated ruling party, as nobody wanted to risk his own life and safety of entire family – so we had “right to vote” but we had no choise to vote from and nothing could be changed by voting. On the end people risked lifes and injuries and wenta against the goverment anyway – the “velvet revolution” was not won by “using right to vote” but with force of desperate people who had nearly nothing to lose more.

What is police for? Court in USA stated repeatedly, that the police is there not for personal safety of people and is not responsible for it, even if informed before. The police is here for take fingerprints at crime scene, pick your dead body, talk with your raped wife/daughter, make evidence of your stoled property and eventually with some luck sometime later find the culprit and arrest him. Even if they do everything they can, your body is still dead, your wife raped and your property lost, the best outcome can be, that the criminal is found before he does too much more damage to other people too. Police is for the general safety of society, but not for any personal safety at all.

Yews in Germany first lost the right to have any weapons, then the right to vote and then was massacred. All that by ruling of the state, they lived in and in this exact order. So much for hypotesis without facts. (and it is not the only case, whet it happened, it happens again and again in some small variations …)

sean
sean
11 years ago

A loaded gun forces more social change than your worthless vote. I believe in voting in local elections, but when it comes to federal elections why bother? The electoral college rarely represents it’s constituency and the last time the popular vote was used in swaying the electoral was bush/gore. What a coincidence that the 537 votes came from a state run by a candidate’s brother , after many voters and ballots were disqualified. If someone tries to steal your property you can try having your family write a note that says “The 5 members of this household have decided that you should leave our property alone” or you can go outside, chamber a shell in that 12 gauge and watch the thief run away.

Spooner
Spooner
11 years ago

“I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”
-Boss Tweed

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence… From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable…The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference–they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
-George Washington

Splint
Splint
11 years ago

@Richard who said “Anyone who is disturbed enough to equate guns with democracy deserves neither.”

All democracy arose from people who stood up with guns or other weapons to a tyrannical force. You can argue that democracy may allow for the gradual reduction in the need for weaponry, but don’t be ignorant of the role guns have played in the relative freedom of many.

Jimbo
Jimbo
11 years ago

The Greenest states are the ones in the most debt, as well. No correlation, I’m sure.