Taking down pro-gun talking points one at a time
There has been a shooting at a military base. There has been a shooting in a school. There has been a shooting in a church. Regardless of motivation or location, guns are too prevalent in this nation.
In March 0f 2014, America celebrated the first month in many years without a soldier killed in action. The glow didn’t last long, as we lost three military personnel on home soil. The gun control argument is continually dismissed as the gun violence problem worsens. Guns, as always, are a polarizing lightning rod. This is getting so far beyond ridiculous.
You are not a bad guy because you own a gun. But if you’re fighting for the rights of “bad guys with guns,” then you can’t call yourself the good guy. Arguments and attitudes need to be reachable on both sides of this issue. Responsibility more than restriction.
This is not all about weapons restrictions, although they must be discussed, and it certainly isn’t about an across the board firearms ban. Americans should be free to own guns, but not at the expense of other people’s rights. This is the sticking point that gun lobbyists balk at. Instead of compromising, they dig in.
Guns are not going anywhere. Mass shootings happen at an alarming rate. The majority of Americans feel that there needs to be more gun control. Many erroneously call for a weapons ban. Gun lobbyists arguments? Well, those are the sticking points, and what we have to research. It’s long past time Americans tore down talking points and worked towards a solution.
In the summer of 2012, two NYPD officers in front of the Empire State Building took down a gunman. These were highly trained cops, put in the exact situation LaPierre fantasizes about. While they did do their job, their bullets wounded nine people. They were rightly lauded as heroes for not killing anyone but the shooter.
Two policemen, whose job it is to stop bad guys, but still wounded nine other people. And that’s after the bad guy had killed his victim. Two dead and nine wounded. This is the absolute best-case scenario of LaPierre’s fallacious statement.
Is it realistic to expect a random gun owner to do better than the police? No. The “good guy with a gun” is a macho fantasy. If you imagine that you are a “good guy with a gun” then you are neither responsible, nor mature enough to be handling one. If you own a gun to strut around like a big hero, you are part of the problem. Look to George Zimmerman.
Gun lobbyists are quick to counter this with stories and links about crimes prevented by responsible gun owners. And, yes, this does happen. But it is a sad fact that these rare occurrences are far outweighed by the tragic instances where gun owners were ineffective. In fact, studies show gun owners are more likely to kill themselves than others.
Quite simply, if “good guy” gun owners were so effective at stopping “bad guys” with guns, the NRA and other gun lobbies would constantly be flooding the news with these stories. There simply aren’t enough of them to do so. Meanwhile there are mass shootings after mass shootings.
And this is not to mention that seasoned cops and security personnel frequently seize up in dangerous situations. The body’s natural inclination is to freeze, fight, or flee from danger. Your body goes through hindering physiological changes in critical incident situations. Only through rigorous training can the average person suppress this instinct. And there is still no guarantee they will react in time, or even at all.
This writer has witnessed a mentally ill teenager with a butcher knife nearly escape clean after trying to cut someone’s throat in a bar. That’s because everybody stood around with his or her jaws dropped open in shock. Including an off duty cop.
In my experience in security, the very first thing people do when there is a sudden and unexpected threat is freeze up. Every time. Then they bolt. And these are in situations not nearly as dire as an active shooter. Fear is a powerful emotion, and it cancels out logic, reason, and training.
Even if you have the training and wherewithal to safely draw a firearm and aim at the bad guy, assuming that you have not been shot already, you are now dealing with people panicking and running past and probably even through you. Not to mention all the myriad factors you must instantaneously assess correctly before you can react.
Reaction time. Distance. Targeting, visibility, fields of fire, innocents, all in a split second. And if there is nobody else there with you, then you are just shot. The bad guy has the drop on you regardless. It doesn’t matter if you are armed or not.
The “good guy with the gun” is more likely to shoot his wife in a drunken stupor than stop a mass shooting. The problem is not the firearms themselves, but the arrogant and careless attitudes of those advocating that there be no limits on gun sales.
“Shoot first and ask questions later.” “Never mind the dog, beware of owner.” “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” These are paranoid exclamations of pride, attempted intimidation, and aggression. None are responsible statements.
The people who say it’s “too soon” to talk about weapons restrictions after every mass shooting flaunted and glorified firearms the day after the Newtown anniversary. This was “Guns Save Lives Day.” No matter how you feel about the issue, timing of this was tasteless, boorish, and monumentally disrespectful. Of all classifications this event could be categorized as, “responsible” was not one of them.
Those who are quick to boast of their firearms and their ability with them are the ones causing the most harm. These types of attitudes enable and embolden those who aren’t capable of properly handling guns. It’s difficult to classify this type of thinking as “responsible.”
To advocate the banning of firearms is misguided and foolish, but it is painfully obvious that just anyone can buy some. There is plenty of footage online of people buying firearms at a gun show without even showing ID. Terrorist organizations actually call for followers to do just that.
Somehow, making sure that people buying firearms are not criminals or terrorists is an assault on our freedom. These are times filled with dangerous people. Background checks, effective ones, are not unreasonable. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Making guns difficult to access for those with shady histories needs to be more firmly implemented. This would be a responsible step for us all to take.
Here are the two talking points used to argue against background checks and weapons restrictions. Both of these statements are taken from one fallacious premise. Let’s take a look at the real story.
First, the “criminals don’t follow laws” argument forwarded by gun advocates. They are forgetting, of course, that most mass shooters have no previous criminal record. Or that a family member, spouse, or friend causes most gun deaths.
In the overall picture, those with previous criminal records are not responsible for the majority of gun deaths. It is not as if there are mass roving gangs of criminals overrunning our streets in every single community in the nation. “The Road Warrior” is a fantasy movie, not a documentary of American life.
Not to mention that it isn’t hard for criminals to disregard laws that are weakly enforced and easily subverted. Gun laws are uneven from State to State; as such, weapons are brought over State lines from where they are legal to where they are not; and gun lobbyists constantly work to undermine weapons regulations regardless.
For examples of undermined gun control, see the Tiahrt Amendments. This legislation prevents the ATF from fully and properly enforcing weapons restrictions, and ties their hands on inspecting gun dealer stocks. This is what pro-gun crowds use for their “laws don’t work” fallacies. Hilarious, as they are the people doing everything they can to make sure these laws don’t work.
Take Todd Tiahrt for instance. He was a politician, bought by the gun lobbies to write legislation their way. He does not have the best interests of the American public at heart. He is following the money, and he is just one example.
The NRA, Gun Lobbies, and John R. Lott
Here we have the root cause of most of America’s gun troubles. The National Rifle Association is only interested in keeping gun sales strong. That is their motivation, and how they make money. This is why they constantly work to undermine legislation and use their considerable influence on Washington.
The NRA and the other gun lobbies do not have public safety in mind at all. Never mind their Eddie the Eagle mascot for children. Never mind their video game, released shortly after blaming those same games for mass shootings. These tactics are ostensibly intended to teach children about gun safety. What they are really doing is indoctrinating children into a culture that glorifies guns.
The irresponsibility of gun lobbies is personified in John R. Lott. If you haven’t heard about this man, you need to research him. If you don’t have time, and he leaves a hard trail to follow, bookmark this link and check its sources for all the lurid details.
To sum up, John R. Lott has a hot mess of history regarding his research; flubbing research; losing research; escaping allegations of falsifying his research by claiming he had a computer crash; re-doing his research but on a smaller scale; missing incidents in his research, or counting other incidents multiple times; and then positively reviewing his own research under an assumed identity.
What does John R. Lott research? Guns. He’s best known for his book “More Guns, Less Crime” which advocated, unsurprisingly, more guns. Lott’s history is convoluted and complicated, but it all comes down to how his facts are not solid.
The problem with his facts being questionable is that they are the premise for his books, which are in turn the premise for many talking points of the gun lobbies. Lott’s research is either falsified on purpose or he is prone to errors in his methodology. So if his books are cornerstones of pro-gun advocates, their arguments must not be taken at face value.
He is absolutely not a reliable source, but as he advocates for more guns, he gets paid by Fox News and the gun lobbies to spread their message for them; “More guns!” But if the person forwarding that argument is basing it upon a flimsy premise, it poses bigger questions.
Are they forwarding this fallacious statement out of ignorance or deceitfulness? How can anyone displaying traits like this be taken seriously on any subject, let alone one as grave and serious as guns? Do you consider those who are careless or liars to be responsible? You shouldn’t. You will get hurt if you do.
Here’s that John R. Lott story again. He is far more integral to this issue than people realize. The next time you see an anti-gun control argument, check to see if the numbers aren’t derived from the work of John R. Lott. If they are, then those numbers aren’t credible.
The gun lobbies wrap themselves in the American flag, playing themselves off as patriots, but their sole loyalty will always be to the dollar. Nothing else. American lives are not worth as much to them.
It’s not accurate to blame guns by themselves. But it’s unacceptable to make excuses for them. The gun owner that says firearms are just “tools” is refusing responsibility for a lethal weapon. Ergo, they are not a responsible gun owner.
Gun lobbyists often try to deflect with “cars kill people too” or “spoons make you fat” or other ridiculous semantics. Guns cannot be compared to anything other than guns. If you can’t stay on this topic and need to deflect, pivot, or compare apples to oranges, then you do not have a strong argument.
Which brings us to the base of the argument, “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.” Ozzy Osbourne unexpectedly put this talking point to rest in 1998, in an interview with the New York Times: “I keep hearing this [expletive] thing that guns don’t kill people, but people kill people. If that’s the case, why do we give people guns when they go to war? Why not just send the people?”
We send guns because they are meant to kill. They are a weapon meant to fire a bullet that will rend flesh and bone, or whatever other objects it is fired at. Yes, a gun can be used for things other than taking lives. But no other object or tool is meant for expressly that purpose, or can perform it so efficiently.
That is why firearms always should be in their own category and never compared to anything else. Don’t let semantics draw you away from the point at hand; guns are primarily designed to kill and they are too readily available.
Not to mention all the accidents where a gun went off unexpectedly. Even by NRA safety instructors. Perhaps it was dropped. But yes, guns can kill. Without people pulling the trigger. Glossing over that the gun is a weapon does yourself a tremendous disservice. These are not the actions of someone with a responsible attitude.
Knives? Yes they can kill too. But they can’t do it nearly as quickly and completely as an AR-15 with a high capacity. The same day as Sandy Hook, there was a mass knifing in China. Twenty-two children wounded, no deaths. In April of 2014, another mass knife attack in a school in Pennsylvania. No deaths at the time of this writing.
This is not to belittle knife attacks. Certainly there have been mass knife attacks that have caused many deaths. But they aren’t frequently as deadly as shootings. And if that had been an AR-15 in that school near Pittsburgh, you cannot deny the outcome would have been much more dire. Instead, victims survived, and the assailant was captured, not killed.
Again, it comes down to responsibility. If you can’t admit a gun is a lethal weapon, try to pass it off as anything else, or make excuses for it when it is too often apparent how deadly and dangerous it is, then you should not own one nor advocate that everyone else should.
People save lives. Guns take them.
Gun Free Zones
This argument is beyond ridiculous. The premise being that shootings mostly take place in gun-free locations, restricted zones, etc. Simply untrue. Refer to Columbine with armed guards; Beltway snipers; and any of a countless number of shootings, mass deaths or not. Whomever forwards this argument does not know what they are talking about, and will most likely quote statistics, if they even do that, cribbed from our buddy John R. Lott.
They are trying to falsely equate a relatively small percentage of shootings to represent the entire issue. Dismiss them out of hand. Next argument.
Another tired statement going around is that school shootings happen because God has been removed from schools. Well which God do you mean? Surely you must realize that different people believe different things? And let’s say, for argument’s sake, you mean the Christian God and that everyone on the planet is Christian. How do you explain shootings at Christian schools? Pedophile priests?
Not every Christian is pious, meaning that they are just like non-Christians in that there are good and bad people in that Faith. One sees this in all walks of life. Christianity only accounts for a fraction of the American population, remember. Not all Christians are American, and neither is every American a Christian.
Freedom of Religion means you may practice your faith freely, not that you can tell everyone they must live by your religious views. If you are going to cite the Second Amendment, you cannot ignore Separation of Church and State, or you will be seen as hypocritical.
In other words, you can’t say The Second Amendment is sacred if you’re going to piss all over the first.
The Second Amendment
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Constitution of the United States of America was amended this way so that people could:
▪ deter tyrannical government.
▪ repel invasion.
▪ suppress insurrection.
▪ facilitate a natural right of self-defense.
▪ participate in law enforcement.
▪ enable the people to organize a militia system.
Participate in law enforcement? Yes, I think everyone’s cool with that. Organize a militia system? Nobody has a better militia system than the USA. The military outweighs the next fifteen plus countries in spending and equipment alone. Nobody has more guns than the armed forces of the USA. Okay. Covered.
Check this out though, deterring tyrannical government and suppressing insurrection cancel each other out. Repelling invasion? From whom, Canada? I think it’s fair to say that these concepts need to be updated. We are no longer in the days of powder muskets that could be fired twice a minute by a professional soldier. The USA is not facing any conventional invasions, Red Dawn fantasies aside.
A natural right of self-defense makes sense. Except that the right of self defense, the main argument for gun proponents, has escalated to the ridiculous. Helped by right wing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and ALEC, draconian laws such as ‘Stand Your Ground” are becoming lightning rods for social injustice.
There are actually people out there who think they should be in their rights to own a bazooka. Why? Because they want one. That’s it. Ridiculous. You don’t need one. You just don’t. You only want one, and that is not the same thing. Join the armed forces then.
“Well regulated militia” does not mean everyone in the country should own a bunker full of firearms. “Well regulated” comes before “shall not be infringed” for a reason. Order, not chaos. Responsibility, not recklessness. Whomever tells you “shall not be infringed” comes before “well regulated” is selling you something.
True freedom does not need a weapon. True freedom means not being afraid. True freedom is something we all desire. It does not mean abandonment of consideration. It does not mean your neighbor does whatever he wants, regardless of how you are negatively affected. True freedom is tempered with responsibility. This should be a mantra for everyone, regardless of what side of this issue they stand on. True freedom means compromising with those around you. Talking, not shouting.
There are those who will not engage in this discussion of course. There are always people like that. They will mock and they will rage. They will condescend and insult. They will never go away. They will only get in the way. For examples, check the comments section, they are sure to appear there soon, if not already. Some will make it clear they only wish to shout you down. Ignore them.
And as they are free to express their opinions, we are free to dispute them. Especially when their opinions are based upon fallacies. If they only insult you, then they are only trying to intimidate you. If they are trying to intimidate you, then they are the wrong people to own firearms, as they are not acting in a responsible manner.
You should be free to own a firearm. But that freedom should not come at the cost of anyone else’s. If you cannot prove you are responsible and mature enough to own a gun, you shouldn’t. If it is the gun that gives you a sense of freedom, of power, then what you are really saying is you are powerless without it. That is a dangerous mentality to have. Should a person like this be carrying a firearm? No.
What everything comes down to is this; if you don’t feel free unless you own a firearm, then that is not truly Liberty.