Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Assault on Common Sense

With President Obama announcing his new gun control proposals this week, I figured it would be a good time to follow up on the last post I wrote on the subject.  But before I could even get started, I read this post on the humor blog, Act Classy, that basically said everything I wanted to say, and completely dismantled the arguments coming from Gun-Obsessed America.

But there were a couple of angles that wasn’t covered, and that brings me to today’s screed.

Have you heard about the NRA releasing videos calling Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for daring to try to curtail assault weapons while his daughters enjoyed armed guards?  I almost spit my Diet Coke when I read about it.

This is one of those arguments that sounds good when you’re at the bar listening to some other drunk, right up until you take a second or two to actually think about it.  The NRA is apparently trying to gain traction for their leader’s half-baked assertion that we should either arm teachers or have armed guards posted at every school across the country. 

It’s a completely invalid comparison.  The president’s daughters are afforded protection just like every past president’s family, because they are attractive, specific targets for terrorist action or assassination.  It’s just a common sense precaution for volatile geo-political world we inhabit. 

It also ignores the fact that the Secret Servicemen are some of the best-trained people in the world to react to a crisis or hostile-fire situation.  They understand having a clear line of fire and possess the skill to hit what they shoot at.  Unlike, say, the average gun-toting yahoo that thinks all the shit in Bruce Willis movies can really happen. 

Here’s a thought… being adept at Call of Duty 3 does not make one qualified to take out a shooter in a darkened, crowded, panic-stricken theater or school library.

Personally, I’m behind what the president is proposing: banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips, and requiring background checks for ALL purchases.  It’s a measured, common sense set of steps.  So of course the NRA is having a fit.

It’s no wonder the NRA is coming up with these preposterous assertions… it’s all they have.  When you can’t win on facts, change the subject.  They use every misdirecting trick and slippery-slope evasion in the book to browbeat the public and politicians into backing away from gun legislation. 

There is not a single, solitary, valid reason why either assault rifles or high-capacity magazines should be owned by civilians.  They are not necessary for legitimate hunting, nor are they any more effective than a standard rifle for self-defense.  (Unless, of course, you’re talking about defending your home against the Zombie Apocalypse, which unfortunately for the NRA, is not a real thing.)  

The only thing they can accurately say is, “But I WANT a big gun that goes budda-budda-budda-budda…” 
Compensating!

I saw one guy on TV complaining that he doesn’t think HE should have to give up his assault rifle because it wasn’t HIM that shot up the school.  “But I didn’t do anything wrong,” he whined to the news crew.

And neither did Nancy Lanza, right up until her disturbed kid took her assault weapon and ended 26 lives.  We have to decide what our priorities are: preventing massacres or preserving our right to go play Army on a shooting range.  If you really need to compensate for what you’re lacking in the sack, maybe go buy a sports car instead.

Another bullshit argument is the old, “But this ban wouldn’t have stopped the school shooting,” (or theater shooting, or any other recent shooting).

Maybe that’s true, but we sure don’t have to make it so goddamned easy.  The problem is there is no way to measure the mass killings that never happened because some nutbag didn’t have easy access to an assault weapon.  Nor can we easily measure how many lives might have been spared if a shooter went on a rampage with a standard revolver, because he was unsuccessful in obtaining a Bushmaster AR-15.

Just because a new proposed law can’t stop every tragedy doesn’t mean we can’t try to stop some of them, or at least lower the body count.

It’s the NRA’s willful duplicity that encourages the rest of the whack-a-loon paranoids out there, like the conspiracy theorists.  Have you heard about these guys that are convinced the Sandy Hook shootings were staged, so that Obama would have a reason to take away their guns?  Guys are actually phoning threats to people they saw on the news, talking about their roles in the situation.  It’s ludicrous.  These are the people we shrink from in fear when it comes to instituting some kind of rational gun laws? 

The NRA is going to make a lot of noise and a lot of threats to vote out any politician that displeases them.  The only way to pass sensible gun legislation is for rational people to make even more noise.  Congress will only cross the NRA if we make them.  And if they (McConnell and Boehner) refuse to allow votes on these proposals, we need to remember their misguided allegiance the next time they run for re-election.

We need to tell the NRA and the rest of their minions to go back to their underground shelters and let the rest of us enjoy a civilized, level-headed society.

20 comments:

  1. The NRA has held sway far too long. Their irrelevant inanity poisons our society and threatens our safety.
    Time now to write, pester, harangue our congress people who are accountable to us, the "American people" they so piosly invoke.
    SPEAK UP, American People. Control the guns.

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    1. If you want to reduce the number of Rifles of Mass Destruction, it’s time to make then noise. We have to do something more effective than suspending 6-year olds from school, for pointing finger-guns on the playground.

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  2. I really don't understand how so many people are so stupid.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. That reminds me of a favorite saying: “Genius has limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” ~Elbert Hubbard~

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  3. The huge fallacies of logic coming from NRA and craziest of gun supporters are pretty incredible. My favorite is the "we are going to turn into an dictatorship" argument; This coming from people who have clearly not picked up a history book since highschool

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    1. That’s the kind of argument you’re left with when you can’t win on merit. Change the subject and play to the fears of the ignorant.

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  4. What blows my mind is, you'd THINK the NRA would want background checks on all purchases, thus making them more credible.

    And how about that whack-job saying he hopes that Michelle Obama ends up a widow? Some people are so freaking stupid. And thoughtless. And well, should probably figure out why they're filled with such hate.

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    1. Hateful racists with high-powered weapons… that’s a recipe for a successful country, no?

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  5. I like the car excuse: Cars kill people, too. Should we take away all cars?

    Answer: No. But let's regulate guns like we do cars. First, no race cars on the streets. You need to have a license from the State that is renewed with a test every so often. If you screw up, we suspend said license. Every gun will be registered and licensed. And every sale of a gun will be recorded with the State. And you need to buy insurance on your gun, in case it injures anyone. Thanks for all the ideas, gun dude!

    My latest idea is to legislate that all guns must be pink or powder blue. Guns would only be for people who really want them. It's hard to look like Rambo with a pink gun.

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    1. Your answer was better than mine.

      I had this argument last night with someone who included the faulty “car analogy.” I said that cars are designed for a positive, essential purpose, which is to move people quickly from one place to another, therefore validating the continued use of cars. Guns have one designed purpose: to kill whatever you shoot at.

      I love the Gun Insurance idea, but I’m guessing the rates would be astronomical. Making all the guns pink and powder blue would be much more economical. Maybe add glitter and My Little Pony stickers?

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  6. Great idea for pink and blue guns but are they gender specific or supporting breast cancer research?
    Kidding no more. Regulating guns like cars is a fabulous idea. Unfortunately no amendment protects cars or our daily commute would resemble amusement park bumper cars.

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    1. OMG, how fun would it be to drive around the highway in bumper cars? (Assuming everyone else was driving them, of course.)

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  7. Insurance is an interesting thought I don't know why anyone would be against getting rid of hi cap clips or certain types of ammo but why keep regulating Law abiding responsible gun owners make laws tougher on ANYONE that uses a gun in any way it is not meant for . Take away the gun show loophole on background checks is OK also but I go back to how do you keep or control criminals from getting guns that is a more pressing question ???? Chicago has some of the toughest gun regulations in the Nation yet one of the highest murder by gun rates in the Nation ...

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    1. I don't think what's being proposed is meant to keep "criminals" from running amok with guns... it's meant to reduce the number of misguided souls that use legally acquired guns to commit unspeakable tragedies. The few guns available, the fewer massacres.

      When determined, a person can most always acquire a gun, but we don't need to make it so easy. And the more steps and/or obstacles, the more chances for the "grand plan" to fall through.

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  8. Great points and I agree with all of the other comments too.

    There was a fascinating comprehensive historical review of the evolution of the NRA in the Washington Post this week at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-nras-true-believers-converted-a-marksmanship-group-into-a-mighty-gun-lobby/2013/01/12/51c62288-59b9-11e2-88d0-c4cf65c3ad15_story_3.html If you have the time it is a very insightful perspective that confirmed for me that NRA is so extreme that there is nothing they won't do to fight any kind of regulation of firearms no matter how logical it may be. To overcome their "take no prisoners" approach to coercing members of Congress to vote against any firearms regulatory measures, the rest of us need to make our voices known to Congress and have to figure out deep pocket resources to counteract the NRA. I wish I knew how to do that because that could easily become my life's work in volunteering, along with lobbying for the election of Democratic state house members so that in 2020, the redistricting of Congressional districts cannot be further gerrymandered by the Rs and some of the 2010 damage can be undone but alas I digress...but really not so much. The two issues are interrelated.

    I'm with your mother on this one. Write early and often to your elected officials. Slate.com is using crowd sourcing to track post Sandy Hook gun related deaths at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html It's a very powerful graphic to include in any letter writing.

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    1. Interesting graphic, (info gathered as reported by readers, of gun deaths since Sandy Hook. Up to 1102, so far.) I'd be interested to see a stat of how many are "typical crimes" (robberies, gang retaliation, targeted shootings, etc) versus unplanned or opportunistic shootings (accidents, domestic squabbles gone wrong, mentally ill people snapping, etc.)

      I think it's only the latter category that any kind of gun legislation might affect... as in "you can't get shot by a gun that's not there."

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  9. I hadn't heard the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory! How cute. Why do we care about this so much again? Because there were kids involved?

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    1. Any time there’s a big story, the kooks come out of the woodwork. And the story gets huge play not just because it’s a bunch of kids, it’s a bunch of white kids in an upscale neighborhood. I wonder it there would be as much attention nationwide if it had happened in some inner city school…

      Case in point? Have you, or anyone heard of the Phylicia Barnes case? A 16-year old black girl went missing from Carolina and was found floating in the Chesapeake, some time later. Evidence of a porn tape has been produced, with the suspicion of her forced participation. The case it going to trial here this week, but I doubt anyone outside the beltway has heard of it. Now if it had been some suburban blond girl, I’m guessing Brian Williams would be doing live remotes from the courthouse today.

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  10. do you know many NRA members?? is it true that they are rural, ignorant rednecks?

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    1. I do not know any formal NRA members, (as far as I know), but I do know several gun owners. Rural? Yes. Rednecks? Yes. Ignorant? No.

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