Monday, September 16, 2019

A 45 Caliber Noise from a BB Gun Argument


Beto went and did it; he gave the gun nuts the sound byte they’ve been looking for when at the last debate he said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15 and AK-47.”

He continued, “We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore... If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield ... when we see that being used against children.

Sounds rational, right? Here’s a typical nutter response I found on Facebook:

There’s much to disassemble about that argument.

First of all, and this goes to the very basis of this house of cards, no one is being disarmed. Even if they confiscate or buy back every semi-automatic weapon in the country, we will still have the most heavily armed populace in the world, with handguns, shotguns and non-semi-automatic rifles. US citizens will by no definition be “disarmed.”

They say something is happening but it’s not. That essentially ends the argument.

But why stop there?

Another glaring problem is found in the first three words: “The only reason…”

Excuse me but the second paragraph of this post provides another wholly sensible reason, which comes down to this: there is no valid purpose to a civilian population owning this kind of military hardware.

None. Zero. Nada.

Every “yeah but” can be answered with “Use a different gun.” (And if you’re not a good enough shot to hit your target with anything else, that’s another damned good reason not to have a semi-automatic rifle!)

I mean, seriously? The Democrats, who are not in power, are currently hatching nefarious plans that would be only be thwarted by civilians armed with AR-15s? This is foil hat territory.

And like I often say, ask the Taliban how owning lots of semi-automatic rifles helped them fight off the US military. Who got forcibly moved out of their territory and who did the forcing? They and their AK-47s were hiding among the women and children, trying to get away.

You want another reason? Fine. Look at the dip in mass shootings (in which 6 or more were killed in public, non-gang-related incidents) before, during and after the assault weapons ban that we already had (and Republicans let expire).

And the source comes from the conservative outlet the National Review.

We’ve already done this before, and there was no massive government erosion of privacy or civil rights. Granted, this was only a half-measure because there was no forced buy-back or confiscation. But just outlawing the active sales of these weapons curtailed the number of mass shooting fatalities. It worked.

But the gun people won’t acknowledge that. They know that rational arguments are not on their side, so instead, they pursue fantastical arguments, like the one above, that get people all riled up, despite the fact they are 100% untrue.

If we outlaw these killing machines, with buy-backs or not, and couple it with a high-capacity clip ban, the number of killings will decrease. We saw it. The numbers show it. It won’t stop every killing but when it comes to our nation’s innocent men, women and children, isn’t less killing better than more?

We don’t HAVE to make it so damned easy to kill a multitude.

And lastly, the grammarians among us would be upset if I failed to point out that the last sentence should end, “something for which you would shoot them.”

RIP
Speaking of loss of life, it was with great regret that I saw the obituary for Rik Ocasek, former singer, guitarist, and songwriter for The Cars.

When I think of The Cars, I think of summer, sunshine, good times and parties. The Cars were on the soundtrack for every party we ever threw, back when I was in college. Whenever we had a Barn Party, (and they were plentiful during the early 80s), “Let the Good Times Roll” was always the first song we played, usually while tapping the keg.

That came from their debut album, which was one of the finest ever, a practically perfect pop-rock album. Each of the first three songs on Side 1 was radio-ready gems, each timing in at 3:44. I don’t know how many copies of that cassette tape I wore out while driving to school and back.

Their second album, “Candy-O,” was another classic. I loved the big hit from that album, “Let’s Go.” It wasn’t until a good while later that I started to really dig the 3-song blend that ended Side 1, “Double Life,” Shoo-be-Doo,” and “Candy-O.” "Shoo-be-Doo" is a weird little song but I especially liked the hard transition into "Candy-O." If you’ve ever heard it, you’ll know what I mean. If not, check it out. The transition comes at 1:48.

Yes, I am easily amused.

Their next albums, “Panorama” and “Shake It Up” each had a couple of good songs, but nearly weren’t as solid as their first two albums. And then “Heartbeat City,” released during MTV’s peak, brought them back to relevance and acclaim with five Top 40 singles.

I’m glad they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, while Ocasek was still there to accept the honors and to play a set. Granted, they were never exactly live showmen, but the songs spoke for themselves.

At one time, someone tacked a magazine ad for the first album up on one of the barn roofing beams, and it stayed there for years. I still remember the slogan on it, which perfectly encapsulated The Cars’ role in that era:

Top-down music for a hardtop world.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Ocasek. You will be missed.

10 comments:

  1. Of course the gun nuts don't make rational arguments. Their entire world view is based on the idea that a Die Hard scenario is likely to happen and that they will be Bruce Willis. We need to stop giving a @#$% about hurting their feelings and take action the way Australia did after the Port Arthur Massacre.

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    1. That's the dream, isn't it? That Our Hero is going to return fire and kill the Bad Guy, without killing any innocent people or getting killed by the police, who think HE'S the Bad Guy.

      Real life is not Die Hard, nor is it Red Dawn.

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  2. The fact that there's "no valid purpose" for someone to own something is not grounds for banning it. You and I probably have a couple dozen things at home that most people couldn't see any valid reason for us to have (do I really need a whole shelf of manga?), but that's no reason to prohibit us from having them. You might say that civilians owning these types of guns is dangerous, but that's a completely different argument.

    Also, I think you're assuming that banning ownership of guns like AR-15s means that people would no longer have such guns. I can think of no valid basis for such an assumption.

    There are about a hundred million gun owners in the US. I don't know how many of them own AR-15s or AK-47s or other guns that could be classified as "assault rifles", but it could well be in the millions. Any serious ban or confiscation ("mandatory buyback") would have to include forcibly taking them from people who refused to cooperate, or it would be meaningless. The total number of police and military personnel in the US is probably no more than one or two million. If each raid on somebody's house to seize an illegal weapon resulted in two or three police or soldiers getting shot (which seems conservative to me), the government would run out of enforcers before it made much of a dent in the problem. You would also have to reckon with semi-organized attacks on police stations and other government targets once gun owners realized that a serious confiscation campaign was under way. Americans aren't Australians.

    Also, since at least 2014 it has been possible to make a working AR-15 at home using a 3D printer that costs about $1,200, based on instructions which are available on the internet. Nobody really has any idea how many such guns are out there in private hands or who has them.

    The main effect of O'Rourke's comment is that he's probably stuck in the Presidential nomination race now whether he wants to stay in or not. He's no longer a viable Senate candidate in Texas.

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    1. Come on, dude, you know there's a difference between not needing an AR-15 and not needing that shelf of manga. The shelf of manga isn't out there slaughtering people and AR-15s, in the hands of maniacs, ARE.

      As for mass confiscations, I don't see that ever happening, for the reasons you say. But there were no confiscations during the previous assault weapons ban and the rate of mass killing dropped measurably.

      Yes, the Ya-hoos probably won't give up their semi-automatic weapons, but maybe people like Mrs. Lanza, the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter, might have. Everyone thinks their own gun doesn't pose a threat to society... right up until it does.

      A non-buyback ban can mitigate situations like that, as well as keeping future killers from waltzing down to the big box store and buying one on credit, and start shooting up the place that afternoon. And maybe it will keep those insecure assholes from bringing their military weaponry to Starbucks, just to feel good about themselves.

      We can't take every one of these guns off the streets, but we don't have to make it so easy to get more of them. I don't think it's realistically in our power to reduce mass killings to zero. But it's certainly plausible to reduce them by a significant amount. We just have to get past the hysteria about "being disarmed by the gubmint." We don't have to tolerate the damage that these things can do to a body.

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  3. “1 – Eleven teens die each day because of texting while driving. Maybe it’s time to raise the age of Smart Phone ownership to 21.
    2 – If gun control laws actually worked, Chicago would be Mayberry, USA.
    3 – The Second Amendment makes more women equal than the entire feminist movement.
    4 – Legal gun owners have 300 million guns and probably a trillion rounds of ammo. Seriously, folks, if we were the problem, you’d know it.
    5 – When JFK was killed, nobody blamed the rifle
    6 – The NRA murders 0 people and receives $0 in government funds. Planned Parenthood kills 350,000 babies every year and receives $500,000,000 in tax dollars annually.
    7 – I have no problem with vigorous background checks when it comes to firearms. While we’re at it, let’s do the same when it comes to immigration, Voter I.D and candidates running for office.
    8 – You don’t need a smoke detector; that’s what the fire department is for. Now… if you think that sounds stupid, you know how I feel when you say I don’t need a gun.
    9 – Folks keep talking about another Civil War. One side knows how to shoot and probably has a trillion rounds. The other side has safe spaces, crying closets and is confused about which bathroom to use. Now tell me, how do you think that’s going to end?” – Zarathrusta

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    1. Nice… a full list of the NRA’s gun arguments. You must have these loaded on a template, all ready to go. Funny how none of them address anything I wrote, other than in the most general sense.
      1. Smart phones have a constructive and benevolent use. Semi-automatic weapons do not. Their only use is to kill lots of people in a short amount of time.
      2. If Chicago was walled off from the rest of the world, maybe it would become Mayberry. But with an ample supply of guns in locations all around it, the effect of any gun laws have been muted.
      3. The Second Amendment did a piss-poor job of it. Women couldn’t even vote until long after male slaves. Not really so equal. It sounds to me like you’re saying, Let the women bear arms, but let us men make all the decisions around here.
      4. Another fault of the all-or-nothing viewpoint. Total number of guns or ammo is not the issue, at least not with me. Military-grade weaponry is, because it makes it entirely too easy for any disturbed schmo to kill dozens of people in seconds. The numbers on mass killings make that a huge problem.
      5. There was and is no epidemic of people getting killed with sniper rifles. Charles Whitman, the DC killers… that’s all I got. Also, means of communication and organization are vastly different now than they were in the 60s. If the same thing happened today, your point might be entirely negated.

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    2. 6. The NRA is a lobbying operation for gun manufacturers, who have demonized any limits on responsible gun regulations as assaults on the 2nd Amendment, including the background checks you mention in your next point. The rationale isn’t in a belief in the sanctity of the Constitution, but to sell more guns. Their campaigning is responsible for those 300 million guns and trillion rounds of ammo you mention. Barack Obama was the best thing that could have happened to the NRA, because he allowed them to cry “The bad man is coming for your guns,” so people went out and stockpiled more and more guns. Which, of course, was their entire intent. Good for business. It’s not by accident that the most heavily armed country in the world is also the one where you’re most likely to be shot. The NRA owns a large portion of that.

      Everything about your Planned Parenthood argument is complete BS. Abortions are performed in the first trimester by an overwhelming margin, while the “baby” is the size of a lima bean. It can only be called a “baby” by religious fanatics, whose opinions should have no bearing on what someone else does with her own body.

      As of today, Planned Parenthood gets $0 in federal funding. But in years past, even if the $500,000,000 figure is true, (which I doubt), it’s not enough. The number one way to reduce the number of abortions is through credible sex education and effective birth control. Pennies spend on prevention yield dollars of savings in caring for poor and unplanned children. PP is a health care provider for hundreds of thousands of poor women, who can’t get such care elsewhere. Abortions make up a tiny slice of what they do. Using such a distorted mishmash of religious disinformation to bolster your guns argument is, unfortunately, par for the course. It really needs to be a separate discussion.
      7. Funny how the NRA is fighting tooth and nail to prevent such background checks. That’s another reason they bear fault for the mass shooting epidemic. Immigrants and candidates for office already receive background checks. (Especially those running for office. Anyone who wants to run better get ready for a microscope up their ass.) Background checks have always been part of the asylum process, although I don’t think they do that right now. They just go straight to “No.” As for voting, that’s just another voter suppression tactic masquerading as respect for law and order. Out of over 1,000,000,000 votes cast, maybe 30-35 have been cast under false pretenses. But on that, conservatives bend over backwards to install voter ID laws, knowing full well they should really be called, voter prevention laws. (It’s funny how many Republican talking points show up in the gun debate.)
      8. Your point is invalid here because I never said you don’t need a gun. I don’t think there’s anyone out there running around talking about removing all guns. I said you don’t need a military-grade semi-automatic rifle. No one does. Not for hunting, not for self-defense, not for anything. Your right to play with such a gun does not supersede the right of others not to be shot into hamburger. Of course, you weren’t really responding to what I said, you’re just throwing out your prepared material.
      9. More preconceived stereotypes in action. The funny thing is people like you help confirm the stereotypes those on the left have of gun nuts, I mean, activists. Now run along and tell the boys down at the gun range how you went online and “owned the Libs today,” while your little willy swells with pride.

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  4. You must have these loaded on a template, all ready to go.

    I think you have that right. "Ed" makes something of a hobby of trolling liberal blogs with right-wing talking points, and particularly tends to show up on posts that have been linked from Crooks & Liars, as this post was this morning. He's probably got any number of templates in stock.

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    1. Thanks for the heads-up. And many thanks for the link on C&L! That's always a big deal.

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  5. My mom used to tell me that we should rejoice when people die, and cry when people are born, but somehow we always do the opposite. Being a "used to be singer", I loved(still do) all types of music as a kid and remember singing and dancing along to My Best Friend's Girl, Let's Go and Shake It Up. Rik will be missed, but his amazing music will last forever. Two other deaths really shook me up this year too, that I'm really supposed to be happy about according to my mom (lol) was Cameron Boyce, the kid from the Disney Channel, and a whole lot of other movies. I still have a hard time wrapping my arms around the fact that this guy was just 20 years old and died in his sleep of a seizure. I'm a foodie, so I watch food programs all the time. I was shocked when I heard that Carl Ruiz from the Food Network had died in his sleep at just 44. He was also known for his NY restaurant La Cubana. Not only was he a talented chef, but his humor was so over the top, and had me giggling all the time. Ironically, his last tweets were on 9/20 when he was hanging out in Maryland. When we lose people, even those we don't know, it's a reminder that we never know the time or place it could all be over. Sending some hugs out to you and Sweet Pea! RO

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