I’ve been sitting on this post by Cliff Schecter for a couple of days, trying to figure out how to comment on it. As I mentioned the other day, the media has gotten a lot better about presenting our issue, but you still have some in the media who just can’t help but look down on us and denigrate our views. Cliff Schecter is such a person. I’m always torn between whether or not to deal with ridiculous nonsense perpetrated by ridiculous people. Is Schecter anyone of consequence who is even honestly worth responding to? Am I just beating my head against a wall? Ultimately, I think it’s worthwhile to point out to readers that many of the people who oppose us politically are ignorant fools masquerading as learned pundits.
Schecter is committing the common fallacy of our opponents by constructing a caricature of gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, and denigrating the straw man, rather than arguing with what we actually believe, and acknowledging who we actually are. What he presents here is more mental masturbation than a serious argument. When you want to feel better about yourself by looking down on other people, it helps if you can convince yourself they are rubes and dolts, rather than lawyers, engineers, scientists, business executives, and financial analysts (we have them all in the gun blogging community).
Schecter begins his post by imaging an advanced alien species looking at our gun culture from afar, presumably aliens who are also smug, left-leaning public relations professionals, just like he is:
Had this alien arrived on this planet six months ago and paid attention to reports about guns in the news since, he/she/it would’ve been consistently confronted with a literal clown-car cast of cartoon characters who are responsible for deciding and passing what amounts to our gun policies. We’re talking here about people who shouldn’t be allowed to make their own beds, much less public policy.
Schecter no doubt would like to imagine himself in the same camp as an advanced alien race. Surely the aliens wouldn’t side with the people who “shouldn’t be allowed to make their own beds, much less public policy.” It’s not every day you see people going through the effort of using aliens to help build a smug sense of self-satisfaction. It takes real effort to go as far as Schecter has here.
But our alien friend would watch these hucksters on TV, telling us to ignore that states with lower gun ownership on the whole are much safer, and those with the highest gun ownership rates and weakest laws–Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Wyoming, have the highest gun-death rates.
Pointing out the fact that gun-death rates include suicides, which is not something I think has any impact on my safety, it can be shown that his claim is just not true. I’ve run the numbers, and he’s just plain wrong. But I suppose I should not expect my primitive statistical skills to measure up against a race of advanced aliens.
First, you can watch a Youtube clip of Waldo-impersonating NRA honcho, Wayne LaPierre, getting up and making a speech to conservatives in Florida, where he warned them he had proof that President Barack Obama was going to take their guns away, if re-elected.
Just look at who Obama put on the Supreme Court. We’re one vote away from Heller and McDonald being overturned, and if that happens, it is doubtful that DC and Chicago would not re-instate their complete prohibitions on handgun ownership. Schecter also completely glosses over the fact that there’s quite a lot to worry about between no regulation, and confiscation, but it always helps to simplify your opponents argument when you’re trying to look smarter than they are.
You see, certain states–about a dozen or 15–think it’s a swell idea to allow people to get concealed carry permits even if they have a record of domestic abuse, misdemeanor assault with a firearm, known drunkenness and a lack of any training with a gun whatsoever.
Someone with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction is federally prohibited from possessing firearms and not covered by HR822. I also can’t think of any state where assault with a firearm is a misdemeanor. Assault with any deadly weapon is generally known as “aggravated assault” and is a felony. It is true that some states don’t require training, or don’t consider whether you’re a drunk, but I can’t think of any constitutional right where we take either into consideration. This isn’t a privilege we’re talking about, it’s a right, and that has consequences.
Finally, because carrying concealed weapons in grocery stores and parks just wasn’t enough, the NRA decided to start pushing bills to allow concealed weapons in bars–which makese sense because nothing I can think of goes better together than six shots of Jack and a loaded Glock. Of course, “technically,” only non-drinking customers are allowed to take their guns into bars.
In most states the law makes no distinction between a bar and a restaurant — they only issue liquor licenses to establishments for on-premsis consumption. It seems perfectly reasonable that a person who is trusted to carry a gun everywhere else in public ought to be allowed to carry in a restaurant provided he does not drink. In many states that have passed restaurant carry bills, the penalties for violating the law are “technically” quite severe, often more severe than a DUI conviction, despite the fact that operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is far more hazardous than being in possession of a firearm.
To be honest, I’m getting bored with gun control advocates these days. While their recent descent into utter ridiculousness has been a good source for posts, I actually enjoy public policy discussion with reasonable people who can make challenging arguments. While it is good for our movement that the supply of reasonable people on the other side is in precipitous decline, when you’re a blogger, you start feeling like you’re just refuting the same, tired mischaracterized arguments over and over again. I’ve seen dozens of Cliff Schecters over my nearly five years as a gun blogger, and while I can appreciate that feeling superior to your fellow Americans is a powerful motivator for our opponents, it’s tiresome. Ultimately the Schecters of the world either have to start acting like intelligent, reasonable people, or face being ignored in political obscurity. Their inability to make quality arguments I believe has played a role in the decline of gun control in this country. As a shooter and Second Amendment supporter, I am glad for that. But it certainly doesn’t make it easy to run a blog about gun policy when the only arguments you ever get to refute are ridiculous and clownish.
6 Responses to “The Straw Men Builders”
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