I’ve been following MikeB’s blog now for several weeks, and one of the disappointments has been that the conversation just doesn’t seem to go in any real direction. Â There will have to be a lot of agreeing to disagree when two people are coming from the opposite side of the spectrum on an issue, but usually when talking with someone who is intellectually serious about a topic, the conversation at least tends to take on some structure, as areas of agreement and disagreement tend to be worked out. Â Typically in this kind of situation you’ll find serious questions, that don’t have easy answers, get asked by each side. Â People tend to move past the bullshit, and the easy stuff, and get to real areas of philosophical disagreement. Â So here’s a few questions for MikeB, based on some of his recent posts.
Straw purchasers arrested trafficking guns from Colorado to California:
No one denies that, but the dispute comes in when trying to accomplish it inconveniences gun owners. They immediately start talking about “infringement” and “gun bans,” when actually we’re not talking about those things at all.
So here’s your fundamental problem. Â It’s legal for a citizen with a clean criminal history to purchase a gun in the United States. Â To get around the problem of not having a clean criminal history, criminals put up straw men, who do have clean records, to purchase guns on their behalf. Â Girlfriends of criminals are your typical straw purchaser. Â How do you fix the straw man problem without banning guns? Â Keep in mind it’s already a felony to buy a firearm under false and misleading pretenses. Â As long as it’s lawful for a citizen with a clean record to purchase firearms, criminals are going to use straw men to get guns. Â How do you fix that problem without a ban, or something that’s awfully close to a ban?
MikeB takes on the Queen of Snark over the Wintenmute gun show study:
Why do pro-gun folks resist these intelligent and highly educated men so aggressively? Why is it necessary to attack them on their expertise as well as their veracity? What’s wrong with simply discussing the issues? I’ll tell you what I think.
I think what explains the incredibly nasty attitude on the part of so many pro-gun writers is that they realize they’re wrong. They realize that anyone who refuses to join in a common effort to find a way to diminish gun violence is in the wrong. Well, why would they do it then? Out of fear. Out of fear and insecurity.
Joe Huffman, in the comments, basically cuts to the heart of the matter: “how doÂ you determine truth from falsity.” Â I don’t particularly resist intelligent, highly educated people. Â In fact, I spend most of my time working with intelligent, highly educated people, and they are prone to the same kind of biases, assumptions, and have agendas just like everyone else. Â I’ve seen some remarkably good science happen in my career, and some remarkably bad science. Â Just having credentials doesn’t mean you’re automatically putting out quality research and quality science. Â It doesn’t mean you don’t have an agenda or bias. Â Joe’s question was good. Â How do you sort true from false? Â I can go into detail about why I think Wintenmute’s studies are relatively useless, but can MikeB tell me why they are good? Â Can we have a real conversation about it?
13 thoughts on “Some Serious Questions for Our Token Anti”
“Why do pro-gun folks resist these intelligent and highly educated men so aggressively?”
In other words, he is implying that pro-gun people aren’t as intelligent as anti-gun people. That seems to be the whole basis of his arguments; that pro-gun people are just too stupid to see that the anti-gun people are smarter than them. With that biased and bigoted outlook, any meaningful discussion is pretty well hosed.
Just my opinion.
“I can go into detail about why I think Wintenmuteâ€™s studies are relatively useless, but can MikeB tell me why they are good?”
Because that’s the way he feeeeeeeels. And that’s the long and short of THAT.
I think it is a waste of time trying to change the mind of a anti-gunner. Unfortunately the easies way for them to see the light is for them to find themselves a victim in need of immediate self defense (along the lines of: a liberal is a conservative that hasn’t been mugged yet).
It is more productive to focus on people in the middle who are not locked into their mindset.
I can’t remember where I read a post about a gun debate (IIRC in NYC) where the audience was polled before and after the debate. The vast majority of undecideds before the debate moved over to the pro-gun side after they heard the speakers.
We get so bloody angry because it’s an attempt to trample our civil rights-just like any other group would.
I had seen MikeB around and thought I’d read his blog to see if it could make it into my Anti’s section on mine (only the Brady’s remain, and even then it’s so rare to see a post from them).
After reading a few of his posts and comments, I realized there is no ‘there’ there. He’s not in it to discuss, only to obfuscate. Unix Jedi took care of most of the work over at Kevin’s in the sense of illustrating to me he wasn’t really worth the effort. I’ve had all the arguments before.
You’ll come to learn that trying to discuss anything w/ MikeB is useless. He automatically dismisses anything that counters his claims (up to and including the FBI UCR), wears out kneepads over individuals like WIntemute, and has a nasty habit of deleting comments that turn his own logic against him.
I’ve stopped bothering w/ him and won’t even give him the courtesy of a reciprocal link.
I sometimes wonder how much of MikeB’s B.S. MikeB actually believes in. Sometimes I think he just likes to stir the pot for fun. If he actually believes all of what he spews, he would be just like one of the other anti’s and if he is like one of the other anti’s, why does he allow and even encourage dialog? The first rule of an anti-gun blogger is to disable comments because we outnumber them by 20-1.
Sebastian, Thanks for the link and the questions.
About the straw purchases: “How do you fix that problem without a ban, or something thatâ€™s awfully close to a ban?”
I’d say better record keeping which is not limited to the individual FFL guys, and a system of licensing gun owners and registering guns. As was pointed out on my blog by yourself, these things are not objectionable because of the inconvenience. You’ve helped me to understand my position better. Your objections are two things really, government involvement, the libertarian objection for lack of a better term, and the possibility that such initiatives will eventually lead to gun confiscation. I say if we want to do something about the gun flow into the criminal world, gun owners would have to accept both of those.
About Wintemute, I think his report was brilliant. No one that I’ve seen said it was supposed to be an academic paper similar to a Ph.D. thesis. It was a report based on first hand observations at gun shows. I thought it was fair and objective. He mentioned that in Tampa, I think it was, at a huge gun show there was none of that peripheral nonsense like they saw in the west, the misogynistic bumper stickers, the white supremacy and Confederacy stuff, the famous book that McVeigh was supposed to have valued so much,
In addition to the observations, which no one said were supposed to be scientific, there were a number of footnotes pointing to legitimate statistics in support of the main theme: we need universal background checks on all gun transfers.
One clarification on the comment, I think it was Sevesteen who pointed out that it’s not about the inconvenience.
When you can get Thomas the Thug to fill one out after stealing a gun as well as when he sells it to his home boy, then I’ll entertain that as a legitimate idea.
So? I go to them all the time. I’ve observed people being turned down sales. First hand experience, baby.
Then he’s definitely not qualified to make any sort of observations. I live in Tampa. I go to the Tampa and Lakeland gun shows. I prefer Lakeland because they tend to have LESS of the Nazi stuff, Elk Jerky, and Ron Paul 2012 booths. Less, not ‘none of’.
And while you have the good Dr’s beliefs and feelings, we have numbers and statistics to back up our assertions. Again, your method of determining truth doesn’t seem to be based on much more than emotion.
And that is about the only thing MikeB brings to the table – his onw personal feelings on the matter. It does not matter that Wintemute’s observations are inherently suspect, it does not matter that Wintemute himself is quite obviously biased, it does not matter that Wintemute arbitrarily decided what looked legal and what did not… All that matters is that MikeB “thinks” Wintemute’s report was the best thing since sliced bread, and thus everyon must accept it on face value.
As Joe Huffman got MikeB himself to admit, MikeB honestly has no method of determining fact from fiction, yet he would have us take his own emotions and opinions as sufficient reasons to allow the infringement of our rights to continue and expand. That is about as sure a sign of reality disconnect as you can get.
Of course, I do find it quite telling that MikeB was willing to provide a response to these serious questions, but not mine. I guess Sebastian was not dictating terms.
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