Kristof’s Car Analogy is Epic Fail

This is a favorite of our opposition, so it’s not surprising that Nicholas Kristof  of the New York Times tries to make an analogy that’s so incredibly bereft of any subject matter knowledge of either side of the analogy, it renders the entire point utterly ridiculous. A proper analogy to the assault weapons issue, turned to cars, would be relabeling sports cars as “death vehicles.” Let me write a hypothetical newspaper article, using the correct analogy.

After a series of high profile, mutli-car accidents, which have caused dozens of fatalities, the environmental group American Council to Ban Automobiles has renamed itself in honor Ashley Brandy, a nine year old girl, killed when the minivan her mother was driving collided at high speed with a so-called “death vehicle.” Now named the Brandy Campaign to Prevent Automobile Fatalities, the group plans an aggressive lobbying campaign to ban these types of death vehicles in Congress. Several years ago, citing environmental concerns, ACBA proposed outlawing all vehicles capable of exceeding 65 miles per hour. That proposal met with cool reception in the halls of Congress. While polling showed lukewarm support among the public for banning automobiles that can exceed 65 miles per hour, it has shown that the public does support laws to limit the availability of death vehicles. Advocates have pointed out these cars have no purpose other than to drive at unsafe speeds, and risk killing other motorists.

Several years ago, California became the first state in the nation to outlaw death vehicles. Similar to the California law, the bill currently being advanced in Congress will ban certain excessively fast automobiles by name.  Congress has also, much like their California counterparts, examined features common to these cars, and banned certain combinations of features from appearing on vehicles. Under the current bill it will be unlawful to manufacture, sell, or transfer an automobile with any two of the following features:

  • Spoiler
  • Air scoops
  • Low profile tires,
  • Body panels made of 60% or more composite material by volume
  • Bright red body color
  • Rotating headlights
  • Three or fewer passenger seats.

Congress has also, at the urging of  The Brandy Campaign, added a section to the bill that limits any automobile with V or higher rated tires from having an internal gasoline tank greater than five gallons. “We believe this is an important aspect of the bill,” said Saul Henke, a spokesman for the Brandy Campaign, “This way even if someone drives his death machine at an unsafe speed, he or she won’t be able travel very far before having to stop to refuel, giving authorities or other motorists a chance to catch up and intervene.”

Mr. Henke also expressed concerns that the proposed law does not go far enough. “Because the bill doesn’t ban certain engine configurations, manufactures may easily skirt these restrictions, and continue to make dangerously fast cars. We’ve been working with our allies in Congress in an attempt to close this dangerous loophole.”

Sports car enthusiasts, along with the National Motorists Association, have been attempting to fight the ban. “Sports cars are driven responsibly by millions of Americans every day, and enthusiasm for these machines is as American as Apple Pie,” said NMA Executive Vice President Duane LaPerrier, “The notion that these vehicles have no purpose than driving at dangerous speeds and killing families in minivans is ludicrous.” When asked why anyone had a need for a car that could drive so fast, LaPerrier pointed out, “You’ll still have fast cars, even with this ban. The only thing this will accomplish is putting good people in jail, for such things as adding a fiberglass panel to their car, or buying a spoiler with low profile tires.”

The Brandy Campaign dismissed the idea, noting “Ordinary motorists have nothing to fear from this bill. By banning these deadly cars, we’ll save the lives of hundreds of children in this country. Over 33,000 people die in automobile accidents each year, many of them children.” The NMA has called for better enforcement of the nation’s traffic laws, and harsh penalties for those who drive automobiles irresponsibly. Critics have pointed out that the National Motorist Association has ties to the automobile industry, and represents only a fraction of American Drivers.

Pundits believe the Ashley Brandy Automotive Safety Act will be passed by Congress at the end of the year. The President made banning death vehicles part of his platform, so proponents of automobile safety should be getting a Christmas present from Congress that’s sure to warm their holidays.

That, Mr. Kristof, is how it’s done. And looking at it that way, do you see why people who enjoy sports cars responsibly might be a little insulted, and a little upset? Do you get now why gun owners take advocacy for these laws very personally? This article sounds like it was written in Bizarro world, and in the real world people would laugh any such proposal out of Congress, but that’s exactly what the assault weapons debate is, in the context of cars. What’s the difference? Everyone is familiar with automobiles and driving. Not everyone is familiar with guns, including many people who own them.

17 thoughts on “Kristof’s Car Analogy is Epic Fail”

  1. Actually, this is my favorite part:

    Granted, the Second Amendment complicates gun regulation (I accept that the framers intended for state militias, and possibly individuals, to have the right to bear flintlocks).

    A legal guarantee to a self-evident God-given right is a “complication.”

    And he writes about the 2nd Amendment meaning “flintlocks” on the internet. “Arms” means “flintlocks only” as much as “freedom of the press” means “printed on hand-operated presses and delivered by hand.”

    I doubt that he’s as dumb as he pretends to be. He just thinks enough readers are.

  2. This is funny it is so bad…You definitely kicked it up truthfully a notch. I always use the Truck analogy when talking to people about Tucson.

    What if a mentally deranged person went to a Chevy dealer and bought a black Chevy Silverado 2500 with all the options? What if he attended an outside gathering in a parking lot on a Sunday morning and instead of parking he drove straight into the crowd of people, killing 6 and wounding 3.

    Would any group, or Congress, outlaw black Chevy Silverados and there accessories? I don’t think so.

    But I love the way you added to it, with gas tank being smaller and other things. I will plagiarize that addition if you approve

    Great post and response. I hope Mr. Kristof has a copy of it?

  3. Would sound more like Bradyspeak if you changed “death vehicles” to “pursuit vehicles,” and add that police are the Only Ones who need the ability to break the speed limit. Spot on otherwise.

  4. I thought about using assault vehicle, since such a thing actually does exist, but wanted to use a little hyperbole to illustrate the point.

  5. Sebastian, One word priceless! Yes, those death vehicles and the car culture behind them.

    I took a cut some time back on MA gun laws and how they world work for those evil cars/trucks..

    To borrow bradyspeak (think newspeak). “I should have known that one of you would distort the message.”

    It’s fun to wander through that dyscognition and copy out some of the more infamous lines and “re-purpose ” them as bradyspeak as it works so well against them.


  6. The number dead is wrong.

    42,636 people died in car wrecks in 2005 via:

    I,too, think you should change “death vehicle.” It’s too blatant, the term should have more implication but still be unnerving. I would prefer “Deadly” or “Dangerous.”

    Gives more of that “They’re not saying we ARE criminals, but….” effect.

  7. Yea, I suppose good old fashioned hyperbole does get to the point faster than my idea. I was thinking more along the lines of how it would work over time from a psychological perspective and how hard it would be to weasel around criticism of the term itself. But that wouldn’t exactly be self-explanatory. :p

  8. You forgot about closing the car show loophole, where people can buy these killing machines completely unregulated. They often also have a swap meet where pople can buy unregistered spoilers and normal, errr HIGH capacity gas tanks. You can even find parts to convert your manual transmission into a full automatic!

  9. A salient point of the comparison is that teenage boys have a much better chance of getting lucky if they have a car, the more expensive the better.

    Liberals don’t quite see how RKBA helps get into a girl’s pants, but they don’t want to take any chances.

    Women like manly men. A man who is neither afraid of or obsessed with guns, a man able and ready to defend himself and his loved ones, a man who views a gun as one tool of many that he can use well, that man is more attractive than the useless panty waists who can’t operate a firearm or change their own oil.

    I know I don’t quite have a grasp on the psychology, but I suspect that 90% of a liberal woman’s antipathy to guns involves sour grapes and jealousy.

  10. Love it! I’d suggest changing “death” vehicles” to “street racing” vehicles (since it also conveys a similar dual meaning to “assault”), but overall it’s excellent. I’ll see if it opens any eyes around me.

  11. “Do you get now why gun owners take advocacy for these laws very personally?”

    I’d also like to point out that some of these offended gun owners have had their lives saved by firearms. Dangerous as they may be, they also save lives. How many ‘death vehicle’ owners have saved their own life or the life of another with their death vehicle?

    And with that in mind, you’ve made an excellent case to ban sports cars, as the danger they pose is offset by no obvious benefit… ;-)

  12. need to ban high cap. airplanes,( max 10 passengers).
    911 would have been different.
    Also high cap. moving vans

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