Open Letter to “aveskde” et al

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This morning I became aware that a rather heated discussion arose in the comments thread of one of my recent posts.  A reader, identified as “aveskde,” took issue with some of the positions on gun control taken by myself and several Rumproast readers who commented on that post.

The gist of the discussion ran to whether or not it is possible (or desirable) to restrict guns and their use in American society. 

Aveskde opened with this comment:

I might be moved to support gun control, but just about every argument I hear is based on fear and not reason.

S/he then went on to recommend this:

Instead of creating moral panics and acting out of fear, use some reason and rationality. Guns are tools. Stop fearing them and the vast majority of sane gun owners. I’m sick and tired of liberals, the people who are supposed to be behind freedom, always acting in a knee-jerk way to guns.

That comment was addressed directly to me, so I would like to respond, by following aveskde’s own advice: “If you want to prove a person wrong, it helps to detach yourself and analyze what they are saying and spotting the flaws in reasoning”:

Aveskde, you say that “just about every” argument that you hear on gun control is “based on fear and not reason.”  “Just about every” is a lot!  With all due respect, that statement leads me to believe that perhaps you have not investigated the topic thoroughly and I might be able to help with a short reading list that might, possibly “move” you,  with “reason” and “rationality” to support gun.

There is the AMA’s article on gun violence becoming the US’ #1 public health threat.

Or this article

Or, you might want to go for the “long read”—Gun Control: A Documentary and Reference Guide

There, now.  That’s a good start . . .

BTW, since we’re being all “rational” here, you might want to take back this statement:

I’m sick and tired of liberals, the people who are supposed to be behind freedom, always acting in a knee-jerk way to guns.

because a) it seriously weakens your position (your basic “moral outrage” non sequiter)  and b) nobody here really gives a rat’s ass what you’re “sick of.”  Let’s stick to the issue at hand, K?

A careful reading of your comments leads me to a few conclusions that I will be happy to adjust, if I’m mistaken . . . they are:

1) the main goal of banning guns is to effectively disarm violent criminals

2) you believe that “Prohibition on desirable goods never works” because “criminals are very skilled at evading the law and setting up supply lines.”

3) guns, themselves, don’t shoot people

4)  If you have effective mental health care in America, and if you catch the bulk of these people early, then you wouldn’t need to ban guns and the laws wouldn’t have to be so draconian.

Allow me, please, to address each point in your stated preferred mode—“rationally and reasonably,” without “moral outrage.”

1) the main goal of banning guns is to effectively disarm violent criminals

I would argue that this is one goal, not necessarily the main one.  I would also like to see fewer gun suicides and accidental shootings in America.  In 2011 there were nearly twice as many gun suicides as homicides and 900 people lost their lives in accidental shootings.  Lower accessibility of guns means fewer of those kinds of death.  And a generally lower mortal threat level in the streets and homes of America.

A lot depends, I guess on your definition of “violent criminals.”  Most of our mass murderers were not violent criminals until they got a gun in their hands. 

And in the realm of high-profile isolated incidents, was George Zimmerman a violent criminal?  No.  He just liked to play cops and robbers.  Was Michael Dunn, again of Florida, a violent criminal?  No he just didn’t like to hear black kids playing loud music while he was pumping gas.  And he had a gun to express his “moral outrage.”

Or how about this guy, from Tampa, who shot a pizza chef over slow service.

See the connection between Florida’s hyper-relaxed gun laws and an increase in mayhem?

Moving on to #2:  “you believe that “Prohibition on desirable goods never works” because “criminals are very skilled at evading the law and setting up supply lines.”

That strikes me as a rather cynical assumption and not necessarily so given the success of greater gun control in New Zealand following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.  The United Kingdom and Germany both have strict (you would call them Draconian) gun laws that don’t seem to negatively impact their residents’ “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”  Those governments have all had great success ” in prohibiting desirable goods (i.e. guns) and their criminal element has had very little success in “setting up supply lines” that put guns on the streets there.

Number 3:  “Guns themselves don’t shoot people.”  This silly old canard is not worthy of a grown-up discussion on gun control. (See “reductio ad absurdum.”)

And, finally, #4: “If you have effective mental health care in America, and if you catch the bulk of these people early, then you wouldn’t need to ban guns and the laws wouldn’t have to be so draconian.”

If we had an “effective mental health care” system in America (and, of course, we don’t) that does not mean that mental illness would become a thing of the past, or even a well-controlled pathology.  I’d be interested in your ideas, aveskde, for “catch[ing] the bulk of these people early”.  Unfortunately, in a country where there are 315 million guns in private hands, the means of acting out one’s delusions are always close at hand. 

When another commenter challenged you on what types of weapons should or should not be included in a right to bear arms (i.e., RPG’s bazookas, etc), you replied:

Really, you’re just making a slippery slope argument. We don’t typically let people use those weapons because there are few places one could use them without causing serious damage. Further, there is a danger of civilians out-arming the police officers whose duty it is to maintain order.

So the issue boils down to practicality, and order.

The Constitutionalists among us are probably cringing at this one.  One of the rationales for the Second Amendment is that citizens have a right to bear arms to protect themselves from outside invasions and, also, from a tyrannical government (like the one they were declaring their independence from).  “Out-arming” the “police” was not a consideration in the least.

BTW—moral outrage? fear? you bet.  I didn’t sign on to live in an armed camp where it isn’t safe for children to go to a playground or walk to school without fear of being shot, purposely or accidentally. 

I’m especially not interested in suffering that so that some identity-challenged loser can get his “man-card” punched..  See that ad at the head of the article?  That’s not an out-lyer.  That is how, and to whom, guns are marketed in the US.  And that’s who’s buying them—little fellers that feel emasculated by modern society.  Loose cannons . . .

And fear? Fear is what has made marketing guns in America so very, very lucrative (see below).

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Posted by Bette Noir on 12/28/12 at 10:34 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBedwetters

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I should clarify that aveskde won’t have the opportunity to repond to this post since he’s already been banned, which Bette didn’t realize when she posted, so any references to him should be taken as purely rhetorical. It’s tough, but he’s not short of other online outlets to express his views in whatever way he sees fit.

Speaking of fear: Wayne LaPierre, at his “press conference,” did all he could to amp up the fear of “monsters.”  Even given his bias and his professional mission to sell more guns, there was something slavering and unseemly about it.  But then, when you’re pimping for the weapons industry, it’s in for a penny, in for a pound.

@YAFB Banned from commenting, but, perhaps not from reading a response objectively (crossed fingers).

That’s a good start . . .

Actually, it’s a great start. Thank You especially for the link to Spitzer. The historical sections on the origins of the 2nd Amendment are a useful tool when confronting folks who deem themselves “Constitutional Scholars” without the benefit of even a high school education.

Well said, everyone.  Better check on the all-purpose application of the ban hammer; our little buddy commented today on the post just below this one…

Better check on the all-purpose application of the ban hammer; our little buddy commented today on the post just below this one…

Looking at the time stamp he got that one in before we brought the hammer down.  It was actually a fairly reasonable comment.  But does not exonerate him from basically stating that 6 & 7 years olds are expendable when necessary to protect gun rights, to name but one reason he got banned.

I wish to effing Christ the gun lobby and its apologists could make up their freaking minds. Are guns A) the only thing powerful enough to save us from the tyranny of the state or B) a tool, a silly lil tool, no different than a spoon which, if you use it to overeat, might make you fat?

The point the “it’s only a tool” idiots ignore is that, unlike a knife, or a car, or a spoon, or a hammer, guns exist for ONE purpose. To kill. Yes, sometimes they might be used defensively—but even then, the implicit threat is “Back off or I could kill you with this thing.” Absent its lethalness, a gun has absolutely nothing to offer its owner. Anyone too dense to understand that is too stupid to be allowed access to deadly force in the first place.

And anyone who says, they could have killed those people with a knife! must think these crazies all have speed demons in their pockets. And that there’s no way to defend against a knife.

So if a knife is just as deadly, then let’s outlaw guns and let everyone carry knives. Easy-Peasy!

aveskde was also arguing against a strawman- I think most of us hold the position that guns should be stringently regulated, not banned outright.  For myself, I believe that there should be extensive background checks, a waiting period of at least a week, a gun registry, and periodic competence/safety assessments (at least once a year).  Any gun policies should be implemented on a national basis, to stem the “river of iron” problem that brings guns from lax southern states to northeastern cities.

Guns should be treated like automobiles, and as far as semiautomatics with 30-round clips go, they should be treated like “nitro-burning funny cars”, suitable only for use in a limited setting, under supervised conditions- not for street use.

Comment by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 12/29/12 at 04:20 AM

This is pathetic. I asked for REASONED arguments against what I said and the best you could do? Ban me and attack my character. What a pathetic bunch of people, using the emotion surrounding victims of tragedy to cloak your vindictiveness.

You do not represent real liberal values. Liberals are enlightened, they appreciate different viewpoints and accept reason over emotion. Liberalism isn’t about silencing your opponents because you disagree with them.

This type of behavior only makes conservatives and the unaffiliated look down on you and see liberals as just as bad as conservative authoritarians when it was liberals who championed ideals like free speech and press.

Anyway, I won’t be coming back here. I thought the blog was amusing and interesting, but if you’re just a bunch of unenlightened people who think butthurt is an excuse to abandon etiquette and liberal values, then I want nothing to do with you.

This is pathetic. I asked for REASONED arguments against what I said and the best you could do? Ban me and attack my character. What a pathetic bunch of people, using the emotion surrounding victims of tragedy to cloak your vindictiveness.

You do not represent real liberal values. Liberals are enlightened, they appreciate different viewpoints and accept reason over emotion. Liberalism isn’t about silencing your opponents because you disagree with them.

This type of behavior only makes conservatives and the unaffiliated look down on you and see liberals as just as bad as conservative authoritarians when it was liberals who championed ideals like free speech and press.

Anyway, I won’t be coming back here. I thought the blog was amusing and interesting, but if you’re just a bunch of unenlightened people who think butthurt is an excuse to abandon etiquette and liberal values, then I want nothing to do with you.”

Is this parody? Or is it real nut-case flavour?

I could easily remove that comment HMDK referred to, given the ban, but since avedske/“The Outcast” (cue tiny violin) has chosen to go to such lengths to get round it and was addressed directly in the post, I’m leaving it. Enjoy.

From my point of view, avedske, if you’re still reading—if you’re ever seeking to persuade people, rather than automatons or strawmen of your own construction, especially on extremely emotive issues of which some here have direct experience, then you can’t dismiss emotion, let alone insult those who experience it.

As for “REASONED arguments,” you’ve had them aplenty, you just don’t like what’s been said. Bye.

  if you’re just a bunch of unenlightened people who think butthurt is an excuse to abandon etiquette and liberal values

Not at all, A/O. Long life and health to you, that you may sprinkle your unique brand of “enlightenment” throughout the rest of the internet. Your refusal to address any arguments through the transparent device of dismissing them as “unreasonable” while displaying downright contempt for your readers’ losses make you as excellent a spokesperson for the 2nd half of the 2nd Amendment as Wayne LaPierre himself.

So if a knife is just as deadly, then let’s outlaw guns and let everyone carry knives. Easy-Peasy!

Good one! @Oblamova.  Something tells me, though, that the distance from the victim that a firearm affords is key to the testosterone-challenged who might pee themselves if they had to get into knife-wielding proximity.

Outcast indeed. This is what got you banned pal:

People six and seven years old die, it’s tragic but it doesn’t justify limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Murdered children are not just collateral damage in the war for gun rights.  That comment was obscene.

And as far as butthurt - man, it’s always projection with you guys.

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