I. A good friend, who is a nice man so I chose not to upset him by explaining why he sounds like an idiot, announced on Facebook that he wasn’t reading any more “gun nut” posts. Hmmmm. I wonder what he thinks a “gun nut” is? Is a gun nut a teacher who punishes a student for pointing his finger like a gun, or who prevents a deaf child from signing his name, Gunner? Or is it someone who believes that the Second Amendment, which wasn’t second by accident, should be followed? Is it someone who keeps saying that laws need to be passed that will stop shootings like the one in Oregon, but who either has no realistic proposals to suggest or who suggest measures that wouldn’t have affected that shooting at all? Isn’t it nutty to engage in magical thinking? I think so.
II. I also think it’s nutty, not to mention hypocritical, to decry the lack of “civil debate” regarding gun policy and then call anyone who doesn’t want guns melted down by government order “nuts.” Actually it’s worse than that: pundits, politicians and anti-gun advocates are increasingly equating opposition to gun regulations advanced using false arguments, dubious logic, ad hominem attacks and deceitful statistics with insanity and intractable evil. Frankly, I resent it. I’m not opposed to sensible gun regulations, but my job is to oppose false arguments, dubious logic, ad hominem attacks and deceitful statistics, as well as to make sure that they don’t succeed lest “the ends justify the means” become a social norm.
III. Speaking of hypocritical, Mike Huckabee and others have been quite properly criticized (by me, for example) by claiming that since the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is “wrong,” it shouldn’t be followed. Yet the most vociferous defenders of that SCOTUS decision simultaneously advocate anti-gun measures that are forbidden by the Court’s decisions interpreting the Second Amendment….because, you see, “it’s wrong.”
IV. My compassionate but emotionally overwrought friend also repeated the statement that the U.S. should join the “rest of the civilized world,” presumably meaning that it should jettison the Second Amendment. The rest of the civilized world argument can also be used to argue for eliminating free speech, which the rest of the civilized world also doesn’t appreciate. I apologize if my nice friend reads this, but believing that what makes sense given one nation’s values, culture, history and demographics makes sense for another is ludicrous, a-historical and poor advocacy. How many of those other nations exist because of guns? How many freed its black population using guns? How many settled more than half of its expanse using guns? How many have a culture that has for centuries associated and still associates access to a gun with individual freedom, safety and self-determination? Okay, now how many countries have all of these?
None, that’s how many. Moreover, that dedication to individual freedom and self-determination defines the American mind and soul, with a respect for the proper use of guns a core and, I believe, inextricable component.
V. It’s demonstrably nutty to trust what Barack Obama says—about anything…red lines, keeping your health care plan, being transparent—but especially on this topic, where he has already proven himself willing to distort the truth. Back in June, Politifact, a pro-Obama, pro-democratic fact-checking site that usually rolls over like a Havanese for anything issuing from the White House checked Obama’s statement following the Charleston shooting that
“this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”
It found that the facts don’t back him up. Never mind: I’ve seen this statement or variations of it, like what the President said last week, used by pundits, journalists and anti-gun zealots.
VI. This time Obama claimed, while discussing the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, that we need more gun regulations because “states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.” But the Washington Post factchecker showed, that his claim was based on a misleading August 28 National Journal article by Libby Isenstein. That article, which has been used a great deal in this debate by anti-gun advocates who either don’t check their facts or who don’t care whether what they say is true or not, excluded many states with low homicide rates and few gun laws to reach the conclusion that “the states with the most gun laws” have “the fewest gun-related deaths” while “states with fewer regulations typically have a much higher death rate from guns.”
“The National Journal disproportionately excluded low-crime, pro-gun states such as Vermont, South Dakota, and Maine from its chart of homicide rates precisely because their homicide rate was low. These states have few gun laws (Vermont has the least of any state) and very low homicide rates. If you disproportionately exclude unregulated states that are safest from the calculation of which states have the lowest homicide rates, that will create the false impression that states with the most gun laws have the fewest gun deaths. These “pro-gun” states have low homicide rates (for example, Vermont had the third lowest homicide rate in 2013, the lowest gun murder rate in 2010, and the second-lowest gun murder rate in 2007-2010. South Dakota had the fourth-lowest gun-homicide rate in 2007-2010).
But in its discussions of “Concealed Carry” and “Background Checks,” the National Journal deletes these states from its charts comparing pro-gun and anti-gun states by “Gun-related homicides per 100,000 people, by state (2013).” It deletes Vermont, South Dakota, Maine, and 8 other states (6 of which have few gun regulations) from each chart, claiming that these states had “too few homicides to calculate a reliable rate.” 9 of the 11 states excluded broadly allow concealed carry and do not impose additional background-check requirements beyond those contained in federal law. But the National Journal deliberately excluded those states, writing, “In 2013, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming had too few homicides to calculate a reliable rate.”… This is an egregious act of cherry-picking.
But that was apparently how the National Journal managed to claim that “the states that impose the most restrictions on gun users also have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths, while states with fewer regulations typically have a much higher death rate from guns.”
[To Be Continued…]
Graphic: Deviant Art