I think most people can agree that the world would be a better place with less violence. Unfortunately, the “Violence” issue has been kidnapped and is being held hostage for political purposes. People may mean well, but for politicians and the media, “Gun Control” has less than nothing to do with reducing violence.
- For politicians, it is about money and power – pandering for votes by opposing the NRA voting bloc or supporting the NRA voting bloc.
- For the media, it is about money and power – creating sensationalism in order to increase viewers, listeners and readers – in order to sell ad space.
Why do politicians and the media talk about stopping “gun violence”? If they were sincere, shouldn’t they be concerned with all violence? The reason is that they are using a logical fallacy – Appeal to Emotion – Attempted manipulation of an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument.
There is a “gun control” video titled “Dear Mom and Dad” circulating which is nothing but political propaganda put to somber music and presented by children to raise people’s emotions and take their minds off of its misrepresentations, logical fallacies and facts out of context.
For example, while they use children from mostly 4 to 11 years old in the video, the “children” statistical category includes juveniles up to the age of 18. According to The US Department of Justice Statistics Report from 1993 – 2011 on (most recent reported) only about 1% of total firearm homicide victims were age 11 or less. Seven times more gun violence involves 13-17 year-olds. (About 60 times more involves adults 18 – 34. In the 13 – 17 age group, a high percentage of gang related. Anybody want to guess why they didn’t use even one 17 year old in a hoody flashing gang signs in their video?
Their “Not one more,” is roughly the equivalent of a Miss America Pageant contestant’s “I pray for world peace.” Or maybe like bumper stickers that say, “I brake for blind people, puppies and Mother Teresa.” Really. Who doesn’t? Their “Call your congressman” is inane. What exactly are you supposed to say when you call? “Oh, all powerful congressman, violence is bad and I am so against it.” This piece of emotional sophistry is nothing more than a thinly (very thinly) veiled ploy to promote one political voting bloc’s agenda over another political voting bloc. They are seducing people with emotion because reason and logic isn’t working they way they want. This has nothing to do with stopping violence and everything to do with pandering for votes.
How about all of the statistics showing that there are more gun homicides and mass murders with guns in the U.S than in other countries? The statistics* may be accurate, but the argument is another logical fallacy known as “False Cause”. A false cause confuses correlation (things happening together or in sequence) for causation (that one thing actually causes the other to happen). For example, some people point to the high incidence of gun ownership in high violent crime areas. The implication is that otherwise law abiding person will decide to commit a crime because of the proximity of a gun. Of course, it sounds silly when you say it out loud! Could it be that people who live in high crime areas buy guns to protect themselves from the violence? In that case crime is a cause of increased gun ownership, not the other way around.
In 2013 the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council research noted that “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.” 11,000 firearm homicides annually is alarming. But compare that to even the low estimate of 500,000 defensive gun uses. Of course, not all defensive uses prevented a homicide, but people ought to at lease consider the law of unintended consequences before blindly bending over and grabbing their ankles to support gun control politicians. What if gun control increases violent crime?
How does disarming harmless, law abiding good people do anything to keep guns out of the hands of bad people?
Easy for me to criticize the irrational, emotionally charged political “gun control” cause. How about some suggestions for
a rational approach to reducing violence.
I am a gun owner but not an NRA supporter. The NRA has too many extremist positions to represent me well. On the other hand, neither does irrational politicians like Bloomberg or emotional political tripe like the “Dear Mom and Dad” video or pointless political slogans like “Not One More”. If people are serious about curbing violence and not just about blindly supporting or opposing some political agenda, then here you go:
violence is the real issue.
If we go after reduced violence and it overlaps with gun ownership, I am okay with that. However, anything that starts with gun control and does not include other causes and remedies of violence is pure political rhetoric designed to trick people into abandoning reason.
Nothing is ever going to break the political log jam until each side is willing to give up something…something important. So, on behalf of all gun owners everywhere, I hereby agree that all guns and gun owners must be licensed, educated, and not have a criminal or mental health problem background.
Sorry, second amendment political bloc, but I have no problem with background checks, education requirements and restricting felons and mental patients. It is reasonable that the requirement for owning guns should at least be equivalent to that of driving a car. That is not a very high bar! The NRA argument that allowing background checks is a slippery slope toward invalidating the whole second amendment is another logical fallacy.
While those make sense, people have to realize that they are like locking the doors on a convertible. They may discourage some opportunistic joy riders, but are a laughable measure against a real thief or lunatic. Other “feel-good” measures such as restricting the size of magazines or firearm cosmetics are like restricting automobiles with big engines or hood scoops. Silly.
Here is my condition for agreeing to background checks, et al:
Anyone who commits murder, gun or otherwise, gets the death penalty – to be tried and executed within 30 days. Okay, okay…I’d agree to longer than 30 days…but more like 12 months than 30 years. How can anyone take people seriously who want yet more laws that only law abiding people will follow but are unwilling to expunge society of lunatics and predators who are willing to COMMIT MURDER? Sorry, ACLU. You have to contribute to the solution, too. If you can’t get your act together in less than 12 months, you are incompetent or abetting the crime.
Mass killers have two things in common.
• First, they are willing to COMMIT MURDER.
Yes. Mass murders are horrendous and everyone would like to do something about them. But does any rational person seriously believe someone willing to COMMIT MURDER will be willing to abide by any gun control laws?**
The same condition for use of the death penalty applies to mass murders.
- If we are really serious about stopping violence, then let’s have serious consequences for those who commit it.
- If there is urgency about stopping violence, then let’s have a sense of urgency in carrying out the consequences of violence.
• Second, they are loner, loser, crazy, psychopaths whose main driver is PUBLICITY.
- If we are really serious about curtailing mass murder, the media must be banned from reporting the names of the perpetrator and details of the crime.
The media can report that there was a crime, just no salacious details. Nothing will actually stop lunatics from doing crazy things, but depriving them of their primary source of gratification seems far more logical than passing yet another law they are sure to ignore.
And, yes, I know that some will criticize banning reporting the name of mass murders and details of their crimes as an infringement on the first amendment. But, hey, “Not One More”, right? If people are really serious about preventing more murders and not just promoting political agendas, why go after the second amendment when it doesn’t do any good and not make reasonable limitation on the first amendment that will do some good?
- Is it really necessary to allow gratuitous sensationalism to preserve freedom of press?
- Are media profits more important than human life?
- Besides – wouldn’t it aid in a fair trial for the “alleged” perpetrator is there was no sensationalized publicity influencing the jury pool?
There you have it.
- Take away the incentive to commit mass violence and
- Enforce serious consequences for those who do.
Simple. So…do we have a deal?
* For those interested in more information about the misuse of statistics, How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff is a good source.
** Some people will argue that if you ban guns, the criminals and lunatics won’t have access to them. Let’s assume for a second that you could get the 70 million legal gun owners in the U.S. to give up their 300 million guns. How would that reduce the number of guns owned illegally? We can’t keep drugs, or millions of people from entering the country illegally. What are the chances we could keep people from bringing in guns (more guns) illegally? Oh, and don’t go comparing the U.S. to Australia and similar. We have about three times more legal gun owners than they have citizens. They have 90% of their population in 6 cities. For all practical purposes, they are an island, while we have a rivulet separating us from one of the most lawless countries in the world. It is like comparing apples and ducks.
If you are interested in some real facts on guns and violence, try FactCheck at http://www.factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/