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May 28 2009

Bang bang shoot shoot!

One state senator I suspect will not be voting today against Don McLeroy is my own, Republican Jeff Wentworth. And it’s not simply because he’s Republican, but because he’s so far to the right that he’s actually sponsored a bill here in Texas no one but the NRA wants: SB 1164, which would allow people to carry concealed handguns into buildings on college campuses.

I’m no reactionary anti-gun lefty (no, really, I’m not, so this isn’t going to be the equivalent to those arguments you hear from right-wingers railing against sex and porn by starting “I’m no prude, but…” who then go on to illustrate in detail how big a prude they really are). But anyone sensible ought to see the flaw in Wentworth’s logic. He begins by cynically exploiting fears of another Virginia Tech massacre, where hapless students were “picked off like sitting ducks” because the law left them defenseless. In the Hollywood fantasies of Wentworth, such massacres would be stopped dead in their tracks by courageous, armed law-abiding heroes ready to leap into action like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, busting caps and saving lives.

Setting aside obvious objections to this scenario — like the extreme rarity of such shootings overall, and the presumed readiness of regular people to respond to such a crisis with the cool head of a trained police officer or Navy SEAL simply because they took a 10-hour gun safety course — you’ll notice that Wentworth immediately kneecaps his own fantasy by assuring skeptics that, for one thing, the proposed law would only apply to those legally able to own guns in Texas in the first place: people over 21. So there’s no need to worry about hordes of hormonally distressed 18 and 19 year olds walking around campus packing. It’ll just be the older and wiser seniors, grad students, and staff, all of whom can be counted on for rational level-headedness every time.

So we should support the law because, we’re told, it’ll save lives, and we shouldn’t worry about its possible negatives, because most people on a college campus wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it anyway.

Bwuh? So, excuse me, how will lives be saved here? I mean, what’s to stop our hypothetical armed psycho from simply wandering into a large class packed with freshmen and sophomores, led by a professor who has chosen not to exercise her concealed carry rights (which will be most of them), and opening up? If the nearest legally-packing senior is up on the third floor, or, say, six buildings away, how many lives will be lost in the time it takes him to sprint to the scene and do his Keanu bit?

And what of other concerns that seem not to have occurred to Wentworth at all? Like, what if a legally armed senior has his registered piece stowed in his backpack? And then he ducks out of class to go to the bathroom? And in that time, his backpack is stolen?

And as anyone who’s ever been to college knows, no one in campus dorms ever gets drunk…

It’s one thing to want to find ways to protect people from those in our society who would harm us. We all want that. But in a perfect world, while we could easily prevent all crimes simply by passing law after law to head the bad guys off at the pass every time, the truth is we don’t live in that world. If college students in Texas didn’t need the passage of a concealed carry law after Charles Whitman’s rampage (and yes, I know that sportsmen with their hunting rifles helped hold Whitman at bay during all that, but that was still after he’d mowed down a number of innocents), then what exactly has changed since 1966? Other than the NRA’s lobbying power and hold over the GOP?

20 comments

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  1. 1
    Daniel

    Well said. Not only that but say that there’s 3 gun carrying seniors within earshot of the incident. If they all show up at different times, how are they supposed to know which gunman to shoot? Bad guys don’t always wear black in the real world.

  2. 2
    DagoRed

    If Jeff Wentworth thinks this will increase security on our campuses, lets expand SB1164 to include allowing concealed weapons into government buildings as well. I would hate to think the security of our politicians is at risk since weapons are currently banned in these buildings and metal detectors scan everyone who enters them. We might as well use this as an excuse to tighten the state budget too — by getting rid of the security guards that patrol our state capital — I mean, with so many concealed handguns everywhere, the security guards would merely be redundant….

  3. 3
    Shane

    “In the Hollywood fantasies of Wentworth…”Injecting ridiculous ideas into your opponent is humourous, but doesn’t strengthen your case.”If the nearest legally-packing senior is up on the third floor, or, say, six buildings away, how many lives will be lost…”No more than if he wasn’t there at all. You don’t really lose anything.There have been no studies that have shown that “more guns = more crime”. Typically, violent crime is correlated with gun control. Not because gun control causes violent crime, but it is often enacted to attempt to address violent crime where it universally fails to do so. One rhetorical trick that annoys me is to correlate gun control with a reduction in “gun crimes” or “gun deaths” which IS generally true–however, the overall homicide or suicide rate is almost always unaffected (or continue to follow a downtrend that began long before gun control laws were enacted. Trends that are more likely associated with economic prosperity).The opposite claim, that gun ownership reduces crime, has no real evidence behind it either. However, as far as I am aware there have been no CCW laws enacted which ever resulted in an increase in crime (or the kind of “Wild West” scenario many anti-gun supporters fear). In places where high gun ownership is associated with lower crime (certain European countries) it is more plausible that these jurisdictions simply never had a crime problem to begin with and therefore never enacted gun control laws.Ultimately, from what I have read, crime is most accurately predicted by the underlying socioeconomic conditions of an area and not by gun bans or CCW laws.So I have to disagree with your claim that you are not a “reactionary anti-gun lefty” because you don’t really seem to know anything about the topic. On one of your recent shows you claimed that when people open with “I’m an atheist, but…”, you give them no credit. Same thing here.Not that I support handing out CCW to everyone with a pulse who passes a trivial safety exam. It should require extensive defensive firearm training and ongoing membership and regular training in a recognized training center with annual re-qualification. Because if you don’t regularly train, you don’t have any business carrying a gun around. But if someone is qualified, you lose nothing by letting them carry a concealed weapon whether it is at home, work, or on a university campus.

  4. 4
    Brit

    I have to agree and expand what Shane stated.Although I am not necessarily in support of the bill, I just want to let people know that it would only allow “persons licensed to carry concealed handguns from doing so on their campuses.” (this is a direct quote from the article.)My friend is a licensed gun holder in several states, and the process to get a license is rather hard to say the least. First off, a person has to be 21 years old to even apply for the license. Then it can take up to an year for the license to get processed.They do background checks through several agencies, the person has to do several months of training just to even be considered, and the person has to register all of their guns and retest for their license after a few years. If someone did find their gun when they are on a campus and started to shoot people with it, it wouldn’t just be the shooter who went to jail, the licensed gun owner would go as well.I don’t necessarily like the wording of the bill, but I don’t like sensationalism either. Unfortunately, people (mostly unlicensed individuals) already carry in universities. There was even an incident at my university a few months ago when a person who didn’t even go to my college took out their gun and fired several shots. This bill isn’t supporting anyone and everyone to hold guns on school ground. It is allowing for people who already had the right to own conceded handguns to carry them on some parts of the campus.Now if you disagree on the second amendment, I actually agree with you. But as long as the amendment is being seen in this way, people who have been licensed and trained to carry guns safely have the right to carry them places where it is legal. This bill is just expanding on those locations.

  5. 5
    Martin

    Shane: Injecting ridiculous ideas into your opponent is humourous, but doesn’t strengthen your case.But I haven’t injected them, they’re in the original. Again, the argument Wentworth gives to support his bill invokes VTech, and how the students there were killed because the law wouldn’t let them defend themselves by shooting back. What’s one to infer from such a statement other than it’s Wentworth’s view that, had there been a concealed carry law in effect at VT, someone there would have been capable and level-headed enough to whip out his own legal gun, fire back at the shooter without missing, killing him, and emerge the hero of the hour. Maybe I make it sound a little melodramatic, but I’m hardly misrepresenting his case. If anything I’m carrying Wentworth’s argument to its conclusion.Brit is right that, technically, all Wentworth’s bill is doing is expanding the current concealed carry law to include the insides of buildings. Right now anyone can walk around the grounds of a Texas campus with a concealed handgun, and, no, those campuses don’t resemble a Halo deathmatch. So why do supporters of these bills bring up bugaboos like VT or Columbine or whatever? Because they know they have to sell the idea that it’s wise to let any old Joe Blow walk around packing as long as his background check is clean. So this is how we get Wentworth’s brand of fear-mongering.How can Wentworth know with any confidence that a situation like VT would be any less bloody and chaotic with a concealed carry law in place than without one? Because his argument for his bill very clearly implies it would have been. Who’s to say that anyone with a legal concealed gun would be lucky enough to be present when a psycho just happens to pick that classroom for his rampage? How can he be so sure that heroic student would even have a chance to draw down on the shooter and take him out, let alone do it without missing or accidentally popping a fellow student among the hundreds screaming and panicking and running for their lives?Brit, if there’s any sensationalism here, it’s coming from Wentworth, who’s clearly selling his bill to the public on the back of a gratifying “if only” fantasy scenario. So I have to disagree with your claim that you are not a “reactionary anti-gun lefty” because you don’t really seem to know anything about the topic.And this opinion of yours would mean something if you hadn’t just spent the previous three paragraphs attacking an argument I didn’t make. Where, anywhere in my post, did I argue for gun control? Where, anywhere, did I argue that concealed handguns would increase crime? Where did the words “gun control” even appear in this discussion, until you introduced them? Nowhere, that’s where. Someone’s injecting ridiculous ideas into his opponent’s argument here, and it ain’t me.Again, all I criticized was this particular bill, and the rationale Wentworth is explicity presenting to defend it. If I were, in fact, a reactionary anti-gun lefty, you would have seen me go off on a wild argument demanding draconian gun control legislation and probably demanding all guns be seized and melted into slag, as I’ve heard real anti-gun lefties argue. As I didn’t make any of those arguments, I repeat. I’m not a reactionary anti-gun lefty. Indeed, I can think of any number of situations where being armed would be infinitely preferable to otherwise. But this bill and Wentworth’s defense of it don’t represent any of those situations.Continued….

  6. 6
    Martin

    ….continued.On one of your recent shows you claimed that when people open with “I’m an atheist, but…”, you give them no credit. Same thing here.Nope. Not even close to being the same thing. Allow me to expound upon the concept of meaningful distinctions.An “I’m an atheist but…” person is someone who argues against criticizing religion at all, on the wimpy ground that it’s just rude and mean and, oh, everything. An “I’m no prude but…” person is someone who then goes on to argue for the complete banning of all porno, sex toys, dirty movies, condom sales, what have you.So, for me to be taking the hypocritical position you’re suggesting, I would have had to make the argument you thought I made but didn’t, favoring draconian gun control or an outright gun ban. But I favor neither of those things, so, poof goes your straw man. Once again, I was criticizing a specific piece of proposed gun legislation and the arguments presented to defend it.Therefore, just as my criticism of the Freedom from Religion’s Christmas sign (addressing one specific incident involving one specific atheist group at a specific time) and Matt Dillahunty’s criticism of the ridiculously litigious Patrick Greene (addressing one specific atheist’s stupid behavior) are not examples of an “I’m an atheist but…” argument, so too is my criticism of Wentworth’s bill not an exercise in wishy-washy “I’m not anti-gun, but…” liberal waffling.Hopefully that was clear even to the cheap seats. I hate repeating myself.Not that I support handing out CCW to everyone with a pulse who passes a trivial safety exam. It should require extensive defensive firearm training and ongoing membership and regular training in a recognized training center with annual re-qualification.Well, damn, Shane, make your mind up! Because now it sounds as if you’re in full agreement with me. Because under current Texas law, and under this new bill of Wentworth’s, said trivial 10-hour gun safety course and a clean criminal slate is entirely adequate to qualify anyone who applies for a concealed carry permit! And in Wentworth’s imagination, it would be enough to enable a person, mentally, to be ready to do the rapid-response thing in a moment of crisis, and do it as cool as a proverbial cucumber. You know that’s bullshit, I know that’s bullshit. And you and I both agree that a very well-trained individual carrying a gun is a safe as houses, and that a 21-year-old with 10 hours of Gun Safety 101 is no one’s idea of “very well-trained.” So why argue with me here? Get on the horn to Wentworth, and have him beef up his bill to require more extensive training for concealed carry applicants!

  7. 7
    Ing

    I’m in an odd place on this one.Everyone knows how favorable I am to Hunter “20 guns loaded at all time” Thompson…yet I honestly don’t want any of my class mates packing heat. My sober friend almost shot my eye out with my room mates beebee gun (yes this was this year). So I don’t even trust my stupid friends with string.

  8. 8
    Grey d'Miyu

    Sorry, Martin, you are engaging in some strawmen of your own. Terms like “logical conclusion” and “melodramatic” are pretty much the smoke to strawman’s fire. Why does he call up the spectres of those shootings? Simple, name the events when even more gun legislation is rammed through at the state and local level? Yeah, the very same ones.Even worse, the criticism you raise are pointless. What’s to say this situation will happen? What’s to say it won’t? He can no more say that it would happen than you say it won’t. But what can be said is that if there’s a law preventing people from defending themselves then we can say, with certainty what the outcome will be. Law abiding citizens, ostensibly the type of people we want to have carrying concealed, will be unable to take any form of action, negative or positive. Meanwile law-breaking citizens, presumably the people we don’t want carrying concealed, will be able to effect the outcome.To me it comes down to a pretty simple moral argument. What gives you, personally, the right to demand someone else not defend themselves? Most answers are self-contradictory because they hinge on the person’s own right to defend themselves. “You can’t carry a gun because I have a right to feel safe! You might shoot me!” IE, their form of self-defense is to take away everyone else’s right to self-defense.Strawman + weak arguments do not a compelling post make.

  9. 9
    ChristOnIce

    I loathe this law for many reasons, but I have to say that I find a lot of the arguments here feeble. There are three primary problems that I have. The first is that cross-fire hardly seems like something that would increase safety. Such shootings that this bill presumes to address don’t occur in a shooting range with clear line of site. They occur in crowds of frightened and unpredictable people. The odds that a gun-carrying vigilante could have a truly safe shot are very small. The odds that they would have a shot that they feel is “safe enough” are far greater. Police receive extensive and repeated training in estimation of safety and still often fuck up. I sure as shit don’t trust some college kid to do much better.Also, the training required to get a concealed weapons license is nowhere near an acceptable level. They receive no adequate training in threat recognition and far more often than not know nothing about the variables necessary to differentiate threat levels. There are numerous mental and neurological conditions which have ostensibly threatening presentations. Recall the schizophrenic who was shot 9 times in an airport for refusing to drop his backpack in an airport because he had a threatening demeanor? How about the guy in New York who was shot multiple times by police who mistook a piece of fruit for a grenade after reports of odd behavior that were also the result of a medical condition? Tourette’s Syndrome is a damned good example. A lot of tics can appear dangerous, including shouts that can be context sensitive (“bomb” isn’t the safest thing to yell in an airport). After the Virginia Tech shooting, some people with TS had a hell of a time on campuses due to such behaviors triggering reactionary responses. As in the above examples, we don’t do a satisfactory job educating cops on these matters. How the hell would we expect some kid to have the necessary knowledge? Because they have a clear background and can aim?The biggest problem that tops these off, though, is the lack of accountability. With police and security at the helm, things may not always go correctly, but there are structures in place to deal with that. When some do-gooder screws the pooch, what will be the process. One can sue or get settlements from cops and guards that defer medical expenses and offer necessary punitive response. One can’t get that from a student in most cases. This law is just a bad solution. If they don’t think that schools have enough security, provide more security. Don’t pawn it off on those with less responsibility, less training, and less accountability. Lastly, I think Martin’s overall point here is petty partisanship. The argument is that because someone is conservative on one unrelated issue they will be conservative on another? Seriously? Granted, one can recognize patterns and set expectations, but it doesn’t make for a strong argument in the least. This post comes across as simple bashing of a conservative issue (albeit a stupid one) with a very thin thread attempting to tie it to an issue relevant in any way to atheism.

  10. 10
    asdf

    @ChristOnlcePartisan? Did Martin "rally the base" or declare liberal or Democrat style values? It's not partisan because if the piece was, you would hear a lot more about anti-gun laws.@Shane & GreyAre you for or against guns at school? If you agree with the bill, then you conclude that it's the best possible way for defense. It's not and you know it. There are tons of other ways to protect students but your too focused on the politics behind it. It's an issue of Atheism in regards to logic. Many atheist can agree on logic towards the religious zealots, but when it comes to logic, elsewhere you guys throw it out the window.The bill is an attempt to solve problems of worse case scenarios but only will make them worse. What happens of the gunman has armor? What happens if the gun man decides to shoot more people? What if he compensates and uses more people/weapons/ammo? It's not likely, from nearly all counts of violent gun assaults, that another person with a gun could actually make the decision better.Nor does it take into account people of bad mental health but who are not diagnosed. 1/3 of all college men become depressed at some time in college, some worse then others. Booze will get mixed with this, and so will girls who want to break up with said guys. Throw guns in the mix and things turn worse.I'm not saying all guns should be banned, just that this bill is completely stupid because it makes things worse, especially in a college setting. If you agree with the bill you agree with it's premise that 10 hours of training is efficient enough training to keep a depressed or drunk or angry man from shooting others. You then agree that those same people, when in a case of a gunman, will able to subdue the gunman without taking anothers life or getting confused and end up dieing as the result of another "hero".It's stupid to think that this unstable youths are more reliable then metal detectors and campus security. That's what it boils down to. College students are better at protecting everyone then metal detectors and the police?

  11. 11
    Grey d'Miyu

    @asdfAre you for or against guns at school?I am against bans which infringe on multiple constitutional rights.If you agree with the bill, then you conclude that it’s the best possible way for defense. It’s not and you know it.Strawman. Who says its not? How do you know I know it? I certainly haven’t said I know it. I do believe it is self evident, however, that when two individuals are opposed to one another the one with the firearm is at a decided advantage.There are tons of other ways to protect students but your too focused on the politics behind it.Yes, there are. Of course they have also proven themselves to be both hellishly totalitarian and only moderately effective.Many atheist can agree on logic towards the religious zealots, but when it comes to logic, elsewhere you guys throw it out the window.Just because I don’t agree with you does not mean that I am being illogical. It means that the points from which we start our arguments differ.The bill is an attempt to solve problems of worse case scenarios but only will make them worse.…he says with no proof…What happens of the gunman has armor?How does this make it worse? If anything we’re still in a better situation because effective armor is harder to come by than firearms and even the most effective body armor does not cover the entire body. Or, to put it simply, aim for the legs?What happens if the gun man decides to shoot more people?How is this relevant? Lets look at the situation this is meant to address. An armed person moving from location to location dispatching people with impunity. If you wound him the whole moving from location to location part pretty much goes out the window. Yes, he can shoot more people after being shot. But if he can’t move chances are he’s just going to shoot people he was going to shoot already. No negative impact but a large positive impact.What if he compensates and uses more people/weapons/ammo?Again, not relevant. We’ve already seen cases where people off their rocker have entered the situation carrying a full load. Put him down before he runs out and you save lives. No negative impact, large positive impact.It’s not likely, from nearly all counts of violent gun assaults, that another person with a gun could actually make the decision better.…he says with a large bias and no proof…Nor does it take into account people of bad mental health but who are not diagnosed. 1/3 of all college men become depressed at some time in college, some worse then others. Booze will get mixed with this, and so will girls who want to break up with said guys. Throw guns in the mix and things turn worse.…he says with no proof and a large bias. Look, how exactly does that differ from now? You’re missing the big elephant (not pink) in the room. If the person is off his rocker and is intent on doing harm what makes you think some neato signs declaring everyone in the immediate area is incapable of effectively defending themselves will make him reconsider and go instead to the local gun club?

  12. 12
    Grey d'Miyu

    …continued….I’m not saying all guns should be banned, just that this bill is completely stupid because it makes things worse, especially in a college setting.…he says with no proof and an extreme bias…If you agree with the bill you agree with it’s premise that 10 hours of training is efficient enough training to keep a depressed or drunk or angry man from shooting others.No, I don’t, actually. That doesn’t enter the equation. I believe people have the right to defend themselves. I believe that crazy people will ignore laws and to deprive sane people from their right to defend themselves is stupid. I believe that mandating dozens, hundreds, of people must passively be slaughtered because other people are too scared to defend themselves, much less others. I find that line of thought, that people be mandated to give up their right to defend themselves, morally repugnant.You then agree that those same people, when in a case of a gunman, will able to subdue the gunman without taking anothers life or getting confused and end up dieing as the result of another “hero”.No. I believe that each situation is different and to presume that allowing people the capacity to defend themselves is somehow, always, going to end up making the situation worse. I reject the notion that dozens of people dead because of foolish and ignorant notions of “safety” when there is a chance, yes, a chance that someone properly equipped could have reduced the number to a dozen or even single digits.It’s stupid to think that this unstable youths are more reliable then metal detectors and campus security.It’s stupid to lump hundreds of thousands of people together as unstable.That’s what it boils down to. College students are better at protecting everyone then metal detectors and the police?Metal detectors don’t stop people; that takes other people. People who can be shot just as easily. Police have response times. My point is that in that time when it is just the person with a gun and the people without the only thing those people can count on is their own actions. To brand them as unstable and remove their choice and ability to defend themselves is unethical and morally bankrupt.

  13. 13
    Greg

    We had a similar bill in our ND state legislature this year. Thankfully it got defeated. But it makes one wonder if there is any coordinated effort to introduce this kind of legislation around the country and the purpose behind that movement. Are there other states facing this as well?

  14. 14
    Greg

    A quick search just showed that similar bills have been introduced in Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, and South Carolina. There is also is an organized student movement with a website called concealedcampus.com. Hmmm.

  15. 15
    asdf

    That’s what it boils down to. College students are better at protecting everyone then metal detectors and the police?Metal detectors don’t stop people; that takes other people. People who can be shot just as easily. Police have response times. My point is that in that time when it is just the person with a gun and the people without the only thing those people can count on is their own actions. To brand them as unstable and remove their choice and ability to defend themselves is unethical and morally bankrupt.I see. You would rather solve the problem then the underlying solution. That is simply stupid. Because college students are obviously the best trained and most rational people there are. Police are nowhere near properly trained as a bunch of random students. It would be better to give people guns to protect themselves from… themselves. Because they are almost never have any psychological problems, or get drunk, or have relationship problems. Because no student would ever think about pulling out a gun to intimidate or threaten another. You are so right, because disarming everyone before they get together makes them a target for shooters who could so easily be stopped by a student with expert marksmanship and an ability to not hit people in a moving crowd. Because disarming the person who is planning to do the killings before hand is totalitarianism and something only a commu-nazi would do.STFU and GTFO noob.

  16. 16
    Jacque

    College students are better at protecting everyone then metal detectors and the police?I don’t know about all colleges, but my alma mater’s campus police dept. was full of idiots. The only thing they were competent at was writing tickets. I would absolutely trust college students over them.

  17. 17
    Grey d'Miyu

    I see. You would rather solve the problem then the underlying solution. That is simply stupid.Huh? What is that supposed to mean? Yes, I would rather solve the problem. What does underlying solution mean?Because college students are obviously the best trained and most rational people there are.This is immaterial and never part of my point. My point is that people, in general, have a right to effectively defend themselves. Cases can be made on an individual basis that some people may not be the best candidate to do so. However my presumption is not that the entire group is universally incompetent. Police are nowhere near properly trained as a bunch of random students.I never said that. In fact I specifically stated that police have response times. That, however, has nothing to do with their training or lack thereof. Even the best trained police officer cannot be on site instantly.It would be better to give people guns to protect themselves from… themselves.Another strawman. I have not lumped people together. I am saying that it is immoral and unethical to prevent an individual from defending his or her self.Because they are almost never have any psychological problems, or get drunk, or have relationship problems.Substitute they with students and it looks like what you want. Substitute it with “police officers” and it doesn’t look so clear cut, does it? Are you now trying to imply that police officers almost never have any psychological problems, get drunk or have relationship problems?Sorry, because of what might being going on is not enough for me to mandate that individuals give up their right to defend themselves.Because no student would ever think about pulling out a gun to intimidate or threaten another.Most won’t.Because disarming the person who is planning to do the killings before hand is totalitarianism and something only a commu-nazi would do.Disarming the person who is planning the killings… Ah, now we get to the crux of this whole issue and one that people like you, people with a collective mindset, fail to acknowledge. If a person is planning on killing do you honestly think they have any qualms about breaking the law to obtain the weapons to do so then break a few more laws taking those weapons to a location they’re not supposed to?The most sensationalized school shooting, Columbine, was not averted by preventing Harris and Klebold from being armed. Why? BECAUSE THEY BROKE THE LAWS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS WHICH MADE IT ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO OBTAIN THE WEAPONS THEY USED TO MURDER 13 PEOPLE AND WOUND 21 OTHERS. Read that again and a third time since you aren’t grasping the basic concept. Laws making it illegal for them to purchase the guns they used did… not… disarm… them.STFU and GTFO noob.Ah, the battle cry of the internet generation. Can’t back up your argument tell them to shut up, go away and call them names. That’s mature, classy and utterly futile. It only shows the weakness of your arguments.

  18. 18
    Ing

    Wait…if people can break the law then the law becomes invalid and is seen as bad?HUZZAH*goes to shoplift a Barns and Noble*

  19. 19
    Steve

    They like to claim that life begins at conception and that abortions performed any time after that is murder. At that stage, however, there is no brain and no self-awareness, so how can it be murder when there is no sentient victim involved? It's like claiming that washing your hands is murder.My position is that life begins at sentience, not conception.

  20. 20
    Michael

    Martin, first, I love the Atheist Experience. Thank you to all who make it happen. Here though, you couldn't be more wrong. VT may be the most recent example, but there have been many, many others. There was VT. An immigration office in Binghamton NY, Northern IL University, A mall in Ohmaha NB, an Amish school in PA, a High School in Red Lake MN, and on and on. People tend to kill each other, it is something that our species is very good at. However the massacres usually share a common policy. And that is no guns by private citizens. The logic here is not flawed. The idea is that instead of 32 people dying at VT maybe only 5 die before some kills the shooter. This is the actual reality from citizens who defend themselves daily with their firearms. Private individuals do kill would be murderers. I do not think that anyone is deluted enough to claim that have citizens armed at any one of these locations would have prevented this, however, it certainly would have lowered the body count. P.S. when was the last time you heard about a mass killing spree at an NRA convention or a gun show? Never. It wouldn't happen. Someone may get shot at these events, but no way you get 19 victim's. That is the point. Perhaps, he did not do a good job of explaining it, maybe me either, but that is the ultimate reality. Gun free zone, you are thousands of times more likely to be involved in a mass killing than at a gun show or an NRA rally. A gun is a tool, it can be used for good or bad. What a gun free zone does is it says, that the only people who have guns here are the ones who intend to do bad. And everyone else is a sheep ready to die. Happy hunting crazy people.

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