A Welcome Clarification on the Second Amendment and That Militia Business »« End of the Year Letter to Family and Friends.

Guns are Innocent of their Use in Human Hands.

The slaughter of the innocents in schools has revived once again the argument that guns are responsible for these pathetic deaths.

If, it is argued, the firearms so basely used has magazines holding less ammunition, then the killings would have produced a lower body count. Such reasoning is obscene and demeans the memory of those so tragically slain.

For the pedantic, such an argument is known as the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. We can see its use by others but not by ourselves, It is a fallacy of causation, like “Because firearms with large ammunition magazine capacity were used to kill the children, the guns, and their magazines, were the cause of the deaths of the children.”

This fallacy of reasoning promises to once again infect the American debate on the issue of guns and on the ownership thereof. If, it is argued, guns of certain types (or all guns), and magazines of certain types (or all magazines), and certain types of ammunition (or all ammunition) were to be banned, then there would be no more school murders by maniacs. If, it is falsely reasoned, such weapons had been banned before the horror, the children would not have been murdered.

The argument is hydra-headed and should be rejected by rational people. The availability of the firearm, the magazines, and the ammunition used have absolutely nothing to do with the perceived notions of some that such availability caused, or permitted, the insane actions of the killer. And the corollary belief that, without such availability, so many would not now mourn the irreparable loss caused, they believe, by the gun, the magazine, and the ammunition, is dangerous defective.

Some of this fallacious argument is grounded in lack of knowledge and some in just plain lies.

One such assertion is that no one “needs” a weapon of the sort used. The need for such is irrelevant. It is lawful to own one, or several, such. And this right is firmly grounded in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. One could perhaps argue incorrectly that this guarantee is a bad idea. But it is a guarantee nevertheless. The way to abolish it is not to argue that the 2nd Amendment is something that it is not, but rather to repeal the amendment. And, in so doing, to lay down a welcome mat for tyrants.

The weapon involved in the recent school carnage has been incorrectly called an “assault rifle.” Decisions of the magnitude urged should not stand on the incorrect use of this emotionally weighted term.

An assault rifle has, by its most basic definition, the ability to fire, and to keep firing, bullets so long as the trigger is depressed. The trigger can be pulled once, and held back until three, or whatever, shots have been fired. When the trigger is released, the gun quits firing. This is not the weapon under attack, for such assault rifles have been unlawful for most private ownership for many years—ever since it was concluded by the ancestors of today’s gun-banners that banning such firearms would prevent mass killings.

The firearm used was not an assault rifle, but was rather a “semi-automatic rifle.” This also has a precise meaning. A semi-automatic rifle, or handgun, is one that can fire once each time the trigger is depressed and can continue to fire a shot with each trigger pull until the “magazine” holding the cartridges is empty. To fire three shots the trigger would have to be pulled three times.

Some semi-automatic rifles have been made to look like true assault rifles. But they are not assault rifles because they are not capable of full automatic fire. They are no more assault rifles than a cap gun is a Colt .45.

The debate to come will also feature various statistics designed to show that the post hoc logical fallacy of the gun-banners’ argument is not a logical fallacy. All such attempts will fail, because the gun has nothing to do with the way in which it is used. If one wants to play with statistics, it can be shown that crime in America has actually gone down since the repeal of the last gun ban. It can also be shown that violent crime has gone down wherever it has been made lawful for citizens to carry concealed deadly weapons.

And blaming and banning guns is simply not the solution. Such actions obscure the real, and largely unknown, reason or reasons why such killers do as they do. President Lincoln was killed by a single shot from a single shot Derringer. No one blamed, or tried to ban, Derringers. Many people, including children, were killed in Oklahoma City by a truck bomb filled with fertilizer. No one blamed, or tried to ban, fertilizer. We do not blame water for murders by drowning.

The act is the problem, not the means of its accomplishment. We do not blame matches for arson. We do not blame alcoholism on alcohol. And we should not blame insane murders on guns.

To do so avoids looking for the true reasons—perhaps reasons we would rather not hear—and puts an ineffective bandage on an open wound that will erupt again with knives, clubs, and rocks.

Edwin Kagin, © 2013.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Why not just turn your blog over to Wayne LaPierre, since you seem bent on channeling his message (logical & factual fallacies and all)?

  2. says

    Umm some criticisms off the top of my head….

    Although its a fallacy to assume causation sometimes something that happens before can affect what happens later. Assuming is the important word. Ex pulling the trigger does in fact cause the bullet to fire.
    While you can argue the evidence for the effects of reducing magazine size isn’t known that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have an effect either.

    If you look at the rest of the world you probably don’t need the 2nd amendment to prevent tyrants. Plenty of other countries like my native Canada lack a right to bare arms and don’t seem to be in any greater likelihood of becoming a tyranny. Even with the right to arms it doesn’t seem to have prevented some disturbing losses of liberties in the states (ex the drone program allowing the killing of citizens without trials).

    At the end you mention fertilizer not being banned. However it is my understanding that law enforcement agencies do keep an eye out for irregular fertilizer sales. There’s a difference between you shouldn’t have access to something and there should be some steps taken to ensure public safety. We don’t let just anyone drive a car for example. You have to get licenses insurance registration etc and cars are at least as dangerous as firearms.

    The thing about knives clubs and rocks is that they are actually less lethal then guns. So more violence being committed with those instead of guns would actually lead to fewer fatalities

    There’s also something of a catch-22 in your calling the murderers insane especially when in many cases their mental state is impossible to judge after the fact. They’re insane cause they killed a bunch of people and you don’t know why so they must be insane. This comes across as mental illness shaming and not very productive to improving mental health or addressing gun violence.

  3. monkeymind says

    You mean guns don’t kill people, only people kill people? Wow, I have never heard that before. I thought guns were actually guilty of crimes.

    And if guns are necessary to protect against tyranny, I think we need to up our firepower. After all, tactical nuclear weapons are also innocent of their use in human hands.

    The availability of nuclear arms has absolutely nothing to do with the perceived notions of some that such availability can cause or permit some random lunatic to level entire cities. Such an argument is hydra-headed and should be rejected by rational people.

  4. machintelligence says

    They are no more assault rifles than a cap gun is a Colt .45.

    I’m calling bullshit on this one. They are MUCH closer to an assault rifle than a cap gun is to a Colt 45.

    Just because we cannot stop the slaughter of innocents doesn’t mean we can’t try to limit it.

  5. Alverant says

    Just a quick glance at your rant reveals some mistakes of your own. The biggest is about the 2nd amendment. It wasn’t about tyrants. It was about putting down slave revolts and defending against attacks from the natives. It also starts with the phrase “A well regulated militia”, something you left out. Yet the biggest gun huggers are resisting even something simple and Constitutional as background checks and registering all weapons. It’s easier to get a weapon designed for mass killing than a car people use daily. So why is it you need insurance to own a car but not a gun?

    Also who decides who is and isn’t a tyrant as required in your version of the 2nd amendment? Dorner thought the LAPD qualified (which isn’t a stretch considering what they have done) and look at what happened to him, demonized, and executed without trial. Where were the gun huggers then? Why weren’t they defending him against this tyrant you talked about? And what good is a semi-auto gun against a government that has drones, explosives, and snipers? Or do you feel you’re entitled to your own personal armory?

    Most of your rant is about how the gun was mislabeled as an assault rifle as if that demolishes the argument. It doesn’t. The fact it’s a semi-automatic makes it worse. A full auto gun would run out of bullets in a few seconds. Semi-autos let the killing extend longer between reloads since fewer bullets are used on each victim. Throw in the large cap magazines and the killing time gets even longer.

    I’ve been shot at twice by “responsible law-abiding” gun owners (which is a logical fallacy called “no true scotsman”). Once while I was walking down a public sidewalk by an old woman who mistook a meter reader for a burglar (hey, the guy was black). She missed him and nearly hit me. The other was at Thanksgiving dinner when my 2nd cousin showed off his new gun which “wasn’t loaded”. He slipped on the rug which made him pull the trigger and if I hadn’t ducked he would have Cheneyed me.

    I’ve also been threatened by a “responsible law-abiding” gun owner at a public forum because I dared to question his claims and ask for proof. I asked for six christian values in the Constitution and when he couldn’t, he pointed out his concealed pistol had six bullets and if I still wanted my six values.

    The fact is a “responsible law-abiding” gun owner is only one until he/she isn’t. At that point an innocent person could be dead. So man up on your responsibilities as a gun owner and if people won’t accept responsibility for their guns they shouldn’t have them.

    • rapiddominance says

      Would you agree that mislabeling the said weapon for emotional weight is a little bit on the dirty side? Not that everybody calling it an “assalt rifle” is a liar. I seriously doubt 75% of the people throwing this word around know that its a misnomer. Talking points, however, do start somewhere.

      Similarly, what is your opinion of the people who attack gay marriage under the guise of “marriage defense?

  6. Nathair on a borrowed address says

    I was worried when Thunderf00t “left” but I am relieved to see that FTB still has someone serious about blogging with his head all the way up his own ass.

  7. says

    Certainly a gun is “innocent” in moral terms, since it has no agency. That’s a really simplistic argument you’re making. An equally simplistic argument would be to say that “obviously, a shooting death cannot occur without a gun” which is equal and oppositely stupid.

    If you want to look more closely at the causes of a shooting, the presence and ease of use of a gun is often a factor. This is evidenced by the fact that guns are used at all – yes, a chainsaw is a deadly weapon but why are there more shootings than chainsawings: because guns are easier to use than chainsaws. In choosing to ignore this fact, you move from arguing honestly to merely being an advocate of an ideological position.

  8. unbound says

    A few things that are not accurate or are actual illogical with your arguments:

    – As Alverant pointed out, when you read the entire 2nd amendment and understand the history of it’s creation, it was only created to satisfy the south’s need to keep the uppity slaves in check (they were revolting fairly regularly at that time in history). I do recommend that you read up on that before leveraging the 2nd amendment in this kind of argument.

    – You are creating at least one strawman fallacy. Although reduced capacity magazines have indeed been part of the discussion, they have not be the entire aspect of the discussion of gun control. Of course limiting magazine capacities will not eliminate death by guns…and no serious debate has even hinted at that. They have mentioned it in context of reducing the number of deaths involved. And even then, I haven’t read a single serious argument that states it would eliminate mass murders. The goal is to reduce body counts and/or numbers of incidents of mass murders.

    – Another strawman fallacy is the banning of all guns. Again, no serious discussion on gun control advocates the outright banning of all guns. The predominant arguments revolve around background checks and limiting guns to hunting and protection…in other words, putting controls around guns that befit the potential damage they can create.

    – You are creating at least one ambiguity logical fallacy. You are leveraging the ambiguous definition of assault rifles when you know fully well that the intent of those arguments are in reference to firearms that are designed for combat and not for personal protection or hunting.

    Once you strip away all of the logical fallacies in your post, there really isn’t much left to discuss.

    A simple question for you that would be more fruitful. Why wouldn’t we implement some degree of protections and regulations to at least reduce the incidence of gun-related problems? Do you think we should roll back all the legislation that provides things like seat belts, air bags, crush zones, etc on your car? After all, can’t we just trust the car manufacturers to train people to be better drivers?

  9. brucegee1962 says

    “For the pedantic, such an argument is known as the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. We can see its use by others but not by ourselves, It is a fallacy of causation, like “Because firearms with large ammunition magazine capacity were used to kill the children, the guns, and their magazines, were the cause of the deaths of the children.” ”

    First off, I assume you actually mean “…the guns and their magazines were A cause.” I don’t think there’s a single non-straw person in the world who would argue the guns were the ONLY cause.

    I’ve never seen the term post hoc ergo propter hoc used in quite this way before. Usually it’s used to point out that, just because B comes after A does not mean B caused A. But given your definition, I’m not sure if anything causes anything.

    At first I thought this whole thing was a Poe, but if you’re serious, then apparently you disagree with the statement ““Because firearms with large ammunition magazine capacity were used to kill the children, the guns, and their magazines, were the cause of the deaths of the children.” So I assume you also disagree with the statements:

    “Because the Apollo program built the rocket that went to the moon, the Apollo program was a cause of the moon landing.”

    “Because an iceberg tore open the Titanic, the iceberg was a cause of its sinking.”

    “Because an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the bomb was a cause of its destruction.”

    I’m not quite sure if I get it — do things even have causes in your world? Or do they just spontaneously happen with no rhyme or reason?

    The stark fact is that thousands and thousands of Americans lie stiff and cold in their graves who would be alive today if they had’t encountered a person who possessed a gun. If you want to say that those deaths are a price worth paying for the 2nd amendment, or to keep us free from tyranny, or personal defense, or what have you, then I’ll disagree with you, but at least I’ll know where you’re coming from. If you try to claim that guns somehow bear no responsibility for those deaths, then you are a word juggler, and there is no truth in you.

  10. Nick B says

    UK gun laws were seriously tightened after Hungerford, and even more after Dunblane. I’m sure it is possible to argue that the much lower incidence of killing sprees is purely coincidental. But it wouldn’t harm to find out.

  11. Richard Simons says

    The 2nd Amendment was written by fallible people for a completely different situation from that prevailing in the current US. As a non-American, I do not understand why Americans treat it as holy writ.

    • Adam says

      You don’t understand why a document (most importantly, the BoR) is considered “holy writ”? I have to wonder why you even commented then.

    • Antares42 says

      I agree with Richard. Seen from across the Pond, the Founding-Father worship is almost as creepy as the perpetual reference of religion.

  12. Ano Niemand says

    Oh, where to begin…

    Well, clearly, we have several people in the comments section who know extremely little about firearms (their machinations, their operative capabilities, and the terms and nomenclature pertaining to both) and are writing their points-of-view solely based on anti-gun talking points instead of knowledgeable fact — listening to their arguments is like listening to the Pope talk about birth control.

    Going on down the line, we see people who question the motives of the Second Amendment. I’m sorry, I may not be as well-read as you all, but I fail to recall George Mason (whom it is widely regarded had the Second Amendment brainchild in the first place) saying anything about “uppity slaves”. However, there is ample evidence of several Constitutional authors regarding its importance as a means to keep a government – even the very one they were outlining and creating – beholden to the will of the people under threat of violent rebellion. In any case, the true danger of doing away with the Second Amendment isn’t in leaving us unable to defend ourselves from tyranny, but rather in the precedent it sets in the repealing of our Constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights. For those who say it’s “out-of-date” (it’s not, by the way – Ruby Ridge and Kent State taught us that tyranny takes tiny bites), I ask what other rights they would give away gladly because they are outmoded? I haven’t needed my Third Amendment rights lately, should we let go of those? I’m a law abiding citizen, so I don’t need any Fourth Amendment rights to hide behind — why not just surrender them? This is the issue at play here: we don’t need most of our rights, up until the point where we REALLY need them. Call it “condom philosophy” — it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    Moving on to the “assault weapon” (gods, I hate that term), and the assertion that semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines make it easier to kill a large amount of people. I will admit this is true – hell, it’s kind of the point in the design – but it really has nothing to do with anything, because for as much damage as they are designed to wreak, they do a woefully inadequate job of it in the grand scheme of things. Only 25% of gun-related homicides are committed with a long arm (if you don’t know what a long arm is, I refer you to my first paragraph) in general, and only a small fraction of long arm-related homicides are committed with one of these “high-capacity, military-type, semi-automatic rifles”. If you’re hell-bent on focusing on only these types of firearms, then you are in effect saying that they are the only firearm-related homicides that actually matter — the other ones don’t count, ‘cuz they’re not as tragic. Your “reasonable” gun control wouldn’t do diddly-squat to stem the tide of overall homicides one bit, they would only make it harder for spree-killings (again, only a very fucking slim minority of firearm-related homicides) to occur. And to claim that ten deaths at once is more tragic than one hundred deaths, one at a time, is hypocritical.

    You may have noticed, I put “reasonable” in quotes up there. This is because it’s been tossed around before, in order to make it look like the pro-gun side is being UN-reasonable. Here’s the thing: we were told it was “reasonable” to surrender our right to own fully-automatic weapons without license and tax-stamp in 1934, and we complied. We were told it was “reasonable” to do the same thing to foreign-made military-style rifles in 1968 (thanks, NRA, you jackasses…), and we complied. Then, in 1994, it was “reasonable” for us to surrender any weapon that was arbitrarily labeled an “assault weapon”, and we complied. You keep whittling away our right to bear arms – a right which was originally stated, in no uncertain terms, to “not be infringed” upon – until we’re left with whatever pea-shooters you deem safe enough to trust us with. And then, in the wake of another inevitable tragedy, you will want us to be “reasonable” and surrender those, too.

    I’m sorry, but banning “assault weapons” won’t stop mass shootings. It won’t even make them harder to commit. Cho used two pistols at Virginia Tech. Whitman used bolt-action rifles in Austin. Klebold and Harris used shotguns and carbines at Columbine. Some of you will respond by saying, “Fine! Then we ban all guns! Then nothing bad can ever happen ever again!” Which is very “reasonable”, now isn’t it? A (yet again) very slim minority of gun owners perpetrate crimes, so now the vast majority of gun-owners lose their right. That seems fair…

    No. It’s not. It’s the fucking opposite. And were this any other item or technology (No one gets the internet anymore, because hackers steal our identities! No more swimming pools, because little kids drown!), you would all be pitching a shit fit. But because it’s something you know nothing at all about, care even less for, and have programmed yourselves to be scared of, that makes it okay.

    You all have my disdain. Take it for what it’s worth.

  13. Stainy says

    To michaeld,
    “Plenty of other countries like my native Canada lack a right to bare arms and don’t seem to be in any greater likelihood of becoming a tyranny.” You are assuming tyranny will be anything but slowly chipping away at freedoms in such a way that you would never know you are heading towards a tyrannical state until you are its in one.

    To monkeymind,
    “And if guns are necessary to protect against tyranny, I think we need to up our firepower. After all, tactical nuclear weapons are also innocent of their use in human hands.” While your statement is smothered in sarcasm you touch on an interesting point. A nuclear warhead in the hands of a competent, responsible individual poses no threat to the population, whatsoever. In fact, the thousands of warheads stockpiled within the US are not under the eye of Dear Leader but of, you guessed it, humans! Barring the fact that it would take hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars to privately manufacture a Nuclear warhead, the possession of a nuke in a single persons hands constitutes an impending and inevitable threat against other members of the populace due to deterioration and lack of means to contain. While a Browning M-2 (automatic .50 cal machine gun) can sit in a closet for 100 years and never cause damage.

    to machintelligence,
    If only you held true to your name
    “Just because we cannot stop the slaughter of innocents doesn’t mean we can’t try to limit it.”
    The facts are that none- read it, NONE- of the proposed legislation to combat gun crime will have any mark-able difference on firearm crime rates. The legislators pushing these laws through have no idea what they are talking about. Ohio passed CCW laws in 2003 and have since seen a decrease in gun related deaths every single year since. While the Department of Justice has stated in an official report in 2004 that the AWb of 1994 had “little to no effect” on gun violence. Follow this link http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man-armed-confronts-mall-shooter-183593571.html and see how Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, and Virginia Tech could have gone down.

    to Alverant,
    My god, where to begin.
    “It wasn’t about tyrants. It was about putting down slave revolts and defending against attacks from the natives.” There is so much wrong with this statement it sickens me. While slaves and Natives do fall under Domestic Enemies as stated in the 2nd Amendment, I would think that the people who just came out of a war with a tyrannical GOVERNMENT would include this little tid-bit to stop the next GOVERNMENT from becoming tyrannical.

    “I’ve been shot at twice by “responsible law-abiding” gun owners.”
    I am sorry you had these bad experiences with guns. Trust me when I say that I dislike irresponsible gun owners more than I dislike those trying to take my rights away (yourself included).

    To unbound,
    “As Alverant pointed out, when you read the entire 2nd amendment and understand the history of it’s creation, it was only created to satisfy the south’s need to keep the uppity slaves in check.”
    You two must be getting your Constitution second hand because the one I have states “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I don’t see “uppity slaves” anywhere in there. You entirely incorrect in your translation. The one you read must say “A well regulated plantation owner being necessary to the security of plantation, the right of the honkeys to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed due to slaves being all uppity and such.”

    “The goal is to reduce body counts and/or numbers of incidents of mass murders.”
    What then will you ask when mag caps are passed and an assailant shoots up a mall with 30 10-round mags as opposed to 10- 30round mags (this is of course assuming a person willing to commit mass murder would follow these laws) . Both of these load-outs weight exactly the same and will not hinder the shooter in anyway. You are also assuming that this person will not train religiously on changing magazines. http://youtu.be/EXrAt7-ij2k?t=9m7s

    To brucegee1962
    “The stark fact is that thousands and thousands of Americans lie stiff and cold in their graves who would be alive today if they had’t encountered a person who possessed a gun.” or a knife, or a car, or a rolling pin, or a baseball bat… Lets just ban everything until its all safe! We’ll coat everything in bubble wrap and require people to crawl on their hands and knees while outside! Utopia!
    The stark fact is that you are never guaranteed safety in any of our founding documents. You have the right to life and the means to protect it. Just as someone has the right to the hands that close around your throat they have the right to the firearm that guns you down, yet unlike the majority of countries around the world you have the right to meet your attacker with equal or greater force. This is the way America is, you cannot change that. There are plenty of other countries that fit the mold you so desire; the United States is not one of them.

    To Richard Simons
    “The 2nd Amendment was written by fallible people for a completely different situation from that prevailing in the current US. As a non-American, I do not understand why Americans treat it as holy writ.”
    Your statement was written by an infinitely more fallible person.

    “My excellent colleges have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime usually do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision; one designed only for those exceptionally rare circumstances when all other rights have failed. A free people can only afford to make this mistake once.”
    Judge Andrew Kozinski

  14. Mandrellian, Kicker of Biological Goals says

    Of course guns don’t kill people.

    That’s why the people who are advocating such things as mandatory firearms/firearm safety training, mandatory background checks for criminal history or relevant mental illness & general restrictions on certain types of firearms and accessories are advocating them for people. It is people who are unpredictable, people who can’t be trusted, people who keep killing each other intentionally or, in significant numbers, by accident and people who are likely to settle differences or disagreements with deadly force.

    Opponents of a firearms free-for-all argue for gun control to control the ability of people to gain access to certain types of weapon.

    You don’t have a right to drive a car; it’s a privilege that must be earned. This is to ensure that not just anyone can hop in a 400hp V8 without training or a permit and hare off down main street. Obviously people don’t seek to ban them after terrible accidents or even vehicular homicides, but that’s because a car’s primary function is transport and that’s how people use them as close to all of the time as makes no difference. The ability to inflict harm is a side-effect of a car’s speed and mass and most harm caused by cars is accidental (or negligent). Yet we still restrict who gets to own and operate them.

    On the other hand, a weapon’s primary function is to cause injury or death (what – you thought they were to frighten people?), not “defence” or “protection”. You may well use a weapon in the course of defending something or someone, but the primary function of that weapon is to harm or kill whoever it’s used on. Guns, of course, don’t kill people. But killing people is what they’re for and that should be reason enough to severely restrict both who gets to own them, and what kinds of gun people can own. The nature of guns suggests very strongly that ownership of them should not be a right, but a highly restricted privilege.

    Some semi-automatic rifles have been made to look like true assault rifles. But they are not assault rifles because they are not capable of full automatic fire. They are no more assault rifles than a cap gun is a Colt .45.

    [Aside: when you’re talking about a cinema or school full of unarmed and unarmoured civilians, the difference between full-auto and semi-auto is so insignificant as to make no meaningful difference.]

    The quote above of course begs the question why “home defence” requires a semi-auto assault-style rifle (just how many heavily-armed badguys are people expecting to advance up their driveways? Do borderline-paranoid NRA apologists have frequent “Scarface” nightmares?) – or why any hunter worth their salt needs to be able to discharge a series of rounds as fast as they can squeeze the trigger (seriously, if you can’t hit it first time, you don’t deserve its antlers in your man-cave).

  15. Carol Lynn says

    Ah, the storied “responsible gun owner” that every gun owner insists they are. Was Jimmy Lee Dykes a “responsible gun owner” before and after he shot a school bus driver and held a kid hostage for a week? If, yes, was the bus driver simply regrettable but necessary collateral damage in Dykes’s absolute 2nd Amendment right to own guns? If, given Dykes’ history, you say that, no, maybe Dykes was that mythical creature, an “irresponsible” person who probably shouldn’t own guns, what criteria do you, as a pro-gun advocate, suggest we (as a society) use to distinguish the “responsible” and the “irresponsible” gun owners? Additionally, what do you suggest we (as a society) do about the “irresponsible” people (defined however you wish – possibly including those with similarities to Dykes) who already legally own guns?

  16. Stainy says

    To Mandrellian
    “That’s why the people who are advocating such things as mandatory firearms/firearm safety training, mandatory background checks for criminal history or relevant mental illness & general restrictions on certain types of firearms and accessories are advocating them for people.”
    Certain types of firearms and accessories are people now? Because when you say that only the personal aspects and are being controlled and then mention the material you sound like a bit of a git. And beside this, that entire statement is unconstitutional! “Shall not be infringed.” I am not crazy, I am not felonous, and I have no desire to ever shoot up a schoolyard/mall what-have-you. Yet I am made to suffer because people can’t pull their heads out of their asses and find a proper solution?

    “You don’t have a right to drive a car; it’s a privilege that must be earned.”
    Owning a firearm, however, IS a right. With just as much, if not more, importance than free speech and due process.

    “car’s primary function is transport and that’s how people use them as close to all of the time as makes no difference.” “On the other hand, a weapon’s primary function is to cause injury or death.”
    The ass-hattery in these statements is having a tussle with my bile. Primary functions has absolute NOTHING to do with it. INTENDED use is what matters. Just as a murder can use a car to run you down a mother can use a gun to protect her children.

    “But killing people is what they’re for and that should be reason enough to severely restrict both who gets to own them, and what kinds of gun people can own.”

    “Shall not be infringed.”

    “The nature of guns suggests very strongly that ownership of them should not be a right, but a highly restricted privilege.”
    Guns cannot speak to their nature so I must assume you are either high as a kite or misinformed about modern crime statistics. Seeing as there are over 350,000,000 guns in the US and only 11,000 firearm homicides last year (so 0.0000314 guns were used to murder), it would stand to reason that your opinions are made up of something more substantial than facts? Perhaps “feelings” and “emotions”? Less than 2% of ALL gun deaths (homicide 3%, suicide 6%, accidental discharge 1%) and yet THIS is the solution you are going behind? As I stated before, the Department of Justice has stated that the 1994 AWB did little to NOTHING to stem the flow of violence. Maybe your facts just come to you in the form of headline grabbing atrocities on CNN? Well as I posted earlier have you seen this one? http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man-armed-confronts-mall-shooter-183593571.html . Not very headline grabbing because it had a happy ending.

    What you and purveyors of gun control are doing is putting bandages on broken bones. There is a serious lack of responsibility, logic, and forward thinking in this country, and yet I am to suffer because of it? The responsible American patriots shall take the burden for the crimes of a few wackos? This is asinine to the point of revulsion. When firearms are #8 on the list of preventable deaths below such gems as smoking, obesity, and suicide, you should probably look at what you are fighting for, especially if it includes banning scary looking black guns and their accessories.

    But hey, you made a difference! Right? Just like with Kony2012, your one time monetary donation to hurricane relief or children in Somalia, when you liked PETA’s facebook page, or posted a prObama picture on your tumblr. This problem that holds your immediate scope of attention is what is important! Not silly facts, statistics, logic, or rational thinking.

    Our country is collapsing under its fiat money, draconian school system, collectivist ideology, rampant military spending with no over site, waging wars we don’t need in countries that don’t want us, and on, and on, and on, and GUNS are your focus?

    Owning a gun is a right in my country, I’m sure you are the type of person that would say “Online bullying? Yea, lets reduce your free speech for the greater good because in the hands of a crafty speaker words hurt.” “Dorner is suspected to kill people? Yea lets reduce due process because he is obviously guilty. Burn him down, boys!” “Drone strikes on US citizens? Love the idea, surely Obama means well and would never over reach.”

    This IS the slippery slope. Yesterday it was automatics,today its mags and scary guns, tomorrow anything over 5 rounds, then semi autos completely, and then an outright ban. They already have places around the world that fit your description, go live there and stop screwing up my country with your feel good solutions.

    No one will never get the chance to take my guns from my cold dead hands because theirs will be to cold and dead to take them.

  17. A Hermit says

    Rapid firing, high capacity killing machines may not cause the actions of the killer, but they certainly facilitate that action.

  18. Henry Ford says

    As you seem to like using latin terms to explain logical fallacies, what is the proper term for this mind numbing piece of irrational ass-hattery?

    “The way to abolish it is not to argue that the 2nd Amendment is something that it is not, but rather to repeal the amendment. And, in so doing, to lay down a welcome mat for tyrants.”

    Oh, I forgot, all us people living in Europe are all under tyrannical socialist dictatorships whose evil villainous oppression we could only overthrow if we JUST HAZ MOAR GUNZ!!!111!!!1!!!

  19. badgersdaughter says

    Fire is innocent, too, but I’m not going to be in favor of allowing people to just have fires whenever and wherever they want, for any reason or none.

  20. says

    “Yet I am made to suffer because people can’t pull their heads out of their asses and find a proper solution?”

    When I talk about what gun regulations I want (safety and range training, security requirements, etc.) I am almost always told by the gun owner I’m speaking to that this is something all the responsible gun owners do anyway. Which raises the question: if we have our way with gun regulations in that style, how much are you really going to be suffering?

    I realize that a lot of the regulations currently being proposed are not like that, and I sympathize with your frustration over that type of regulation. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing the government can do in the way of regulations, and I think the government does have a responsibility to do what it can to help ensure safety. Always within its constitutional limits, but then I’ve never interpreted the Second Amendment to mean that absolutely no regulations are permitted. Some of the people who want guns will not have them due to unwillingness to be safe with them… but I can live with that.

    “As I stated before, the Department of Justice has stated that the 1994 AWB did little to NOTHING to stem the flow of violence.”

    The experience of those countries that has banned guns suggests that we may not be trying hard enough with such a ban. Not that I think we should, but it clearly is possible to actually get rid of a lot of guns if enough popular and governmental support was behind it. I also find it interesting that many studies of these type find no effect either way… meaning that while they don’t increase safety, they don’t really make things more dangerous either, at least in terms of crime rates.

    “Well as I posted earlier have you seen this one? http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man-armed-confronts-mall-shooter-183593571.html . Not very headline grabbing because it had a happy ending. ”

    … Two deaths, not counting the gunman’s suicide.

    I don’t think our definitions of “happy ending” are the same. In fact, that looks a whole lot like every other minor shooting incident we hear about – gunman kills a few people and suicides. We may suspect that this would have been a major shooting incident instead of a minor one without that civilian’s gun, but then… we don’t even know how many lives were saved in that case – just because the civilian with the gun thought that his presence was what convinced the gunman to suicide at that point doesn’t mean that that was actually the case.

    “What you and purveyors of gun control are doing is putting bandages on broken bones. There is a serious lack of responsibility, logic, and forward thinking in this country, and yet I am to suffer because of it? The responsible American patriots shall take the burden for the crimes of a few wackos?”

    Given some of the current regulations being proposed, this may be a fair point.

    That said, you appear to be arguing that because those solutions aren’t working that none of our proposed regulations are going to work. Even when some of them, like the safety training, are things that any responsible gun owner worries about anyway. You seem to be arguing that no solution is going to work, not just that we’re not proposing anything that’s going to work, and that’s not exactly helpful. Do you want to stop the malice that causes gun violence and the idiocy that causes gun mishaps and over-aggression or not? And it’s worth keeping in mind that, in order to be fair, anything that might restrict or regulate their access must apply to you as well.

  21. crayzz says

    @Stainy

    Yet I am made to suffer because people can’t pull their heads out of their asses and find a proper solution?

    In what way are you suffering? What is being suggested that would make you suffer?

  22. Henry Ford says

    I forgot to include earlier that the abundance of weaponry in the U.S. wasn’t particularly effective at preventing the tyranny that produced Japanese American internment or of the state sanctioned witch hunts of McCarthyism.
    But then gun advocates can be very selective as to what is tyranny. After all, if it happens to nips and commies it ain’t tyranny, amirite?

    More seriously I’m trying to say that a common argument of gun advocates is that the fascist European governments of the mid 20th century couldn’t possibly take hold in the U.S.A. because the people, being armed, would prevent it. There’s enough historical precedence to show that this just isn’t true, such as the two high profile examples I give, that it seems ludicrous (not to mention overly simple minded) to cling to the claim that a well armed populous prevents tyranny.

  23. Henry Ford says

    Last post, I promise, but this is my favourite/most depressing quote of the week,

    “Seeing as there are over 350,000,000 guns in the US and only 11,000 firearm homicides last year”

    I love the use of the word “only”. This has got to be a Poe right? “Only” 11,000 homicides! I’d laugh if it weren’t for the fact that 11,000 people were dead. That’s some crazy, screwed up world to live in where you can use the word “only” in that sentence and keep a straight face, let alone expect anyone to take you seriously.

  24. Mandrellian, Kicker of Biological Goals says

    Never mind the rest of Stain’s far-right wingnut Nugent-esque word-salad (much of it irrelevant to me as a non-US citizen), look at this little grammar-deficient nugget (btw: why is there such a strong correlation with right-wing fanaticism and writing like a 9th grade dropout?):

    No one will never get the chance to take my guns from my cold dead hands because theirs will be to cold and dead to take them.

    So, when the mythical gun-takers come to act on the mythical gun-taking laws, Stain’ll just kill them. He states he’ll proudly murder public servants – fellow citizens – who are merely doing their jobs by enforcing the law. Never mind the fact that the likelihood of the government rolling up to his doorstep to literally “take his guns” is practically non-existent. Hell, never mind that publicly stating an intention to murder a law enforcement officer who’s simply fulfilling their duty makes ol’ six-toe up there a perfect poster-boy for gun control!

    This is interesting. On the one hand we have an absolute position on the 2nd amendment to the Constitution – supreme law of the land. “Bearing arms is a Right and must be honoured!” On the other hand, we have an explicit threat to murder anyone who attempts to enforce any other law which requires the control of certain weapons (or which requires training before permits are given, or which bans some weapons outright, or which require full criminal checks, waiting periods and in some cases mental health assessments, etc).

    So which is it? Do you follow all Laws as absolutely as the 2nd amendment or do you pick and choose which to adhere to – and how closely? Smells a little like cafeteria Christianity. Just skim through it, never mind the irrelevant bits or the inconvenient bits, just lock on to the platitudes or the verses that justify your hatred of people who aren’t like you.

    And would you actually be willing to murder a person because they’re attempting to enforce the law, using as your justification your fundamentalist interpretation of a different law? Or are you a ten-gallon mouth in a two-gallon hat?

  25. says

    @stainy

    Chipping away at liberties…. you mean like drone programs that allow the killing of citizens with no judicial oversight or trial. Yeah…again the 2nd amendment doesn’t seem to be preventing a slide towards tyranny. Countries without a right to weapons seem to be slipping towards tyranny no faster then the states (possibly even slower).

  26. Stainy says

    Oh, Mandrellian,
    I find it amusing that you resort to ad hominem after you realize my arguments have no coherent counter-argument.

    As you have stated you are not an American and your further rambling only serves to cement the obviousness of the fact. Now listen up, boy; this is how we do it in America.
    The Bill of Rights is a collection of inalienable RIGHTS afforded to all people and ,as such, supersedes all other laws passed hereafter, especially those that directly or indirectly hinder/infringe/ or otherwise serve to weaken the Rights given.
    This is not up for negotiation. Freedom to elect, petition, arm, vote, speak, etc, etc are equal in every way and worth every ounce of blood from defenders and attackers to be protected. The Founders knew these days would come, this is why the 2nd read “foreign AND domestic”. Those that seek to abolish any part of the Bill of Rights and those that assist them due to blind obedience are traitors to our nation and shall be dealt as such.
    Now, what I mention in my last line about dead hands is entirely legal in my country. If police come to my house and enter without a warrant that follows the laws of due process they are the same as any common street thug. If I am not home at the time it is a burglary, if I am home then it is a home invasion and I will shoot them dead without a moments hesitation or losing a wink of sleep. My case will go all the way to the Supreme Court and I will be found innocent, of this I have NO doubt.
    You seem to have no problem remarking about my country but what about yours? Perhaps you have not said anything along the lines of “In my country of ________ we never have this problem.” because you are embarrassed by it and so spend your time trolling discussions that have nothing to do with you so you can force your uninformed opinion on others.

    Not that you deserve to know but you are wrong on almost every count of your guess on my character so I will follow the usual and school you on what you do not know:
    I am a pro-choice, equal marriage supporting, agnostic, isolationist. I am Libertarian. And I would fight, and die, to protect the rights of the oppressed. Even if they are smarmy gits like yourself.

  27. Richard Simons says

    “The 2nd Amendment was written by fallible people for a completely different situation from that prevailing in the current US. As a non-American, I do not understand why Americans treat it as holy writ.”
    Your statement was written by an infinitely more fallible person.

    That strikes me as a particularly silly, non-responsive reply (unless you can point out the fallacy in what I wrote).

  28. Stainy says

    Jesus, Richard, try to keep up.

    “The 2nd Amendment was written by fallible people-”

    Redundant; people by there very nature are fallible. You might as well say “written by people that wore clothes.”
    And besides, since when did an individual’s characteristics determine the veracity of his words, ad hominem much?

    “-for a completely different situation from that prevailing in the current US.”
    I’m so glad you were able to chat with them and get their thoughts on the matter. Sure cleared this whole thing up.
    The fact is you do not know what was in their head and neither do I, but through common sense, logical analysis, and deductive reasoning it translates into modern English as “A properly disciplined body of citizens is necessary for the security of the citizens of a free Country. Therefore, the right of the people to possess and use firearms shall not be infringed.”
    Funny how “shall not be infringed” stays so timeless throughout the years. That is because its meaning cannot be misconstrued. Background checks, purposeful wait times, required licensing for “special” weaponry? Infringements the lot. Though these I can at least understand why someone would impose on law abiding people. The first two are not that great of an inconvenience and the third may actual stem death counts. But mag limits, banning certain “scary guns”, and beefing up gun-free (human hunting ground) zones, is not only an unreasonable infringement that will not stem the flow of blood but in the case of gun free zones directly detrimental to the desired outcome.

    “I do not understand why Americans treat it as holy writ.”
    Give an inch, and they take a mile.

    I am just dying to know where all of you experts on American law and history reside. It must be a paradise of freedom from oppressive government. I’ll make you a deal, you tell me where you live, and I show you everything wrong with it. Sounds fun, huh?

    • rapiddominance says

      Just to be clear on this, I’m not suggesting that anybody who is pro-guns is a “Ted Nuggent”. Its just that there’s this one commenter in particular who . . .

      Its like playing, “Where’s Waldo”.

      • Stainy says

        I’m not seeing an arguement. In fact I’m not seeing any arguments. Just statements backed by feelings and opinion.
        So what if I sound like Ted? Are you people really so ignorant that every one of you must resort to, once again, ad hominem in place of sound counter arguements?

        This is pathetic. You people can’t be reasoned with. I’m out. Have fun with your heads in the sand.

  29. Ellien says

    Oh no, the don’t blame the poor little gun argument, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. The argument has no conclusion, what follows? Something about gun regulations? Should we have them or not? An argument without an obvious conclusion is hardly an argument at all. Some would also say this is begging the question, it equivocates and oversimplifies. It’s proximate causation and it needs to be addressed and regulated not just dismissed with an over simplified argument.

    Guns are created for ease of killing and because of that fact, which you choose to ignore, we have 30,000 gun deaths a year in this country. Throwing out a few sketchy statistics about crime going down or people who are attacked with a hammer is dismissive. All I can say is, this is the type of argument that makes it difficult to take certain people seriously, because the rebuttal is meant not to bring about a credible point, but to belittle the problem of people dying with such ease as the barrel of a gun. And offers no solutions for a very real problem.

    You say “The availability of the firearm, the magazines, and the ammunition used have absolutely nothing to do with the perceived notions of some that such availability caused, or permitted, the insane actions of the killer.”

    No one says it caused, or permitted more shootings, this is you clearly not understanding what is being said. Such facts are true for all criminal activity and is not really an argument.

    Stabbing someone to death takes a hell of a lot more effort. It’s just not as easy, and thus, it happens a lot less frequently. That is a fact. A fact which seems to always be ignored by those who use the argument you’ve made. But again this tells us nothing about whether or not the proximate cause in question should be regulated or made illegal. For example, consider the following argument:

    Cars don’t kill people. people kill people, it is obviously true that cars are proximate causes in some deaths, it clearly does not follow that cars should not be regulated. The same goes for guns and ammo.

  30. A Hermit says

    And the very first words in the 2nd Amendment are “well regulated”. And who is to do the regulating if not the government? The right to bear arms is clearly placed in the context of a ‘well regulated militia’ it is NOT carte blanche for private citizens to possess and carry any and all weapons anywhere and anytime they choose. Even the rights to free speech and assembly have limits; there are laws against libel and slander and uttering threats, for example. The idea that the right to bear arms is somehow different and cannot be regulated is not in keeping with the way the constitution is written

  31. says

    You know… it’s really funny, but on the same day as the Newtown massacre, China experienced it’s own tragedy. A madman with a knife attacked a bunch of elementary-school-equivalent children… 23, in point of fact.

    There was very crucial difference between it and Newtown though, but I’m trying to remember what it was…

    What was it…

    What was it…

    Something…

    Life…

    Lives…

    Oh!

    Oh yeah!

    I remember now!

    NOBODY DIED! NOT A SINGLE FUCKING CHINESE CHILD ACTUALLY DIED FROM THE ATTACK!

    Yes, they were injured. 23 children had to be treated for mild to severe knife wounds, but they get to live out the rest of their lives with their families. Those families experienced a moment of extreme terror, but at least they get to hold their children, and tell them it’s okay, and the families are able to move on without having to hold funerals and imagine what their children’s futures would be like, because those children are ALL STILL ALIVE!

    And I wonder what the difference between the two massacres was?

    I mean… maybe it has to do with the difference between a knife and a fucking gun?

    I don’t know… seems logical to me.

  32. Glockslinger says

    Facts, logic and reason go down hard for some. First, it’s amazing how few people understand that they’ve been lied to; that the gun ban crowd has duped so many into accepting the “assault weapons” lie. For those who don’t know the difference between an assault weapon and a stick in the eye, here’s a primer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=8C-CLsMRcA0

    Also note that this DESTROYS the “magazine limit” argument, which is obviously made by those who know nothing about guns.

    Then there’s all the typical attacks on the 2nd Amendment. Sad, sad, sad to see liberals resorting to the history rewriting tactics of the right wingers! It seems the first thing some need to learn is the DEFINITION of “militia.” Are you really trying to tell me we need an amendment to say that the ARMY can be armed??? Obviously not. A militia is a non-professional VOLUNTEER army. This is what we defeated the British with. Farmers, shopkeepers, blacksmiths, merchants… many bearing their own, privately owned arms. In short: all armed Americans are a “Militia.” In the U.S. code, following the unfortunately named Dick Act, we actually have TWO: the organized militia (the National Guard) and unorganized militia (the rest of us). When 2A was drafted, only the second definition existed. You CANNOT HAVE A MILITIA without private citizens owning and carrying arms! Further, the “security of a free state” DEPENDS on this!

    So what is meant, then, by “regulated?” Does it mean regulations, as in laws? Well, it seems that there are a TON of laws on the books regulating exactly how guns may be bought, sold, stored, carried and used. But that isn’t exactly what 2A means. Back then, “regulated” was synonymous with “trained.” A farmer can’t be handed a gun, sent out into a field against professional soldiers and told to “wing it.” He, and our militia, needs TRAINING. But does this training have to be constant, at all times? Or would it happen as it has historically, when the militia is “called up?” Alwxander Hamilton argued that a constant state of proficiency in war would be inconvenient and impractical, and so it is. The FACTS are, then, that 2A asserts the necessity of a militia in order to maintain its freedom, and the militia, being the free citizens, cannot be infringed from owning and carrying firearms. PERIOD.

  33. Edward M. Buckner says

    A few preliminaries before I make my (by now possibly too late for most to notice) remarks:
    1. I am a friend, colleague (former prez of American Atheists; current fellow board member thereof), admirer, and one-time editor of Edwin Kagin.
    2. Kagin is not the only–indeed, not even the closest–friend or family member with whom I disagree on this subject (firearm regulation, etc.).
    3. I am not sure how discussion of these matters fits on a “freethought” blog–though I would not favor prohibiting any subject on such a blog.
    4. It is worth reiterating that Edwin Kagin does not represent the opinion of American Atheists on this subject. My opinion, which differs from his, likewise does not represent the opinion of AA or any other organization so far as I know. Neither Kagin nor Buckner claim otherwise.
    5. I think the Bill of Rights were written by fallible humans and could be foolish in some regards–but I think those ten amendments have done humankind in general and Americans in particular one hell of a lot more good than any possible harm, and I am vigorously opposed to tossing any part of them aside without very careful, deliberate, consideration.
    6. I confess to have merely scanned the previous comments; what I have to say here may have already beend comprehensively expressed (my apologies to the commenter if that’s the case).

    Now, on to the big event: IMNSHO, Kagin is using a straw man argument here. Guns (and bullets) are of course “innocent,” but only in the same sense that they cannot possibly be “guilty.” But no one, save perhaps some fringe element somewhere, is seeking legislation or rules of any kind aimed at making guns, rifles, bullets, baseball bats, etc., “behave.” “Gun control” is just shorthand for things aimed at controlling what people do with guns, rifles, shotguns, bullets, semi-automatics, machine guns, tanks, drones, self-propelled rocket grenades, or whatever.

    I am resolutely opposed, despite being what I’d call a strong advocate for gun control, to rule-making of any kind that is just for show.

    I want rules that actually meaningfully reduce the risks of people being killed, especially children in public schools. I want a reduction in people who impulsively kill themselves when a less efficient means might give them time to better reflect before acting (I am not morally opposed to suicide, just to premature or wanton suicide). I want a reduction in gang violence and “easy” deaths on the streets that come from that. I want it to be harder to blow away a clerk at a convenience store to gain a few dollars. I want changes that do these things without pointlessly or gratuitously reducing the rights of American citizens.

    I am not at all certain about what rule changes, of any kind, are now best supported. But I strongly support serious efforts to investigate, methodically and as comprehensively as possible, what effects changes might cause and what costs.

    Enough with the slippery-slope grandstanding arguments–on all sides. –Ed Buckner

  34. eucliwood says

    Yes, guns are innocent, and its people that do the shooting – but why do people point that out when it comes to gun control debates? Don’t gun control laws target humans? People? Limit what *people* can do with guns? I could see if someone was demanding that all guns be punished – then it would make sense to point out that guns are innocent. Otherwise it just supports people’s points.

    And yeah, you can use Appeal to Worse problems and go “why are you even bringing up arguments against assault guns! people are dead here!” but that doesn’t change the fact that it DOES matter – that there’s no need for assault guns, and to belittle the difference it would make is very callous – less lives lost IS worth working toward. They’re right – there’s no need for a gun whose only benefit is to increase the amount of people it kills per second. So what if it would result in a few people being spared, depending on the speed of the gun?

    Yet… there are people who say things like “Only a few people would be spared.” Wow. ONLY? ONLY? The availability of assault guns is more important than sparing “only people”?

  35. says

    I recognize that name (Monkeymind).
    You’re that little twerp who hangs out with FatFist.
    You guys are science-deniers (Big Bang, etc.).
    You morons wouldn’t know a rational person if they kicked you in the nuts.

    I did a show on you two idiots, but I’ll bet FatFist never told you about it.
    If you go to “theskepticarena.com” / podcast archives / show #211
    you can either listen to it or read it.

    Advice: MonkeyBrain – accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
    Atheists have no need of either you or your shower buddy, FatFist.

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