Have you ever read something by an author you generally respect that seems a little bit off? In a recent column, James Fallows posts a letter from a reader who is a gun enthusiast, and the result is a pissed-off Bastard. I'll post a couple of excerpts from this letter, then go on my tirade. Anyway, here are some selected bits from a concerned gun owner:
I have been getting in trouble with many of my friends for asking them to think about what is politically possible, actually effective and might find agreement among reasonable gun owners. Full disclosure - I am a gun owner myself but very much in favor of stricter controls.
It frustrates me to no end that no one on the gun control side of the debate knows anything about firearms, the differences between them, or precise ways to differentiate between them in law (or for that matter, in conversation). So all we hear are knee jerk cries to 'ban assault weapons'. And to hear that again after a horrible event in which an 'assault weapon' wasn't even used is just inane. It's like calling for a ban on convertibles after a truck accident.
Here's my problem with the focus on 'assault weapons': what people are really talking about are not weapons that are designed to look like military weapons- that's merely cosmetic and it always diverts the conversation. What they are really talking about are three features - the fact that these rifles are semi automatic, that they are designed to accept high capacity magazines and that they are often - not always but often - chambered for small, high velocity rounds, rounds designed to break up in the body and cause maximum damage.
Whether they have flash suppressors or a handle on top or look like an AK47 is absolutely irrelevant. There are other rifles that have some or all of the above features and not all weapons styled after 'assault weapons' do. It is critically important in this argument to be very precise.
Furthermore, many people still talk as though these weapons are fully automatic, which none of them are, at least legally.
Ya know, to hell with this clown... making a big deal about whether a weapon is fully automatic or semi-automatic is foolish- both types of weapons are meant to shoot large amounts of bullets in a short amount of time. In most cases, a semi-automatic weapon is even more dangerous than an automatic weapon, which is largely used in a "spray-and pray" fashion (the U.S. Army ditched its fully automatic setting for itsM16s in favor of a "three round burst" setting). Additionally, certain semi-automatic weapons can be modified to make them fully automatic. The distinction really isn't that important.
Anyway, what really chaps my ass is the one-sided insistence that gun control advocates have to be fully informed about the subject of guns when the opposition can engage in ignorant distortions and outright lying. Here we have Tealiban pastors blaming mass shootings on the teaching of evolution and gay rights initiatives. A former friggin' Republican presidential candidate blamed the massacre on contraceptive pills.
How about we make a deal, we liberals will learn about guns, and the conservatives will learn about the Theory of Evolution by Means of Natural Selection, the means by which different birth control methods work (this could save them a lot of embarrassment (and, by the way, George Tierney of Greenville, South Carolina is a d-bag), and the facts about gay people and the development of their sexual preferences. While we're at it, they should also learn the facts about Anthropogenic Climate Change, basic Economics, and Comparative Religion... need I go on?
I think Mr Fallows should have told his "concerned gun owner" reader to stuff it. All ya really gotta know about guns is that the gun shoots death.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Sillies, Only Liberals Need to Be Informed!
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard at 10:11 PM
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you'll be further aggravated with the latest from McMegan.
weapons that are designed to look like military weapons- that's merely cosmetic and it always diverts the conversation
When guns are marketed for their "merely cosmetic" features to make them look more killing-y, and people buy them because they are more effective as props for wish-fulfilment fantasies, perhaps these are people you do not really want owning guns. If I had my way all guns would be pink.
It's like calling for a ban on convertibles after a truck accident.
The analogy with automobiles is not amiss. Strikes me that the NRA, in its role as promoter of the arms industry, is following the path blazed by the car industry a decade or so ago. When ads campaigns pushed the idea that "Roads are dangerous places full of massive SUVs that will crush an ordinary car like an eggshell in the event of a crash, so you too should buy one of these SUVs that we're selling to make the roads dangerous to ordinary cars."
George Tierney of Greenville, South Carolina? I vaguely recall hearing about him. Isn't he supposed to be a bit of a low-life scum-sucking cobag?
I know that thoughtful anti-choicers like to make sure that women requesting abortions are informed. Why can't every gun owner get the facts about gun-owning households, all the frightening statistics. THEY SHOULD KNOW THIS STUFF.
What gets me is all the wingers claiming they need their guns for protection against government tyranny.
WHERE THE FUCK were they when the government called, "War on Terror!", now we can spy on everybody without warrants?
That's right...voting for it.
Yeah, don't care about civil liberties, just care about playing war games from their gated communities.
I'm one of Fallows' "regular correspondents" and he regularly publishes my emails in his column. Us Fallows fans actually like the fact that he will often provide space for opposing views, even when they are clearly wrong or ludicrous.
Before the election he published an email from a glibertarian wackjob who swore if Obama won he was going to sell his company and essentially "go galt". It was a pretty fascinating look into an utterly delusional worldview, and an entirely worthwhile exercise. So disagree away - but don't knock Fallows for shining some light in the dark corners...
I linked an article by Garry Wills in the New York Book Review:
Says it for me.
Got into a back-and-forth with a concern troll at the Political Environment. Of course, he starts by saying "I don't own guns, I'm an independent, I just want people on both sides to use good-faith arguments and solid data." Of course, he then went on to argue in bad faith and without any solid data and misusing statistics.
And when challenged, immediately fell back to standard talking points:
-illegal gunz is illegals
-Banning drugs has been SO successful!
...and so on.
Seriously, we need better trolls on the intertubs. Can we clone Da Cool Coach?
That "own a bunch" should be expanded to "own a bunch of and know a bunch about". Anger sometimes makes me incoherent.
Yep. And while you do not need expertise to have a perfectly valid opinion, it is helpful. Understanding the science and economics of climate change can inform your opinions around cap&trade and carbon tax policy, and understanding firearms can inform your opinion around firearms regulation. Some of the discussions I have read around the 5.56/.223 round used in the AR15, from "it's a .22" (it fires a .22 caliber slug, but it is not a .22 in the sense of .22LR), it's a HIGH POWERED RIFLE (it's not, it's what's known as an intermediate cartridge, more powerful than a pistol round but much less powerful than a true rifle round like .308. It was invented to solve some specific problems, particularly around the number of rounds a soldier can carry and controllability in full auto) and all manner of such as. The lack of clarity and understanding in the obscure world of high capacity magazines is even more appalling..
It was invented to solve some specific problems, particularly around the number of rounds a soldier can carry and controllability in full auto) and all manner of such as.
Wasn't the round also meant to do a lot of internal damage by "rolling around" inside the body? A larger round would exit the body (well, then you get up to the ".40" range, which represents real stopping power).
It is amazing how many people blithely discuss their First Amendment rights and at what point their freedom of self-expression runs into the requirements of public safety, when it is clear that they have never operated a Heidelberg four-colour letterpress machine with the windmill paper feed. Indeed, many do not seem to appreciate the differences between the letterpress and offset processes.
All ya really gotta know about guns is that the gun shoots death.
Shirley you mean "This is my Boom-stick!"
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