Why We Can’t Reason Together

The headline at Raw Story — Armed vet destroys gun nuts’ argument on mass shooters — is both true and irrelevant. The story is about a military vet who was carrying a concealed weapon — legally, it so happens — on Oregon’s Umpqua Community College campus Thursday during the shooting. And he says he decided to not intervene because a police SWAT team might have mistaken him for the shooter.

This tells us (a) the campus was not a “gun-free zone,” and (b) an armed populace is not necessarily safer than an unarmed one. But this is irrelevant, because the Right will ignore it.

Regarding the “gun free zone” argument, Shannon Barber writes at Addicting Info:

As we try to get our bearings again after yet another tragic mass shooting at the hands of a madman, as per usual, gun nuts everywhere are screaming “MORE GUNS!” and blaming the Umpqua Community College Campus for being a gun free zone. They blame everything except the real problem: that we need stricter laws regarding who can and cannot purchase firearms.

Well, there’s just one problem with those arguments this time around. The Umpqua campus allows concealed carry, and, according to students and other people affiliated with the school, plenty of people take advantage of it as well. According to John Parker, a student at the school and a veteran of the armed forces, he knows plenty of students who carry on campus; in fact, he was carrying the day of the shooting.

But it won’t matter. I predict the Right will continue to claim that “gun free zones” are especially susceptible to gun violence, and even that all mass shooter incidents have taken place in “gun free zones.” Even those who acknowledge the armed vet story will not let the truth sink in.

I give you Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, who is far from the dumbest or craziest writer on the rightie side of the Web. But he simply refuses to think outside the rightie box. Here is Shaw’s understanding of the pro-gun control side of the issue —

From the liberal, gun grabbing side of the discussion there is one remedy which would – eventually – cut down on mass shootings. It involves eliminating all of the guns on the planet. Owing to the fact that the majority of Americans still value gun rights and view private gun ownership as a positive force in protecting themselves from evil, Democrats are loathe to say the words out loud, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t like to see it happen. Unfortunately, the gun genie is out of the bottle. By removing all guns from existence you would certainly eliminate the threat of mass shootings. Sadly, the transition period would be ugly indeed because the first and easiest guns to confiscate would belong to law abiding owners. Rooting out all of the black market weapons would be a generational effort, leaving the lawful population in the position of being inviting, soft targets for criminals for decades. Then there is the inconvenient fact that guns aren’t only made in America. They are all over the world, and as long as there was a demand in the criminal marketplace the market would find a way to fill it.

In other words, he dismisses gun control arguments by substituting a straw man. Not one of the major gun control advocacy groups is calling for a total ban. He has no idea what the actual gun control arguments are, how effective gun control works in the real world, and no way in hell will he ever be persuaded to look.

As to the rightie side, after the usual demands for more more more guns guns guns, Shaw says,

I’m aware that the left is attempting to make hay out of the fact that there was one “good guy with a gun” on campus on the day of the shooting and he didn’t stop the slaughter. This isn’t even a data point in the discussion. The individual in question – a veteran who was carrying when the shooting took place – could have intervened if he’d chosen, but the fact is that he decided not to. It wasn’t his job to act as security guard and if he decided not to risk his life in a shootout with Mercer I’m not here to second guess him. That doesn’t mean that an armed guard or teacher couldn’t have shut the situation down quickly. And if Mercer had known that a lot more students were armed he might not have shown up at all.

But Mercer had attended classes at Umpqua, so he must have known that the campus was not gun free, and that “plenty of students carry on campus.” And  notice how Shaw brushes aside the veteran’s reason for not stepping in — he wasn’t afraid of a shootout with the perp; he reasoned that he could have been shot by law enforcement who didn’t know who he was.

In fact, armed citizens have been present at a number of mass shootings, and it made no difference.  From an article published after Sandy Hook in 2012:

In fact, there was an armed sheriff’s deputy at Columbine High School the day of the shooting. There was an armed citizen in the Clackamas Mall in Oregon during a shooting earlier this month. There was an armed citizen at the Gabby Giffords shooting — and he almost shot the unarmed hero who tackled shooter Jared Loughner. Virtually every university in the county already has its own police force. Virginia Tech had its own SWAT-like team. As James Brady, Ronald Reagan’s former press secretary cum gun control advocate, often notes, he was shot along with the president, despite the fact that they were surrounded by dozens of heavily armed and well-trained Secret Service agents and police.

The Right will not acknowledge facts, nor will they ever give gun control data and arguments a fair hearing. Never. Their lips will dry up and fall off their faces first.

See also Obama, Guns, and the Politics of Hoplessness and Four Pro-Gun Arguments We’re Sick of Hearing.

16 thoughts on “Why We Can’t Reason Together

  1. I grew up shooting guns. I own guns now. I have f*cking had it. I am ready to ban nearly all guns right now except in very rare instances and I am willing to admit and fight for it. On the whole we gun owners have shown ourselves to be totally incapable of dealing with these issues in a rational and constructive manner.

  2. ” I have f*cking had it”

    I’m right there with you, I have quite a collection myself, I’ve been shooting/hunting since I was a kid though I gave up hunting when I was 18 and really stopped shooting on a regular basis around 7-8 years ago. Ever since the NRA has turned this country into a full on fear factory I really don’t want to be associated as a gun owner. All the righty apologists keep saying we can’t keep guns out of the hands of every bad person and they might be right. The problem as I see it is the the NRA has run an effective marketing campaign, the sheer number of guns available and the easy access is what is driving these disturbed young men to kill. If the guns were not fetishized and so easy to obtain these losers would just be losers.

  3. WWJP?….What would Jesus pack? O ye of little faith?

    NASHVILLE — Responding to a mass shooting at an Oregon community college that left 10 people dead, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is encouraging fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to consider getting a gun.

  4. “Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is encouraging fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to consider getting a gun.”

    That ought to work out well. Thank God, he thought it through and only encouraged “Christians” to get guns. It would be a grave mistake to encourage atheists or people of other traditions to get guns. Think of the Christian bonding that can take place when a whole crop of new gun owners start patrolling for the Lord on the streets of Nashville. They can all learn the gun safety rules and protocols together, maybe alongside the long lists of things that are abominations unto the Lord.

    I am a gun owner too, and I grew up in a county where kids started hunting at an obscenely young age. Two of my Little League friends were killed in hunting accidents. I haven’t shot a gun in quite a few years, mostly due to lack of interest. I was never a hunter, but I liked target shooting. Supposedly, it’s good to have a gun on a farm, we’ve had coyote and bobcat problems. But, bobcats are too rare to shoot, and our coyotes seem to have moved on for the past year or so. Altogether, they’ve killed a dozen chickens or so, and no goats. In some ways the coyotes did me a favor, although I miss the eggs.

  5. From an editorial in Australia’s Brisbane Times:

    America prides itself on being a light in the world for democracy and liberty. Yet within its borders it is armed to the teeth. This is a tyranny, borne on a historical anomaly, that must end. Surely, if the phrase “land of the free” stands for anything, it is the embracing of the freedom not to have to live in fear of the gun.

  6. Uncledad makes a very good point. I have never been infatuated with guns even though I grew up with a father who was a hunter and later in life he joined the NRA and collected guns. He even took me out in the woods and tried to teach me how to shoot a rifle. It just didn’t interest me. Maybe that is because I am female, don’t really know. My father has been gone for many years now and I don’t know how he would feel about the situation today. I only know that I have an increasing fear of going out in public places. I have never understood the concept of “concealed carry”. Why do people feel like they need to carry a gun and keep it hidden? It really makes me nervous to feel like I may be walking by a person who has a gun and I don’t know this person and his intent or even his frame of mind. But then I don’t want people carrying a gun I can see either for the same reason. We do not live in the Wild West.
    The argument that changing laws won’t work because only law-abiding persons obey the laws doesn’t hold water. We may not be able to prevent criminals or evil-intending persons from getting guns but we don’t have to make it easy for them either. We all know that if someone really wants to get in a locked house, they will find a way but do we just give in and leave our homes unlocked?
    I am not an attorney or a constitution expert but the way I read the 2nd amendment it does not allow for every individual in the U.S. to own a gun no matter what. The way I read it, it was for establishing a militia. In any case, things were different then and we cannot really know the intent of the authors.
    I know there are responsible gun owners who like to collect guns and keep them in a locked safe at home and only use them for target practice. I have no problem with them but let’s be aware that the only purpose of a gun is to KILL or at least harm a person or an animal. That is not true of knives, ropes, cars, hammers or any of a number of objects that can cause harm or even kill but that do have a utilitarian purpose.
    I am uncomfortable living in a gun culture and I would like a change.

  7. Of course if the shooter would have been of the Muslim faith the people that say we need to do nothing would be talking about how we have to do something RIGHT NOW, regardless of his motives.
    They have taken what they call an inanimate object in another conversation and turned it into a deity. It is always blameless, untouchable and deified. They have turned a political discussion into a religion. That is why there is no getting through to them. They have made it a religion.

  8. How about someone starts up a Weapons Church, devoted to the worship of all weapons, including guns? Who needs a God when you can wield a God-like power yourself? Such a church can claim protection under First _and_ Second Amendments!

    Here’s the best part; you don’t pay to worship there, you get paid. You punch in, you venerate the weapons, they tape the rite, you punch out, at month’s-end you get a paycheck. The deal is; you worship the gun, the gun pays you, cold hard cash. What other God offers such a deal?

    Ostensibly the money is from them selling the tape they made of you. In reality… nobody asks any questions.

    I think this would work!

  9. I’m starting an informal campaign to have FB take down this page.


    It’s sponsored by Oath Keepers – so it’s going to be an armed rally, where they propose demonstrations at every mosque against ‘radical Islam’… which by their posts is ALL Islam. There is no way FB should sanction religious bigotry spiced with guns. And it IS time for real Christians to stand up and be counted.

  10. “It’s sponsored by Oath Keepers – so it’s going to be an armed rally”


    I wouldn’t bother almost all of these wing-nut rally’s die from lack of interest, remember the million trucker event that turned out to 12 trucks or the tea parties “Day of Resistance” that turned out 20-30 loons! Hopefully this “rally” will end the same, getting the facebook page taken down would probably increase the interest, you know how this crowd loves their victims!

    “I am uncomfortable living in a gun culture and I would like a change”

    Grannyeagle, If your uncomfortable now your supposed to go buy a gun, then you’ll feel safe, your not playing the NRA’s game correctly!

  11. Has anybody heard indirectly how Gulag is doing?

    Uncledad – You’re right. The actual number of participants will be small. What concerns me is that they are going to a family venue – a church (or mosque). If anyone going to the mosque gets angry and confronts, then that’s just the kind of disaster they want.

  12. How about someone starts up a Weapons Church, devoted to the worship of all weapons, including guns?

    I believe it’s called the National Rifle Association.

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