Lanterns: Gun Control Myths Reign Supreme on Facebook


Gun Control Myths Reign Supreme on Facebook

"Tell me how taking guns from law-abiding citizens keeps a criminal from killing someone with a gun?"

She replied, "Not enough information." 

It was the usual liberal banter; they really come out of the woodwork after a shooting. "There is no reason for anyone to have a gun that can shoot multiple times fast. I can see a rifle or a handgun, but an assault rifle? Maybe now the GOP will take gun control seriously. No one needs a semi-automatic or automatic gun except the military or the police. Maybe now they'll get the NRA out of their pockets." 

I know better, but I couldn't seem to help myself. Clearly, they knew nothing about firearms, conservatives, or the NRA. So I casually popped into the thread to explain the difference between semi-automatic and automatic weapons, and how the term "assault rifle" is bogus.

And we were off.

Two hours later, I'm apoplectic. I've put up arguments, only to have someone named Chris tell me they're illogical, try to shove a seriously flawed National Institutes of Health study down my throat, attempt to intimidate me with her lofty titles and affiliations, and, of course, browbeat me with the usual "conservatives are mean and heartless" narrative -- HER faith group advocates for responsible gun control, after all. She told me she was a scientist, and I immediately thought she would be open to black and white statistical data, but no joy. This was a lost cause, and I had wasted my time and effort on someone who had no interest in learning something new. But my inner five-year-old wanted the last word. I wrote Chris a letter, summarizing our exchange:

Chris, This will be my last post on this thread. I answered your question, and followed with one of my own, "Tell me how taking guns from law-abiding citizens keeps a criminal from killing someone with a gun?" You replied, "Not enough information." The rest of the back and forth was a serious waste of an evening, and it was my fault. I let you off the hook. 

All of the things I spoke about are relevant. You go on and on about guns that can get off multiple shots. Let me educate you. It doesn't matter if it's a bolt action, a pump action, a lever action, or a semi-automatic; they all are capable of firing multiple shots. If you want to eliminate the capability to shoot multiple bullets, you effectively eliminate most modern firearms. You say you don't want to eliminate guns completely, but that would be the logical end result, and it is absolutely the end result the anti-gun lobby is after. 

My semi-automatic rifle is not capable of walking out of my closet, leaving my home, and running off to kill someone. It's an inanimate object; also it's not loaded. A gun is a tool, just like a hammer, just like a knife, just like a car. A person has to supply the action to make it kill.

I don't know you personally Chris, and I don't know Michelle (another commenter), but that's not important for the sake of the conversation. My arguments remain the same. I'm certainly not "glib" about this, as you charged, and I resent the implication that I'm cold and heartless, and/or stupid. Michelle asked me why I needed to own a semi-automatic, and I answered: 

"...because saying "halt!" doesn't work if you don't have something to back it up. When the police can get to me before the bullet, I'll be more inclined to discuss my rifle. I'm disabled, and I don't get around well, that makes me prey. I have no intention of being a sitting duck." 

My comments about prohibition are on target. Before you jump in and say, "Nobody has said anything about taking all of the guns," I will refer you back to paragraph two, where I've clearly explained that eliminating guns with the capability to fire multiple shots, which is your criteria, effectively removes most modern firearms. 

Prohibition - to prohibit, to ban, to take away access to. It didn't work in the twenties and thirties with alcohol, AND it had the unintended consequence of creating organized crime. It hasn't worked with drugs - I can go to any town in America and find whatever drug I might crave at any given time. If outlawing something makes it obsolete, why do we have a heroin overdosing problem of close to epidemic proportions? Making things illegal simply hasn't ever been successful, and if doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, I submit to you, that making weapons capable of firing multiple rounds illegal, is a precise example of a gaping flaw in your logic that might bring the men in the white coats to your door. 

As a scientist, I would think you'd have a keen interest in taking all data under consideration, not just that which seems to prove your theory. If the NIH study is what you're taking for gospel, there's a significant absence of data. It's one study, with a very small sample, in only one location. I offered John Lott as an expert on gun crime you could look into. His research is very thorough, takes into account many different criteria, and is verifiable. These aren't government studies financed through government resources. If the government is paying for it, there's a significant chance that the data will be skewed to arrive at a conclusion favorable to whatever administration funded it. One could prove most anything if they're not looking closely at the parameters and the basic premise. You may say that's paranoia speaking, but I see it as logic - always follow the money, regardless of the source. 

If you aren't taking in all sides of an argument, how can you possibly think you're educated on the subject, your well-meaning faith group notwithstanding? This is scientific theory 101. You're supposed to look at everything cautiously, even skeptically. 

I keep hearing, "We have to do something!" My answer to that is, doing "something" is illogical and emotional. The plan needs to be effective and rationally conceived. Doing "something" may make people feel better, but that's not a solution. In fact, I strongly believe you're doing a huge disservice to those most affected because feeling better doesn't stop bullets. The "something" must be determined to have a reasonably logical and rational means of stopping gun crime, not just buzzwords or meaningless legislation that's no more than a band-aid, designed simply to help us feel good. One must separate the rational from the emotional. 

If Michelle's neighborhood is in decline inasmuch as gun crime is rising, what and who have brought guns into the equation? Drugs drive the overwhelming percentage of gun crime. The guns don't decide between themselves to become a presence in any town. Those who are using guns are most likely protecting assets, like drugs. Taking the assets out of the neighborhood, then, will remove the crime. 

Deterrents absolutely work. Stiff minimum sentences for gun-related offenses drive crime down. The last administration released many people from jail whose sentences were significant, specifically because they had a gun during the commission of a crime. Tell me, what message does that send to those who would be criminals? Why would one call for gun control on one hand, while simultaneously, releasing those imprisoned for gun crime on the other? It's just a show. Ginning up fear and anger keeps them in office, both sides of the aisle. 

In addition, our hearts are in the right place, but we need to step back and allow others to do their jobs. Too many times, sentences are pled down to misdemeanors. Too many times, people dismiss criminal behavior because the defendant had a bad childhood or some such story. There's an appalling lack of personal responsibility expected of people today. If you're truly serious about reducing gun crime, you have to be willing to make the tough decisions and expect judges to hand down stiffer penalties. You have to be willing to make jail uncomfortable, instead of the veritable country clubs, some have become. Frankly, they shouldn't be treated to cable television, gyms, and computers; and they shouldn't be getting sex reassignment surgery or other voluntary procedures either. Prisoners are living better than a large percentage of the population, and that shouldn't be. 

Many cite poverty as an excuse for getting into guns and criminal activity. Well, we've poured trillions into the War on Poverty, and the results are about the same as in the War on Drugs. Poverty has increased tremendously as a percentage during this time. It isn't working. I hear ad nauseum about the cold-hearted conservatives who "won't help the poor." Conservatives want to re-evaluate the programs, make changes, and if need be, make more changes, until we can see an actual reduction in poverty. It's not that we don't want to spend the money, it's that we don't want to waste the money on a failed program. 

All of these things and countless more are intertwined and relevant to the discussion, but instead of listening to a diverse selection of ideas, "other" voices are shouted down and vilified for not bowing down to the Party, the one that starts with Democrat. That's groupthink, and it's always been very dangerous throughout history. 

The founders knew well the consequences of groupthink so well, that the very first amendment was about freedom of speech. Interestingly, the second amendment had to do with citizens having the right to defend themselves from a tyrannical government. They had lived under tyranny, and understood that the only way to keep tyranny at bay, was to have a well-armed citizenry. 

For as much as people are decrying President Trump and his proclivity for "fascism, bigotry, and xenophobia," if he were to demand dictatorial power, as it currently stands, the citizenry would have the means to stop him. That's the purpose of the Second Amendment, not hunting or target shooting. Hunting was a means to feed their families, nothing more. The Founders were brilliant in their prescience, and though the Constitution may not be perfect, it was the document that led the US to become the wealthiest, strongest, and most compassionate country the world has ever seen, in a mere 200 years. 

I'm not prideful enough to think I could do better than the Founders, and whenever there's a move afoot to alter the Constitutional Amendments, I require tremendous evidence it's best for the people; that hasn't been the case in a long time. In the case of removing guns from citizens, to date there has not been any suggestion for gun control legislation, that is a logical and rational means of stopping someone bent on violence, from pulling a trigger. Morality and evil are two forces which cannot be legislated. We can't read each other's minds to know intent. There is no crystal ball to show us the future, therefore, we can't stop a shooter from committing a crime. Laws dictate punishment for a deed that has been done; they deter, but they cannot stop, a criminal act. 

It's very important for our country's inhabitants that we not remove the only possible defense to tyrannical overreach. The 20th Century saw millions and millions of human beings perish from the acts of multiple dictatorial governments. In every case, guns were taken from the people prior to the reign of terror. 

So Chris, in previous comments, you've suspected I'm probably angry because I got into the thread to "bait people" for fun; to what end I can only imagine. You then implied that, through my attempts to present cogent, legitimate, and relevant arguments, I've been "glib," -- flip and insincere -- and in so doing, betrayed a "deep misunderstanding" of the plight of those souls, living in neighborhoods experiencing a precipitous rise in gun crime. You've hinted that, as a scientist, you might be a tad more intelligent than me, and as a woman of faith, morally superior too. I believe I've fully understood your condescending tone, even with my admittedly limited acuity and acumen. 

I'm just a student of history. I don't have any fancy titles; strictly speaking, I'm unremarkable; but I read voraciously, and one thing I know as absolute, is that I'll only ever know a fraction of what there is to learn. I'll encounter limitless wonders in my lifetime, but the truth will remain enigmatic for you, Chris, who are confident believing you know all you need to know, have enough answers, and therefore, cease all efforts to search for truths that may have eluded you.

I'll leave you with my original question:  Tell me how taking guns from law-abiding citizens keeps a criminal from killing someone with a gun? 

When I asked you last night, you replied: "not enough information." Chris, you have sufficient information to answer the question, you just don't like the answer. When you have ideas, or a solution with a reasonable likelihood of success, please, by all means, share with the rest of us. Until that time, consider doing additional research to widen your breadth of knowledge on the various sides of the great gun debate. 

Well, I got the last word...Bam!

Written by Julie Custer

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