Topic Can "gun people" and "anti-gun people" ever come to the table together and talk
09 May 2013 10:26
Oh boy. Well, first of all, thanks NP for posting this. It's not the even-handed piece I was hoping for, and I know by the prior comments that I'm not alone with those feelings, but it does give us plenty to chew on. I was going to leave a general comment, but it's just going to work out better for me to address some things point-by-point.
Is it because my side of the debate is actually loony? I don’t think so; at least, I think I’m pretty normal. Sure, we’ve got some oddballs we all wish would go away, just like any group does.
But all the pro-gun people I know are normal people too — people so normal that nobody knows they’re gun people until they’re told. In fact, there are so many gun owners that if we are all crazy like some suggest, the daily crime rate in America would look more like our crime rate for the entire decade combined, and CNN would actually have something to report on other than the latest gossip.
That is to say, there’s a hundred million of us, owning a few hundred million guns combined, and we contribute to society peacefully every day. Many of us even literally protect society for a living, or used to.
I've no doubt that this is true. I know lots of gun owners, and I'm sure I know many more than that and just don't know it. I used to be a gun owner. I know gun owner does not equal "gun-nut". The problem is largely a PR one, as I've mentioned. Some, like SWW suggest that this is on purpose: get the crazy ones out, loud and proud, while the grown-ups secure gun rights behind the scenes. I'm not sure this is true, though I'm not certain it's not, either. What I do know is that the NRA can be unnecessarily provocative, at least from my perspective, and that among those looking to secure their rights to own guns, there's an awful lot of fear, and fear in turn sows other unpleasant attributes, such parnoia, intolerance, and hostility.
I’ve come to realize after the Sandy Hook shooting that the reason we can’t have a rational gun debate is because the anti-gun side pre-supposes that their pro-gun opponents must first accept that guns are bad in order to have a discussion about guns in the first place. Before we even start the conversation, we’re the bad guys and we have to admit it. Without accepting that guns are bad and supplicating themselves to the anti-gunner, the pro-gunner can’t get a word in edgewise, and is quickly reduced to being called a murderer, or a low, immoral and horrible human being.
And without first accepting that guns are good, and a cherished perennial right, not to be infringed by anyone for any reason, those seeking tighter controls can't get a word in edgewise, either. See how that works? This is why the prospects for real conversation are so bleak.
You might think that’s hyperbole too, but I’ve experienced it personally from people I considered friends until recently. And every day I see it on TV or in the newspapers, from Piers Morgan to the Des Moines Register’s own Donald Kaul, who among others have actually said people like me are stupid, crazy or should be killed ourselves. YouTube is full of examples, and any Google search will result in example after example of gun-owning Americans being lampooned, ridiculed and demonized by the media and citizens somewhere.
Let's be fair, nobody's forcing Skynrdfan68@gmail.com to upload his pro-gun rant to YouTube. Nobody's rounding up small town residents who hate Obama and forcing them to expound on their belief system and their interpretation of the US Constitution. I'll say it again: gun advocates have perhaps the worlds worst spokespeople and overall public front. Look at what happens here even here on the relatively small community of Lush. The typical gun advocate is: 1) shirtless in his avatar, 2) angry right off the bat at everyone, 3) uses woefully poor grammar, and 4) at some point either slips into hate speech, compares the US government to the Third Reich, or both. I realize that we may be living in a style-over-substance culture, and that's probably to our detriment, but one has to admit: presentation and marketing of opinions matters a great deal. If you can't sell your ideas and make both the idea and the messenger seem sane, you're dead in the water.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gunners always talk about 90 percent of Americans supporting this gun control measure, or 65 percent supporting that one, as if a majority opinion is what truly matters in America.
It's not the only thing that matters, but it does matter a hell of a lot. Here's guessing that this same author would definitely slip a "65% of Americans believe in a balanced budget" stat into his column in the (all too common) event that Congress and the President decide to spend lavishly and fail to address the deficit problem. We don't live in a black and white world, and absolutes rarely factor in. It's disingenuous to say that majority opinion- representing the way most Americans feel- is irrelevant to a particular issue. Should it rule the day? Perhaps not, but it does warrant mentioning.
We don’t trust anti-gun people because you think America is a democracy, when it’s actually a constitutional federal republic. In the American system, the rights of a single individual are what matters and are what our system is designed to protect. The emotional mob does not rule in America.
Thanks for the constitutional lesson, Mr. High Horse. It doesn't really matter here, except to brandish your credentials. Not using correct semantic nomenclature is a disqualifier? Whatever you say, cowboy.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they lie to us. President Obama directly says he won’t tamper with guns or the Second Amendment, then turns around and pushes Congress to do just that.
Nothing Obama proposed presents a challenge to ownership of firearms. If one is absolutist about it (and that's increasingly the way people on both sides are getting), then I guess anything other than "go get all the guns you want, restriction-free" is 'tampering with the Second Amendment'. Otherwise, his comment here is intellectually dishonest.
We don’t trust anti-gunners because they appoint one of the most lying and rabidly (and moronically) anti-gun people in America, Vice President Biden, to head up a “task force” to “solve” the so-called “gun problem,” who in turn talks with anti-gun special interest groups instead of us to complete his task.
Fair point. One could argue that all points of view should be involved in a policy issue like this, though what do we expect the NRA to have done, other than vehemently oppose any restriction whatsoever, regardless of what it is?
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they tell us they don’t want to ban guns, only enact what they call “common sense gun laws.” But like a magician using misdirection, they tell everyone else they want to ban every gun everywhere.
Very liberal use of the word 'they'. And what "common sense gun laws" is he referring to? Yes, Senator Feinstein said she's like to see all guns turned in (nice video find from 18 years ago, btw). I'd like to see lots of things happen, but even if I'm a US Senator, that doesn't make them likely to happen. You can't, if you're willing to have the intellectually honest discourse that you claim to seek, take one person's quote and turn that into "they tell everyone else they want to ban every gun everywhere." This guy, again, is seeking a white hat/black hat divide, where it's actually way, way more nuanced than that.
While some are busy trying to placate us with lies, another anti-gunner somewhere submits a gun ban proposal — proposals that often would automatically make us felons for possession. Felons, for no good reason. And you anti-gunners can roll up your grandfather clauses and stuff them where the sun don’t shine. If it ain’t good enough for our grandchildren in 60 years, it ain’t good enough for us right now.
Yes, people will submit crazy shit at the state (and occasionally at the national) legislative level. It happens. And yes, the ByronLords of the world, that equate 'gun owner' with 'bloody-handed amoralist' exist too. But they're not the ones you have to worry about, much like those who seek tighter controls on guns don't really have to worry about fringe libertarians that want to overthrow the Federal government and impose anarchy. (Well, except for the occasional federal courthouse bombing, then maybe you do have to worry about those people).
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they make horrifying predictions about how there will be blood in the streets, gunfights on every street corner and America will become the Wild West again if citizens are allowed to carry concealed firearms. We don’t trust anti-gun people because we know that despite the millions of Americans who have carry permits, those who carry guns commit crimes at a much lower rate than people who don’t. We know because we know ourselves and we’re not criminals. We know because concealed carry is now legal nearly everywhere, and guess what? Violent crime continues to go down. What a shocker.
Now he's all over the map. There are all kinds of people- most even- who have no issue with concealed-carry while wishing for better controls elsewhere. I don't personally buy that the movie theater gunman (for instance) would've been stopped faster if others had been packing. I fail to see how that wouldn't have just ended up with more stray bullets and bystanders struck by them...but that's neither here nor there.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they say gun control is about crime control. Anti-gunners claim that ending crime and “saving children” is why they want to ban so-called “assault weapons.” Yet our very own government says that assault weapons are used in less than two percent of all gun crimes and Department of Justice studies say the last assault weapons ban had little or no effect on crime.
And I see merit in legislation that eliminates that 2 percent. Versus what, the legal right to own an Uzi? It's at least a worthwhile debate.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because when it comes to their “We need gun control to save the children” argument, many of us can’t understand how an anti-gun liberal can simultaneously be in favor of abortion. Because you know, a ban on abortion would save a child every single time. I’m personally not rabidly against abortion, but the discongruence makes less sense still when the reason abortions are legal is to protect a woman’s individual rights.
Uh oh. God-Squad alert! And willfully bringing a completely unrelated issue (women's reproductive rights) into the fray. Win the argument on its own merits, not by slinging moralist mud re: your own bias about abortion.
Anti-gunners think that for some bizarre reason, the founding fathers happened to stick a collective right smack dab at the top of a list of individual rights, though. Yeah, because that makes sense.
Which anti-gunners? This whole essay gets really straw-mannish. Who is he talking about, other than the personally constructed idiot-mass that opposes his vision of Second Amendment rights. By the way, the constitution is full of collective rights. The indivual rights ARE the collective rights.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they are purposely misleading to rile the emotions of the ignorant. We don’t trust anti-gunners because they say more than 30,000 people are killed each year by guns — a fact that is technically true, but the key piece of information withheld is that only a minor fraction of that number is murder; the majority is suicides and accidents. We don’t trust anti-gunners because we know accidents and suicides don’t count in the crime rate, but they’re held against us as if they do.
Okay, but for many, including me, whether it constitutes "crime" is sort of irrelevant. The facts are that guns were the instrument used. Don't misunderstand this as me building an argument to ban guns, but in point of fact, the 30,000 number (or whatever it happens to be) is a gun-related death number, crime or no crime.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because not only is the violent crime rate approaching historic lows, but mass shootings are on the decline too. We don’t trust anti-gun people because they fail to recognize that mass shootings happen where guns are already banned — ridiculous “gun-free zones” which attract homicidal maniacs to perpetrate their mass shootings.
I've yet to hear a surviving mass-shooting perpetrator explain that he picked his target based on the fact that it was in a "gun free zone". The existence of gun free zones is ridiculous to him, same as the concept of school teachers packing heat is ridiculous to others. That's an ideological stalemate, and either side is free to ridicule the others' position, but it won't bring about a solution.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gun people put us down with dismissals like “just another dumb redneck with a gun.”
If it's in reaction to an actual dumb redneck with a gun, then what does one expect? Context matters. Otherwise: straw-man argument.
We are told all over the Internet that we deserve to be in prison for being awful, heartless people; baby-killers and supporters of domestic terrorism, even.
Straw man argument.
We don’t trust anti-gun people because even our own president says people like me are “bitter” and “cling to our guns and religion.”
How does he know Obama was talking about him? If memory serves, Obama was discussing his difficulties with rural, working class white people, many of whom are bitter about the Federal Government and do cling to guns and religion. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words, but it's not inaccurate. If that applies to the author of this piece, then so be it.
One need only go to any online comments section of any recent gun article in any of the major newspapers to see all this for themselves.
How naive is this guy? He doesn't know internet comment sections are little more than troll lairs? The fact that he's willing to use that as an exhibit of evidence does his credibility no favors.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because when things like the Boston Marathon bombing happen, everyone correctly blames the bomber, not the bomb. Nobody is calling for bomb control because killing people with bombs is already illegal — just like killing people with guns is illegal too.
Yes, but guns aren't illegal. Key difference.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they completely ignore the fact that true conservatism is about, in part, the preservation of traditions and long-standing principles. We don’t trust anti-gunners because the American Revolution was kicked off by an attempt at gun control when the British marched to Concord to seize the colonists’ muskets and powder. Since the shot heard ‘round the world was fired on Lexington Green, the possession of a firearm has been the mark and symbol of a citizen, distinguishing them from a subject of a monarchy or tyrannical government. We don’t trust anti-gunners because they prefer the post-modern world where anything means anything, and they therefore don’t understand the power of or need for the preservation of traditions — or at least, ones of which they don’t personally approve.
Okay, this makes sense, except for the first part about completely ignoring what true conservatism is all about. As somebody that leans liberal, I can tell you that this isn't true. Liberals are well aware that conservatism is about preserving traditions and long-standing principles, they just don't believe that some of those traditions are necessary or relevant today.
We don’t trust anti-gun people for this reason because history shows us that every genocide and democide is preceded by expansion of government power and gun control. We don’t trust anti-gunners because here in America, gun control is rooted in slavery and racism, with some of America’s modern anti-gun laws being direct copies of former Nazi laws that banned gun possession for Jews, blacks, gays and other “undesirables.”
This is probably the best pro-gun argument, if only there were a movement to ban all guns, when there really isn't one afoot here in the US.
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gunners tell us that the police and military are the only people who should have guns (which is a joke in itself), and that we need to give up our own guns and trust the government.
It's a joke to this guy, but not to the citizens of virtually every other first-world society, most of whom have somehow have managed to enter 2013 without being strangled under the hold of a tyrranical fascist government regime. But again, a full-scale ban on firearms isn't on the table. So why does every pro-gun argument/monologue/tirade assume that it is?
Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they always bemoan the NRA, claiming the NRA is the source of all their anti-gun legislation problems. We don’t trust anti-gunners because it never occurs to them that perhaps it’s not the NRA per se that has the power, but the millions of members that belong to it, and the millions more Americans who otherwise support it and its mission. The NRA is probably the largest private organization in America; maybe that has something to do with its influence...? We also don’t trust anti-gunners because they’re too ignorant to understand that the NRA only represents a minority of us anyway.
Wrong. By leading the lobbying effort and by speaking for gun ownership, they represent gun ownership as a concept. And gun owners at large allow them to do so by maintaining membership and by not speaking out in opposition to them, or to discredit thir assertion that they're leading the Second Amendment defense in this country.
No, anti-gunners, we don’t trust you. And you’ve given us no reason to, either. We gun owners obey the law each and every day, same as you. We defend your nation, protect your communities, teach your children, take care of you when you’re sick, defend you when you go to court or prosecute those who do you wrong. We cook and serve your food, haul and deliver your goods, construct your homes, unclog your sewers, make your electricity, and build or fix your cars.
People who choose not to carry or own guns do all of these things as well. Gun owners have earned no moral high ground. They are no more "American" than those who don't own guns. They can occupy a high horse all they want, and pat themselves on the back for their American-ness (same as liberal activists will do the same), but we're all one big family, we just feel differently about certain issues, including gun ownership.
Anti-gunners label people like me “gun nuts” even though we're anything but nutty. Our enjoyment of firearms doesn’t define us; it is but a single value and right we enjoy and cherish, among many other rights and values we enjoy and cherish — including the very same ones anti-gunners do too — like the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights.
Internet trolls and the minority anti-gun zealots excepted, nobody's going to call you a gun nut unless you act like one. Supporting gun ownership does not qualify as gun-nuttery on its own, no matter how many straw men one chooses to set up and knock down.
No, anti-gunners are absolutely right: There can be no rational debate on this issue anymore. Anti-gunners don’t understand guns, they don’t understand crime, they don’t understand American history and traditions, they don’t understand gun owners and don’t care to understand us, and they reduce people like me to a debasing label or a number they’ve got no clue about.
Anti-gunners reject our passions, our traditions, our knowledge, our experiences, our beliefs, our wisdom, our rights. Anti-gunners reject our very individuality by reducing us to labels, stereotypes and false or distorted statistics. Screw you for destroying that individuality and denying our humanity.
So your precious traditions aren't shared unanimously, rub some dirt on it and get back in the game, captain. Conservatives label liberals all sorts of pejorative names, attribute awfulness to them that they haven't earned, same as you're whining about here. I do wish you could find a time machine to take you back to 1951, I think all involved would be happier that way.
And unlike most anti-gunners, it seems, I have served my community and nation in various roles throughout the years — roles that, ironically, often entailed guns. Where I was once given a uniform and a gun, and trusted with it to ensure the safety and security of others, I am now a pariah among many of the very people I sacrificed for. I am sadly one of many here, too. What a terrible, hurtful insult and betrayal!
Cry me a river. Also, that's a baseless assertion, to assume that those who wish to see some degree of gun control aren't civil stewards, don't volunteer, don't work for their communities, etc. If you're a pariah, you might look at your own behavior and outlook. Reasonable people would not assign you pariah status based on the fact that you own a gun. And why worry about unreasonable people? They'll always exist, and they'll exist outside of reasonable discourse. The fact that you've given up on that says as much about you as it does the seemingly hopeless stalemate that you see on this issue.
An anti-gunner reads a book though, or sees a documentary on TV — or perhaps worst of all, gets a degree —
Anti-education too? Okay.
and suddenly they have the almighty authority and expertise to tell us how we ought to live our lives, replying to our objections to their onslaught by throwing pictures of dead kids in our faces and commanding us to shut up, because we’re just a bunch of stupid radicals and liberals alone know what’s best for America.
Did we just slip into "Liberal tyrant alert" here? Do you post on infowars.com?
You anti-gunners out there will lead us down a path you do not want to go down. Your lack of care and understanding of those who abide by America’s oldest and deepest-rooted tradition will cause a social rift in this country of the likes we have never seen in America’s young history. Your lack of understanding chances causing a civil war — a civil war that will be far worse, more acrimonious, more prolonged and more deadly than the last one.
Nice melodramatic hyperbole. And the least savory among gun owners who will take up arms in opposition to the law of the land for their own version of "freedom" wouldn't be the least bit responsible for that "civil war" either, right? But threatening an uprising if things don't go your way down the road is a pretty level-headed thing to do...
Anti-gunners may think the military could prevent such a thing — an argument often used against us pro-gunners — but with only a few million people in the military, and with the United States containing 300 million citizens spread across nearly four million square miles, many of whom are themselves veterans, well, military occupation of this country is impossible.
And why would the military need to take action, unless laws were broken?
And there will be no hope for resolution but through victory by force initiated by one side or the other, God help us, for we will not plow for those who didn’t beat their swords into plowshares.
What the hell does that even mean?
So this guy says we must mend fences, but basically spent a few thousand words ennumerating how little trust he has for the tiny minority that wants to ban all guns. What a nonproductive exercise. Almost as non-productive as my response LOL, but I couldn't let it go.
No "side" has the monopoly on what is right or what is true. Self-righteousness only deepens the divide, and his preening essay is part of the problem, not the solution.