Friday, March 1, 2013

Don't give up on gun control

Gun rights zealots believe they will always win--and that the rest of us will always lose. They have nothing but contempt and active dislike for anyone and everyone who advocates any form of gun ownership control, no matter how minor. If pressed, they claim their right to own any kind of gun they choose is based on the Constitution's 2nd Amendment having the purpose of enabling citizens to go into armed revolt against the government, using firearms comparable to those used by our military.Their message to gun control advocates is despair: "You are incompetent to talk about guns, your proposals are unconstitutional, and we OWN Congress (and every state legislature). Give up. We will always defeat you. And you deserve to be defeated, you contemptible worms."

They are that far out.

Equally far out is their defense of crazy people and criminals being able to get guns. Of course gun rights zealots say the exact opposite when they speak in generalities. But gun rights zealots are, as a group, self-centered and emotionally immature. So they see anything we could do to keep guns out of the hands of nuts and crooks only from the perspective of potential limitations to the zealots' rights to own guns--and to keep government agencies from knowing that the zealots have guns, and knowing which guns those are.

So they oppose changing the current federal privacy and mental health laws, which currently make it nearly impossible to institutionalize crazy people who don't think they're crazy--which is most of them. And they oppose universal gun registration, which would let us track straw buyers who are the source of most of the guns crooks possess.

Don't confuse gun rights zealots with gun owners in general, most of whom support at least some forms of gun control--especially universal background checks.

The only thing gun rights zealots support to deal with these all-too frequent massacres and gun homicides is more guns in more hands, which they say is the only way to more safety.

Of course every nation is an experiment in governance that other nations can study.America has more guns per capita with fewer controls than any other nation with comparable demographics. Comparisons prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that our path--more guns, less regs--leads to four to eight times as many homicides (not just gun homicides) as comparable countries, and the more gun controls, the fewer homicides. It's that simple and that plain. The rate of violence is comparable to that of comparable counties--the difference with America is that here that violence is vastly more likely to result in death.

The gun makers know this, but they have proven repeatedly is that all they care about is profit. Their shills, who lead the NRA, tread a well-worn path after every massacre:

1. Loudly denounce gun control advocates who dare to use the massacre to try to get gun control legislation enacted--denounce them as exploiting the suffering of the victims and their families for political gain. Demand a period of weeks to "respect the victims" before launching any discussion about the massacre, which gives the NRA time to marshall its forces and lobby legislators.

2. Try to slow-walk such discussions--the more time that elapses between the massacre and the discussion, the more time the NRA has to prevent--or gut--any legislation that does ensue.

3. Loudly insist that the ONLY solution to gun violence is more guns in more hands. Claim that the expired assault weapons ban didn't work (a baldfaced lie--it did to a a degree, hampered by the gun lobby gutting the bill). Claim that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns (a baldfaced lie--other countries that restrict guns have their criminals using knives mostly). Claim that massacres happen everywhere (they do--but they do several times as often here, and more are killed in each massacre here on average).

4. Trot out anecdote after anecdote showing how having a gun protected someone. This works because most people are innumerate and thus don't understand statistics (along with most abstractions).

5. Send forth the gun control zealots to overwhelm every newspaper and blog forum that mentions gun control, after stirriing them up with wild accusations.

6. Constantly try to change the subject from gun regulation to gun confiscation, despite the fact that no politician in America talking about gun confiscation.

7. Constantly try to change the subject of gun control to the subject of violent mental illness. It's a valid subject but not instead of gun control--it should be as well as gun control

8. Deny that there's any such thing as an assault weapon--important since the bulk of gun maker profits come from selling assault weapons, despite the fact that they're marketed to gun buyers as assault weapons, using military commando mission atmospherics.

9. Depend on the fact that the million-odd gun rights zealots wake up each morning thinking about guns, and typically associate gun possession with virility, so this group will ceaseless promote their position, while most people only think about guns for a few days or weeks after each massacre.

10. Continue to lobby to suppress any attempt to study gun violence by government agencies (a sucessful effort for decades).

11, Continually talk about video games and violent movies as the cause of massacres, ignoring the literally millions of young men who play such games and see such movies all the time and never commit acts of physical violence, also ignoring the difference between "shooting" cartoon people with a computer mouse vs. shooting human-shaped targets with real bullets fired from a real gun on a real target range.

12. Continually frame the debate as one between patriotic Americans and people advocating foreign ideas that violate the Constitution (talk about Constitution constatnly), bordering on treason. Use inflamed and inflammatory rhetoric, including denouncing the President for having Secret Service protection for his children when he doesn't want that for yours.

13. Try to wear down the other side on every front. Constantly belittle  gun control advocates for being ignorant about firearms and gun violence research (ironic since the NRA has prevented the government from studying gun violence).

Gun rights zealots typically know a lot more about firearms than gun control advocates. I'm not as ignorant about firearms as most gun control advocates, but even so I've found myself having to do hours of research to get up to speed enough to really debate with these guys.

And once I was up to speed I found that gun rights zealots--and the NRA--habitually and knowingly lie to the rest of us in order to advance their desire to own firearms of any type they like without impediments. I only discovered this after I'd done my homework. It was not obvious at first. This was especially interestting because gun rights zealots represent themselves as the most moral, patriotic, upstanding citizens. But in my experience they routinely practice taqiyya (an Arab term "honorable lying to Infidels") with those outside the gun community. If the NRA asserts something, you can safely assume it's a baldfaced lie unless proven otherwise.

For example, NRA membership claims include tens of thousands of members who are no longer alive, along with members whose membership was a freebie including with a gun purchase or gun show admission. It includes a million or so gun rights zealots along with three million or so gun owners whose views differ strikingly from those advocated by the zealots and the NRA leadership.

So when you debate with gun rights zealots, take note of the claims they make, and when you find out they're lying, and exactly how, consider the likelihood that they knew they were lying when they said that to you--and let them know, calmly but inexorably.

That is, use the techniques my spouse used to use when she worked as a collecor for a computer peripherals manufacturer. She never got mad but she never let people off the hook--and she took note of every promise they made, and used that in subsequent conversations, so as to draw the noose progressively tighter and tighter. And of course she never called them liars. She just pointed out what they said, what was factual, and asked them to account for the disparity.

That's the twofer. Never get mad--never relent.

It looks as though the gun makers and their eager shills will mostly win the current fight going on in Congress. But remember how many fights homosexual rights advocates lost before they started winning. Most political victories stand on the shoulders of innumerable losses.

And this is important.

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