The Gun Control “Debate”

So as you know, I’m pro-gun, live in Massachusetts, and read lots of anti-gun blogs, and I’m outspoken about my beliefs. This might lead you to think that I get into a lot of debates on the gun control issue.

Not really. As a general rule the “debates” go two ways:

Interaction #1

Anti: We shouldn’t allow guns! Did you know that a gun in the house is 10 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder?

Me: That’s not a correct statement. You’re citing Arthur Kellermann, and I believe he eventually amended his study to four times more likley, and he was never talking in terms of “Family Members” and “Intruder”, he was talking “Acquaintances” and “Strangers”, meaning the bulk of his homicides were rival gang members killing each other in turf wars, and he didn’t even care if the gun was in the house because the resident of the house owned it. Meaning a woman’s ex boyfriend whom she has a restraining order against could break into her house and shoot her in her bed, and that would count as a “Gun in the Home” and killing an “Acquaintance”.

Either way, gun ownership is currently on the rise, while violent crime is dropping, so the concern that more guns cause more violence simply can’t be true.

Anti: Well of course you’d say that you’re a gun nut! Why should I believe you?

Me: I don’t expect you to believe me, so please, if you care about this issue, go look up what I’m talking about.

Anti: Can you give me some sources to look at?

Me: I can, but since we both agree you shouldn’t simply believe me because I told you so, you will find the data much more powerful if you look it up yourself. I will say that the FBI, CDC, and simply Googling “Arthur Kellermann”.

Anti: OK

Now these interactions end one of three ways, either the anti-gun person goes out with a new-found skepticism and starts doing research and the talking points that sound so solid when they heard them, and they soon realize that the foundation of Gun Control is lies and invisible bugbears, and while maybe they won’t go out and buy a gun just yet, they really shouldn’t take issue with others owning guns.
Or They could decide that they have invested too much of their ego in gun control, and deep down they KNOW that I told them to find their own data because I KNEW they had never done any research on the subject, and knew what they would find if they did, and that they won’t give that asshole “rethuglancan” the satisfaction!
OR they will realize that the gun control debate is not as cut-and-dry as they had been lead to believe, and they will never venture into that arena ever again.

Of course the second scenario REALLY makes me sad, but it’s a reality, so many people will WILLFULLY choose ignorance over reality. I can’t grasp why, I just know it happens a lot.

Then there is Interaction #2

Anti: We shouldn’t allow guns! Did you know that a gun in the house is 10 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder?

Me: That’s not a correct statement. You’re citing Arthur Kellermann, and I believe he eventually amended his study to four times more likley, and he was never talking in terms of “Family Members” and “Intruder”, he was talking “Acquaintances” and “Strangers”, meaning the bulk of his homicides were rival gang members killing each other in turf wars, and he didn’t even care if the gun was in the house because the resident of the house owned it. Meaning a woman’s ex boyfriend whom she has a restraining order against could break into her house and shoot her in her bed, and that would count as a “Gun in the Home” and killing an “Acquaintance”.

Either way, gun ownership is currently on the rise, while violent crime is dropping, so the concern that more guns cause more violence simply can’t be true.

Anti: But What about Terrorists buying Machine guns as gun shows without background checks???

This “Debate” goes on this way until one side becomes exhausted. You can see a real-world example of this over at Miguel’s:

This really strikes me as a variation of Schrödinger’s “Progressive”. In the overall view of this quantum theory is that if a person breaks off from a debate after a devastating rebuttal has been made, then was the rebuttal devastating at all? This is the same idea, since Miguel cleanly refuted the initial claim, the anti immediately changes subjects and immediately makes the appearance that the 2nd Subject was what was being discussed all along. If you try and steer the debate back on topic YOU will get accused of changing the subject, and slinking away from devastating rebuttal.

This will go on until one of you are exhausted. I have no idea what form of mental illness causes this, but boy does it happen with frightening regularity!

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16 Responses to The Gun Control “Debate”

  1. Thirdpower says:

    One of my favorite ‘debates’ was with a self-proclaimed intellectual.

    Me: You made claim X
    Him: I never said anything about X. You’re creating strawmen.
    Me: (cutnpaste paragraph from his post discussing X)
    Him: I didn’t know what you were talking about because you’re stupid.

    He eventually closed comments and deleted all of my responses.

  2. lucusloc says:

    I don’t know if you don’t see a third type of argument because you are smart enough to not get into it, but I also commonly see “argument via insult”. This is were you talk about a point logically, while the other side just hurls insults at you while calming you are stupid and ignoring the obvious facts. I am having one right now over at AllOutdoor (http://www.alloutdoor.com/2015/03/09/making-380acp-limited-ballistics/). I do not think the guy is an anti per say, but he does argue like one. I have a tendency to stick around to the bitter end, in the theory that if others find the tread it will somehow be instructive. Of course now that I put that down into a sentence it seems a lot less likely in reality. . . At what point does arguing with stupid for others benefit become futile?

    • Thirdpower says:

      Wow. That guy just has to argue w/ everyone.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      That guy is OBVIOUSLY a troll. Personally he seemed reasonable until you noted that you were entirely unaware of any legal cases where a person was prosecuted because of their choice of carry ammo when otherwise they would have walked free and he responded with more BS. Yeah before then he was abrasive, but not everybody gets to be as charming as the likes of us 😉

      I’m always weighing the probability that the person I’m engaging in will listen to reason. I like to start out with the assertion that I’m fairly well versed in this subject, and no matter WHAT I have heard about or know about this person, or how rational their opening statement comes across, there is 100% chance that they will immediately switch sides on the spot once challenged.

      Then the numbers start going down with each round of rebuttals, and depending on if their argument is getting more concise, or more irrational, and things like insults, or changing the subject, I start dropping that number accordingly.

      Take the two mock interactions above, if the conversation went EXACTLY as quoted #1 would still be rocking a score in the High 80s or low 90s, while anti #2 is probably in the 40s somewhere. One or two rebuttal rounds I’ll be making my exit.

      So then I just simply make an exit and keep walking…this is for the “Others”. For your little exchange, I would say either of your last two comments are good exits, but probably should have been made MUCH earlier. But you said it well in that you noted what you had done, and what he had done, and what you were looking for, and why that’s relevant, and note that he had not supplied anything that would allow you to continue the debate, then you’re done.

      Generally if you give them the last word, it makes it even more powerful, as somebody not calling them a child, but ILLUSTRATING Childish behavior and letting all readers/onlookers clearly see they ARE a child, generally invokes a childish response which only gives your argument more power if you show you’re big enough not to respond to it further.

      • lucusloc says:

        Yeah, my problem is I can always see the next part of the argument, the next distillation of assumptions, the next round of banter, so I cannot ever really see the good exit unless it is a loop. I have a tendency to devolve into an explanation of what logic is, and list out in summary all the fallacies they committed earlier. I find it does eventually loop, once you get down to the core of what you disagree on, but getting there is often long and never pretty. Of course once I do learn that path I can find shortcuts, but that never helps in the here and now.

        I think this guy is just sticking around because he is a troll though.

  3. divemedic says:

    I don’t have time for people who can’t be logical. I once had a friend of 15 years that I cut loose after the shooting in Connecticut, because she was trying to make the case that guns were too dangerous to be in the hands of anyone but the police and the military.

    I just don’t want people like that in my life.

  4. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Actually, I have been having another kind of interaction;

    Anti: We shouldn’t allow guns! Did you know that a gun in the house is 10 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder?

    Me: Fine; propose a Constitutional Amendment allowing gun control laws.

    Anti: Why should we have to do that? The Second Amendment only protects the militia (or similar argument).

    Me: The Supreme Court has consistently ruled otherwise. Furthermore, we have extensive records from the debates on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which clearly show that the intention was to secure a right of the people to commonly own and carry military grade arms. Whether that is a good idea is, perhaps, debatable. But to change it, you must pass an Amendment.

    Anti: (after possible side argument about “they only had flintlocks”, which I won’t bore you with). Why do you demand an Amendment. Can’t we just have Common Sense™ gun laws?

    Me: I have to have an Amendment because the State, especially the unbounded State, scares me a damn sight more than the idea of some fool with an unregulated gun. It was various States that murdered more than one hundred million people in the name of “progress”, during the 20th Century. The State must be bound by its own rules, or it is a tyranny.

    Anti: You’re just one of those extremist Gun Nuts.

    Me: I don’t even own a gun.

    Anti: (flashing sign seen in their eyes) *Tilt* *Tilt* *Tilt*

    • Weerd Beard says:

      OMG the “Tilt” got me laughing so hard!

    • lucusloc says:

      They will never by the “tyranny kills” argument, because “that can never happen here” (even when that is exactly what they are complaining about [see: Ferguson]). Also, they typically disregard both the courts and the historical documents when it does not fit their ideology.

      It is funny to watch them argue in circles while contradicting themselves though.

      • C. S. P. Schofield says:

        They will never acknowledge that Tyranny kills, because they will not allow themselves to grasp just what they have been pushing. There are a few, a very few, honorable ex-Lefties who have admitted their errors and their complicity and tried to move on (David Horowitz comes to mind). Most of them, however, lack the spiritual and mental fortitude to face what the Left has facilitated throughout the 20th Century. It would break them. On some level they KNOW it would break them. And so they battle desperately and bitterly to not have to face it.

  5. Stuart the Viking says:

    As many have said, when we argue with the Anti on the Internet, the audience is comprised mostly of the undecided. The Anti isn’t going to change their minds precisely because their belief is (generally) an emotionally based belief. A logical argument doesn’t change an emotionally based belief, the most you can hope for is some erosion.

    IF an Anti has a reason to debate with you for a long enough length of time (weeks, months, sometimes years), that erosion can finally start having an effect. I have had a long time friend who was ab Anti gradually change her minds on the issue because my logical arguments, calmly and lovingly made, gradually sunk in. This particular friend, when we first met, would start crying and almost piss herself (literally) when she realized she was in the same room as a firearm. She was terrified, because her emotional belief was that guns were SO dangerous, one could accidentally kill you just sitting there. A few years later this same friend was not only un-phased that I was carrying a loaded (concealed) firearm at a party in her house, when someone else (her sister actually) found out and started freaking, she was the one coming up with the pro-gun arguments, talking about the 2A, and rebutting the “militia”, “flintlock”, and “only one” arguments. It was AWESOME!

    You will never get that with the Fuckwads* on the Internet. A few minutes (or an afternoon) of comments back and forth and then they go back to their little Anti existence with their small minded Anti friends who all sit around making Anti arguments (looking around to make sure everyone agrees with them) and nodding at each other (undoing what little erosion that you may have managed to achieve in an afternoon of rebuttal).

    s

    * see Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Well there’s a HUGE difference between some asshole on the internet whom you have ZERO social investment in, and a person you know socially and see on a regular basis. (Also this can tie in to some asshole on the internet who you have mutual ties that don’t include firearms…like you’re huge fans of the same band, or you’re both pro-gay marriage activists, ect.)

      Those people get to know you, and can see you outside the lens of the greater issue. They can see you without the “Gun” factor, but then when they overlay the “Gun” they suddenly realize that you don’t fit any of their archetypes for what a “Gun Nut” is (ie you aren’t a drooling moron, you aren’t bloodthirsty, you aren’t a racist etc) and that puts SERIOUS chips in their walls.

      I have a bunch of antis in my immediate family, only a few have TOTALLY turned, but the rest have gone from total panic around any discussion of a gun, to totally being fine talking and handling guns in a controlled setting, and even mentioning that they appreciate me being armed around them.

      • Stuart the Viking says:

        Well yes, there IS a huge difference between a random asshole whom you have no other social investment in and someone whom you have an already working (if only Internet) relationship with. That person may fall under the “has a reason to debate with you for a long enough length of time”, either from liking you or respecting you through shared interests. Just like I would listen to you on the subject of cocktails or music because we share a passion for firearms and 2A rights (although, some of your crazy city music does make my brain hurt. I tried to like it, but I don’t think I have a proper frame of reference to understand and enjoy some of it).

        It sounds like your experience with your family is very similar to my experience with my (formerly) Anti-gun friend. As you say, showing the Anti that we don’t fit their preconceived notions goes a long way. What you called chips in the wall, I call erosion. It happens at different speeds with different people, and sadly, there are some you just can’t reach.

        • Weerd Beard says:

          Heh, my wife is WAYYY more “City” than I am, and has even more classical schooling in Music than myself….and my music makes her head hurt! 😉

          My music, my taste in guns, and my cocktails aren’t for everybody….but I know I’m not alone, and even if you don’t LOVE it, I’m glad so many enjoy reading about it!

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