Friday, December 21, 2012

Your Liberty or The Lives of Children? Explain that to your kids....

What I post below I wrote to a family member.  An in-law, but no less important in my life as a family man than my blood relatives.  He's a military man and a veteran of numerous campaigns.  We've been having a discussion about gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook.  Given the NRA's news conference today and the manner in which they shirked any blame for what their lobbying and strong-arming has wrought, I'm done talking.  With him, with anyone.  What skills I have are in writing and speaking, and as I say at the end of this post, I will use them now to whatever ends I can to seek, if not an end, at least a sensible amelioration of the death and carnage our selfish devotion to our guns has wrought.  I'll not edit it for publication, so the context (my response to his posting of a 1991 video of a woman testifying before congress during the original Assault Weapons ban hearings) is kind of important.  In the video She spoke of how, if she only had her weapon (which she'd removed from her purse several weeks before) she could have killed the man how was shooting at her, would eventually shoot her father and her mother.

Here's the thing.  If you ask most gun owners to present any reasoned and empirical evidence to prove that increased possession of handguns/weapons will deter crime....they can't.  The closest they've ever come was a researcher named John Lott, whose methods and book were pilloried by the National Academy of Sciences.  All they can produce is arguments based on emotion, what Aristotle called "pathos."  Arguments based solely on emotion might move us to tears, but they are not warrant for policy decisions.  For that we require ethos (ethically sound experts), and logos (logic, preferably empiric, evidence.  If you can find it, and it's directly correlated to decreased crime without increasing accidental death, suicide, and grave, accidental injury, I'd like to see it.

"This issue is not about individual incidents. In the aggregate, the more guns we pump into the system, the more we increase the chance of deaths associated with weapons, not just homicides, but accidental deaths, suicides, injuries.... Perhaps the answer is to force gun owners to be better stewards of their weapons. Adam Lanza's mother wasn't. Those who sold weapons to the shooters at Columbine weren't. And what does the NRA tell us today...more guns. That's what we need.

Your comment that you've been in situations like this? I don't doubt it, and I cannot thank you enough for the sacrifice you have made at all levels in America's Army. But when we treat a civilized society like a war zone we admit our own inability to handle the extent of the weapons we've created...we admit also our own inability to handle ourselves. Perhaps the NRA is right in it's goal to arm all citizens and mount an insurrection to a government that's obviously bound and determined to "take away our rights". Let's all get guns and rise up. Anarchy is so much more productive and protective of our rights than democracy. Just ask Somalia during the 1st decade of this century. 

The facts are clear, I've sent you the article regarding children and gun deaths.  

Here, however, is another response. This one to the issue raised today by the NRA.

Drs. from Johns Hopkins, Tufts University, researchers from the RAND Coroporation...they're all in agreement here. You stand against them only with fear. Fear is an emotion. In Aristotelian logic, an argument based solely on emotion (pathos) is not only incomplete but illogical, as it lacks an ethical basis (recognized and ethical source (read...NOT John Lott)) and a logical basis (backed by evidence, preferably empirical but also logical). And in standing against them, you wager the chance happening of a Sandy Hook (a recognized aberration) versus the daily death of children and citizens at a rate that outpaces the total losses from our years in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The protestors at the NRA press conf. were right. All members of the NRA have blood on their hands if they stand with their clearly far more radical leadership. If anyone is in line for an insurrection, it ought to be the NRA. How any members of the organization can stomach the abject lack of responsibility LaPierre and his leadership claim for the manner in which the laws they've fought against and the lobbying they've done for the gun industry...It's beyond me. Such is the nature of blood money. We wager our children, ourselves, and the better natures of our selves versus the perception of a government that would "take away my gun from my cold, dead hands" and a perception of society as a war zone--both of which are fictions promulgated by the NRA in order to cement its base. You'd have to go back to the propaganda machine of Nazi Germany to find an organization as practiced in deception and death. I'll say it again, if your membership is based in so many reasonable and safe gun owners...then do something. Stop the organization from shirking blame here. I sent you the link to the radio program ( If you've not listened, then you're just as guilty, if not more so by association with the NRA, as I am for turning my head while all these deaths go on. Tell does an organization like the NRA go from a sportsman's organization to protecting the rights to own semi-automatic weapons, sniper rifles and ammunition that can penetrate armor plating? (This from the npr program and researcher interviewed there)

I'm done. You want to stand with your organization and find no fault in the policies, monied interests, and deaths that drive it, then that's your choice. It's made with a morality and weltanschauung you've forged through the military and through buying the lies of the NRA. I'll not wager the lives of children versus some perceived threat to a liberty that neither I nor even one of the most conservative Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia, sees as unlimited. I've argued this before and I'll tell you again, at the point that your liberty to own whatever weapons you want takes the lives of children, for whatever reason, then I'll fight for the limitation of that liberty with whatever power I have. If that's my writing and speaking ability, then so be it. And if I fail because I don't have the money or the eloquence that comes from the lips of those who would favor wild liberty over childrens' lives, then I'll gladly fail, so long as the ugly and blood stained hands of such people are revealed. 

I don't want to talk about this any more. I've said my peace. I've my beliefs, you yours. Mine value children as a whole, not merely as victims of aberrant shootings. I base my beliefs on research and expert testimony. I've told you how I see your position's basis. Pathos is a poor basis for an argument and an utter failure as a basis for public policy. I value and honor your service, your leadership, and your resolute belief in what you do. But I'll stand against you and the NRA at this point. So let's just leave it there.