So, I was in a minor twitter dust up yesterday over gun control. As is the case with twitter I always become frustrated because the character limits force you to be brief. And with all the bad argumentation going on in debate I thought I’d write a post about some of the things I found the most interesting (concerning, confusing) that were being said. Let me start by saying I’m sure these guys are all fine people and this isn’t intended as a personal diatribe against them as individuals but is (supposed to be) about the arguments they made. Sorry it’s a long post.
I’ll do this by individual, rather than mixing the people together in a timeline approach, because there were multiple streams going on at the same time.
Liberal Hippie Queen
No surprise we weren’t going to agree here (though there is a difference between liberal in the classical sense, which I agree with for the most part, and liberal in the context of American politics which is more accurately progressive or statist). I got involved with the conversation when she said that someone was more likely to have a gun accident in the home if they had a gun. I pointed out that this was obvious. You don’t have an accident with anything if you don’t have one, so of course you’re statistically more likely to be involved in a gun accident if you have a gun. To that she said this:
That seemed untrue to me, so I did a little looking. And from information I found on a pro-gun-control web page there are about 633 accidental deaths a year. That’s nowhere near the deaths in car accidents. So I asked her about it.
The statistics she sights in this response are for all gun deaths not just accidents. She just totally ignores the meat of my question. When I asked her about that she posted this reply.
Again, she is ignoring the meat of the question, accidental gun deaths. When I continued to point that out she acted as though the question of accidental gun deaths (which she brought up) was a non-issue. She played a shell game and got caught.
Then in the course of discussing the statistics she told me I was no statistician. That is true, irrelevant but true. I called her on the irrelevance and she said:
I never made any such claim. Though honestly if she really believes her positions I’m not sure why she wouldn’t want to.
Now we all know that crime is the major cause of gun related violence. When I pointed that out she said:
Besides the fact that she just admitted that any laws she could make wouldn’t matter (criminals will still break the law regardless of the laws you make) and any laws she could dream up would only put more hardship on people who do follow the law (and therefore don’t cause the majority of gun related deaths) she did have a list of things. She wants safe storage rules, mandatory background checks, mandatory training, etc. The problem is we have all those in California and our crime rate is no lower than the national average.
When people began questioning how guns will help stop tyranny, I tried to explain that how having guns would. True handguns don’t shoot down stealth bombers, but they don’t have to. Air raids are unlikely in tyrannical behavior of a government (I can’t say I’ve heard of that happening in China). That tyranny would be enforced locally by groups not unlike swat (or something like that). I realize locally isn’t quite the right word. It wouldn’t have to be local law enforcement (like your local sheriff’s deputies) but perhaps local representatives of the federal government (perhaps both). But rather than trying to understand what I meant she said
After going back and forth a bit she said:
That’s a bit of a straw man argument. No one said we were living in tyranny. The whole thread was about if guns could be used to stop tyranny. So rather than deal with that argument she pretended it was another.
This isn’t even an argument at all. It’s an emotional epithet (you’re not a real man) and an ad hominem attack (you’re a gun nut). No ideas at all.
Again logical fallacy. Trying to dismiss the position because “FOX NEWS” which I don’t actually watch.
More ad hominem here. I must be mad (or any other supporter of the second amendment) because I’m a racist from the south.
This is the logical fallacy of the un-argued philosophical bias. She assumes open carry is only acceptable in a frontier. Then acts as though her assumption is a valid support for not needing open carry. It’s also a bit circular.
I would say she’s actually right technically. Her assumption that I want to fight that government is inaccurate though. The second amendment was used to keep the government for the people and by the people. When I pointed that out she said:
Again, true, but my position is the second amendment is there for private citizens to insure that the government isn’t destroyed by those entrusted to run it. I think I said something like, “I don’t want to destroy the government they created, I want to stop the one you want to create.” That made her mad.
Personal insults truly show you have a point. I think her point was that they set up a government where people could change things so how we have it now is what they intended. We could discuss that but alas I don’t know what she meant since she didn’t present a position, just personal invective.
She may have made a point, I honestly didn’t see it, but she certainly didn’t prove a point. The 2nd amendment says nothing about Britain. It says the people be armed is indispensable to a free state.
This guy started making jokes (really about the only thing twitter is really good for) about guns being useless because “stealth bombers.”
I (and others) pointed out that’s not a likely scenario, he started with things like this:
I can’t decide if that’s more straw man argument or ad hominem attack. Either way, I have no freedom fighter fantasies. I do want my kids to live in a free country and as such I believe the entire Bill of Rights is important in that. That’s why they are there.
At least he’s honest. But his beliefs are not what he is arguing for. It doesn’t matter what his opinion is on that one unless he wants all of the Bill of Rights up for debate depending on opinions.
Then he levels this straw man:
I get it, it’s easier to take shots at the straw men and characters in your head than other people’s actual opinions. But if that’s all you’ve got, then perhaps you should listen more and talk (or type) less.
So a new guy showed up with this gem:
To which, I asked him how “gun nuts” want tyranny.
What he’s done here is a fallacy called equivocation. It’s where you take a word in two different senses and act like they are the same. For example:
- Doctors know a lot about medicine
- Ross Geller is a doctor
- Ross Geller knows a lot about medicine.
In that example doctor is used in two senses. In Clark’s posts, tyranny (as used by 2nd amendment supports) means government control over your life. He’s using it meaning your neighbors doing something you don’t want them to (I’ve never seen tyranny used in that way and I can’t find a definition that defines it that way but maybe I don’t have a progressive enough dictionary). If my neighbor has so many cars they park them on the street it’s not tyranny. It’s annoying, but not tyrannical.
He then said:
This is the same logical fallacy. In the late 18th century the term “well-regulated” meant in good working order. He wants to apply that to the term regulations like there are regulations on car emissions. Sorry that’s another logical fallacy. He may think that was clever but it really only exposes his own ignorance of the subject matter. Also, we don’t have a democracy, we have a republic. It would help to know the difference.
The best I saved for last. I can’t even believe that someone tried to make this argument.
What? The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights (whose first draft, containing 17 amendments, was written in 1789) was written to fight King George after the revolution? Really?
Really, you’re really trying to make this argument?
There were many, many, more posts just like this from Susan. I asked for a source which never came (unless she thought she was a source, which she is, but I would question the veracity). Her point, I believe, is that similar phrases were written before the constitution was ratified and as such the 2nd amendment was to fight King George. Even assuming it was true, so what? The 2nd Amendment wasn’t included for the revolutionary war since it was over. Thomas Jefferson said (about the second amendment), “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” He saw the need for the 2nd Amendment existing at some future time, not a past time. Clearly it wasn’t included for the past.
I didn’t make this post just to mock these people, at least not entirely. I want people to see these positions for the fallacy ridden diatribes they are. Just the idea that the 2nd amendment only exists to have an army is so silly. You’re essentially saying that men, involved in armed rebellion against their legal government would like only the government to have arms. Does that seem remotely logical to anyone?