Monthly Archives: July 2022

A huge number of people have dedicated their support to stopping any attempt to practically address America’s weird gun problem. Instead, they adamantly refuse to entertain any practical and rational ideas for trying to fix it.

Anyone who is engaged with reality can see that America is different from other countries, that we have many problems (including but not limited to guns) that just don’t tend to happen in other developed nations. So, we have, among other problems, a gun problem.

But the biggest gun problem we have are the people blocking everyone else from trying to work on it, using a host of fake arguments based on insincere thinking. Here are the worst ones:

“If we pass stronger gun safety laws, the criminals will just ignore them anyways, so why bother?”

Reason why this is a stupid, hypocritical argument:

The reason we pass laws is to create a line which if anyone steps over, they will be stopped and rendered incapable of continuing to break it. A person who is caught driving drunk often will lose their license. A person who is caught driving without a license goes to jail.

Do gun owners REALLY think that we should not have drunk driving laws because drunk people will just ignore them? Of course they don’t think we should refrain from passing laws to stop drunk drivers! The idea that we should have no laws that people would choose to break is, on the face of it, a deeply stupid idea. But so many Americans have such a weird pathological need for guns they say this idiocy with a straight face. We really need to get all these gun nuts into therapy so they can explore what is so wrong with their brains!

The purpose of laws is twofold: to disincentivize people from doing certain things, and to have grounds on which to charge them if they do it anyways. Unless the person using the above argument thinks we should have no compulsory laws at all, they are being a hypocrite.

“If we pass laws limiting the freedom of people in any way to have guns, we are in violation of the second amendment, don’t we have to defer to our Constitution?”

Reason why this is a stupid, hypocritical argument:

Part one: all it takes is ONE instance where we can all agree that a person does not get to have a gun, to make it obvious that whatever rights the second amendment gives to people to own guns ISN’T absolute. So how about this:

Most people would agree that “bad guys” should be locked up when they do “bad things”. I don’t know of anyone, even the most gun-addicted nut, who thinks that prisoners serving sentences in jail should be armed while they do.

If the second amendment of the Constitution does not forbid us from denying prisoners in jail from being armed during their sentence, then that demonstrates that we ARE allowed to set the conditions under which Americans are or are not allowed to have guns. The second amendment is NOT a blank check. If it was, there would be literally NO situation in which we would be permitted to relieve someone of their weapon, including as they are in the middle of killing children.

The idea that the second amendment legally blocks us from deciding who should be allowed guns and under what conditions is another facetious lie served up by people who need their guns so badly that they will say or do anything to fight their crippling fear of a gun-less life.

Unless a person thinks that even a murderer in the middle of killing more people still should not ever have their guns taken from them, they are lying when they say the second amendment prevents us from being able to decide when and where guns should be permitted.

Part two: but let’s say, for sake of argument, that there was a common-sense gun law that, if we passed, would save lots of lives while not limiting reasonable people from owning a gun. Let’s further say that somehow, despite everyone in the country agreeing that this law would actually be a great one, constitutional scholars warned us that it would be against the second amendment. (I know that sounds stupid, given what I just explained above, but go along with me for a bit.)

What could we possibly do? If everyone wanted this new gun law, but it really did conflict with the second amendment, would that mean we simply couldn’t have it?

It’s fricking called an AMENDMENT people! The second AMENDMENT to the Constitution is ITSELF a change to the original Constitution. We’ve changed the Constitution TWENTY-SEVEN times, people! And some of those changes WERE to OTHER amendments!

Amendment 18 prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor. After realizing what a mistake that amendment was, Amendment 21 repealed Amendment 18. There you have it.

Thus, people bringing up the second amendment as a reason we can’t pass gun laws are wrong in not just one way, but two: even if somehow that DID get in the way of reasonable and desirable gun legislation, we have the power to fix it anyways!

People who bring up the second amendment to deflect others from trying to fix America’s gun problem are trying to game us. There is a reason that the NRA has only the fragment of the second amendment that they like on the wall of their office instead of the whole thing, even though the whole thing is but a single sentence. Because the NRA is not interested being reasonable. Nor are their people.

By the way, Donald Trump spoke at the NRA’s annual leadership forum, but audience members at the group’s meeting, which was held in Texas, weren’t allowed to carry guns during his address. How’s that for hypocrisy? Rules are for thee, not for me…

“If we pass laws limiting in any way the freedom of people to have guns, won’t only the criminals have guns?”

Reason why this is a stupid, hypocritical argument:

Most people hopelessly and helplessly addicted to firearms like to pretend that anyone who wants to pass any gun-related legislation at ALL is trying to ban all guns. It’s a deceitful argument tactic called strawmanning: because the gun nuts can’t argue against the positions of reasonable people with good ideas, nor defend their own unreasonable stances, they instead pretend that everyone who wants to limit (again, in any way) gun ownership or possession is someone who wants to ban all people from having any guns.

It’s a bald-faced lie, of course. I don’t want to ban all people from having any guns. I am not sure that I know a single person that does. Guns are serious and deadly, and people who understand that and treat guns accordingly, in my opinion, deserve access to this tool for its legitimate uses.

I can’t fight a bear. I can’t fight a wildcat. If I am in the countryside and have proven myself to be a serious and responsible rational human being, I should be allowed to be armed with a gun so that if an unfriendly animal attacks me, I have options. The same is true for responsible, reasonable people who want to be able to defend themselves against unfriendly human aggressors. Just because someone is bigger than me, shouldn’t I be allowed to use a tool to make up for that? That’s what human beings are all ABOUT, developing and implementing tools to counter our frail human weaknesses and shortcomings.

We can however pass laws that differentiate between a serious person who needs a tool for self-protection and those for whom a gun isn’t merely a tool but a statement of ideology, fashion, or worse, ego – a mental compulsion.

No one is trying to ban guns. We just want to try to make sure fewer crazy people get them. If you are worried that might include you, I think that says a LOT more about you than it does about anyone else!

“But if we pass laws limiting in any way the freedom of people to have guns, isn’t that the thin end of the wedge, the first domino that will end with all guns getting banned?”

Reason why this is a stupid, hypocritical argument:

You could use the same stupid argument to attack ANYTHING, even the existence of laws itself! Consider: It is undoubtedly true that there exist in this country bad laws that don’t do what they were supposed to do. Perhaps some laws are ineffective and pointless, or actively harm people that they shouldn’t. Is this an argument to not have ANY laws? No, that would be stupid.

Bad laws are an argument to FIX them, not to abandon the rule of law entirely. To refuse to pass GOOD laws because someone may someday pass a bad one is cutting of your nose to spite your face. No wait, it’s cutting off your head!

If there is a good gun law, that deserves to be enacted, that will do what it should and help people out, we should PASS it. We can’t let an imagined future specter of the bogeyman of unintended consequences completely paralyze us from trying to fix the problems we are actually having RIGHT NOW. That would be ridiculous. “Thin end of the wedge” arguments are generally used against good ideas that could fix problems now, to scare people into inaction with the fear of the unknowable future, and are transparently bogus.

“The suggested action isn’t perfect and won’t save everyone. So why bother trying it?”

Reason why this is a stupid, hypocritical argument:

This fallacy can be known as letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Consider:

Imagine a world that’s just around the corner, in which we all have self-driving cars. Many people who support self-driving cars say that many, many lives will be saved. An opponent of self-driving cars might use this fallacy to attack them, asking “Are you saying there will be no accidents? Won’t self-driving cars wind up in some circumstances killing people that no human driver ever would have? And isn’t there a possibility of someone hacking into a self-driving car to kill the rider or a pedestrian? Can you guarantee that could never happen in this world of cyber criminals?”

What makes the questioner a hypocrite acting in bad faith is this: we had 42,915 people die in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, not to even mention the injured. If widespread adoption of self-driving cars still winds up killing 10,000 people a year, isn’t that nevertheless a VAST improvement? And won’t we be able to year after year keep lowering that number with further improvements?

It is the technique of a cheat and a liar (or at least the mentally broken) to reject a proposed action merely because it has the supposed “flaw” of not being a perfect solution, without considering whether it’s nevertheless a significant IMPROVEMENT over what we have now.

A new proposed gun law doesn’t HAVE to be perfect, it just has to leave us better off than we were before. People using the “it’s not perfect” argument have no interest in truly considering the actual benefits of any proposed changes, because they are mentally unable to get out from under their fears of the future of a change they can’t mentally handle, despite how good it might be.

That’s really the only reasonable metric when considering our actions: which choices do we have good reason to think have the greatest likelihood to lead to a better tomorrow – or at least, comparatively speaking, a less-worse one than the alternatives.

So where does this leave us with respect to guns?

If we didn’t have so many Americans pathologically terrified of being separated from their metal death phalluses, we could embrace a rational approach to guns, which might look something like this:

Serious people who don’t f*&k around, who are trained in the use and handling of guns, and who we have no credible reason to think might misuse or mishandle them should be allowed a weapon for the purpose of self-protection. They should be allowed to practice at a designated firing range.

But evidence-based analysis of the reality must also happen. If there is, for example, a clear link in the data between a person who abuses their spouse or partner and the commitment of gun violence, then we should consider spousal abuse a red flag when it comes to losing access to guns, at least temporarily.

If we are being serious about guns, we also must finally admit that there is no such thing as a gun “accident”. There is instead gun misuse and mishandling. If you own a gun and lose possession of it, that’s on you. That should be a crime equally serious as drunk driving, if not more so. How many people realize that they “forgot” their gun somewhere? How many kids gain access to their parents’ weapons without their permission? How many people have had their gun discharge while they were cleaning it or because they dropped it? These should all be CRIMES, with more than just fines, and serious consideration should be given to whether these people are responsible enough to own guns.

Gun owners needs to be held completely responsible for what happens with their weapons. And that needs to be a factor in considering whether they should continue to be allowed to own guns.

And equally obviously, if there are legitimate reasons why someone shouldn’t have a gun (such as severe mental issues that would be likely to get other people killed), then we need to pass laws to try to limit their ability to do so.

Of course, these new laws would need teeth. There could be no gun-show loopholes that legally permit a person to evade the desired checks. All guns would have to be tracked just like we track cars. Bullets too. And anyone caught breaking these laws needs to face unavoidable serious consequences – jail time and the removal of the ability to legally own guns in the future.

By the way, I heard that a $1,000 American assault rifle in Australia (where they are banned) costs $30,000 on the black market. Sure, that won’t stop *everyone* from getting one, but it will sure stop a whole lot of people!

The gun problem in America is actually completely solvable. It’s not some kind of weird parallel dimension issue that only a combined oracle and genius could try to unravel. It’s a simple problem of access. We largely solved this with many other lethal but necessary tools, like explosives. And every other developed country on earth seems to have already solved this problem, so why couldn’t we?

Like with all these sorts of things – like healthcare, another issue solved by all the other developed countries on the earth except the US – the true obstacle is NOT a lack of good solutions, it is the people who don’t actually want the problem solved. The gun nuts who are so mentally broken that no matter how many little kids die, they will always be more scared of losing their guns than of more children being murdered – or more drive-by shootings, or anything.

These people are so terrified and need their guns so badly that something is profoundly wrong with them. So unless we can fix them, or at least show them for the broken thinkers that they are, they will keep spewing all the moronic arguments above. Maybe they need guns so desperately because they need to believe that they could become the hero, they could be Rambo. Or maybe they are riddled with anxieties, convinced people want to murder them. Maybe they feel unimportant or insignificant, and cuddling with their gun makes them feel more powerful.

Whatever it is, these gun nuts are being held hostage in their own mind by fear and delusion. Until that changes, the gun problem will never be fixed.

Which is the exact same truth about ALL our human problems, actually. Unreasonable, electively delusional people prevent us from solving all the problems we could. War. Intolerance. (And too much tolerance.) Lack of affordable healthcare. Disease. Global warming. Social conflict. All of it.

99% of all people, based on my five decades of experience, refuse to be rational about their own sacred cows, their own dogma, whether that’s guns, vaccines, gender, religion, god, crystals, woo, etc, etc, etc.

Then there’s the one percent of us who always prioritize trying to seeing reality clearly, as it really is, without bias. Who commit to intellectual honesty. Who embrace reason in ALL things, not just some.

We’re doing all we can. Perhaps our efforts will eventually pay off, in the far distant future, one I will never see.

Either way, I have to try. It’s who I am.