Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gun and Done

Drawing by Rob Tornoe, 2015.

I don't see how anything I say is going to interfere with the grieving of anybody's family—I doubt any of the Broward County families whose children, brothers and sisters, and friends and teachers were murdered yesterday are hanging on Twitter waiting to see what Tomi Lahren or I have to say about it. If they are and they'd like us to stop, they're welcome to let me know, but that's not the impression I'm getting from Steph, or Glenn Greenwald's niece, who seem to need to talk, right now:

Ben Shapiro at the Direly Wail claims that
Gun Control is not a policy. It’s a slogan.
Each time there’s a mass shooting, Democrats and members of the media (but I repeat myself) rush to the microphones and cameras to declare that thisfinally, is the proper time to push Gun Control. Gun Control, in this case, is defined as literally anything that restricts gun purchases, transfers, or ownership. It is virtually never anything that will do anything to stop mass shootings.
"Gun control" is a terrible slogan, if it's a slogan, which I doubt. It is not cute enough. "Gunsense" is a slogan. 

"Gun control" (no reason to cap the second word, either), is exactly what it says, a policy, or any of a family of policies, for controlling the distribution and use of guns. It includes "literally anything that restricts gun purchases, transfers, or ownership" because those are literally all the ways in which the legal system can control who has a gun and how many they have, because "gun control" is one of the most literal expressions ever, which is why it would be a lousy slogan. Although I suppose in a society where one forces some people to have guns that would also be a form of control. 

If it is used to control guns that are used in mass shootings, then there is a good chance that it will help to stop mass shootings. For example, during Prohibition, gangsters occasionally made use of their Thomson submachine gun to kill large numbers of their enemies rapidly. After these weapons were outlawed in the National Firearms Act of 1934, gangsters stopped using them so much. Even though they were criminals. Tommy guns had become difficult to get and awkward to keep, and their use diminished. This really happened, and it's just one example.

Also, Ben Shapiro is a member of the media, and yet he is not a Democrat. Just saying.
Other countries do not experience anything remotely approaching the level of mass shootings we have in the United States. Those countries have heavy gun regulations. Therefore, if we impose gun regulations in the United States, the level of mass shootings will drop.
Yes! That's just what I was thinking myself!
The fallacy in this argument is that the United States has a unique philosophy, history, population, and ownership level of firearms already.
So unique as to defy the simple logic of supply and demand? Similar to the Philippines, Russia, Yemen, and France (the other countries with the highest levels of mass shootings) but so different from Australia? Another country created by exiles from the British criminal class driving the indigenous inhabitants from their traditional homes, where 13 horrible mass shootings from 1979 to 1996 led to severe gun control legislation and there has not been one mass shooting since?
That means that proposed solutions must take into account those varying factors, and deal with them head-on. But Gun Control advocates refuse to do so. Instead, they merely shout “GUN CONTROL,” and then defy their opponents to speak out against the slogan.
This is the guy Sabrina Tavernise of The New York Times recently referred to as a "gladiator" and "destroyer of weak arguments... the cool kid’s philosopher, dissecting arguments with a lawyer’s skill and references to Aristotle".

I don't think I need to show how completely detached from reality this bit is, but I'd like to point out that we usually respond to another mass murder of children with an AR-15–type weapon not by shouting "GUN CONTROL" but by calling for a renewed ban on assault weapons of the AR-15 type, like the one that existed from 1995 to 2003, which led to an extremely low incidence of mass shooting deaths except for the terrible year 1999 (marked by the 15 deaths of the terrible shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, the 13 in a day trader's murder of his family and employees of two day-trading firms in Atlanta, and eight in an attack on a Christian music concert in Fort Worth), shooting back up, eventually to the current unprecedented levels, after the ban was relaxed in the George W. Bush regime:

Via Wikipedia.
Clearly the ban did not end mass shootings, but it's hard to say it didn't have an effect during the other seven years. In repeating an effort that has been successfully applied before, and in not aiming at any weapons usable in hunting, self-defense, or any sport that could interest a sane person over 14, and in grandfathering every fucking rifle anybody already owns, these proposals show a clear awareness of philosophy, history, population, and ownership levels, which is probably why 91% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and 70% of Republicans approve of it.
They proclaim that the vast majority of Americans want more Gun Control. But that’s as empty as stating that the vast majority of Americans want government spending cuts. It’s not that the devil is in the details. It’s that the details are the entire matter under discussion. The question with regard to spending is: which programs would you cut? And the question with Gun Control is: which people would you prevent from getting guns, and how?
It is not. The proposal is not aimed at any group of people. It is aimed at a particular class of weapons. (There are also proposals to better enforce long-existing laws against arming the perpetrators of violent crimes and the mentally ill, the latter being kind of problematic for us politically correct types, but no proposals to extend the number of groups so targeted.)
The Left rarely proposes an actual piece of legislation.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
That’s deliberate.
How can it be deliberate if it's imaginary? Who deliberated it, Oberon and Titania?
If the Left were to propose a piece of legislation, they’d have to defend it on the merits. They wouldn’t be able to posture about how “everyone but those evil Second Amendment advocates agrees!” Because not everyone would agree with their proposals. In fact, most people typically haven’t. Which is why Democrats, enjoying a 60-vote majority in the Senate and a wide majority in the House from 2009-2011, passed precisely zero major pieces of gun legislation.
It's quite true that the Democrats were afraid to propose gun control legislation in those years (they . had a lot on their plate, including a vast reform of the health care system, and majority leader Harry Reid wasn't on board, and it was not exactly two years we enjoyed that 600-vote Senate majority but four months, from September 24 2009 through February 4 2010, when there were some other things going on like passing the Affordable Care Act). Shame on us. No reason to be afraid now, as the public has changed its mind. It's not even slightly relevant.

Can I just stop there? There is nothing, literally nothing, left in the Republican case against gun control. I think we can even start using this term, which is not a slogan, again. There is absolutely nothing Ben Shapiro, in particular, has to offer the discussion. The degree to which he has nothing to say is really unusual, even among Republican propagandists. This gladiator is downthumbed.

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