Wednesday, February 28, 2018

NRA’s ‘Red Herring’ Argument

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“An analogy: knowing full well that murders will inevitably occur in a nation of 300 million people, we nonetheless adopt homicide laws and punish violators we manage to apprehend. If, instead, we were to reason — as gun control opponents would have us do with gun restrictions — that homicide laws are inappropriate since they are not perfect deterrents, we'd be stepping over dead bodies as we stroll down the sidewalk.

The best that homicide law or gun restrictions or any prohibition against harmful conduct can do is deter some of the people who would otherwise engage in the prohibited conduct. In fact, though, even a modest measure, like banning the semi-automatic attack rifles used in many of this decade's mass shootings, would, over time, save any number of innocent lives.

The gun lobby's emphasis of the imperfection of gun restrictions is an example of what in formal logic is called a "red herring" argument, in which the speaker's argument deflects attention from the issue at hand. In this case, the issue at hand is whether gun control measures are likely to save some — but not all — of the many lives now lost through gunfire, and the "red herring" is the assertion of the NRA and other opponents of restrictions that many lives will still be lost.” - Prof. Jay Sterling Silver, St. Thomas University School of Law.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

5 Major Gun-Control Positions

Group F believes there is nothing we can do to stop gun violence. All suggestions, even one so slight as banning large capacity magazines, is immediately rejected for various incorrect reasons. All suggestions for reducing gun violence are immediately dismissed as unworkable by the members of Group F. They have a very large gun safe at home, a membership at a gun club and go to the local firing range so often they have measurable hearing loss. That might have happened in the military. They still go bow hunting, though only every few years. They stopped paying NRA dues long ago but keep the sticker in the window of their old pickup. They do not care about stopping the plague of gun violence, in fact they sometimes buy a new gun when a mass killing event occurs. The only horrible event Group F fears is the possibility that military assault rifles may one day become illegal, again.

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Group E believes there are some things we can do, like re-open state hospitals and lock away the disabled. They own several guns, each. They can talk a blue streak about guns & ammo, belong to the NRA, know a Ruger from a Sig Sauer. They wish they could own a Heckler & Koch. They are willing to maybe start running background checks at Virginia gun shows, someday, but not right now. They never served in the military but they love to play GTA. They’ve actually seen the statistics the New York City Police compiled regarding guns from Virginia used in NYC crime. Maybe someday we could start those background checks. They vote for the candidates the NRA recommends. Otherwise, Group E feels they should be allowed to carry concealed guns everywhere, in all 50 states, except maybe on airliners. They go hunting almost every year. They do feel really bad whenever these shootings occur, but see no connection at all to guns.

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Group D stays quiet about everything, they don’t want to incur the wrath of their neighbor, boss or friends. We have no idea what their opinions are.  Many people remain in Group D because they are very afraid to speak out about anything for fear of losing their jobs. Group D people work in government, military, large corporation and local business jobs. City police officers typically belong to this group, even if they rarely speak up about it. All have seen what happens to people that stick their necks out. The grapevines are too healthy. They have families to  raise, bills to pay, and consider it best to stay home and watch TV rather than get out and change what they don’t like in their world. Group D lives in more heavily populated areas. Their husbands go off hunting, sometimes.

Group C would do anything to see the shootings stop in churches, schools, movie theaters and just about everywhere else. However, Group C keeps voting for the politicians that side with Group E and Group F.  They may lend their support to a particular candidate for other reasons, but ultimately they are voting for a leader that refuses to try a single thing, one single thing that might stop the weekly carnage. They might own a gun or two but never go hunting and rarely practice using their guns anymore.

Group B wants to do whatever it takes to stop gun violence. They have never owned a gun. Their kids do not own guns. They live in peaceful places, for the most part, the suburbs. They volunteer. They vote, in major elections. The cops in their town usually arrive promptly when called. They think about gun violence some mornings as their kids go off to school. These massive shootings really upset the members of Group B, often for several days. They would vote for candidates that support laws designed to reduce gun violence, if such politicians ever actually ran for office.

Group A has had it with the ongoing violence. It happens in their communities, despite tough gun laws. The local bad guys drive to Indiana, Texas or Virginia to buy their weapons. This group includes the survivors and relatives of all the horrific acts that have happened in recent memory. It includes activists, writers, and people that really do turn out to protest. This group includes people that took the time to learn about what Australia did after the Port Arthur Massacre. Group A lives and always votes for candidates in places that support tougher gun laws. The crime from other states spills over into their communities too often. Group A may own a hunting rifle.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

NRA Racks Up Wins in Congress. The ATF Wants to Give It More

This is what Las Vegas and the region around it looks like. It attracts people from all over the United States and all over the world.

Important Highlights:

    •    January 20, 2017 - Ronald Turk, the No. 2 official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives circulates an internal white paper suggesting that the agency go easier on the regulation of guns and gun dealers.
    •    February, 2017 - Mr. Turk signs legislation rolling back restrictions imposed by the Obama administration on when certain mentally ill people can purchase firearms. Subsequently he overturns another Obama regulation that had stopped hunters from shooting bears from airplanes on federal land in Alaska.
    •    Turk describes the memo as providing the new administration with options “to reduce or modify regulations.”
    •    Those options include loosening oversight of gun dealers who sell multiple firearms that turn up at crime scenes … the elimination of the ban on importing AK-47 and AR-15 military-style, large-capacity rifles. Another option Turk promotes is making it easier for dealers to operate exclusively at guns shows or via the internet. (Sources: Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Article, U.S. government )

This is not my story, but rather comes from Bloomberg's Paul Barrett and a matter of government records. Public records.
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that it appears a man qualified to be a top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, Ronald Turk, is actually the acting head of ATF.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tread Water

I felt them calling out and awoke in the early morning hours. The victims of the shooting in Vegas. The victims of so many previous shootings. The suicides made easy with a nearby trigger.
I sway back and forth between a desperate need for continuity and a desire to understand why so many people are so angry. Why does the inexperienced leader keep sowing hate in our land? Fires obviously burn among the disadvantaged but they will not be extinguished by hatred. Dividing us does not unite us, it only kills more of us.
Silence soothes me at these times. People want to hear me though, I know that because they tell me. Most do not know where to begin when it comes to understanding mass murder or leaders that deliberately sow discontent. A farmer that plants hate reaps violence. It takes thousands of individuals to explain the importance of love when one major celebrity advocates hate.

Death happens naturally to living beings. They wear out or get sick or grow weary and sad. It is up to the rest of us keep plowing the fields of hope and dreams. Some recommend we leave those who have given up or died behind. They say it is a  necessary step to avoid having the defeated drag us down into that abyss. I dissent.
The optimist within me knows full well plants hide their life through the deep cold winter. People hide their feelings under the fear of rejection. Living beings cling to life even when there is no reason for them to have hope.
I refuse to drown my sorrows under fermented waves. Social I will be, uplifting I will be, myself I will be. No matter that once again the ship appears ready to slide under those familiar seas. I heave the bailing bucket with the same fervor as before.
If this vessel does go down I will swim and tread water until the next raft passes by. My light does extinguish easily. It knows we are all in this water together, the hand that reaches out to me reaches to you as well.
I watched as others slipped under or were pushed down until life left them. It was not my desire but that of malignant forces far behind my strength to oppose at that time. Unable to pull the bullets back out of lifeless bodies I return to serving the survivors. There will always be those and I among them so long as possible.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” - Dylan Thomas