Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gun nuts

Boy, the gun nuts are getting me down.

I know I could just stop reading "Reason" but I agree with them on so much other stuff that when the odd story comes up that I know I'll disagree with, I try to read it to expose myself to some other arguments. (Except when they're writing their global warming denial articles; I draw the line at that.) Reason are libertarians, and they believe in personal freedom. For them, that means the freedom to own guns since what a person does in their own homes is no one else's business. The trouble with that is that, if a person fires their gun in their own home the bullets don't just miraculously stop at their edge of their property. Whereas I believe my personal freedom means I have the right not to be killed by someone with a gun.

Anyway, I digress. The reason gun nuts are getting me down is that they can't see the other side of the argument. There's been two big furphies that have come up in the wake of the Virginia Tech thing. The first is that if you make owning guns illegal and stop law-abiding people from owning guns that means only criminals will have guns. No, if you make it illegal to own guns there are a lot less guns around, and everyone will find it harder to get them. They don't can't imagine what a society without guns could look like, so all they look at is "I can't get a gun". They seem to imagine that Wal*Mart will still be stocked with loads of guns with the only difference being that they won't be allowed to buy one. They can't see that no guns means no guns. Seriously - do you know how to get a gun? I don't.

The second fallacy came in an article by Steve Chapman in Reason on April 19: "The carnage at Virginal Tech was as bad as gun crimes get, but it was also as rare as they get". What the? What Steve is arguing is that there are a lot less gun crimes - "deadly violence is a diminishing danger" - but that totally misses the point that "some" is still a lot more than "almost none".

But I'm a realist, I know things will never change in America. That's why I will probably never go there again.


No comments: