On Flippant Analogies and Gun Control

In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting, I’ve spent much of the past 48 hours angry, angry at the senselessness of the event itself, angry at the media’s handling of the coverage, and angry at idiotic reactions like this one, “Blaming things like this on guns is like blaming spoons for making you fat.”

Yes, in case you’ve missed it, this is International Dipshit Analogy Week. Just chemically lobotomize yourself if you want to participate. It was one such analogy in a comment on a friend’s Facebook post that sparked the conversation below.

I should say at the outset, that I don’t like being angry; it brings out a darker side in my personality that I would prefer to deny. Some of that may be apparent in my side of the conversation. I still stand by the arguments; I just wish I had been a bit less dickish in my delivery.

The original post which sparked the conversation contained this image. My comments, and those of others, follow.

Godd Bless America

Calvin Deobald: I don’t think those figures are accurate. Japan has not had more than a handful of deaths per year in the past decade, some times as low as 2 per year in the entire country. When it hit 22 in 2007, it was a national scandal.

In part, by forbidding almost all forms of firearm ownership, Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year.

Tom: I think these must be old stats Calvin Deobald, If you look at the list it has “West Germany”, and that country hasn’t existed since 1990.

Martin: Where did these stats come from? I suppose if the guy had driven a car into the school because he was drunk it would be the cars fault.

Calvin Deobald: A car is a device designed for transportation which can, if mishandled, cause harm. An assault rifle has only one purpose. So the analogy is flawed.

As for the stats, they may be inaccurate, but the real stats are no less shocking.

Martin: There is no analogy in this, just common sense. As far as the stats go, I can do stats on what ever I want and make them go any way I want. There is a lot of factors when you put statistics out there. That’s the problem.

Martin: It is natural to look for easy solutions to this problem, but the unpleasant truth is a free society can’t do much when it comes to this kind of evil. Evil people will always find a way to commit violent acts. Its easy to blame guns in times of despair, lets try putting the blame on the person who committed the crime.

Calvin Deobald: No one’s absolving the killer of the crime. But the fact of the matter is, no other weapon of choice, with the possible exception of explosives, could have killed that many people in that matter of time. Each of the children was shot multiple times. No handgun could have inflicted that level of carnage.

If you say there is no analogy in your original comment, then you don’t know what an analogy is, even though you employed one.

And, no, you can’t just imagine whatever statistics you want, nor can you arrive at whatever conclusion you like based on those statistics. Americans have the highest rate of gun ownership (88 per 100) in the world, followed by such countries as Yemen (2nd), Serbia (4th), and even war-torn Iraq (8th). It also ranks 5th in the world in number of homocides. You can do the research yourself, and you won’t come up with significantly different figures.

And while correlation does not equate to causality, if it doesn’t cross your mind that there’s a connection between those two statistics, then you are in a severe state of denial.

As for a free society, we regulate and license cars, we regulate food, medicine, toy safety … you name it. Why would we not regulate guns? And before you say the 2nd Amendment, then you’d better read the first clause of that amendment and read it carefully. When you can explain to me how every man and woman in America toting a gun constitutes a “well regulated [there’s that word again] militia,” I’ll start to listen to that argument.

Martin: What to do then? Demonize the gun. Make it scary. Remove the basic understanding of it and instead replace that with fear, ignorance, and myths of the gun having some malevolent will of its own. Make the people give up the thing that empowers them and then you control them by making them dependent upon the government for protection. A weak ignorant public is the goal of power mongers.

Calvin Deobald: I don’t have to demonize an assault rifle to point out that it serves no practical purpose other than to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. That’s its purpose. That’s what it is manufactured to do. So, yeah, if someone thinks he/she needs to own one, that scares the shit out of me. I don’t want that person as my neighbour.

Just for a moment, look outside the self-perpetuating frenzy of gun ownership that grips the U.S. and acknowledge that dozens of other cultures get by quite nicely with far fewer guns. Why does Japan, a country with one third the population of the U.S. have almost no gun-related murders? Or why does the United Kingdom have a gun-related death rate 36 times lower than the U.S.? Are they less safe than Americans? What sort of safety has U.S. gun policy brought? What power has that brought? Which countries live less in fear, do you suppose?

If there is one thing we can agree on, it’s that there is nothing worse than an ignorant public. And that we have very different concepts of what makes a person strong.



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