There are many foolish arguments made every day and in so many contexts. Arguments in the supposedly “reasoned” sense. Not arguments in the childish, “No, you didn’t. Yes, I did” sense, though we do see plenty of that, as well.
So, for example, we see the “Criminals don’t obey laws” argument against any sort of gun control, and this is supposed to stop the discussion, because there are supposedly enough laws already. Of course, this is stupid. The basic fallacy is in the construct itself. They are criminals because they didn’t obey the laws. Not vice versa. This is not a stereotypical chicken verses egg argument. No, what little validity in it is that once one has started to break some laws it does psychologically become easier to break some others, but this is neither a straight line progression, nor is it a complete break such that all lines are broken.
The old saw that, “There is no honor amongst thieves” is a bunch of hooey that really only serves to make sanctimonious do-gooders feel superior because they are following the laws that they have laid down upon everyone else. There is actually a great deal of honor among those who would break the laws of the “upper world”. To live in the “under world” that we have created, requires that one be very honorable, because to be without honor, is often to be dead very quickly. Particularly if one is floating around anywhere other than the basic get along stream of junkies. Outside of that, one’s word is more important than in almost any other realm you can imagine in this western world, and the consequence is not just being shunned. The consequences can be dire. But, I am straying into the psychology of criminology and the anthropology of the underworld far more than I intended to, and more than is required to make the point. The point is that, in that world, the ability to count on someone’s word is more frequently literally a matter of life and death, whereas in the “upper world” it is, the vast majority of the time, all talk.
I saw a piece this week that made me think about this again. It was beautifully written and, yet, all too many people will dismiss it. A short little piece posted by Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker. A Letter from Kim Jong-Un pretty wonderfully highlighted another couple stupid arguments being made in this same context.
In the immortal words of my dad, the glorious Kim Jong-il: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.”
If you join today, we will waive the initiation fee and send you this bumper sticker: “Nuclear weapons don’t kill people. People kill people who don’t have nuclear weapons.”
My grandfather used to say, “Locks only keep honest people out.” To some extent that’s true. However, the other side of that is that it makes it more difficult, and to parody the right-wing’s arguments, “We keep our money locked up, don’t we?” Gah!
So, what then are the answers? We need to stop the bullshit arguments. We need to have a real, adult conversation. We need to have a multi-dimensional approach. The real answers are going to start at home. Start with teaching our children to be responsible, caring, compassionate, human beings that contribute to society rather than just looking at society, the world, and each other in terms of what they can take from it.
In a legal sense though, there are things we can and need to do:
- Strengthen and enforce the laws which are on the books already. The so-called gun show loop holes.
- Require universal background check regardless of how or where the gun is sold.
- Issue FEDERAL licenses to purchase a gun. This should probably come in categories, much like a driver’s license. I would have this run through the Health and Safety, and do whatever reorganization would be required to make that happen.
CONTINUED on PAGE 2