Tag: Shooting


Shooting Straw Men: You Can’t Win!

damascus-superIt’s silly to own guns to stop government tyranny, because you can’t win against the government with privately owned guns!

Here begins the second straw man used against private gun ownership, and why many people think the right to bear arms isn’t so important. We see images of military men and women carrying what looks like advanced weaponry from Star Trek, and we think, “wow, there’s no way the average hunter, even carrying one of those mysterious assault rifles, could beat the military!” This straw man, however, is easily shredded back into donkey fodder.

Determined resistance doesn’t need to “win,” in the sense of a shooting war, to “win.” When confronted with an armed victim, most crooks will walk away. They’ll find another target, a softer target. The same is true in another realm: most politicians will walk away when they feel they’ve put too much pressure on an armed populace.

The presences of arms, in domestic affairs, often stops the fight before it begins. The right to keep and bear arms, combined with a free press (so much as we actually have a free press today), keeps the tyranny burner on “low.” Take the guns away, and the politicians who control the burner setting will, as a matter of course, turn the heat up as high as they like. This is why in almost every case where a population has been disarmed by its own government, it has been decimated.

But what if it did come to a “shooting war?” Aren’t private citizens doomed to fail? I don’t want to dive too deeply into this realm, because it’s a gruesome path to tread, but lets at least try to address the question. A determined population might —or might not— lose to a modern, professional military. That the military is drawn from the population to be defeated in question makes things more difficult to assess. The answer to the question is an uncertain “maybe,” and much more than this we cannot say.

But let’s leave this gruesome problem aside for the moment, and look at the assumption built into the question itself:

If the government can win, then the government is right.

In other words, this line of thinking — that private citizens can’t ever win against the government — is rotten to its core. It assumes tyranny (the government verses the people), and it assumes that might makes right. A properly formed government will be subject to its own laws, and hence will not kill its own citizens.

And might does not make right.


Shooting Straw Men: Black Helicopters

helicopterWhen you go to registration, it raises all the black-helicopter-crowd notion that what this is all about is identifying who has a gun so that one day the government can get up and go to the house and arrest everyone who has a gun, and they’ll cite Nazi Germany and all that. –Joe Biden as quoted by Politico

One the most persistently cited myths about gun owners, and why they own guns, is that they’re afraid of “black helicopters,” swooping down from the sky to “take their guns.” Let’s deconstruct this argument to see just how many straw men we can find here — let’s call it the “shooting straw men,” game.

First the argument sets up the two sides.

There are the gun owners, who are afraid of “black helicopters.” These “black helicopters,” are supposed to evoke a conspiracy, so the first implication in the argument is that gun owners are “crazed conspiracy theorist.” In other words, everyone who objects to more gun control is on the very fringe of sanity simply by arguing against more gun control. This is an ad hominem attack, pure and simple — and should be rejected out of hand.

“The government,” on the other hand, is supposed to represent solid rational thinking and justified action in this argument. “The government,” is, as we know, only made up of people who have given their entire lives to the service of others (think teachers and firemen here, or, if you’re a Christian, remember that government workers are one step above your minister in purity and love for their fellow man). How are to even think that such caring, good, people — people who have given up their chance to make a mint in the private sector, but have chosen a life of public good instead — could ever do anything so wrong as to take your guns? Unless it’s for your own good, of course. Didn’t we just say how much those folks who work for the government “care?”

Having set up the clear good guys and bad guys, the white hats and the black hats, the argument then proceeds to misdirect the object of concern.

People are afraid of gun control because they’re afraid the government will come and take their guns. It’s only because of their unnatural love of guns that people are afraid of losing them. It’s not that the private ownership of firearms is supposed to work hand in hand with freedom of the press and freedom of religion to guarantee every other right of a free people. It’s not that knocking one of the three legs out from under this stool has always — always! — led to the repression of entire peoples, genocide, and loss of freedom for populations and nations.

No… It’s only because people have an unnatural emotional attachment to a piece of metal, plastic, and wood specifically designed for killing other people that they are concerned about gun control laws. Now do you see just how crazy these people — these, these, gun owners — are?

This argument is logical nonsense through and through. It begins with an ad hominim attack, it gains ground through an argument by halo effect, and it ends with straw man that strengthens the opening ad hominim.

And it’s wrong on all counts.

I do not love the bright sword for it’s sharpness, nor the arrow for it’s swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. -J.R.R. Tolkien


Headlines of Today, Headlines of the Future

Headline of today:

British citizens who smoke, drink, or tip the scales because they’ve eaten too many fish and chips could soon be denied medical treatment for lifestyle-related illnesses. It’s a system the United States will be forced to implement under ObamaCare.

Great Britain’s government-run health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), has long considered limiting coverage for people with illnesses deemed to be lifestyle-related. In 2005 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the NHS’s guiding body, advised that smokers and obese people be refused health care. Now NHS North Yorkshire and York is preventing certain operations for the obese or smokers because they say unhealthy lifestyles lower their chance of success.

Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, told UK reporters, “These policies are being introduced because of financial constraints,” said Gerada.


Headline of the future:

American citizens who do not meet the minimal requirements for mental health could soon be denied medical treatment for lifestyle-related illnesses. It’s a system the United States was forced to implement under the new mental health guidelines of Obamacare II.

America’s government-run healthcare system has long limited coverage for people with illnesses deemed to be lifestyle related, such as smoking, obesity, and firearms ownership.

Recent research has shown that some forms of religious belief, specifically the belief that the Bible is the literal words of God, have detrimental effects on a person’s social connectiveness, which in turns proves fatal to their health. While it has been known for decades that mental health and attitude impact physical health, this recent research has clearly proven that religious belief is one of the primary driving factors in mental attitude.

Christian leaders have decried the decision as religious discrimination, but the National Health Board unequivocally states it does not intend to discriminate against specific religions, but that these measures must be undertaken to control the cost of healthcare. At a recent press conference, the head of the National Health Board stated, “These policies are being introduced because of financial constraints.”


A Factoid to Consider

An interesting note in the Australian Shooter Magazine this week, which I quote:

“If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers. The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 806 per 100,000 for 100,000 for the same period. That means you are about 13 times more likely to be shot and killed in the US capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the US, than in Iraq.”

Conclusion: “The US should pull out of Washington .”


The Second Incorporated

In a 5-4 ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the United States Supreme Court has declared that the “right to keep and bear arms,” which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, “applies equally to the federal government and the states.” The McDonald ruling expands on a 2008 decision in Heller v. District of Columbia in which the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home. -The Rutherford Institute

This is big news; it means state and local firearms laws can be challenged on the basis of the US Constitution. While it doesn’t immediately invalidate any laws, it could be used as the basis for challenges to all existing firearms laws within the US, in essence.

240 pages if you count the concurrences and the dissents. A wonderful day! Everyone gets something. Alan Gura gets Thomas’ concurrence, and the fifth vote. Steve Halbrook gets cited a zillion times (as I’ve said before, if you could copyright an argument, the Supreme Court would have had to negotiate royalties with him). I get cited by majority and the concurrence. Professors Wyldenthal, Curtis and Aynes get cited. The Women State Legislors’ brief, by Sarah Gervase, Carol Bambery and Linsday Charles, gets cited, too. –Of Arms and the Law

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