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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Battle Arms - First Rebuttal - Challenger

I must say that my opponent’s opening statement wasn’t quite what I expected. It certainly doesn’t contain all the usual talking points that I am used to encountering when I discuss this issue. I would have been the last person to think I’d be debating the “inherently violent nature of man” in a discussion on gun control. Seeing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was a real eye popper. He would have made my life easier had he gone with the standard pro-gun spiel. Although his post required added scrutiny on my part, in the final analysis, his creative arguments are as flawed as those found in the standard pro-gun spiel. For this I am relieved. With that in mind, let us proceed to his points.

1. Violence is an intrinsic part of human nature

That’s certainly a mouthful. We might as well discuss the inherent goodness of man. While I find these propositions quite interesting, I feel they are better suited for a theological or philosophical discussion as opposed to a political discussion on gun laws. I certainly have my opinions regarding the inherent nature of man but this certainly isn’t the time or place to discuss them. Nonetheless, anyone who claims to have scientifically proven the intrinsic violent nature of man or the inherent goodness of man is probably practicing junk science.

If I accept Pinker’s assertion that all people are seething volcanoes underneath their cool exteriors, it makes little sense to work towards arming all these people with inventions that allow them to inflict serious physical harm on themselves or other people with the twitch of a finger. Even if I believe that all men are inherently good, it still makes little sense to arm our citizens to the teeth. They are both non-sequiturs.

2. In some cases, violence can only be countered with reciprocal violence


Perhaps even more than unheeded, appeals to intellect & reason may go
unheard altogether as when dealing with the proverbial
Moro
tribesman
or PCP-crazed felon -

You know, when I start seeing Moro tribesmen walking down the street or a PCP-crazed felon on the loose, I’ll be the first guy to buy a gun with the proper stopping power. I mean really. All those gangs of marauding people looking to fulfill their physiological needs are a real menace to society. This whole line of argument is both absurd and points the heart of the pro-gun methodology. It is a culture of fear that must be created in order to sell more guns. The more that people fear, the more guns they can sell. How does one get past the safety needs in Maslow’s hierarchy when they live in perpetual fear? As the Kinks say, paranoia the destroyer.

I’m not that concerned about Moro tribesmen, PCP-crazed felons or people seeking to fulfill physiological needs. Teenage boys armed to the teeth concern me. It really is time to disarm.


This risk of reciprocal violence provides the basis of our entire criminal
justice system via the theory of deterrence.

This is why our society goes to great lengths to fund and support a justice system and at the same time makes great efforts to eschew vigilante justice. Furthermore, when I followed your link for deterrence, I missed the words “reciprocal violence”.

3. Even disproportionate reciprocal violence has social value

I’d imagine that the ayatollahs and mullahs would agree with you. We really need to start chopping off the hands of kids who shoplift. That’ll send out a message. I didn’t even know that stealing a car was a violent crime but then, that’s how far gone this argument is to begin with. A couple of weeks ago, I caught some kids toilet papering my trees. You reckon I should of pulled out my mythical Glock and fired a few shots in the air or should I have plugged them in the back as they ran away when I turned the porch light on? This “two eyes for an eye lash and your upper molars for an incisor” is based on what religion or ideology? I’m really curious. There are plenty of ways we could reduce crime significantly that involve inhumane and extreme methods. My question to you is: would you want to live in that society?

An authority no less than John Lott offers us statistics that armed citizens reduce crime? I honestly think those statistics aren’t worth the disk space they reside on. The man is a barking moonbat. You can find some quotes of his over here. Allow me to cherry pick.

In the wake of the March 1998 schoolyard ambush of children by children in
Jonesboro, Arkansas, Lott voiced his strong support for arming teachers and
other school personnel against gun-toting juveniles. Lott argues, "Allowing
teachers and other law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns in schools
would not only make it easier to stop shootings in progress, it could also help
deter shootings from ever occurring."---"The Real Lesson of the School
Shootings," The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 1998.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! AAAAH! SOCK PUPPETS! ~best Homer Simpson voice~

Lott has given himself seventeen five-star reviews using various techniques to
conceal that he was the author. He's also written concealed negative reviews of
books whose authors he didn't like. (For example, after Michelle Malkin's column
denouncing him (see above), he gave her book a one-star review.) He has posed as
another person and posted defenses of himself on discussion groups, going so far
as to say things like "[Lott] was the best professor I ever had."
When confronted by the Washington Post, Lott responded "I probably shouldn't have done it -- I know I shouldn't have done it -- but it's hard to think of any big
advantage I got except to be able to comment fictitiously," said Lott.
But the very next day Lott started up again under a different sock puppet. He later
went so far as to have one puppet disagree with things he posted as another
puppet!
THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS! It appears that some of his data has coding errors. There also appears to be missing survey data. The list is endless with this guy. I have to stop now because I am starting to sound like an infomercial. Needless to say, anything Lott says and any statistic he provides needs to be taken with a truck load of salt.

Not to worry though. There are reliable studies that we can use to properly ascertain the effectiveness of gun control. A Time magazine article describes a study from John Hopkins University that shows that gun control decreases gun crime. Who woulda thunk it?
It sounds like a no-brainer, but like any new information in the battle over gun
control, it’s bound to ruffle a few feathers: Registration and licensing
requirements deter criminals from buying guns. That latest bit of data in the
gun control debate, courtesy of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the
Johns Hopkins University, indicates that stricter guidelines for gun purchases
mean fewer firearms end up in the hands of criminals. States with the lowest
incidence of criminal gun activity are those with both licensing and
registration guidelines. And the best results of all, according to the Hopkins
study, come in states surrounded by other states with similarly tough gun laws,
so that criminals can’t simply slip over state lines to replenish their
supplies.

4. Individuals can be / are trusted to use this violence appropriately

By advocating and encouraging citizens to own handguns and assault weapons, we are implicitly encouraging them to be judge, jury and executioner. What place does this have in a civil society? They have a term for this. It is called anarchy. This is not an issue of trust but it is an issue of law, order, justice and civil society. I trust you to own and properly maintain a double-barreled shotgun. Guns designed to kill people have no place in civil society. I might as well complain about my lack of rights to carry around a bazooka in Times Square.

5. Government can NOT be trusted with a monopoly on necessary violence

Now, there are a hundred macro-political reasons why this may be the case
(historically, the Nazi's, Stalinists, Saddam's, etc. all started in one way or
another with a true monopoly on instruments of violence).

This is laughable. The pro-gun guy will always talk about his need for self-defense. Suddenly, when you hit point five, he’s not talking about self-defense. He’s now talking about how he can’t overthrow the government without his Saturday Night Special. I don’t know what to say to you guys other than you should make do with your long guns and pitchforks when you storm the gates of the White House. If you bring enough torches, you might be able to also round up Edward Scissorhands and Frankenstein when you corner George W. Bush on the White House roof.

What gun control laws did the brown shirts implement during their beer hall days? What gun control laws were in place when Saddam held power? Last I looked, instead of a chicken in every pot, Iraq had an AK-47 in every hand.
he jumped up next to me, jabbed some blunt metal object into my ribs /
armpit and said "Give me your money!"...it thrust home the message that YOU are your own last line of defense.

I had previously read your account of that robbery attempt. I was extremely glad to hear that you escaped serious injury.

No matter how well intentioned the gun owner, guns are stolen. From 1987 to 1992, there were an average of 341,000 firearm thefts per year. Over half of the firearms stolen were handguns. You would think that with all the security afforded by these firearms, owners could hold onto them at a higher rate. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When people own guns, criminals steal them. When criminals steal them, gun crime occurs.

Surely my opponent doesn’t view modern day England and Japan as fascist states. If one compares the statistics for homicides and suicides between these countries and ours, the numbers are startling. Both England and Japan prohibit handguns. Gun homicide rates for Japan are .03 per 100,000 people. In England it is .007 per 100,000 people. This compares with the United States that registers 62.4 deaths per 100,000 people. Surely these numbers are cause for serious pause.

This country needs to belly up to this problem. This is truly a great American tragedy.

Respectfully submitted,
Ralph Stefan

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