Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How to pass "gun control" legislation: stay the hell away from facts and logic

Drew Westen's book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, is, as far as I can tell, a treatise on the need to stay away from facts and logic in political debate, and to focus instead on emotion. That, anyway, seems to be the gist of this excerpt, focusing on so-called "gun control" (i.e., civilian disarmament). To be honest, I think Westen has the right idea--when pushing an agenda so divorced from reality and rationality (and Constitutionality) as public safety through state-mandated defenselessness, facts and logic would certainly be things to avoid.

He apparently decided a demonstration was in order, waiting only until early in the third paragraph to let rip with a stunningly blatant lie.

They didn't mention that the Republican Congress had let the Brady Act, which banned the sale of semiautomatic weapons, sunset in 2004.
Actually, this is several lies, all in one short statement. First, the "Brady Act" dealt with background checks and waiting periods for handgun sales--not with semi-automatic firearms in general (many semi-automatics are not handguns, and many handguns are not semi-automatics). The criminal background check element of the Brady Act is still in force to this day, and although the five day waiting period is no longer in effect, it expired not in 2004, but in 1998, when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was implemented.

What sunset in 2004 was the ban on so-called "assault weapons" (a term invented by rabid civilian disarmament advocate and VPC executive director Josh Sugarmann). This law did not "ban the sale of semiautomatic weapons"--many semi-autos were unaffected by the law, and even the "banned" firearms were completely legal for civilian ownership and sale, as long as they were manufactured (or imported) before the effective date (Sept. 13, 1994).

One could argue, I suppose, that Westen was not lying, as I accused him earlier, but simply wrong, but if he is this far off in his understanding of guns and gun laws, I would argue that representing himself as an authority on these issues is rather dishonest in and of itself.

The next lie, although breathtaking in its mendacity, is pretty standard fare for the civilian disarmament advocates.
If ever there was an issue on which Americans are of two minds, it is guns. Most Americans believe in the Second Amendment, but most Americans also support a host of restrictions on gun sales and ownership.
So most Americans support a right of the people that shall not be infringed, but they "also support a host of restrictions" on that right? In other words, apparently, Americans are largely unaware of the plain meanings of common English words.

A bit later, we come to this puzzling sentence:
The notion of being defenseless doesn't sit well with southern and rural males, whose identity as men is strongly associated with the ability to protect their families.
Are we to infer, then, that "the notion of being defenseless" does sit well with northern and urban males (and all women)? If so, that would seem to be an attitude we should seek to change, rather than to exploit.

What civilian disarmament advocacy piece would be complete without a breathless reference to terrorism? Fear not--here it comes.
You can't fight a war against terrorists if you grant them unrestricted access to automatic weapons on your own soil.
Who gets "unrestricted access to automatic weapons" in this country? Since 1934 (and the National Firearms Act), automatic firearms have been extraordinarily heavily regulated, with the regulations becoming even more onerous and draconian with the Gun Control Act of 1968, and still more so with the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Perhaps Westen somehow failed to notice the conspicuousness of the absence of terrorist attacks in the U.S. in which automatic weapons (or any other firearms, for that matter) have been used.

He even goes so far as to include kind of a miniature manifesto regarding firearms, that he thinks Democrats should use.
Our moral vision on guns reflects one simple principle: that gun laws should guarantee the freedom and safety of all law-abiding Americans. We stand with the majority of Americans who believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns to hunt and protect their families. And we stand with that same majority of Americans who believe that felons, terrorists, and troubled teenagers don't have the right to bear arms that threaten the safety of our children. We therefore support the right to bear arms, but not to bear arms designed for no other purpose than to take another person's life.
The lies come fast and furious in that little gem. First, more restrictive laws do not "guarantee the freedom"--they actively attack it. Secondly, no law can guarantee safety--even a well-crafted law designed to promote safety can only work when it is not broken. To end the breaking of laws, one would have to eliminate criminals. That seems rather unlikely.

Toward the end, Westen really gets into the emotional symbolism he is promoting, suggesting that the Democrats "put every Republican in Congress on record as caring more about the blood-soaked dollars of the NRA than about the lives of our children."

The very last paragraph is the most stunning, in which Westen actually acknowledges that telling the truth is a losing proposition for civilian disarmament advocates.
If you can't speak the truth and win elections, you need to learn another language. The language that wins elections is the language of the heart.
That just about says it all, doesn't it?


Mike said...

It's this kind of thing that scares the crap out of me. Nice analysis.

Anonymous said...

I (heart) 45superman. Great piece!

Good Lord, what a juicy piece of meat to dangle in front of the pro-gun lions...

"Our moral vision on guns reflects one simple principle...

Previous to this statement, I was making my best estimation that the disarmers where attempting to re-cast gun ownership as a moral issue. (Like how certain other moral issues were re-cast as civil rights issues.) Guess I can now move to the next step: It's an inanimate object. It has no morals. Since you can't see me: I'm pointing at my finger at my temple, and turning it while saying, "Duh."

...reflects one simple principle: That gun laws should guarantee the freedom and safety of all law-abiding Americans...

This principle is deeply flawed. The whole of the modern disarmament movement is based on a law originally intended to give advantage to a particular group of organized criminals. To be honest, I don't think public safety was on their minds at the time. Voting fraud was their primary reason for being, and if you don't yet doubt their wisdom, we're talking about a political organization that previously attempted to outlaw smoking by women.

The Friends of Disarmament following this example, especially those in Europe, were not much better. One who adopts this political ideology should be careful not to lean too far over the edge to get a look at the foundation, lest the whole thing tip over and come crashing down. This is why contemporary disarmers dare not speak of the history of the movement. However, I see that the cause for disarmament has seen some upgrades recently. The laws that were originally meant to strong-arm the criminal competition were promoted as a way to control those nuisance immigrants, then to control organized crime fueled by alcohol money (delivered years too late after Prohibition), then to stop the criminally insane (didn't work, hence the disabled James Brady), then to stop gang violence (skyrocketed from 60s to 90s), and then to increase public safety (Cho Seung-Hui). Now it's a "guarantee [of] freedom and safety".

Did I mention that those restrictions haven't stopped any of the above, and that crime is rampant where there are the most strict disarmament laws? The disarmers display astounding piety to their cause. The failure of the principle of disarmament is so broad and pronounced, that it must be absolutely humiliating to continue to bear the torch.

We stand with the majority of Americans who believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns to hunt and protect their families.

I would rather stand with a majority of Americans who understand that crimes against the property, limb and life of a neighbor are actual crimes. Barrel-length and magazine-capacity regulations are simply "gotcha" tactics that disarmers love to use to stick as many political opponents as possible in the non-law-abiding category.

And we stand with that same majority of Americans who believe that felons, terrorists, and troubled teenagers don't have the right to bear arms that threaten the safety of our children."

Then will you stand up to an armed violent felon, an armed islamofascist or an armed and criminally insane teenager with your bare fists?

Well then don't require that I must!

p.s. To the nannystater: The same people that want our school buses to stop every 30 feet to let off each individual child don't seem to have a problem when those same children loiter in the middle of an intersection (yes right in the middle), loiter in an empty parking lot at 10 p.m., or consume near-lethal doses of drugs that effect brain chemistry.

Anonymous said...

Good sources of information on the fraud and deception spewed forth by gun prohibitionists, especially those who abuse their status as "Health Professionals" to deceive the public. See www.dsgl.org, and go to our "favorite links" and see Kates, Suter, and other pieces. Print up and leave in libraries (in gun control books) and in waiting rooms, etc.

Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
"Genocide - The Proud Legacy of Gun Control"
...averaging over 5,000 innocent lives lost per DAY throughout the 20th Century!

Anonymous said...

"We therefore support the right to bear arms, but not to bear arms designed for no other purpose than to take another person's life."

This guy is contradicting himself. ALL firearms, ALL, have design elements that have come from the war-time need to kill your enemy before they kill you.

For crying outloud, my 1943 No.4 Enfield was designed to take other peoples lives, if you follow this guys skewed logic. Its only acceptible as a hunting rifle today because it is obsolete as military hardware.

Human emotions are the most fickle thing known to science. Emotions are the last thing we need our political system run on.