Saturday, July 21, 2012

Enough is Enough

On the “Up with Chris” show this morning an argument was given by a conservative pundit, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner that murders in America are not actually a function of gun ownership.
Conservative talker Tim Carney
He cited statistics from Russia showing that while that country has banned individual ownership of guns the murder rate has nevertheless remained high.
Chris Hayes
This type of cherry picking a statistic to prove a partisan or favorable point for one side of an argument is wrong, disingenuous and quite frankly dangerous.
But it has nevertheless become part and parcel of the conservative, right wing movement’s message on anything they espouse or are against.
Sadly this time it borders on the ridiculous.
The main problem fair minded people have when trying to argue against this type of silly analogy is where to start.
For example, why suddenly choose Russia?
Have we been comparing America to Russia all along?
Is Russia the authority on gun control or the lack thereof?
Has the speaker spent extensive time in that country?
Has he examined the social constraints of the citizenry?
Does he have intimate knowledge of the Russian criminal  and their tactics?
I could go on but hopefully the point is made that the statistic he alluded to, while possibly accurate to some degree may not have come out of an unbiased poll but rather a generally hidden part of the speaker’s body upon which he sits!
And the counterarguments come out of the woodwork whenever someone suggests for a moment that we should ban or even just limit gun ownership by average Americans. And while they come from various directions the words emanate from only one place, the cold dead hands and mouths of the National Rifle Association.

NRA Members today
No Longer NRA Members
We should all know by now how extensive a reach into the once hallowed halls of Congress the NRA has since no Senator or Congressman has been able to speak out against them and get reelected.
They are not replaced by other candidates merely because they have outlived their usefulness but rather because they lost the bribe money that fills today’s campaign finance coffers.
But back to the singular argument that equates America’s rampant gun shot caused deaths with those of Mother Russia.
Conservatives use this glorious statistic to prove that banning guns will not lower the murder rate.
However they will lower the gun shot induced murder rate and at least that’s a start!

Walther PPK ala 007License 2 Kill
While some will hide behind the second amendment and its vague wording it is good to note that it does actually mandate we all carry concealed Walther PPKs or AK47 assault rifles manufactured by the NRA!
That document does call for a well regulated and armed militia, a police force which we seem to have in every corner of the country.
AK 47 so necessary for deer hunting!
Does any individual really need an assault rifle with a ‘clip’ that holds a thousand bullets?
If he is going hunting and needs that large an arsenal to take down a deer then maybe hunting isn't his best hobby.
And also note that our government had the sense to step in and stop individual ownership of tanks or surface to air missiles!  I guess the NRA doesn't have the contract to build those.
So noting that there is a sane limit to how much is too much let’s take this one step at a time and use what I feel is a perfect analogy, if I do say so myself.
When the automobile came into existence it was a not too dangerous novelty.
But as years of improvements made it faster that changed. Soon there were car accidents that caused injury or death.

The government rightly stepped in and laws were implemented to ensure vehicular safety.
In no specific chronological order the new rules were:
Windshield wipers to help drivers see in the rain were invented and made mandatory.
To stop passenger deaths in the event of an accident we have seatbelts.
When those proved ineffective against certain injuries air bags were added.
Side impact accidents occurred and so then did side air bags.
‘Driving under the influence’ laws are standard.
Anything that distracts a driver and can cause an accident or death such as hand held phones etc. have been and continue to be outlawed, although this is still a work in progress in some States.
I could go on but the simple indisputable fact is that with every new rule or ban or law another cause of unnecessary death is taken out of the equation.
And that’s how we must deal with guns in America!
Starting today or as soon as Congress can take enough Zantac to allow them to face their backers without crumbling we should ban assault rifles completely.
Then pass laws to limit the number of handguns while granting owners grandfathered exceptions.
We can then get rid of the balance through attrition and gun ‘buy back’ programs.
Make this tragedy harder to reoccur
If the murder rate rises or stays elevated we may then go after the new reason and work on combating its cause.

Car safety is a work in progress that hardly anyone disputes is a good idea.  It is also a boon to new industries such as the aforementioned seat belt and air bag producing industries.
But even though gun control will not create new industries and somewhat hurt the funereal service one we should still pursue the righteous cause.
Let’s make progress in gun control a social issue of equal import to car safety and stop needless tragedies such as the latest one in Aurora, Colorado and the next one in ???

Don’t allow silly biased statistics to stop progress.
Little by little we can make America a safer place for all Americans!


Anonymous said...

Nice try with the car analogy. The govt has done little if nothing to curb auto death...Why not mental health checks for a drivers licence? We certainly don't want mentally unstable people behind the wheel. Why doesn't the government require the max speed of a vehicle be no more than 75mph? Better yet, the vehicle won't travel faster than the speed limit in any area? We certainly have the technology now. Yhy isn't there a breathalyzer machine in every vehicle? Your apple to oranges comparison is less valid than comparing the U.S. to Russia.

Anonymous said...

You also lack a plan to counteract the illegal gun smuggling and import business that will be a booming industry for criminal entities after you destroy the 200,000+ honest living wage jobs in America fueled by the production of modern sporting rifles.

Bruce Resch said...

I never claim to have all the answers but demanding the perfect be the enemy of the good is dangerous. In other words you would rather do nothing and allow the status quo to continue ad infinitum. That is a sad defeatist type of attitude that causes the country to fall behind the rest of the world.
But the bottom line is we have a tremendous problem in America and sadly too many think, or perhaps don't think, like you and that will be a huge problem in the future.
But of course I could be wrong.
Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

We agree on one point...we have a tremendous problem in America. Sadly, we have a broken society rampant with drugs, gang violence, theft, assault, economic squalor, and a general lack of a moral compass which some equate to godlessness. All the while you prefer to blame an inanimate object that only becomes evil in the hands of evil.