Friday, December 21, 2012

(Missing the) Point - Counterpoint: Gun Restriction Laws

James Wigderson decides to join in the debate about whether there should be new gun laws in order to prevent further horrors like the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 innocent people, 20 of them very young children, were slain by a mad man with access to several high powered handguns and an assault rifle.

Not being able to defend the right wing's love of guns, Wigderson settles for attacking a straw man:
None of these bans would have had any effect on the Connecticut school shooting. They would not have prevented the attack on the Sikh temple earlier this year. They would not have prevented the shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield. The proposed gun control measures would not have prevented any mass shootings, any more than declaring the schools in Connecticut gun-free zones. The worst school massacre in American history was in Bath Township, Michigan in 1927. The killer used bombs, not guns. Timothy McVeigh used a fertilizer bomb in Oklahoma to kill 168 people. The same day as the school shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed 23 children at a school in China.

We’re a can-do society, and we believe there’s a solution to every problem. But the problem is that there are evil people in this world intent on doing evil things. “Doing something” that is completely ineffective only gives a false sense of security, and we should expect our leaders to know better.
Wigderson is really stretching with his arguments.

He cites a couple of examples of horrendous incidents, but turns a blind eye to the fact that gun deaths are on a pace to exceed traffic fatalities by 2015.

He also cites the man who stabbed 23 children but willfully omits the fact that not one of the children died.

What Wigderson is doing is trying to mislead his readers from the real reason why there is such a push to restrict the proliferation of guns. To counter Wigderson's straw man argument, I would refer the gentle reader to Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now:
Thirty-four have died in Wisconsin from mass shootings since 2004.

Meteor. Brookfield. Delevan. Crandon. Oak Creek. And Brookfield again. Communities scarred, lives lost, survivors inconsolable.

Our national epidemic of gun violence added 26 innocent souls in Newtown. That 20 children could be gunned down in a shattering instant at the hands of one madman, is inconceivable in a nation governed by laws and reason.

And as our nation mourns this latest unspeakable mass gun violence and a call for action roars nationwide to stop these far-too-common acts of mass random violence, the silence has been deafening from those charged with running the state of Wisconsin.

As President Obama has said, laws alone won't eliminate evil. But we can, and must, hold our elected officials accountable and demand action making it harder for evil people to get the weapons of mass murder used in the recent, unfathomable acts of violence perpetrated on worshippers in a temple, mothers at the spa, holiday shoppers in a mall and children and their teachers in their grade school.
No one is arguing that the gun laws will stop evil. No one is arguing that gun laws will prevent all future gun deaths. But there are too many gun deaths now and we don't have to make it as easy or even easier for the country to continue down this path to ruination.

Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." What Wigderson is arguing for is just that, doing nothing. And that's after people like Walker and the Republican legislators actually helped the evil along.


  1. Shorter Wigderson: People die. Oh well, nothing we can do.

    It is disappointing.

  2. We live in a militarized and brutalized culture of never ending wars, in which torture is considered normal, Pakistani children have been declared legitimate targets and the very same video games used by the military to psychologically attune young soldiers to killing are played by our teenagers. Then we wonder why there are so many mass shootings.

    We have a mass media which willfully broadcasts carefully-crafted racist propaganda and paranoid conspiracy theories. We have religious leaders who have grown rich through spreading intolerance. We have a significant sector of the population with no access to mental healthcare because it's not considered a necessity.

    We live in a society in which income inequality is growing so extreme that most young people can only look forward to a future dictated by low-wage jobs and poverty. This same society, steeped in racism, paranoia and resentment is then flooded with inexpensive weapons and ammunition by a gun industry that has bribed or intimidated our elected officials. It's no wonder we have so many mass shootings.

    I think we can look forward to much more of this carnage, because every bloody event serves as free advertising and a new sales opportunity for the gun industry. As the bodies drop in the schools, malls and discount stores, the weapons assembly line speeds up. Don't you just love unfettered American style capitalism?

    1. It has been concluded by study after study, that video games do not encourage violent behavior. If that were the case, Call of Duty would have corrupted me, and millions of others by now.

  3. Violence begets violence. This is a human trait. Why else does it take less time to become angry than to calm back down? For this reason, vengeance is a cycle of violence feeding itself and spinning out of control. This is ironically illustrated by the spike in gun sales in the aftermath of mass shootings. It's as if guns are the God of Violent Death's totem, its fetish.

  4. Dear Mr. Widgerson:
    After the Oklahoma City bombing, laws were quickly passed to strictly limit the sale and possession of ammonium nitrate, the main ingredient in the bomb he used to kill 162 innocent civilians. Among the measures put in place was a chemical tag used in the compound to make it traceable. You will notice that there have been no similar bombings since. Now, please go suck on a bag of dicks.

  5. It was ILLEGAL when he stole his mothers guns . .
    It was ILLEGAL when he shot his mother in the face . .
    It was ILLEGAL when he stole his mothers car . .
    It was ILLEGAL when he took guns onto School property . .
    It was ILLEGAL when he forced his way into the School . .
    It was ILLEGAL when he started shooting people . .
    Please, tell us how would passing more laws on LEGAL gun owners help with the problem of Mentally Insane?
    Why focus on the Method of Murder? And not the Person the Committed the Crime?

    1. Um, because the method of murder is what made it all possible. Without the guns, he'd have nothing to steal, nothing to shoot his mother with, nothing to shoot the kids and teachers with. Why are you so willing to let children die for your phallic symbol?