Thursday, September 26, 2013

Intellectual Dishonesty on Gun Control

"I have no problem with an American believing that their right under the constitution is that they can defend themselves, especially in their own home if they're being attacked." – Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan and his ilk have been on a gun control crusade for decades. Fortunately, they have been thoroughly unsuccessful. The question is, why? It's very simple and can be summed up in two words. Intellectual dishonesty. In more blunt terms, lying; both to themselves and the public.

They speak very passionately about their desire to save our society (and the children) from destruction by banning "military-style" semi-automatic assault rifles. They invoke murdered children, horrific personal stories, and even realistic sounding statistics. Unfortunately, they quite often have no idea what they are talking about, and when they do know, the public seems able to detect their dishonest nature. Need examples? Not a problem.

"I was the one that found Supervisor Milk’s body, and I was the one to put a finger in a bullet hole, trying to get a pulse" - Dianne Feinstein
Almost every time Senator Dianne Feinstein is in front of a camera discussing gun control she recounts the murder of Harvey Milk. This is supposed to be the event that completely changed her stance on firearms. So what if she didn't get rid of her .38 Special until 4 years after the event. Narratives are influential in politics but this one seems strange. Her explicit mention of putting her finger "in a bullet hole" is meant to evoke a visceral response. Here's the problem. Based on the research I've done including the coroner's testimony and her own testimony during the trial there was no bullet hole in the standard places that one would take a pulse (i.e., neck and wrist). Is she lying? I'll let you be the judge, but in your consideration think of this. Have you ever heard of anyone putting their finger into a bullet hole to check some one's pulse? It kind of reminds me of Jesse Jackson and the Martin Luther King, Jr. bloody shirt incident.

More importantly, she adamantly says that she only wants to ban dangerous guns like the AR-15 (so-called "assault weapons".) In fact, in a recent interview on PBS, she said she hasn't gone after other guns in the past. That is an outright lie because in the past she's said that if she had the votes she would have banned all firearms. She just needed 51 votes.

"He would have needed 14 spare magazines beyond the one in the gun with the extra round in the chamber. Reloading 14 times. You think he would have still pulled off the whole thing in less than five minutes?" - Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow presents herself as an intellectual. I don't question her intelligence, in fact, I applaud it. However, she's a master at presenting facts and statistics that are extremely misleading and intellectually dishonest. In March of this year, she was in rare form and doing her rant schtick to perfection. This time, she was talking about Sandy Hook and kept hammering home the fact that the gunman was able to shoot 152 rounds in 5 minutes with an AR-15. She concluded her rant with the statement above. It was passionate, thought-provoking and completely misleading. Why? Because the logic is completely flawed and she knows it.

That 5-minute time frame and the need to reload several times is utterly irrelevant. Yes, the AR-15 can hold a 30 round magazine, but it takes very little time to reload. So let us do a thought experiment. Assume conservatively that it would take the shooter 5 seconds to reload. As a gun owner I can assure you that it doesn't take that long but for argument sake, let's make that assumption. So, 14 magazines would take 70 seconds to reload time. Is she seriously saying that 70 seconds would have made all the difference? Need real-world evidence?

Well, the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history was the Virginia Tech massacre. I'm sure Ms. Maddow knows about this one. Weapons used? Glock 19 9mm pistol and Walther P22 .22 pistol, both semi-automatic handguns and no "assault rifle" in sight. Semi-automatic means one trigger pull, one bullet. Total deaths 33. Wounded, 17 from gunfire. The shooter had nineteen 10 and 15 round magazines, and nearly 400 rounds of ammunition! The event that caused the most deaths - 31 shot and killed - lasted 10 - 15 minutes.

The 10 round limit is what lawyers call arbitrary and capricious. Why do I say that? Just Google Luby's massacre. It's the deadliest non-school shooting rampage in American history. Weapons used? Glock 17, Ruger P89, both semi-automatic handguns. Total deaths 24. Wounded; 10 from gunfire. The Glock 17 and the Ruger P89 use a standard 17 round magazine. An assault rifle ban would have done nothing. I have fired thousands of rounds with my Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm handgun. It has never jammed, ever! But Rachel Maddow would have you depend on the malfunction of the equipment to save your life. Ironically, in my experience semi-automatic handguns are more likely to malfunction with large capacity magazines.

I'll leave you to read the details but as Piers Morgan would say, Ms. Maddow's argument is facile (definition: appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial.)

"What I haven't heard is one coherent reason why any civilian in America needs an AR-15 'military style' assault weapon." - Piers Morgan
Finally, a segue to Piers Morgan. He says he wants to know who needs an AR-15. He's lying. He doesn't think there is any reason a civilian should own one and giving him a coherent reason will not change his mind.

Just to placate him, here are two. First would be during a riot. In 1992 after the Rodney King verdict Los Angeles erupted into total chaos. A group of Korean store owners got together to defend their property. They had shotguns and assault rifles and as you can see from the video, no one looted their establishments. Secondly, would be during a natural disaster. After hurricane Katrina, there were reports of vigilantes with assault weapons shooting African-Americans. If I had to choose between having a pistol and having AR-15 during a natural disaster where the law enforcement authorities are unable to respond, the AR-15 wins every time. Present these arguments to Mr. Morgan and he'd likely have the same response as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who said that the natural disaster scenario is "a hypothetical in a world that doesn't exist" despite the evidence of it existing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. These are the coherent reasons that have been rejected by the anti-gun movement.

So it is only logical that the most recent attempt to ban so-called semi-automatic, military-style assault weapons failed. The NRA and some Republican leaders have been very effective at exposing the lies propagated by the anti-gun movement. Unfortunately, they will not give up their cause. Fortunately, neither will we.

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