Another short rant

Complaint (feel free to ignore):

It seems to me that the current political climate in the United States is so silly. “There should be no legislation on guns because of our right to bear arms!”

“Well, should someone who just got out of jail for a violent crime be allowed to buy a gun?”

“Well, even if we put in legislation, he’s a criminal, he’ll get it anyway!”

First, that isn’t what I asked. Do you or do you not think he should have a gun?

Second, there are so many things wrong with that sentence. “Criminals will just get drugs anyway, why put in legislation making them illegal?”

“People murder all the time, no sense having a law since it doesn’t stop them.”

There is no “one stop shop,” there is nothing you can do to stop people from committing crimes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps towards minimizing the chance.

Making it more difficult for people to buy guns might stop a lazy criminal from getting a gun. It might stop 1 in 100 criminals from getting guns. It might stop one of the future one thousand school shootings from happening.

But then, in my mind, even stopping 1 in 1000 massacres is probably a good place to start, no?

All of these people saying “It wouldn’t stop me if I were a criminal,” are just more worrying from a public safety standpoint than they are savvy political debaters.

Instead of demanding a solution that works 100% of the time, help your government craft one solution that works 1% of the time, and see if you can maybe expand on that to see what works, and make it better over time.

The saddest thing is the way statistics are wielded so terribly in this debate, and to great ruinous effect.

“Gun control background checks would cost us x billion dollars over x years!”

You can’t say “they would save 200 lives,” because you can’t prove that empircally. So from the standpoint of statistics, the fiscal conservatives are winning… Because you can’t prove a single college shooting didn’t happen.

The really enraging thing, for someone like me who loves to debate, is how much this silences the debate, the legitimate debate, on the whole topic. It just makes me sad, because what is a life worth? What is ten lives worth?

Theoretical conversation:

Me: “How much money do you think we should spend to defend against school mass-shootings?”

Straw Man: “There should be no limit! Life is precious, something about God and the Ten Commandments!!” (Disclaimer: I am using the religious angle because someone forwarded this email chain to me without fact checking: http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/scott.asp )

Me: “So lets start with a fairly cheap background check program that would prevent people with criminal histories from easily obtaining fire arms.”

Straw Man: “THAT WOULD BE IMPINGING UPON MY RIGHTS! Guns didn’t kill people, that crazy person killed people!!”

Me: “But what if we stopped that crazy person from getting guns before he killed people…? Then that crazy person could not have racked up a two digit body count! Certainly, he wouldn’t have with a knife!”

Straw Man: “THAT WOULD IMPINGE UPON THE SECOND AMENDMENT, YOU LIBERAL COMMIE HIPPIE!”

Right then. You know what? You win. Let’s not even try. Hell, let’s not even talk about the issue.

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