Post Orlando Thoughts
As per my SOP, I’ve delayed writing much about the events in Orlando. It’s not that I don’t have strong feelings about what happened and subsequent responses. I do. Rather, it’s a case of not wanting to be “that person,” the one who jumps on a tragic, senseless event and uses it to further an agenda. I have no desire to dance on the bodies of the dead, to bring more pain and horror to the wounded and the loved ones of all the victims. Doing that sort of thing is vile and disgusting. Sadly, we’ve seen there’s more than enough vile and disgusting going around. There are two writers who have articulated, far better than I, many of the essentials of the event and responses to it. The first is Larry Correia. He provides us with an insightful blog post to remind us evil people will always do evil things and that self-protection is a basic human right. The other writer is Michael Z Williamson. He gives us two articles. The first, Orlando: The AAR and BFTNP, expresses some unpleasant truths about the worthlessness of many responses to events like the one we recently witnessed. The other, After an Attack: Understanding the Fear, deals with the reality of the fear many non-involved people experience after an attack like the one we saw in Orlando. Be aware, all three articles may make you uncomfortable. There is a third writer I’d like to mention. He never published anything online, but he dealt in a very reasonable way with the nature of property rights and how essential they are to all other rights a people may enjoy. His name was John Locke; you can find copies of his works online, in most bookstores and in any decent library. I cannot recommend his writings highly enough. Anyone who loves freedom would be well served by reading all of these.
Regardless of your feelings regarding the events in Orlando, specific firearms, firearms laws and firearms in general, there are a few rules you really should follow if you’re going to write or speak about them.
- Always tell the truth. It is one thing to be honestly mistaken, or even to be biased (we all are). It is another thing altogether to knowingly and willingly lie to make your point. For gun rights advocates, let me suggest you make sure the quotes you have from the Founding Fathers actually originated with them and not some hothead with a keyboard. For gun control advocates, I submit it is a lie to keep repeating memes that have repeatedly been proven false.
- Use standard definitions. It is dishonest to change definitions to support your position. The purpose of standard definitions is to make sure we’re all discussing the same thing. Calling it “gun safety” when you mean “gun control” is a fine example.
- If you are less than honest and get called on it, act like an adult, admit what you did, and return to the argument with more integrity. If you believe your position requires dishonesty, your position is weak and you’re probably a liar.
- Emotion and feelings are real. So are facts. It is okay to feel things should be a certain way, even in the absence of supporting fact. It is not okay to call people names, impugn their motives or call into question their morals, ethics and character because they find your lack of fact based arguments less than compelling. This is what children do. Don’t be a child.
- Don’t keep shifting your argument if you find yourself losing. If someone points out you’re focusing on a gun’s cosmetic features, don’t shift the focus to its function if such hasn’t been touched on before.
- Know something about the gun(s) you mention before you mention them. To that end:
- Automatic and semiautomatic are not the same thing. Automatic weapons are not readily available. Suggesting otherwise is a lie.
- Modern gunpowder contains no sulfur. Suggesting otherwise is a lie.
- Collapsible or adjustable stocks are designed to allow a rifle to fit people of different heights/sizes, not make it conealable. Suggesting otherwise is a lie.
- Magazines and clips are not the same thing. Suggesting otherwise marks you as a uniformed idiot.
- The AR-15 is not a “high powered rifle.” A bolt action .338 WinMag is a high powered rifle. People use it to hunt elk and even bigger animals. Calling the AR-15 a high powered rifle marks you as dishonest, uninformed, or both.
- Magazine capacity is irrelevant. A trained and experienced shooter can do a lot of damage regardless of the action of a gun (revolver, semiautomatic, bolt or lever action, etc) or the amount of ammunition it holds. Pretending otherwise is wishful thinking.
- All semiautomatics fire one round per pull of the trigger. No exceptions. Suggesting otherwise is a lie.
Finally, there are these few thoughts. If you support the calls we’ve had lately suggesting any number of things, including repealing the Second Amendment, secretly suspending it or suggesting due process is the reason people are dying, allow me to suggest you have neither regard for liberty nor an understanding of it. If you truly believe in banning and confiscating firearms, do you truly believe gun owners will stand by as such things are done? Do you truly believe there would not be refusal to do such things by local, state and federal law enforcement officers (as many in New York have already done in regards to the “SAFE” Act)? Do you really think a huge number of military people would not desert if they received orders to do such a thing? I’m a retired Navy officer. I assure you, many would desert. Above and beyond the always civilian gun owners who have never served under arms in either law enforcement or the military (but who nonetheless often have received a great deal of ongoing professional training), do you really wish for a face off with those for whom guns are an essential part of their day to day lives? There are estimated to be somewhere between 80,000,000 and 100,000,000 legal gun owners in this country, with a total number of perhaps 300,000,000 guns. So, can we avoid further silly talk of confiscation…please?
You want to greatly reduce the number of crimes committed with guns? Great! So do gun owners. Do you want to keep terrorists from acquiring guns? Fantastic! So do gun owners. Do us a favor as we discuss how to bring those things about. Do not lie to us, do not misrepresent your intentions and do not threaten us with things that simply won’t work or that you have every reason to know gun owners simply will not tolerate.