Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To those who think I'm wrong to claim that right-wingers' lives are ruled by fear...

...I present this headline.

Addendum: Factcheck.org exposes the falsehoods behind the NRA's fear campaign regarding Obama's views on guns. Still, you gotta admit the gun lobby's come up with a great con to boost sales, hasn't it? Take a page from religion's playbook: exploiting fear and uncertainty always sells.


  1. At least someone's making money in this shitty economy.

  2. But it's my right to own an assault rifle and sexy accessories made from brushed aluminum and vulcanized rubber; it's my right to overreact when some child knocks on the door; it's my right to own enough weapons to arm a village despite the fact I have yet to evolve more than two arms, and don't believe in evolution; and it's my right to scream and yell about my rights and jump to conclusions when anyone raises legitimate questions on gun control for the safety of those with underdeveloped trigger fingers

  3. FrodoSaves:

    As I understand it from a lawyer in the family, yes, the second amendment does give you the right to do all those things (except for the screaming and yelling part, which is a right granted by the first amendment).

    Yes, the authors made their intention clear with the "well-regulated militia" clause, but apparently that has no legal weight. I don't like it, but that's my understanding of the law. Presumably gun restrictions like bans on assault rifles fall into the same category as shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

    So for Obama to take away people's guns would involve repealing the 2nd amendment (not bloody likely) or introducing legislation like the assault weapon ban (much more likely). But I don't think that's what these people are afraid of. Rather, I suspect they've come to believe their own paranoid propaganda.

  4. This is one of the reasons I stopped identifying myself as a liberal and more of a libertarian.

    They are buying guns because with Democratic control of all three branches of government there are going to be some ineffective, emotion-based prohibitions on arbitrary firearms. In this case, I really think it is the liberals who are wrong in this case and fueled by irrational fear. The goal is to reduce gun violence, but prohibition never works (guns are no exception). These measures only criminalize and penalize legal gun owners while having very little effect on criminals.

    Frodosaves is a good example. First, he misuses the term "assault rifle" for an emotional appeal (assault rifles' primary characteristic is fully automatic fire--a civilian semi-automatic "military-style" firearms does not an assault rifle make). And another emotional appeal with the story about the child.

    Obviously, people who support gun rights are hicks who don't believe in evolution. However, he is completely right about your right to scream and yell about your rights.

    And I completely agree with effective forms of gun control. I am Canadian so I am well acquainted with lots of completely brain dead, ineffective gun control. Most liberal thought about gun control is fueled by fear and ignorance (which is betrayed by the terminology they use--I actually have about 9 books about gun control from the university library right now, and I have to chuckle at one anti-gun book that is entitled "Every Handgun is Aimed at You" which is apparently a great example of fear-based propaganda).

  5. "There really hasn't been a lot of clear direction on where he supports it, although he says he supports the Second Amendment."

    ....wait what? There hasn't been clear direction on whether he supports it, but he says he supports it?

  6. Shane,

    You're right, it was an emotional appeal, and I suppose it illustrates a vivid problem. The nature of guns is that their use and misuse frequently cause death, typically an emotional subject. However, I'm sure there are plenty of cases where a gun could have prevented a death/rape etc, say in the case of a robbery. My point is that any attempt to provide examples for gun control theory will oscillate between extremes of use and non-use. I suspect that emotively neutral examples are hard to come by.

    And you're half right about the assault rifle. True, the civilian versions (AR-15 etc) lack automatic fire, but they don't lack 30 round magazines. The gunman in that article I linked to fired 29 rounds. Surely this is a very literal example of 'overkill'.

    The point of my facetious rant was that the two main purposes of owning guns in the States are hunting an self-defense. Obviously self-defense is important, but it can lead to situations like the above, and, as I said, guns have a habit of causing death or serious injury in most cases. In the UK, self-defense must be proportionate to the anticipated assault. The number of assaults to which death is a proportionate defense tends to be quite limited. And finally, as regards hunting, I'm sure you will agree with me that it is a transparent banner to hide behind when it comes to AR-15s, AKs, Uzis, and handguns.

    You're right, there is a lot of liberal fear mongering. But what it comes down to is weighing up the risk of having to legitimately use a gun in self-defense, versus the risk of accidentally harming or being harmed by the same gun. I don't think that balance has been struck yet.

  7. Shane, you're simply assuming that there will be sweeping irrational anti-gun laws, just as the gun-buying fanatics are, even though gun laws are well and truly near the bottom of Obama's to-do list. (He has a shitty economy and a shitty war to deal with first, and that will likely take all his energy and then some.) If such ineffective laws were to be proposed, I'd be critical of them myself. But I hope your libertarianism doesn't blind you to the fact that a bunch of people rushing out to stock up on guns right now because the barbarians and their lawyers are at the gates are certainly being irrational and fearful. You propose hypothetical behavior on the part of stereotypical liberal anti-gun legislators. These right-wingers are actually living up to their stereotype right now by going on arsenal-stocking binges! I suspect a lot of them are the same ones who stocked up on canned food and batteries for when the world was going to grind to a halt with Y2K.

    I'm not anti-gun, and I don't deny that there are foolish people on the anti-gun side. But come on, your hairsplitting about fully or semi-automatic assault rifles is silly. One shot will kill a person just as dead. And I have a feeling that family of the child who was killed think of the incident as slightly more serious than an "emotional appeal" to be dismissed out of hand when discussions of gun safety come up. Deny it all you like, but "rights" notwithstanding, we have a real problem with guns in this country. And the problem isn't the guns themselves so much as the fact too many of them are in the hands of dipshits, yahoos and reactionary wackaloons. And then there are the criminals, who steal their guns from...guess who.

  8. I know people who, because of the economic decline, have inched toward buying a gun. This makes more sense to me--that people might like to have a gun if we enter a depression and people get desperate.

    Perhaps part of me thinks that Obama's election alone would be the source of a surge in gun sales. I wonder if there was a similar surge when Clinton was elected.

    Something seems fishy.

  9. There is more than one way, to cultivate fear, unfortunately.

    Just keep hammering away at that self-worth. Even worse, look at the side of the blog. This woman is a mental health nurse.

  10. @reynold
    There is more than one way, to cultivate fear, unfortunately.

    I liked some of the comments on that page, though.

  11. OR....OR....or....people are simply exercising thier right to own guns in protest of their candidate losing the election. I don't think this implies AT ALL that people are scared of Obama or anyone else. I don't think this has anything todo with fear, but rather a protest....a childish protest, but still a protest.

  12. I wonder if the guns are being purchased out of fear, or anger.

  13. Tony,

    I don't see that this is a protest. Last week, after the election, I overheard some coworkers talking in the cubicle next to mine, at work.

    One woman stated she was going to follow her son's advice and go buy another pistol because Obama was going to ban all firearms (cause, you know, he's king and all and can do that). She said (in hushed tones) "I don't care what people say...that man is a terrorist!" then she actually used the phrase "these are the end times".

    I don't think this is protest. It's hysteria over a fear that Obama will wield his godlike presidential powers and strip everyone of their firearms while simultaneously making the "terrorist fist jab" the new salute to the flag.

  14. To be fair, everyone in the country attributes much more power to the president than he actually has. I mean, look at the debates and the promises that were made during the running, 90% of what both candidates promisedc is completely outside of their jurisdiction of granted powers.

    I do think the rush is because people are afraid that gun laws will be made that will limit their ownership of guns. What make me a bit curious is what they will do if such laws are passed.

    "Nya NYa I bought my assault riffle before it was illegal to own them so it doesn't count!"


  15. Anecdote as evidence aside, there is a major flaw in your argument.

    Gun-control may be a low priority for Obama, but that means roughly dick. Obama is not the only person who can introduce legislation. The odds of someone in congress putting forth a bill (or rider) to restrict firearms in some way is pretty good. If such a bill passes, then Obama may well sign it.

    Bush's veto power was a safeguard against such a thing because his stance on gun rights was quite clear and strong. Without that veto power being a lock, it is reasonable for people to suspect an increased likelihood of restrictions.

  16. And why is the ability to own lethal firearms a right on par with freedom of speech, exactly?

  17. From a legal standpoint? Because both are guaranteed in the bill of rights.

  18. Unethical Chum Tin: I've heard right-wingers say the same thing, exactly. They have this paranoid idea that Obama will be able to make laws by fiat, like a monarch.

    It's possible that some left-wing gun-hating legislator may try to introduce some kind of Constitutionally-dubious sweeping gun ban. But I don't see such a thing even making it all the way to Obama's desk without getting buried in committee or stonewalled by a filibuster or something.

    Seriously, people, banning guns just isn't on Obama's radar. It's harder than you might think to get laws that monumental in scope passed. If two terms of Bush, with all the power the GOP wielded for most of the last 8 years, didn't result in the repeal of Roe v. Wade, then the likelihood that one or even two terms of Obama would see laws repealing something enshrined in the Bill of Rights is frankly zero.

  19. Martin:
    They have this paranoid idea that Obama will be able to make laws by fiat, like a monarch.

    You mean, they think Obama might invoke the Unitary Executive idea, make himself and Biden accountable to no one, and use signing statements to ignore anything congress does? Where could anyone possibly have gotten an idea like that?

    But seriously, I think you're right: there's no way the 2nd amendment will be repealed (or significantly weakened) any time soon.

  20. 'From a legal standpoint? Because both are guaranteed in the bill of rights.'

    Yes but how is right to own guns anywhere near the level of nobility and necessity of freedom of expression?


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