It’s time to throw my hat into the gun-control debate. Truthfully, I’m not keen on the arguments from either side of the debate. The pro-gun reform advocates have some very good and logical points; however, they usually land on deaf ears or are defeated by the experience of the opposing camp.
I’d like to present 3 arguments to which anti-gun reform advocates can’t possibly answer without indicting themselves and/or their country. It’s a way of approaching the debate from a purely logical and slightly unorthodox perspective. Let’s dive right in.
“The real issue is mental illness”. You hear it from people on the left, center, and right. It’s one of those few things that pro and anti-gun reform advocates strangely agree on. I think it’s bullshit. Here’s why:
Mass murderers frequently aren’t particularly shy about the motives behind what they do — the nature of the crime they commit is attention-seeking, an attempt to get news coverage for their cause, to use one local atrocity to create fear within an entire population. (According to the dictionary, by the way, this is called “terrorism,” but we only ever seem to use that word for the actions of a certain kind — by which I mean a certain color — of mass killer.)
Dylann Roof straight-up told his victims, before shooting them, that he was doing it to defend “our country” from black people “taking over.” He told a woman that he was intentionally sparing her life so she could tell people what he did.
Almost immediately after and across the spectrum we’ve heard the same, tired refrain of “The real issue is mental illness.”
Here is the problem:
We refer to “Mental illness” as the way our minds can distort the ideas we get from the world, but the ideas still come from somewhere.
Here we have a man who wore symbols of solidarity with apartheid regimes and proudly waved a flag which, no matter how you twist the argument, represents the oppression of black America.
As horrific as Roof’s crime was, the crimes that occurred over decades of apartheid rule were far, far worse, and committed by thousands of statesmen, bureaucrats, law enforcement officials and regular persons just like you and I.
Were all of them also “mentally ill”?
Let’s try out some other questions:
Was the United States “mentally ill” for implementing and supporting apartheid, both at home and abroad?
Were our founding fathers “mentally ill” for enslaving a chunk of its population?
Was the Confederacy “mentally ill” for risking their lives in order to enslave another?
Are preachers “mentally ill” for denying the human rights of most of the world’s population?
Were the writers of our cherished holy books “mentally ill” for advocating death to millions for a number of ridiculous reasons?
Was Henry Ford “mentally ill” for holding extreme anti-Jewish views?
Are certain corporations “mentally-ill” for producing symbols of oppression for a profit?
Very few, if any, would answer yes to any of the above questions. The US claims to be a power for good in this world. The faces of our founding fathers are in our national currency. Confederate monuments are all over this country. Our preachers are to be respected for their charitable work. Corporations have more rights than regular human beings and the President takes the oath of office on the fucking Bible!!!
Ford’s name is slapped across most vehicles on the American open road, yet he wasn’t the only person to think the Jews were a global demonic conspiracy out to enslave the world. At one point in history a large portion of the Western world bought into that idea and killed millions of people because of it.
I ask again, were they all “mentally ill”?
Hundreds of years of history in which an entire country’s economy was set up around chaining up millions of black people, forcing them to work and shooting them if they get out of line? Well, that’s just history.
Even when violence stems purely from delusion in the mind of someone who’s genuinely totally detached from reality, that violence seems to have a way of finding its way to culturally approved targets.
Yeah, most white supremacists aren’t “crazy” enough to go on a shooting spree, most misogynists aren’t “crazy” enough to murder women who turn them down, most anti-government zealots aren’t “crazy” enough to shoot up or blow up government buildings and most Christians aren’t “crazy” enough to bomb abortion clinics.
HOWEVER, “crazy” ones always seem to have a respectable counterpart pumping out the rhetoric that ends up in the “crazy” one’s manifesto – drawing crosshairs on liberals and calling abortion doctors mass murderers – who, once an atrocity happens, then immediately throws the “crazy” person under the bus for taking their words too seriously, too literally.
I need not bring up the case of religious extremists… because, you know, those who take the word of God literally are extreme fundamentalists and those who ignore some of God’s commands are the moderates. You figure that one out.
I’m all for the “mental illness” argument, but only if we apply it correctly. I’m going to say this to try to bring the point across: Dylan Roof’s actions pale in comparison to most of the world’s so-called heroes! You wanna use the “mental illness” excuse? Let’s starts at the source and apply it to men of influence.
It’s disturbingly hypocritical to call a person “deranged”, “crazy” and “mentally ill” but not apply the same labels to persons who deserve it just as much.
Let’s put it this way: If we cannot call the American founding fathers or our religious leaders “mentally ill” then no one should be able to call any of these mass-murders as such. Period.
The truth that we love to talk about individuals’ mental illness so we can avoid talking about the biggest, scariest problem of all: societal illness.
So do us all a favor and stop using this phrase. It’s dishonest, hypocritical and has no place in the gun-control debate.
Most anti-gun reform advocates defend gun rights as a bulwark against government tyranny. This is an especially colorful argument with many responses ranging from the intentions of the 2nd Amendment to the futile fight against the most powerful army in the history of this planet.
Just like my “mental illness” argument above, we need to step back a minute as ask the deeper questions:
Just how much tyranny are the anti-gun reform advocates waiting for to put their money where their mouths are?
With Government help, corporations have achieved more rights than the regular person. With Government help, Wall-street tanked our economy, made millions unemployed and kept the cash. With Government help, certain institutions have become so powerful, that they must continue to steal from citizens of this nation in order to keep the country afloat.
Not tyrannical enough?
Half of the US population lives in or on the border line of poverty. Political office is assured by how many votes you can buy. Discussions outside the 2-party system are suppressed and If you reveal the truth about government corruption you will be persecuted and most likely jailed.
Not tyrannical enough?
The Government routinely spies on our private lives without our consent and if ever revealed, the whistle blower will be automatically found guilty of crimes against the government. Similarly, if the crimes of a government are ever exposed, you will also be found guilty, defamed and jailed.
Not tyrannical enough?
Non-violent protests are routinely suppressed by force. Our hard earned tax dollars are spent on wars which we never vote on and to support oppressive dictatorships around the world.
Not tyrannical enough? Then, please, give me your definition of tyranny.
Government tyranny already exists. It always has. The tyranny is so formidable, that it’s perceived not to exists at all. In other words, the Government tyranny that pro-gun advocates fear will never happen because it does not need to. The Government will continue to do whatever it wants to do regardless of your stockpile of guns.
It’s painfully obvious that the tyranny pro-gun advocates fear is specific to their guns. While it may be true that tyranny on gun ownership will not be tolerated, general tyranny is perfectly acceptable.
Let’s put it this way: If you haven’t already marched on Pennsylvania Ave. it’s safe to assume the following:
- Your only concern are the guns,
- You’re oblivious to what tyranny actually looks like or
- Your definition of tyranny is not based on reality, but some Hollywood movie script.
The ruthless dictatorships that presumably pro-gun advocates fear would kill (pardon the pun) to establish the passive tyranny so often ignored in the more developed nations. Dictators require violence. Strong liberal democracies like ours only require that you be entertained.
Keep worshiping those gun rights fellas! Don’t mind the tyranny.
Good Guy with a Gun
This is my favorite argument. We’ve all heard it before: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. The statement is brilliant in its simplicity; however, it terribly short-sighted and assumes a horrible secret truth.
There are many great points to counter this argument. This article does a pretty good job of covering all the basics.
I’d like to address what the phrase assumes. The only possible conclusion that can be drawn from this argument is that everyone should have a gun. Plain and simple. If not everyone, at least teachers, custodians, civil servants, regular workers and those types of persons that make our society function.
Fair enough? OK. This is what it really means.
It means that we have accepted to live in a society so dangerous that it requires my kids’ teacher to be armed. Think about this. It rightly assumes that our country is more dangerous than Mexico, the Congo and Iraq COMBINED!
This is the U.S., not Mexico. This is the U.S., not Honduras. This is the U.S., not the Congo. Get my point? If we want to be perceived as being as dangerous as those countries, then so be it. But that is exactly what arming everyone means.
Imagine a European who is thinking about moving to the U.S. Almost assuredly, this person will consider moving to a country so dangerous that all its citizens carry deadly weapons… you know… for just in case.
This is the absurdity which this argument rests on. Are any of the pro-gun advocates ready to admit that the U.S. is just as dangerous as these war-torn nations? Shit, not even in Mexico are people calling for teachers to be armed. Think about that for minute.
As far as I can tell, the “good guy with a gun argument” is an embarrassing admission of such a comparison. I doubt anyone repeating this phrase would admit to this, so I suggest we come up with a better way to “stop the bad guy with a gun” unless we’re willing to compare ourselves with Iraq!
My purpose here was to tackle the usual arguments from a different perspective. Obviously, I didn’t present any solutions. I just needed to remove these tired and old arguments from the conversation so we can move toward a more intelligent debate. Hope they help.
Thanks for reading,
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