Why We Have No Discourse

One of the things I’ve heard lately is how “we ain’t go us no discourse” about guns and gun control.  

We needs us some discourse, but that summabich NRA is keeping us from getting us some sensible gun control!

Well, crap . . . let me go see what the NRA is saying . . .

. . . hmmm . . . I agree with that . . . well, maybe . . . no, that’s probably not gonna happen . . . OK, I can live with that . . . no, they are wrong there.

OK, let me go look at what all these smart people are saying about gun control.  After all, they are not ideologues . . . many are skeptics, they are knowledgeable on multiple subjects, and are at ease discussing things, from local and world politics to arts, science, and philosophy.

. . . er . . . what?  . . . no, you’re  . . . What?  . . . look, you’re quoting discredited . . . WHAT?

I am not exaggerating . . . it’s exactly like that.  I won’t go into all the details.  Anyone can go to these sites and read their opinions, and I stress opinions, regarding guns and gun owners.

But, my title asks a question . . . why we have no discourse.   The answer is evident, at least to me.  “Discourse” by gun control proponents begins with this statement.

I don’t see why anyone needs to own a gun.”  

See, to my limited understanding of “discourse”, that is not an auspicious beginning to a discussion.  

Worse yet, when I go into why I want a gun, and why I peripherally think there is a chance one day I might need it, and why if I ever did need  it, I would much prefer having one than not, they look at me (figuratively speaking – these discussions are typically Internet based), and tell me I am wrong/ignorant/uninformed/etc.

So I explain how I much prefer that I will never need it, and hope I will go my whole life without ever needing a gun, but experiences in my life, my understanding of human nature, my understanding of things like probabilities (odds, for them who don’t have time to look up the word), and a desire to keep my family and myself safe, how all those things add up to the positive side of the gun ownership question, at least for me.

Emilio, you ignorant fool!!  It is obvious to us you are misinterpreting all the lessons of your long life!  It’s so obvious, that we are going to ignore it all, and ask again . . . Why do you feel you need a gun?  It’s your manhood, isn’t it?  Well, a magnifying glass is a much cheaper and safer solution to your obvious insecurities!

You know, about at this point I start looking toward the NRA site  . . . they seem very reasonable.  

Well, I say, you are entitled to your opinion, but I beg to differ.  Have a nice day.  . . . what?  slaughtering innocents?  Who, me?   Are you nuts?  What does me buying a gun have to do with  . . . What do you mean, you think guns should be banned?  Assault rifles?  They are already banned.  What?  That’s a customized rifle; how is that an assault rifle?  A pistol grip?  It makes it easier to handle, why?  

Wait . . . I can buy this rifle, but if I change the stock, and add a pistol grip, it becomes an assault rifle?  What do you mean “yes”?  

What was that about adjustable stocks?  . . . are you serious?  You know how much it costs to custom-fit a gun?  A cheap sliding stock lets me adjust it for whomever wants to shoot it; tall, short, and in-between; how does an adjustable stock turn my rifle into an assault weapon?

What do you mean “it just does?”  Look, I’m going to leave now.  Bye.

What?  What do you mean “I am more likely to shoot myself or family member than use it in defense of me and my family?  Wait . . . having a gun in the home makes it 43 times more likely to hurt myself or my family?  

OK, given the proliferation of guns in the last 20 years, there should have been a veritable slaughter of innocents . . . did I miss the news?   Who?   Arthur Kellermann . . . hmmm . . . it says:

Several academic papers have been published severely questioning Kellerman’s methodology, selective capture of data, and refusal to provide raw data from his gun-risk studies so as to substantiate his methods and result validity. While Kellerman has backed away from his previous statement that people are “43 times more likely” to be murdered in their own home if they own and keep a gun in their home, he still proposes that the risk is 2.7 times higher. The critiques included Henry E. Schaffer,[6] J. Neil Schuman, and criminologists Gary Kleck,[7] Don Kates, and others[8].

Hmmm . . . so, it’s not 43, but 2.7?  Wait . . . what’s this?

Critics of Kellermann’s 1993 paper responded with a number of objections: (e.g. the guns/homicide association could simply reflect the fact that people already at risk of homicide are more likely to acquire guns for self-protection; the study population was urban and therefore higher risk in general, compared to suburban or rural areas), and (e.g. that members of rival gangs were tabulated as “family member or intimate acquaintance”; that the data was cherry-picked.

Hey, even as I looked that up, I crossed paths with other data . . . gun violence is the lowest in 50 years.  So, we’ve had an explosion of gun ownership, and we’ve got the lowest number of gun deaths since the 50’s.  

Were I not well-versed in statistics, I might conclude guns are the cause of the decrease.  However, I’m smart enough to know statistics are not an indication of cause.  

The National Research Council, in recent congressional testimony, stated:

In summary, the committee concludes that existing research studies and data include a wealth of descriptive information on homicide, suicide, and firearms, but, because of the limitations of existing data and methods, do not credibly demonstrate a causal relationship between the ownership of firearms and the causes or prevention of criminal violence or suicide. (my emphasis)

OK, you know what?  When in doubt, I go with common sense.  As a responsible, handsome, and some say “pretty smart” person, I’m going to make my own assessment regarding me owning a gun.  So, have a great day, and  . . .

. . . what?  Guns cause crimes?  Our “gun culture” puts us at risk?

OK, I got to tell you.  At the face of it, that just sounds like a good argument for putting guns into the hands of responsible, law-abiding people . . . people like me.  You have convinced me; I’m going to go out and buy some serious weapons.

Why?  Well, I have met people like you.  You think you know better, and because you think so, you are likely to act on it, despite what I, or others might say.   Next thing I know, you are likely to try and ban my guns, or worse yet, confiscate them.  

What?  You have no intention of confiscating my guns?  With 310 million guns in civilian hands, it would be impractical?

Tell me, if that’s so, why are we even having this discussion?

Leave me alone, while I go and push for strict enforcement of existing gun laws.  


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