Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grimms tales

"They need to change the subject" writes Fred Grimm in the Miami Herald as though anyone who doesn't quite share his assumptions and conclusions  or ill informed and breathless opinions,  must be of an ilk.  It's easier than to address real concerns after all. That might require him to address my concerns and yours rather than to abuse a straw man.

"Gun advocates — a polite term after the seventh mass murder of 2012 — would rather not fumble around on TV just now, trying to invent a sane-sounding rationale that pretends to find civic good in the easy commercial availability of military weaponry" he continues.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/17/3146597/gun-advocates-just-change-the.html#emlnl=Five_Minute_Herald#storylink=cpy

Suddenly everyone is an expert on guns and gun law,  but although I'm hardly a "gun advocate" I do advocate the truth and the truth is that although the police and the military do use some autoloading pistols, real military assault rifles have been banned since 1937 and are not "easily available" at your local Bass Pro Shop or Wal-Mart. That dearly beloved ban left store shelves loaded with extended magazines and the kind of weapons it didn't actually ban.  I'll just assume that my Grimm brother here is as ignorant as most journalists who think that BA in journalism grants poetic license and instant expertise on all matters and not just someone looking for ratings by reaching into that bucket of breathless hyperbole and  cheap drama and pulling out plums about "high velocity bullets" without actually knowing anything about ballistics.  Would the victims have been better off being hit by slow moving .45 ACP slugs or faster moving .22 magnums?  Not really.

So am I changing the subject or is he avoiding honest questions  by lining up straw men like -- well like targets in a shooting gallery?   Is he being honest by asserting that unless you first accept his solution to the problem and don't ask any inconvenient questions you're either being a "gun advocate" or changing the subject?  Well no, if you ask me.  I think I'm right on topic.

No, what matters is the emotion he can cram into another tired repetition or our ritual morning and artisinal outrage -- and that's what sells papers. What apparently doesn't matter is a rational approach to school security.  What's apparent to me is not some culture of violence and video games led by the black robed evil ones at the NRA, but the same kind of tunnel vision that made us spend a trillion dollars on airport security in response to another tragedy that could have been prevented for a few hundred bucks per plane by installing heavier and lockable cabin doors.

So am I changing the subject by insisting that we read the "assault weapon ban" before wanting it back or that we might look at our existing gun control laws  with an eye to seeing what has worked and what hasn't?  Am I avoiding a discussion or is he replacing discussion with stereotypes and  straw men who can't fight back?

So am I "gun advocate" even though I'm not promoting more gun ownership and instead promoting a wider, more informed look at security?  Or is Grimm a greedy, opportunistic hack looking for ratings?  Your answer is more likely to describe you than me, sad to say, because this never has been a rational discussion about protecting the public but a battle of fairy tales and illusions where pragmatism and fact do fear to tread.

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