Thursday, December 20, 2012

(Missing the) Point - Counterpoint: Gun Restriction Laws

James Wigderson decides to join in the debate about whether there should be new gun laws in order to prevent further horrors like the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 innocent people, 20 of them very young children, were slain by a mad man with access to several high powered handguns and an assault rifle.

Not being able to defend the right wing's love of guns, Wigderson settles for attacking a straw man:
None of these bans would have had any effect on the Connecticut school shooting. They would not have prevented the attack on the Sikh temple earlier this year. They would not have prevented the shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield. The proposed gun control measures would not have prevented any mass shootings, any more than declaring the schools in Connecticut gun-free zones. The worst school massacre in American history was in Bath Township, Michigan in 1927. The killer used bombs, not guns. Timothy McVeigh used a fertilizer bomb in Oklahoma to kill 168 people. The same day as the school shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed 23 children at a school in China.

We’re a can-do society, and we believe there’s a solution to every problem. But the problem is that there are evil people in this world intent on doing evil things. “Doing something” that is completely ineffective only gives a false sense of security, and we should expect our leaders to know better.
Wigderson is really stretching with his arguments.

He cites a couple of examples of horrendous incidents, but turns a blind eye to the fact that gun deaths are on a pace to exceed traffic fatalities by 2015.

He also cites the man who stabbed 23 children but willfully omits the fact that not one of the children died.

What Wigderson is doing is trying to mislead his readers from the real reason why there is such a push to restrict the proliferation of guns. To counter Wigderson's straw man argument, I would refer the gentle reader to Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now:
Thirty-four have died in Wisconsin from mass shootings since 2004.

Meteor. Brookfield. Delevan. Crandon. Oak Creek. And Brookfield again. Communities scarred, lives lost, survivors inconsolable.

Our national epidemic of gun violence added 26 innocent souls in Newtown. That 20 children could be gunned down in a shattering instant at the hands of one madman, is inconceivable in a nation governed by laws and reason.

And as our nation mourns this latest unspeakable mass gun violence and a call for action roars nationwide to stop these far-too-common acts of mass random violence, the silence has been deafening from those charged with running the state of Wisconsin.

As President Obama has said, laws alone won't eliminate evil. But we can, and must, hold our elected officials accountable and demand action making it harder for evil people to get the weapons of mass murder used in the recent, unfathomable acts of violence perpetrated on worshippers in a temple, mothers at the spa, holiday shoppers in a mall and children and their teachers in their grade school.
No one is arguing that the gun laws will stop evil. No one is arguing that gun laws will prevent all future gun deaths. But there are too many gun deaths now and we don't have to make it as easy or even easier for the country to continue down this path to ruination.

Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." What Wigderson is arguing for is just that, doing nothing. And that's after people like Walker and the Republican legislators actually helped the evil along.

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