Sunday, July 31, 2005

From the Guardian UK: Lawyers Guns and Money

I wanted to start doing something a little different on the weekends, so I took yesterday off to shift gears and make a plan on not only this website but also the future of my own writing efforts, both fiction and non-fiction. The general idea on the weekends will be to move away from commenting on the news in a generally angry fashion and focus more on news stories and how they fit into the social weave that we live in. Friday's entry was sort of a warmup for the idea, but it was pretty embryonic.

Today, I'm probably going to lose some of my Lefty credibility, but I want to bitch about something that liberals get on about that I just don't get: gun control. Yes, I understand the statistics that show that some forms of gun control cut down on violent crime (though it's practically impossible to show a direct causal link between them). The problem is that it's impossible to measure what the influence is of certain elements in violent crime. Is it the guns themselves? Is it the media? Is it poor parenting and role models? Is it the fact that many people feel they have no choice but to turn to violent crime to survive?

Whatever the cause (and there are individual situations where each are probably valid - there is no cure-all), I think that, until you address the fact that children are seeing incredibly violent imagery without their parents (NOT THE GOVERNMENT!) providing proper context (as opposed to not just showing it to them at all - I think that's just as dangerous), as well as the crushing poverty that so many Americans live in, and the non-stop treadmill that American life has become, you will not see an elimination of violent crime.

Regardless, I think it's important that some form of firearms remain legal. The potential for abuse of the citizenry that exists when guns are taken away from them is just too great; after all, that’s what the country was based on, and I absolutely believe that the founders intended the general citizenry to be armed. To me, that should temper some of the attempts to legislate gun control.

Okay, then, with my beliefs generally established, what follows is a piece that probably shows me what Conservatives see when they look at how Liberals speak about their beliefs. Quite a piece, this one. What he's bitching about here is that the Senate voted to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits regarding violent crimes carried out with their weapons. I'm not sure where I stand on Elisa Barnes' allegations - they seem pretty outlandish, but not totally out of the realm of possibility. All of this is ancillary to my main point, however, and that is the bombastic language used throughout the article. I’ve bolded inflammatory language in a passage from the heart of the article to show what I’m talking about.

Barnes thought it was just too convenient for gun makers to blame the criminal alone. Through investigation and statistical analysis she concluded that sales to criminals are a much-valued - if unpublicized - market segment sought out and provisioned by these upstanding manufacturers.

Her calculations are compelling. Gun companies dumped
(this one is particularly insidious and obscure, but it certainly evokes a negative image in my mind)several million weapons into outlets in states with few curbs on purchases, super-saturating the legal market so that excess would flow up the "Iron Pipeline" to meet black market demand in New York and other big cities.

I bolded this one because I want to see some articles to bolster this claim – this is incredibly bold and I’d be very surprised if such a thing or tactic exists. This is the meat of my argument with her point of view.

Like the company that sells cigarette rolling papers in quantities far outstripping sales of legal tobacco, gun manufacturers have a nod-and-wink understanding of where their products end up. Their market models cannot account for half the gun sales in loose-law states such as Georgia.

Now see, here I can’t even understand the logic. Are they alleging that rolling-paper manufacturers flood the market until they flow up a black market pipeline? Or this just an OMG DRUGS argument? Because it doesn’t really work.

Anyway, that’s just a small sample of the language and logic faults. Okay, yes, I know what you’re saying, “But it’s an editorial! Of course it’s supposed to be inflammatory!” Inflammatory? Sure. Illogical? Well, if you want to weaken your argument, I guess? Anyway, I have to admit that I see the ugliness that Conservatives sometimes complain about showing through here, and I have to say I’m not too fond of it. I spoke about framing the other day, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the Left running with it after all. I don’t know. I’m not sure what to say about this. I’d encourage you to read the article and make up your own mind on it.

t r u t h o u t - Greg Palast | Lawyers Guns and Money

Posted by crimnos @ 4:10 PM