On Penises and Pistols

(I was going to go for “On Dicks and Derringers,” but nah.  Kids might be watching.)

The anti-gun crowd never ceases to amaze disgust me. I ran across yet again another festering pile of excrement on WordPress masquerading as intelligent discussion and in that cyberspace cowpie was another manifestation of the anti-gunners’ toilet wit. They once again began equating guns with penises.

In all the compiled blogs and works I’ve read, none of the gun owners seem to be fixated on genitalia. They, like I, focus more on legal issues like rights or legislation. However, without fail, the first mentions of manly members comes from the left. Why is that?

They almost constantly bring up the Freudian equation of guns as a phallic substitute and without fail, no matter how they try to disguise their faux intellectualism, they’ll fall into the “guns-are-penises” cliché before the midpoint of their rant. The most recent would-be scholar, Blogdramedy, whips it out in her fifth paragraph and carries on with it for quite some time after that. A helpful tip: sophistry is counterproductive. Another helpful tip: if you want to be taken seriously as a debater, quit blocking posters who use your own arguments against you, as Blogdramedy did. But since you’re preaching to the choir of gun-control proponents, rationality and fairness are not only not required, but anathema to your agenda.

Freud was a psychoanalyst, not a psychologist. His theories weren’t based on facts. They had no scientific basis at all, but were rather individual opinions—and projections of his own twisted psyche. How can I prove that his “work” was not scientific? Easy enough: his scam consisted of “diagnosing” people using their dreams, associations, and infantile sexuality (pedophile alert!) based entirely on his own perceptions and interpretations. There was no outside reference. He set himself up as the sole arbiter of what someone was suffering from. His work can neither be proved or disproved using scientific fact or finding and is itself unscientific. Research his methods of operation. Person X is “diagnosed” as having complex A, and the person agrees; Freud’s model of diagnosis is proven. Person X denies having complex A, and he is diagnosed as repressing it, thus “proving” Freud’s model. Do you honestly believe anyone basing their arguments on this debunked pseudoscience is able to form their own rational arguments?

Guns are not a substitute for penises, at least not in the minds of the rational. (I exclude the anti-gun crowd from that definition.) Do you gun-control proponents know the difference between a penis and a gun? I doubt it, but hey, as long as you’re only occupying the dark, dismal world between your own ears, go right ahead.

Did anybody notice anything else odd about the “gun=penis” crowd?

Yes, so did I. They’re all gung-ho to use Freud’s “science” to denigrate gun owners, but refuse to acknowledge the implications of their own sad logic. Their fear of guns equates to a fear of penises, doesn’t it? Isn’t it telling that the men of the gun-control movement have serious problems with their own genitals? Or perhaps that’s why the women of the anti-gun crowd hate guns: it reminds them of some illusory power they lack, or perhaps it’s a manifestation of the unconscious hatred they have for men.

Wow. The gun-control contingent consists of emasculated men and closeted, penis-hating lesbians. Who knew?

But we’re not using Freud’s nonsense to cast aspersions or justify our viewpoints, are we? At least, I’m not. I’m perfectly capable of proving the wrongness of any anti-gun argument posited, and all of them to date have been, and better yet, I can do it and have done it using plain facts. What we see with the hoplophobic demographic is simply an inability to grasp obvious truths without lapsing into incessant ad hominem tirades. All they have is name-calling, and insults do not make an argument unless you’re in kindergarten. To date, I’ve seen nothing posted by any anti-gunner to explain why, how, or if banning guns will be effective; why or how gun registration could possibly reduce crime; or how they could believe the utter, inane fallacy that by passing just one more law, all gun crime will magically disappear.

We’re not in kindergarten any more, hoplophobes. Quit living like it and try to quit arguing like it.

And I believe I’ve had enough mention of the word “penis” for about the next eight years.

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This May be One of the Root Causes of Anti-Gun Hysteria.

Sometimes I don’t know why I try, but the urge to educate people still rears its ugly head.  Nearly every time I try, I run into obstacles.

Scratch that.  I run into the same obstacle, just a different facet each time.  It’s immaturity.  Without fail, there is an underlying current of immaturity, an inability to accept responsibility on a personal level or assign blame on the same basis, or even better (or worse–your mileage may vary) a bizarre tendency to personify guns as having their own personalities or agendas or as being some kind of all-powerful corrupter.

Look around on CNN, MSNBC, Huffington Post, or any other anti-gun, ultra-leftist site and you’ll see other examples of a similar mindset, some more extreme than others.  The omnipresent theme of “getting rid of guns will reduce crime” permeates their blogs and editorials more perniciously and more offensively than a fart in the Vatican.  I’m going to take a poke at a couple of them and you tell me if they’re familiar.

“Guns kill people!”  I love this one.  I just got done arguing with someone on Disqus who believes that because the cause of death on a coroner’s certificate might read “gunshot wound,” the gun is responsible, and also that guns being inanimate objects does not “absolve” them of any “blame.”  He even said it was a stupid statement to say that “guns don’t kill people, people do.”  He went so far as to say, “Nuclear weapons don’t kill people, people do!  Doesn’t sound any nicer, does it?”  (And yes, I know I seem stupid for arguing on Disqus, but I’ll have to take second place: this guy takes first.)  We’re going to dissect this but first we have to have an understanding of what a gun is.

They were originally designed as weapons of war, but also found use as implements of sport and survival.  They are dangerous even if used correctly, but this is a gun in a nutshell: a gun is a machine designed to hold, launch, and direct a projectile at a target. That’s it.  They are not designed to choose a target.  They are incapable of choosing a target.  That’s what you’re there for.  With the trigger pulled and the hammer dropped, the gun will send its bullet, slug, or shot wherever the user is pointing it.  End of argument.  If you happened to be pointing it the wrong way, it’s all on you.

But back to the original topic.  “Guns kill people.”  No.  They can.  They certainly were intended to do so and can definitely be used that way whether they’re a competition-designed gun, a fowling gun, or a service revolver.  However, in an irrefutable twist of reality, no gun has spontaneously committed an act of violence against anyone without someone intentionally or accidentally activating it.  Guns certainly are used in homicides, both justifiable and illegal, against men, women, and children, and always far too often.  However, I do notice that nobody brings out the “knives kill people” argument, or “blunt objects kill people.”  It seems that the purveyors of this argument seem intent on pinning the blame solely on (cue dramatic pause)…THE GUN.

I like that…it’s all scary and stuff when you say it like that.  Maybe I’ll see if WordPress can let me add thunder and lightning to my posts next time.

And if people don’t kill people but guns do, how the hell do you account for so many deaths prior to the invention of guns?  Maybe the Roman Empire expanded just by making people feel bad about themselves or something.

Closely related to this is the argument against concealed carry permits.  Remember the cries of a resurgence of “the Wild West” and there would be shootouts in the streets?  This is similar to the “guns kill people” mantra but is more closely related to the concept of THE GUN as a corrupting influence.  Apparently, Smith & Wesson are the Emperor & Darth Vader and are very strong in the Force!  The theory here is that the average citizen will, after going through his background check, taking the courses, selecting his gun and submitting his fingerprints, will begin arbitrarily shooting up the town at the slightest hint of an insult.  Hasn’t happened, has it?  No, it hasn’t.  In fact, Texas–that oh-so-scary bastion of redneck conservative Christian gunslingers–had a study carried out in 2011.  Guess what?  CCW permit holders were convicted of crimes in just under .19% of all the prosecutions statewide, and about half of those were for crimes not involving guns at all!  Kansas?  Similar story. Minnesota?  Hello.  Anyone from North Carolina reading this?  Here you go.  Florida?  Scroll down after hitting the link, but here’s something for you. Something like .3% of CCW permits have been canceled or revoked.

Hm.  So guns aren’t the corrupting influence we’re led to believe, if statistics and real life are any indicators.  Nor do guns arbitrarily jump up and commit crimes of their own volition.  Well, there’s always, “You don’t need X or Y!”

Now X or Y is either an “assault rifle” or a “high-capacity magazine.”  As has been dealt with more eloquently elsewhere, nobody can own an “assault rifle” without paying prohibitive prices for it then undergoing the BATFE’s background checks, so the term “assault rifle” and its attendant arguments against it are moot.  Also, “high-capacity” is a misnomer.  A 30-round magazine is standard capacity for an AR-15.  Even the word “standard” appears in the nomenclature as a STANAG magazine (“STANAG” meaning “STANdardization AGreement”) so yeah, kids, it’s not out of the ordinary.  Thirty rounds is run of the mill.

The kicker here is that “need” hasn’t got a damn thing to do with anything.  You don’t “need” a lot of things.  You don’t “need” a Corvette when there are Kias about.  You don’t “need” a Rolex when a Timex will do.  You don’t “need” anything but food, water, air, and protection from the elements.  That’s all.

It would seem to me, then, that there must be something else causing paranoia and rampant terror among the gun-grabbers.  A clue can be found in any number of headlines.  Suicide bomber?  A religious fanatic or ideological zealot!  Rapist?  Sick and in need of help.  Stabbings?  A violent person who needs incarceration and treatment.

Shootings?  ZOMFG, teh GUNZ!  Good God, we have to get rid of those guns!

This is another manifestation of what we’ve already covered but with the addition of the inability to assign blame or take responsibility.  (Remember that from way up at the top of this rant?)  But this time we’re not going to go over THE GUN.  Rather, we’ll take a peek at the mindset of the anti-gunners.  Their remarks that an assailant is sick or in need of help may be warranted (sometimes) but they often hedge any finger-pointing with “but if only…” and follow up with how someone “slipped through the cracks” of the health care or legal systems, else they’d have been properly taken care of.  But add a gun to the mix, and suddenly the shooter is absolved of wrongdoing (but still needs “help”) and we need to immediately focus on THE GUN.  Even today, in the aftermath of the Aurora and Newtown shootings, there’s just the barest lip service paid to mental illness.  We can’t have a real problem stealing spotlights from guns, can we?

What this is all leading up to is this simple observation: the anti-gun crowd operates solely out of fear, not rationality, a fear stemming from some unnamed trauma or from an overdose of TV and movies coupled with bad parenting techniques.  There is the tendency to anthropomorphize THE GUN, to imbue it with a soul or will of its own to make all things that happen somehow attributable to THE GUN first and foremost with the triggerman’s mental illness a distant second (third if you factor in violent movies and video games.)  This particular fetish of theirs is an outgrowth of a phenomenon all parents have seen in their kids, and have likely gone through themselves.  You’ll notice that if a younger child hurts themselves, they lash out at the object involved: pinch a finger in a door, they kick the door.  Drop something on their foot, they kick the object.  Smack a thumb with a hammer, and it’s “Stupid hammer!” and it gets thrown across the room.  You can see any number of outbursts on YouTube, and it’s in full effect in the gun-grabber mentality.  THE GUN is bad and scary.  It intimidates them and needs to be punished for doing so.  The shooter isn’t the problem, he’s the victim of problems.  Even in the recent deaths of young children who were playing with their parents’ unsecured guns, we must vilify THE GUN and not place blame on people, where it always and invariably must fall.  In the case of Aurora and Sandy Hook, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the shooters who knew they were doing wrong but went ahead anyway.  In the cases of the children, the parents must bear the burden of guilt for not supervising their children or locking up their guns.

No, it’s rarely the human who must ever bear any responsibility.  Blame instead THE GUN in all its evil.

Until the anti-gun crowd manages to grow out of their childish, irrational fear of objects and learns to accept responsibility for their own actions or recognize the culpability of wrongdoers, there won’t be any level-headed discussion about guns.  In very few of the shootings involved has anyone really been mentally ill; most of the shootings are done by people who are well aware that they are doing wrong and they, not their tool of choice, are the problem.

Some will tout background checks at every juncture as a cure-all.  I have no problem admitting that our background systems check needs some tweaks, but at the same time I wouldn’t want our government to oversee it when they’re so competent they put toddlers on no-fly lists.  If a properly functioning instant check system helps keep guns away from crazies and doesn’t interfere with my right to buy a gun or ammunition, bring it on.  But that tacit admission (despite being a lead-in to registration and possible confiscation) leads us back to the gist of my post: it’s always the people, never THE GUNthat require our attention.

 

Show of hands: who here does NOT get it?

Gun control laws.  The “silver bullet” that will stop all gun crime in the world everywhere.

Wrong.

I’m going to show you in very simple terms, without (much) sarcasm, why gun control laws, whether passed or not, are doomed to failure.  I’m going to take a few moments here to explain the intentions of gun control laws as they’ve been “helpfully” explained by their proponents.  First, many proponents of gun control claim that too many people die from gun violence and it needs to stop.  I am led to believe that stopping gun violence–not decreasing it–is the ultimate goal of this faction; that’s what they say, so I take them at their word.  Second, other proponents say that they need to cut back on the numbers of people killed by guns (a flawed statement, but more on that later.)  This is a worthy goal and more realistic than the first, but they’re going about it all wrong.  Third, it appears that nearly all gun-control activists say that nobody has the right to own “assault rifles” or “high capacity” this or that because they’re weapons of mass destruction and are made for wholesale slaughter and yadda blah blah.  I’ll save the analysis of their epic misunderstandings of the Constitution, terminology, and whatever else for much later in life; we’re not here for that now.

What we are here for is to point out why gun control laws don’t and won’t work.  I’m only pointing out the various camps and their most frequently repeated refrains.  There are also other reasons like guns make you more liable to kill yourself, statistics show one thing or the other, and nigh-uncountable permutations and degrees of crossovers and interpretations.  What all of them have in common is the desire to get rid of guns in their entirety.  How do they propose doing this?  Through the law.  By one means or another, there absolutely must be laws passed to prevent anyone from owning guns at any time in any place, which is the only means available to achieve freedom from death by armed criminals.

Now comes the stinger: laws do not prevent crimes.  They never have, they never will, they never can.  The function of laws is twofold: a law is primarily to outline for the people subject to them what behaviors are acceptable in that given society and to outline punishment for breaking those laws.  The second function of a law is to guide the courts in passing down an appropriate sentence when a law is broken.  That’s it.  This is one of the reasons laws are generally so complex in their formulation and verbiage, so that there is no ambiguity in understanding the appropriate behavior or punishment.  (Another is the legal concept of “fine print,” which makes it easier for someone to be convicted or provide a loophole, depending on the skills of your attorney.)

So what does prevent crimes?  There are again two things.  First is a respect for one’s fellow human.  The second thing is a bit more primitive in nature: the fear of punishment or reprisal.  Remove one or both and you’ve a criminal in the making.  The issue of respect should be self-explanatory, because if you respect your neighbor, your community, or humanity in general, you’re obviously not going to intentionally do anything to harm them.  If you lack respect for them, the inverse is true in that you’re more apt to do something of a negative nature, even if it’s only flying the furious finger.

The major component here is the second item.  If a potential criminal fears reprisal in its immediacy, severity, or certainty, he will have second thoughts about breaking the law in question and he’ll refrain from committing the crime.  Let me put this into a more familiar scenario for most.  There was a time when most of us were children, some longer ago than most.  Your parents set up rules for you to follow, put some kind of boundary in place.  “Don’t do X or Y will happen to you.”  You were either not supposed to watch TV, go somewhere, or whatever, and there was a punishment in place, be it a spanking, grounding, revocation of privileges, or whatever.  And like most kids, you likely tested Mom and Dad.

You went across the street or to an arcade or some place you were forbidden to go.  You stayed out past curfew, had a piece of candy, or you took something you were told to leave alone.  Why?  Why would anyone do that?  Simple.  As a child, you had no real concept of consequences, therefore (wait for it) you didn’t fear the punishment.  Then you got busted for doing whatever you did, and then you learned that actions have consequences, bad for bad and good for good.  You saw the reward for your behavior, took your chance, then paid the penalty.  What happened the next time you saw temptation on the other side of that boundary?  You backed off.  You had learned to respect the law by learning to fear the punishment.

As you got older, you learned to respect laws as you interacted more with other people.  That, coupled with what you were taught about consequences, helped turn you into a more law-abiding person than you were before, and the continued reinforcement through the years kept you on the proper path.

But not everybody is you or me.  There are those out there who do not fear reprisal, do not respect society, or both.  You’ve seen them recently or heard of them before.  The Weather Underground.  The Unabomber.  Timothy McVeigh.  The Columbine shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.  The Symbionese Liberation Front.  Christopher Dorner.  There are more, trust me, and you can probably add a few names off the top of your head right now.  To a person, the people I’m describing had absolutely no fear of any punishment at all.  They either expected to die before going to prison or accepted prison as a necessary outcome.

There’s another breed of criminal out there that suffers from mental sickness, like Adam Lanza or Seung-Hui Cho.  Their lack of fear comes from a different source, be it PTSD, chemical imbalance, psychoses, or whatever the term.  They may or may not be responsible for their actions, but that’s a different debate.  In the end, they also do not fear reprisals.

It is a simple conclusion to reach if you’re willing to ignore party rhetoric and left- vs right-wing.  Laws will not prevent crimes.  Laws against murder, assault, and trespassing were in place at the times of the Newtown and Virginia Tech shootings, but they happened.  Laws against minors in possession of handguns, concealed weapons, and murder were likewise in effect in Colorado.  Columbine High School was victimized, anyway.  If laws were the all-powerful panacea the gun control crowd wishes to believe they are, or if the laws were half as effective as the anti-gunners wished, there would have been no crimes.  Somehow, though, there are still those who believe that just one more law, one more stipulation here or there or an amendment somewhere else will be the cure-all we’ve been missing.

It will not be.  It never will be.  If someone is of a mind to disregard one of the most highly regarded laws of all–the law against killing a fellow human–do you honestly believe that they will heed a law barring them possession of a 20-round magazine?  Will the next Jared Loughner or Naveed Haq stop himself and think, “Wait, I’m using a semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine.  Those are illegal here.  I can’t go shoot somebody now.”  Do you think that will happen?  Is that a realistic expectation?

Hopefully you’re not that naive or foolish.  I don’t need to cite papers or studies to prove my point.  Buford Furrow, Jr., proved it when, in defiance of California’s standing semiautomatic rifle ban (Roberti-Roos, 1989, amended in 1999) in 1999 fired into a Jewish community center in Los Angeles.   In that case, the semiautomatic Uzi he used was illegal to possess in California, and obviously he used it.  Every one of the shooters I listed and all of the ones you’ll see had something in common: they hated someone and didn’t care if they were caught or punished.

Stop and think.  Laws in place since Hammurabi, laws society has needed since society even formed, were broken then and are being broken as you read this.  Will one more make a difference?  The painfully brutal answer is obviously “no.”

You may ask what measures would stop crime.  The answer would be “none.”  What might reduce crime?  Several things might.  Better parental involvement in raising children.  Better mental health care.  Giving enough of a damn about your neighbor to help when he’s hurting or warn someone if he’s about to act out.  Certainly additional laws will not have an effect.

After all, what’s the use of placing a hurdle in our road when these people walk a different path?