Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Trip, trap! Trip trap!"

There was a time when I read Mikeb302000's blog, engaged on the issues, tried my best to represent the pro-gun side reasonably well, and generally tried to have a grown-up discussion about the issues. (This was pre-blog, and not under the Elmo pseudonym.)

At the same time, I saw some of my fellow gunnies responding to him with plain hostility. At the time, I thought they were being counterproductive and alienating somebody who, while wrong, was open minded enough to host a conversation on the issues, and might be swayed by a careful, honest approach. I told 'em as much at the time.

As time went on, it became increasingly clear that those guys understood what was going on better than I did. While Mike was very good at sounding open minded and conciliatory, he was really just repeating the same arguments over and over, generally ignoring any previous debunking. He'd also settled into an ugly strategy of maintaining, essentially, that no evidence was good enough to debunk his assumptions that privately owned guns increase violent death rates. If a nation banned guns and their crime rates went up, then pro-gunners were "cooking the numbers". If the numbers undeniably came from the very government that did the banning, it still proved nothing; crime rates would obviously have risen even faster if they hadn't gotten their bans. The same went for suicide: show that both a heavily armed European population and a completely disarmed Asian population can both have suicide rates far higher than the US? Meaningless! Obviously the Asian nation's stratospheric rate of self-slaughter would be even higher if they could own guns, and that European nation had better get some common-sense gun bans in place quick to stanch the flowing gore! The assumption makes sense in his head, you see, so all evidence will be made to conform to it.

In the end, I just gave up reading his site. It did bad things to my blood pressure, and frankly, life was beating me up quite enough at the time without my help*. I've never once regretted that decision, but every once in a great while I'll take a look at his front page and see if his approach has grown up at all.

It gets more depressing each time. I dunno if it's just me, but it seems like he's getting less subtle and just going for the outright insults with a "what's your opinion" tacked on. I see him linked to much less by pro-gunners these days, so maybe he's seeing the cred-stream drying up and trying harder to provoke responses.

The most recent illustration? I just followed a link from Sebastian regarding the decreasingly relevant Brady Campaign's somber-toned denunciation of the "Florida loophole". In short, the city of Philadelphia, ever upset that state preemption limits it to more or less reasonable gun laws, takes every opportunity to revoke the carry permits of people who've committed nonviolent offenses like not paying their traffic tickets on time. Those people--quite reasonably--seek alternatives, which they find in Pennsylvania's concealed carry reciprocity: if they can meet Florida's higher requirements (including fingerprinting, background checks, records releases, and safety classes) they can get non-resident FL permits that are honored by PA. (They could go with any of the many states that has reciprocity with PA, but Florida's particularly attractive because it gives access to so many other states.)

Mike's call for open and honest discussion?

What's your opinion? Why do you think the pro-gun crowd are so adept at discovering loopholes in the law? Is it because the laws are bad? Or is it because many of them are border-line criminals to start out with? What else do you call people who find ways to skirt the laws?

Nope. I don't regret giving up his blog one bit.

[* - Let's get the poor-me out of the way: my father passed away last year. In the same month as Ted Kennedy, and from the same kind of cancer. He was far, far too young--as everybody inevitably is--and it came on in a way that felt incredibly fast. Apparently in outstanding health from a lifetime of physical and mental exercise, he collapsed out of nowhere shortly before Christmas, and was gone eight months later.]


  1. My condolences. I lost both parents, recently, a year apart; I understand how rough it is.

    Stay strong.

  2. Elmo,

    I lost my father last March, I too understand. I wish there were more then words to help but please know you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    I also understand about MikeB302000, trust me, I understand.

    I was one of the ones you chided so often. Had there not been other voices being reasonable and soft spoken, I might have moderated my comments to a more gentle nature.

    But after so many months, it became apparent to me and others that Mikeb302000 had no real interest in honest debate. I checked back on his wordpress blog; the first comment I could find that I made was July 29th, 2008.

    Isn't it amazing that someone blogging about a subject for so many months still claims not to be knowledgeable about the subject.

    Then again, considering who we are talking about---maybe he is telling the truth.

  3. Yep MikeB302000 was VERY civil and downright nice, when Bob and I first found him (and each-other, that's one good thing about that troll, I met BobS and Thomas in his comments section) and he seemed kind, open-minded, and maybe just a little bit obtuse. Things got worse when he started running out of hair-brained arguments for us to refute (took a while given that he'd only respond to one comment a day, and we'd make multiples, and he'd ignore all but the one he addresses) so he started repeating old arguments and pretending all past rebuttals had expired.

    Then he made the mistake to brag about owning guns criminally. True or not, somebody of dubious biography (Claimed to be in the Marine Corps, but knew nothing of military service or training, Claimed to be living in Italy with a family, but only talked about local events happening in North Jersey and NYC, family biographical notes constantly changed, ect ect) calling for unlimeted gun control (or no gun control at all...given his constant contradiction, one day the Assault Weapons ban was a great idea, the next day it was a meaningless law, and no he would NEVER propose any ideas for laws himself) Reduction of Police powers (police are ALWAYS bad, unless they're shaking down lawful gun owners of course) and ban of the death penalty....AND bragging about owning guns illegally, and refusing to talk about the context of this (true or not, it does lead me to the impression he isn't like the old timers who simply didn't feel the need to get a pistol permit for the gun they bought at sears in the 50s)

    that was when his comment moderation and his circular-logic "rules of conduct" came about and things got REALLY nasty. The final straw seemed to be when Breda declared him an active troll and banned him from her blog. Many others followed suit.

    To this date MikeB302000 is the only person I've felt the need to moderate from my blog, not for any bad conduct (tho he does occasionally call names and act the fool) but just because he's obnoxious, and has no desire to actually discuss the points he brought up, so I remove his comments to save my reader's time of crafting rebuttals to deaf ear. It has also had a side effect of causing him to go away, and to date I have removed only 3 comments by him...and a 4th that sounded like him, but I'm unsure.

    Also BobS has a great point. He challenged MikeB30200 years ago to controlled debate. MikeB said he couldn't because he wasn't as knowledgeable as Bob (who himself was fairly green on the issues back then) on the laws and rules of Gun Control, and it would take too much time out of his day to read up.

    Two years later, making about 2 posts a day, reading most of the pertinent law reviews, press releases from both sides, and being a regular reader of all of our blogs, as well as some of the heavy-hitters like Tam, Says Uncle, Sebastian, and Clayton Cramer. He still claims to "Not be very knowledgeable on the Subject".

    Why, because Claiming ignorance has worked very well for him in the past, and he'll keep that trick up his sleeve.

    In the end I'm starting to believe he was or is a very violent criminal and wants gun control just for self preservation of him and his dirty compatriots.

  4. Holy CRIPES! I just popped over for a read. MAN he's become just a bitter ranter these days. I think he's desperate just to get even a fraction of his former attention.

    Still he does have angry violent Bigots like Mudrake, Laci, Guy Cabbot (Jadegold) to keep him company.

    Of course I'd be curious what he'd do if the last few gunnies stopped commenting.

  5. James, thanks. I can't imagine losing both my parents so close together. I expect it's a lot worse than the sum of its parts. Hang in there, man.

    Bob, you too. It seems like everybody I know lost somebody close in 2009. It was a crappy year.

    As for mike, I'll be sure to give you and Weer'd more credit next time. ;)

    Weer'd, I frankly can't imagine having the patience to write about the exact same things over and over and over, day in and day out... It's kind of like people who hang around waiting to post "First!" to everything. How long can a guy just go through the motions, ya know?

    And I agree: challenging Mike to a debate, by itself, isn't necessarily a great tactic. Sticking with the request, though, was brilliant for this context because it highlights the silliness of his feigned ignorance _and_ his usual tactic of buying time by simply ignoring key points. With people like Mike, who can never be swayed because gun control is an ideology for them, my only real concern is for spectators at his blog. If they see that this guy consistently refuses to stand behind his position, that probably undermines him more than a carefully researched rebutal to each post.

  6. Wow great analogy about those fools who spam "First" everywhere. (I personally blame Autism, it's such a widly speculated and diagnosed disease *or cadre of diseases, or cadre of diseases and false diseases ect ect* and the cause is blamed from everything form heredity to vaccines to premature ejaculation, that if they can play those games, I'm gonna blame it for everything that annoys me on the internet!)

  7. I blame second-hand smoke. I understand it teams up with global warming to cause gun crime.

  8. Elmo, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your father.

    Rather than dividing ourselves into pro and anti gun, perhaps we should use as the delineating line those who can express themselves respectfully and those who cannot. That puts you and me in one group and Weer'd and Bob in another.

    I invite you back to visit my site for more than the cursory occasional glimpse you described. You might be surprised at the level of discussion. There are several pro-gun regulars these days who keep things lively without the slightest personal attacking. And regardless of what you guys have been saying on this thread, I do strive to keep it lively and avoid the tedium, I think with some success.

  9. You hear that? MikeB302000 claims to "express himself respectfully".

    Seems he was able to find his way over here just fine, but couldn't be bothered to read (or understand) the subject matter of your post!

    FYI Sparky, feigning ignorance while constantly repeating the same bullshit argument that just days before you agreed was bullshit is not being "respectful" it's badgering.

    you know it, and you're an asshole!

  10. On the off chance that anybody stumbles in here this late in the game, see my exchange with Mike in comments over at Sebastian's.

    Conciliatory language is great if you're prepared to back it up. But if you just use it to present the same fallacies over and over, even somebody as dense as me will eventually figure out what you're up to.