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.]