Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm at a loss

[Note: as Joe mentions, he's covered this issue more completely over at his blog. It's not like the man needs a pointer from me, but do check out the post and discussion if you're the masochistic type who can't get enough of this silliness.]

I'm not going to turn this into a Joan Peterson blog, so this is the last you'll hear about her here. But this latest string of comments couldn't bear to go unremarked on.

Joe Huffman showed up asking his One Question. These are the relevant parts of the relevant comments:

Joe Huffman said...


I have Just One Question for you:

Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?

I have to get to work right now but I should have time to answer your questions tonight.
September 23, 2010 11:03 AM

japete said...

Joe-probably all of those domestic homicides, restricting gangs and criminals from guns would save lots of live; I could go on and on. What is your point? So you think that restricting felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people, terrorist would not have or won't save lives? That's hard to believe.
September 23, 2010 12:17 PM

Joe Huffman said...


Please read the question and the post at the link carefully. I am asking which of those tens of thousands of laws, already in existence, restricting handheld weapons have demonstrated their effectiveness in making people safer. The CDC study concluded there is no evidence to support such a conclusion.

I am interested in actualities not potentialities. My point is that we should, and probably can, agree on replicating laws that produce clear, measurable, results that make societies safer with no appreciable risk and low cost.

September 23, 2010 1:57 PM

japete said...

Gun laws in most other industrialized countries are more strict than ours. Gun deaths per 100,000 in these countries don't even come close to the number in this country. That is proof that some restrictions lead to lower percentages of gun deaths per population.
September 23, 2010 3:02 PM

Joe Huffman said...


You are avoiding the question again. The question is whether such laws made them safer. Not whether such laws reduced the "gun deaths". This has been pointed out before here, if in response to firearms restrictions the criminal homicide using a firearm goes to zero but the total homicide and violent crime rate doubles then society has not been made safer.

If more innocent life is taken or permanently injured I take no consolation in the fact that no firearms was involved.

So again, where is the data that shows any restriction on person weapon ownership has made the average person safer?
September 23, 2010 4:13 PM

japete said...

Joe- this is a new one. So, reduced gun deaths isn't safer from the public? Please explain.
September 23, 2010 5:00 PM

Sean D Sorrentino said...

"Joe- this is a new one. So, reduced gun deaths isn't safer from the public? Please explain."

he already did. Let's do a thought experiment. there is a room with 100 people. in one room there is a gun, and one person will be killed with it. 1 death per hundred, 1 "gun death" per hundred. in another room there are no guns, just a knife. 2 people will be killed. 2 deaths per hundred, but 0 "gun deaths." which is "safer?"

Using the metric "gun death" doesn't tell you the total rate.

September 23, 2010 5:43 PM

japete said...

Huh? totally missed this logic. I don't think there is any there.
September 23, 2010 5:45 PM


I'm completely at a loss. Subsequent comments seem to indicate that Ms. Peterson is, ah, an _intuitive_ thinker who has some trouble with comparing her intuition to reality, but is it really possible to so completely fail to grasp such a simple point? Or is this just a put-on from a standard-issue gun controller who hasn't yet learned the usual plays for dodging the questions their ideology can't stand up to?

This is extremely frustrating, but in a way it's also extremely gratifying. Joan Peterson isn't just some schlub with a blog like me: she's a chapter president for the "Million" Mom March and a Brady Campaign board member. Seeing the brainpower on display in the gunblogosphere versus the style of reasoning the antis have to offer... It puts our recent successes into perspective.

Edit: And, the final word:

"There were so many comments to this thread that it's not possible to answer them in the time I have available. From what I can tell, what you are all saying is that guns are not the problem. I see it differently. I have provided facts to show that gun deaths take more lives than any other means in the U.S. I am concentrating on the U.S. and what is going on here. It is still true that gun deaths per 100,000 are higher in the U.S. than other industrialized countries. You have shown me your own graphs and your own facts. We will have to agree to disagree about this. It is futile to keep going with this thread."

A declared unwillingness to consider that getting rid of the guns won't prevent those "gun deaths", in the face of a staggering lack of evidence for her belief.

There's truly nothing more to be said.


  1. That was the exact same thread I quoted in my post too.

    See also my follow up post. Like you said, "... is it possible to so completely fail to grasp such a simple point?"

    The mind boggles...

  2. "This is extremely frustrating, but in a way it's also extremely gratifying."

    I would say it is only frustrating if we were still overall losing ground to people with this mentality/behavior.

    We're not (There are a few holdouts, but overall gun control is a losing issue, and rolling back restrictions is probably more popular than it has ever been), and groups like the Brady Campaign and the VPC, as well as their parent group the Joyce Foundation are losing so much ground and are reduced to a skeleton crew of a handful of lobbyists, and a few unpaid hacks like Ms.Peterson.

    It would be frustrating if we needed them to back off their message to continue our endeavor. We don't. If anything they need US to cede ground to THEM. If we don't do that documentations of this foolishness are nothing but beneficial to us, and tools like Google will lead enrolled people curious about the issue to US rather than THEM.

    So much like the dwindling chapters of Aryan Nation or the KKK still preaching their hate as if it were still 1940, the Brady Campaign may still prattle on with their bigoted and backwards agenda, but it has zero relevance or respect in the American people.

    I am extremely gratified in her performance.

  3. It's frustrating because I haven't yet lost all my optimism about these folk. When I graduate to Cynicism Jedi, it won't bother me so much. ;)

    I'm with you on trends. It's a bit sad to see these folks pontificating about their cause and about hardheaded, uncaring gun owners who refuse to compromise, all while the world is just passing them by.

    I hope the trend continues. And while the only constant is change, I'm cautiously optimistic that gun rights will be on the rise for a good while yet. We seem to have peaked on public tolerance for big government intervention at the moment, and the media shift has gutted the Bradies' only traditional source of strong support outside some small and isolated enclaves. It's a good feeling.

    Right after the election, if you told me gun rights would be here in 2010, I'd have said you were crazy. :)