The Sorry State of Critical Thinking Skills

I’ve read plenty of poorly argued, sloppy, and misleading commentary related to gun control in the past few weeks, but this particular post managed to get me especially upset.  It’s not that it’s uniquely worse than anything else I’ve read, but after clicking the link, I was appalled to see that it had received over 90,000 likes as of this writing.  This is clearly a testament to the poor critical thinking skills displayed by the average American and reveals a desperate need for improved quality of thought among the general population.

First Point

Our author begins by doing some crack journalistic research in an attempt to refute the claim that Hitler sought to disarm the German people.  He states that, contrary to popular belief, Hitler “made it his position to enable guns to be obtained more easily.”  Let’s explore this claim by reviewing the Snopes.com article our author uses to support his position.  In the Snopes piece, we find the following quote attributed to Hitler:

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.  History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.  So let’s not have any native militia or native police.

Seems pretty clear cut to me.  He clearly didn’t want “subject races” to be armed.  But wait, Snopes then goes on to say:

…Hitler was speaking of the need to disarm non-Aryans in the parts of Russia that had been occupied by German forces in the midst of a war, not of stripping all Germans of their guns.  (And it’s unlikely that Hitler would have expressed such a concept in this context, as the 1938 German weapons Act passed during Hitler’s rule actually loosened gun ownership rules for non-Jewish Germans.)

Hold on.  Did you catch that – he loosened gun ownership rules for NON-JEWISH Germans.  Remind me again, which category of ethnic people were murdered en masse by the Nazi government?  Could it be that our author’s own source refutes the point he is trying to make?

So how did the 1938 German Weapons law affect the Jewish people’s right to armed self-defense – you know, the people relevant to this discussion?  How about we take a look at the language of the law itself (translated from German, of course):

Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons

11 November 1938

With a basis in §31 of the Weapons Law of 18 March 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p.265), Article III of the Law on the Reunification of Austria with Germany of 13 March 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p. 237), and §9 of the Führer and Chancellor’s decree on the administration of the Sudeten-German districts of 1 October 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p 1331) are the following ordered:

§1
Jews (§5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt I, p. 1333) are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons.Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority.

§2
Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew’s possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation.

§3
The Minister of the Interior may make exceptions to the Prohibition in §1 for Jews who are foreign nationals.  He can entrust other authorities with this power.

§4
Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions of §1 will be punished with imprisonment and a fine.  In especially severe cases of deliberate violations, the punishment is imprisonment in a penitentiary for up to five years.

§5
For the implementation of this regulation, the Minister of the Interior waives the necessary legal and administrative provisions.

§6
This regulation is valid in the state of Austria and in the Sudeten-German districts.

Berlin, 11 November 1938
Minister of the Interior
Frick

188501_249237681870170_897673737_n

Seems pretty clear to me – disarmament of the Jewish people preceded genocide.  And this is hardly an isolated case.  The Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership have a great chart highlighting eight other genocides that followed disarmament.  This huge oversight should probably be enough to thoroughly discredit Mr. Fielder, but I will hold my nose and continue wading through this rhetorical mess.

Second Point

Our author’s second point is obviously a critique of the NRA’s recent ad highlighting the Commander in Chief’s hypocrisy in accepting armed guards to protect his children while dismissing proposals to allow qualified people to carry in schools.  Our author states:

Secondly, the presidents, and I mean ALL of them, and their families, receive death threats on a daily basis. President Obama did not enact the regulations that REQUIRE Secret Service protection for him and his family. If you believe your children are as much of a target as the president’s children, then you have a self inflated idea of your position in this world.

I’ve seen plenty of unprincipled and fallacious arguments directed against this ad and this one one pretty representative.  Every time I see one of these arguments, it seems to be nothing more than a poorly-reasoned, knee-jerk reaction to very polarizing organization.  Obama’s children may indeed receive daily threats and be a greater target, however, this is completely irrelevant.  While the average child may be less of a target, it is quite obvious that their risk of being attacked while at a “gun-free” school is something greater than zero.  There have been far too many incidents at schools to honestly claim otherwise.  The purpose of the ad was not to deny the president’s children the privilege of armed protection, it was to point out that Obama himself has accepted the principle that the best way to protect his children is to have armed guards at the ready.  He accepts this tax-payer funded benefit while supporting gun-free-zone policies that prevent qualified parents, teachers, and administrators the ability to provide armed protection to their own children.  If he doesn’t like that he is required to accept this benefit, let him write an executive order exempting his family from it.  In the words of NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, “Whoever thinks the ad is about President Obama’s daughters are missing the point completely or they’re trying to change the subject.”

Gun-Appreciation-Day-Salem-Oregon

I don’t have kids, but if I did, you better believe their safety would be every bit as important to me as the president’s are to him.  Every parent should feel that their child is the most precious thing on the planet.  This is not a “self inflated idea of your position in this world” – it’s called having your priorities in order.  My kids would not be less important than the progeny of whoever happens to inhabit Versailles the White House.  This is what it means to be a free man and not place yourself subordinate to pharaoh.  Clearly, people are angry that they are  legally prohibited from providing protection for their own children while at the same time being forced to pay for the Obama family’s security.  After all, it wasn’t Obama’s family that was attacked at Sandy Hook, it was the sons and daughters of mere proles that were the target that day.

Third Point

For his third point, our author boldly states, “there is NO law or bill being considered that would allow anyone to come marching into your home to take your legally obtained and legally owned firearms.”  Really?  Take a look at what the Democrats in New York were proposing :

Outright confiscation of “assault weapons.”
Outright confiscation of “ten round clips” (magazines).
–Establish a statewide database of all guns.
–Continue to allow gun permit holders’ names and addresses to be published by newspapers.
–Label semiautomatic shotguns with more than five rounds or pistol grips as “assault weapons.”
–Limit the number of rounds in a magazine to five and confiscate banned magazines that carry a larger number of rounds.
–Prevent citizens from owning more than two magazines.
–Prevent citizens from buying more than one gun per month.
–Re-license all current pistol permit holders.
–Require renewal of all pistol permits every five years.
–Pistol permits would have to be issued by the state and not local law enforcement.
–All guns in New York would be required to be micro-stamped.
–Ammunition dealers would have to be licensed.
–All gun owners would be required to keep their guns locked in their homes.
–A fee would be assessed for licensing and registering guns.

Granted, these measures did not make it into the bill the legislators voted on, however, it does clearly reveal the ultimate goal of the gun grabbers.  For example, a bill in Connecticut was proposed to make illegal the possession of any gun capable of firing more than one shot – de facto confiscation.  Several members of the ruling elite have made it very clear that their goal is complete civilian disarmamentThey have already succeeded in Chicago where disarming law-abiding people has proven to be such a spectacular failure that it is now safer to reside in a war zone than the Windy City.

530733_415430148533321_2125748485_n

With his third point, our author also questions the logic of requiring registration of cars, but not guns.  Simply put, you do not have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to own a car – the analogy is invalid.  Also, besides the obvious problem of registration enabling future confiscation, you also have the issue of  journalists publishing names of gun owners and making them targets for burglaries.

Fourth Point

I’m not sure if our author is trying to deliberately mislead or if he really is as obtuse as he comes across.  In this paragraph, he attempts to do some myth-busting by revealing that more people are in fact killed by guns, rather than baseball bats, contrary to some unspecified internet meme he claims to have seen.  Not being privy to the picture he is citing, I can’t be sure what the problem is, however I strongly suspect it is a failure of reading comprehension – something Mr. Fielder clearly has an issue with.

BADcheBCcAAlZR2

The point being made by some of the pictures I’ve seen going around is that the number of homicides in which a RIFLE of any type was used is much less than even hands and feet, let alone blunt objects.  Of course HANDGUNS are used in homicides far more often than anything else, however, as the current national discourse centers around instituting a ban on “assault” rifles, the purpose of the pictures is to highlight the fact that these types of weapons are extremely under-represented in crime statistics.  Going after rifles of any kind will hardly make even the smallest dent in violent crime, yet that is what is being targeted in various legislative proposals.

w620-afe014391829c8524fb15fd0f0647360

The Rest…

The media is not hiding other gun related stories because they want to sensationalize the problem, they are simply unable to cover every gun death story because there would be an average of 80 of them each day. So they concentrate (unfortunately) on the massacres which I think we can all agree, happen all too often.

Would it be too much to ask that they highlight just a few of the 1 – 2 million instances when law-abiding citizens use guns to save themselves from violent assault?  The reality is, there is a very real bias against the reporting of defensive gun uses by ordinary citizens.  Shouldn’t people be informed about the positive uses and then be allowed to draw their own conclusion?  I find it amazing and appalling that there are actually people out there who don’t realize how many lives are saved every day because of guns.

207632_412979152111754_727727555_n

I find the fact that more children are killed in the US by guns than in the entire Middle East region, very disturbing.

Where to even start with this?  First of all, be very careful when talking about “child” deaths due to guns in the US.  These numbers are often highly skewed because “child” includes anyone under 18 and frequently includes teenagers engaging in gang-related violence.  Something tells me this is not the image Mr. Fielder had in mind when discussing “child” deaths.  Also, does our author lament those children in the Middle East who are blown up by high-explosives or disease/malnutrition due to infrastructure damage or is it just gun deaths he has a problem with?  What are the numbers if we include all causes?

I find it disturbing that the NRA blames the rise in violent shootings on video games and then comes out with its own shooting video game (categorized for children as young as 4 years of age) less than a month after Newtown.

Look, I don’t want to come off as an apologist for the NRA, but this is just ridiculously misleading.  Was the timing a bit off?  Perhaps.  However, we are not talking about a violent first-person shooter game a la “Call of Duty”.  The NRA game is nothing more than target shooting at a range.  Yes, the NRA has spoken out about VIOLENT video games, NOT video games in general.  I see nothing hypocritical in producing a NON-violent video game that teaches gun safety.  How exactly does target shooting, an Olympic sport, promote violence?  (For the record, I don’t even agree with the NRA that violent video games are to blame, but this apparent effort by Mr. Fielder to fabricate some sort of outrage is absurd.)

mzl.nfiyummr.320x480-75

iTunes Description of the NRA Game:
~★ SAFETY, TRAINING & EDUCATION ★~
NRA: Practice Range puts the National Rifle Association’s broad scope of resources in the palm of your hand – with 2nd Amendment newsfeeds, gun law information centers & educational materials you can access anywhere, anytime.
~★ TARGET PRACTICE ★~
NRA: Practice Range also offers a 3D shooting game that instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations. It strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.

If armed guards are the only answer to ending school shootings, then explain the VT shooting. Virginia Tech had an entire police department complete with a SWAT unit.  Explain Columbine, which had an armed officer on staff. When discussing an end to gun violence in schools, there should be NOTHING left off of the table.

This guy has a real knack for completely missing the point.  Police, with or without SWAT units, that are minutes away, are not as effective as armed resistance immediately provided at the scene.  Also, the Columbine officer was, in fact, able to return fire against Klebold and Harris allowing untold numbers of students time to escape.  Denying this man the credit he deserves for bravely saving lives just because it doesn’t fit your preferred narrative is disgraceful.  The only thing proven by the Columbine massacre is that having only one person with a gun may not be enough.

424995_4181351139471_999676953_n1

No, armed guards are not the only answer.  However, having qualified people on hand with guns has proven to be very effective:

To quote our author, “Will it be a perfect solution?  No.  Will it help?  We’ll see.  Is it better than doing nothing? Definitely.”

There’s more, but this has already gone on long enough and I think I’ve made my point.  Besides, I refuse to dignify some of the remaining arguments with a response.  I would, however, like to add a final thought.  Any discussion of violence and its causes that begins with talk of gun-control as the primary solution displays nothing less than complete intellectual laziness.  The first step in problem solving is to ask, “What has changed?”  Semi-automatic rifles have been around for 128-years.  The AR-15 has been in production for 50-years.  This technology is clearly not the new variable.  An examination of gun violence that does not include any of the following should probably be immediately dismissed as a juvenile analysis not worthy of a grade-school writing assignment:

  1. The life-saving uses of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
  2. Psychiatric drugs.
  3. The drug war.
  4. The breakdown of the family due to the perverse incentives institutionalized by the proliferation of the welfare state.
  5. Our militaristic society.

Guns are not a cause of violence.  No one picks up a gun and suddenly becomes a homicidal maniac.  Something caused them to want to initiate violence against others, for which they may or may not have chosen a gun as their preferred tool.  We need to address the “somethings” and stop chasing red herrings.

Advertisements

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by janet saveski on January 25, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Your well-reasoned, informative and brilliant piece made me realize why the ruling elites want the citizenry uninformed and sheep-like. The authoritarian statists not only want to control what we get to keep (guns, income), but also what and how to think. The medea is a tool of the totalitarian state. The educational system promotes propaganda not logical and independent thinking.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: