Today in Lame Conservative Arguments


That reminds me of a punny parable:

"You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead."
Where do we draw the line? Is it in speed or ease of use? Or conceal-ability? How about knives? Or compound bows? What about when an elderly person drives a car into a Saturday market and kills 7 people? Also a tool that can be used to kill lots of people very quickly.

I'm all for sensible gun regulation. But I think it's actually pretty good right now. It's when businesses stop following procedure when shit goes bad. The laws only work when we abide by them. That said, I think this awful tragedy is primarily about getting the mentally ill help when they need it.
Also, guns are designed to kill people. That is their primary function as a tool.

Yes, pencils do misspell words, especially in the hands of kids, stupid and untrained people, the mentally ill, and the chroncially negligent. And if the consequences of misspelled words were as devastating as those of improperly used guns, I would support strict regulation of their use.
Umm, no. But based on Batman, they can apparently kill people too...
Yeah because nothing written or printed ever led to the death of anyone. Oh wait I guess Palin proved that wrong.

The reality is any tool used irresponsibly can result in tragedy. People need to look at the action of those using the tools, not demonizing inanimate objects.
If you can't figure that one out, you're a lot dumber than I thought, Paul. Been taking stupid pills lately?
@3 damn, and I've been using them in games to break locks in doors ... who knew?
@ #3

No, not all guns are designed to kill people. That is an ignorant comment.
@9 Ummm...explain please..
Come to think of it, why isn't there a white history month? I mean, we've accomplished a lot of shit.
@9- Most of them were designed to kill something, and those that weren't will do the job better than a pencil.

The problem with the whole "Guns don't kill people, people do." argument is that while it takes a person to make a gun kill someone, a gun makes it much, much easier for a person to kill a person.

"Guns don't kill people, they just make it easy." should be gun control advocates reply. After all, it's the gun manufacturers main selling point.
The average gun nut cares as much for misspelled words as he does for dead innocents.
@ 10

Target pistols. Target rifles. They are designed for a precision sport. Not killing.


Why do you think Precision Sports started?
In the case of gangbangers, both are true.
It is the words that usually result in the use of the gun
Jesus Christ, this fucking tired canard again. It's stupid on both the right and the left. Let's unpack shall we:

The view from the nutty right: There should be not regulations of any kind on citizen possession of firearms because of the 2nd amendment. The solution to gun violence is more guns so citizens in our violent society can take care of themselves.

The view from the nutty left: Guns are not just dangerous but evil and no citizen should be trusted with one under any circumstances. Self protection with guns is a myth. The 2nd amendment is unique among our rights as an 18th century anachronism that should be ignored.

No wonder the debate is always pulled down to the level of stupidity on guns--there's no air in the room for a reasonable debate between these extremes.
@# 15

Who cares? There current purpose is non-violent. As am I.

Shooting is fun. I am a responsible gun owner and a law-abiding citizen. I am also a politically and socially liberal atheist. It's not reasonable to lump all gun-owners into a fringe group populated with paranoid paramilitary bigots and tyrannical religious fundamentalists. It happens all to often on the SLOG, and in Seattle in general.
Oops, I typed there when I meant their. Embarrassing.
As you say, the argument is deeply illogical on its face.

First, a pencil is a tool and can be improperly used, like any tool. In the wrong hands, a pencil will spell every word incorrectly. My pencil spells Serbo-Croatian words horribly. My pencil makes hash of Hebrew grammar. In the hands of my two-year old daughter, a pencil will mark up walls and poke the eye of my long suffering cat. And so I avoid writing Hebrew, and do everything I can to keep pencils from the baby. Imagine if I was writing for a Hebrew newspaper, or writing Serbo-Croatian law briefs. Or if instead of a pencil, my daughter got her hands on a circular saw. Or a tractor trailer. The misuse of a pencil has certain consequences. The misuse of a gun has other, far more dramatic consequences. As responsible adults, we need to control access to all of those tools. It just stands to reason.

And that's where the trouble comes in. People who argue against gun control are simply not reasonable. Like a two-year old, they are attracted to guns and need to play with them, consequences be damned. No amount of logic or bloody results will ever convince them otherwise. As a responsible adult myself, I suggest that all of the nation's babies have their guns taken away and are given a long long time out.

And I agree that they can be owned responsibly. But we need reform and we need to ban military and law enforcement weapons from the public.

There is no reason on earth that a civilian needs a sniper rifle, 33 round glock or assault rifle.

I agree with the Canadian system of setting up a government organization that reviews owners and checks mental health before any gun is purchased.
Very, very few crimes are committed with what you might call a sniper rifle.
I'm not sure which comedian it was but they suggested that gun laws stay the same, just charge some ridiculous amount for bullets.

If bullets were $100 a piece...
Cris Rock

5,000 Mutha Fuckin dollars a bullet.
Dammit!! I left the H out.


Dear God!! What the fuck is wrong with you!?! I give you an inch and you keep pushing.

What I might call a sniper rifle has zero civilian application. ZERO

Does your pea brain remember the Washington D.C. shooting? I'm sure there are plenty more than that one.
@21: the reason this tired canard keeps being trotted out to be argued again and again is because the "nutty right"'s (the postions you assign them are really quite common amongst gun advocates) favorite argument is that "guns are simply tools". but they are not simply tools in the way a pencil or cheese grater or a car is. they are tools designed to kill, from the moment of their invention. not JUST people, but anything that needs killing. cars are not designed for killing, but can be MISUSED to achieve that end. the way a gun could be MISUSED to hammer nails. but when a handgun is used properly, as designed, accurately, it places a projectile through a living being, creating a devastating wound and possibly death. so it not unreasonable to assert that posession of this tool should come with special responsibilities and requirements, like car ownership. like membership in a WELL-REGULATED militia (as in Switzerland, for instance), not a alienated, disorganized one.
@ 30

No civilian application? It's called a hunting rifle. You know, to procure food.

I see you've devolved into name-calling. How childish. I'm off to lunch now. Maybe later I'll admire my gun collection and think fondly of target shooting with friends.
Thanks, svenken

i thought it was either him or chappelle
Waaaay back @2: "What about when an elderly person drives a car into a Saturday market and kills 7 people? Also a tool that can be used to kill lots of people very quickly."

You are correct. Cars are dangerous. Which is why people are required to have a license to operate them, and why they are registered and insured.

Which is more than can be said for guns in many American jurisdictions.


You mean an Express Rifle, which is in a different classification than Sniper Rifles. One kills people from over a mile away while the other kills animals.

But pencils are more dangerous. You can put an eye out.

@30- Every hunting rifle is a sniper rifle. Unless you are thinking of the .50 cal rifles which are sometimes (but not usually) used by military snipers. Those are so rare as to be a non-issue.
I agree with you, Paul.

My family in New Mexico are the kind of folks who say things that we usually just ignore.

Well, I can't ignore it, but normal logic do not reach them. The only message that gets them thinking is "What would Jesus do?". So in this case, "Would Jesus compare a pencil to a gun, and say that the gun is no more dangerous than the pencil?"
@31 it wasn't an accident that I ascribed those views to the nutty right, I subscribe to "American Rifleman" so I know just how batshit they are.

But the left is batshit too--the idea that guns just shouldn't exist in our society, when there are almost 300 million of them in circulation doesn't add anything meaningful to the discussion.

For example: John Hinkley used a six shot 22 caliber revolver when he tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan. The response? To ban high capacity magazines for semi-auto handguns and ban so called "assault weapons". So the gun nut right has a point when they say that these incidents are used to advance an agenda against all gun ownership.

We ought to be able to agree that a 33 round magazine for a handgun is unreasonable. But to frame the debate as guns are only good for killing than therefore should be illegal won't lead to anything, let alone sensible gun regulation.
Bazookas don't kill people
People kill people
so why can't I own a bazooka.

If I buy a tank do I have to get a commercial drivers license since it's so large or is it protected from regulation since it's also a gun?
Uh huh, if mis-spelled words were deadly, we would definitely continue giving pencils to kindergartens.

This would definitely raise grammar standards in the US.
I use my extraneous apostrophes and misleading decimal points FOR FREEDOM!
Freedom cannot reign if I cannot mislead people into thinking they can buy 100 apples for 89 cents by writing ".89 cents" in grocery stores.
If I don't use an apostrophe to pluralize a nonabbreviated noun then... oh man, some teabagger help me out here, I don't have an answer for this one.
America altered its spellings to further differentiate it from the British Empire, so whimsical spelling alterations merely show how speshul and yooneek USA is. U'S@#.1!
We will never have gun control as long as only innocent people are being killed.
But when enough politicians become the target, then we will see regulation.
.... but when a handgun is used properly, as designed, accurately, it places a projectile through a living being...

Recreational shooting at paper targets is an improper use of a handgun? Who knew...
Hey, Blamin' Palin, how 'bout if the pencil is used to draw crosshair sights over politicians, does it kill, then?
But the left is batshit too--the idea that guns just shouldn't exist in our society, when there are almost 300 million of them in circulation doesn't add anything meaningful to the discussion.

I have an idea: Let's pass a constitutional amendment banning the sale and possession of alcoholic beverages. Then all the terrible effects of alcohol in society will be eliminated. No more alcoholism. No more alcohol violence.

Right. Both sides in this are all just a bundle of nerves and reflexes. But it would be easier to get some sane level of gun regulation on the books if the anti-gun side of the argument hadn't been so successful at convincing people (sorta like this comment thread is doing now) back in the 70s and 80s that their ultimate aim was to eliminate private gun ownership in this country. People quite correctly concluded that even the smallest most perfectly rational regulations on gun sales and ownership was just a first step toward a total ban. That wasn’t paranoia…it was often stated quite openly by gun control groups.

This is exactly how the left cannot play wedge politics like the right can. There are those of us who believe the 2nd amendment does in fact give individual citizens the right to own a gun, which is to say the right to defend themselves, who think that at least Trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazy people is a good idea, and that a good rational reasonable case for banning things like high capacity clips for instance, and certain types of military firearms, can be made. You could easily, Easily peel away support from the hard core right wing fanatics...but not at the same time you're saying you want private gun ownership banned. That give us an inch and we'll take the mile mindset has been thoroughly established in the minds of a lot of gun owners and people will vote against it time after time, even when it seems completely insane to do that. It isn't about the gun. They're protecting their right to defend themselves.

It isn't just the NRA. It's everyone who is afraid of being a victim of a violent crime, who own guns either for their own protection or for recreational use, looking at all this chatter about getting guns out of the hands of violent criminals and psychos, and knowing that their own guns go away away too and not trusting that it the violent criminals and psychos won't have them anyway. If you're willing to give up this idea of a gun free society, you can get enough of these on board to make a difference in getting some sane gun regulation passed.

If you're not...then go ahead and pick another fight with gun owners. We could use another decade of right wing republican government I suppose. Oh...and an even more packed supreme court. If you think the fear mongering over same-sex marriage and immigration is bad, just wait until they start yap, yap, yapping that democrats want to Leave Your Family Defenseless Against Crime!!!! Oh...and ban the bible...

But a mosque in lower Manhattan will kill people I suppose?

The problem with gun nuts is that they don't give a shit about any civil liberties except gun ownership. The only right they'd ever lift a finger to defend is their right to more guns. They all sat home jerking off in their magazines while George Bush suspended habeas corpus. They'd be in seventh heaven living in Saddam Hussein's Iraq or in Afghanistan under the Taliban: Guns galore and nothing else.

They also never want to admit that certain guns should not be owned.

Either guns are for killing people, or you can't buy them to protect your home against the vanishingly small chance that a violent criminal will invade your home. That is the number one reason used to support widespread gun ownership.

I support reasonable gun ownership. Sure. But things that are clearly designed to assault other human beings (huge magazines, rapid fire, sawed-off shotguns, whatever) should obviously be disallowed. Also, I think concealed permits are bullshit. If you don't want to carry a weapon exposed, then don't carry it. Right?
@throxus/22 You said:
Shooting is fun. I am a responsible gun owner and a law-abiding citizen. I am also a politically and socially liberal atheist. It's not reasonable to lump all gun-owners into a fringe group populated with paranoid paramilitary bigots and tyrannical religious fundamentalists. It happens all to often on the SLOG, and in Seattle in general.

But this case could be made for many, many products that are regulated in our society. For example, we strictly regulate fireworks. Yes, most people are responsible, but we find that it's not worth little kids blowing their fingers and eyes out to have some fun. Many drugs are regulated or prohibited. And how would your argument work for a nuclear weapon? What if I'm concerned that our Defense Department isn't protecting us agains North Korea as well as they might and I want some extra assurance? Why shouldn't I be able to have my own nuke? But back to handguns, I don't think it's crazy to say that an extended clip is not useful for anything but shooting lots of people. For target practice, go ahead and change the clip a couple of more times.
How about we meet halfway, and join together to piss of the Vegans:

You can own all the guns you want, the ONLY requirement is that for EVERY gun that you own, you MUST shoot and kill (and eat) ONE animal in the wild for food per year.

I could live with that, and I'd have a series of very delicious free-range rabbit dinners from woodland park.

If the argument is that guns are a tool, then the over 200 million privately-owned firearms in the US better actually be used for shooting some food.

@50- Killing animals for food isn't the point of the 2nd Amendment.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

To me that seems to mean: "Since it's important to have a military or else we'll get invaded, everyone can keep a gun and use it as part of the military." This would ensure that the military doesn't become overwhelmingly partisan and therefore more likely to overthrow the government and also that the military won't become a massive financial burden because they're pretty much mercenaries. Of course, that's not what happened.

What is clear is that the keeping and bearing of arms doesn't have anything to do with hunting, but with military applications.

Pencils can also be used to spell words correctly. I have yet to see someone revived with a gun.
@51: I agree with you. I think the 2nd amendment is quite clear on that point.

I was just having fun with the "guns are useful tools" argument.
If you find shooting fun, I have exciting news: some clever programmers have created shooting simulators which are enjoyable enough that they're the world's best-selling entertainment product. It's no longer necessary to own and maintain a firearm in order to experience the thrill of hearing a loud sound while administering death, much as it's no longer necessary (or wise) to kill parasite-ridden wild animals for food. What a wonderful time to be alive!
Thank you, 52.
@52- That's brilliant.

I have the same feelings towards sex with women and internet porn...
@52 - I was ready to say basically the same thing! So sad you beat me to it!
I'm not sure I'd put that on the same level of stupid as "white history month" and "gays rubbing it in our faces". Gun rights are controversial, and I think intelligent people can disagree. There's a certain primal, instinctual comfort in carrying a weapon, it makes you feel better able to protect yourself, and a lot of people view that as a right. While a feeling is often very different from reality, and the feeling of safety is often not at all the same thing as actually being safe, there's at least a logical, if flawed, reason behind the argument. And it goes something like this - "If I have a gun then if someone breaks in, I will be able to protect myself and my family." I don't think that a person who believes this reasoning is stupid on the same level of someone who doesn't get that every month is white history month, or that existing without hiding in shame isn't the same thing as rubbing your face in gayness.
So you would be completely in favor of replacing all handgun ammo available to the general public with paint-ball style pellets, right? In a nice, hi-contrast colors for easy visibility on the target, of course.
And you are pretty certain that you are simply defending public access to handguns from the perspective of a legal sports enthusiast, correct?

That's good. Because, outside of your rather lame feint, guns ARE designed with the sole and specific purpose of killing people.
From a constitutional perspective, certain weapons can be regulated without any legal issue. This is applied nation-wide in the form of regulation on certain weapons (explosives), and in many states in all forms, only the most restrictive being challenged in high courts. It's a slippery slope- starting with nukes and trickling down to your precious 45-caliber. The argument is therefore not "should guns be regulated", it's "how much MORE should guns be regulated".

By the way, almost 99% of firearms injuries and deaths are determined to be either illegal, or accidental. (only 1.7% legal interventions, self-defense, or "other".) 'cause they're safe.…

Despite your attempts at false equivalency, WAY more Americans believe your "nutty right" argument than your "nutty left" argument. And your "nutty right" argument is basically national gun policy. So instead of saying "a pox on both their houses", how bout joining the fight for a sensible gun control policy.

Very few people, even on the nutty left, think all guns should be banned. I would like to see them be a lot harder to get, and easier to track, and I don't see any reason why a private individual needs a semi automatic weapon. Even if it's for personal protection, one would almost never need more than a few shots.

The Republicans blocked the renewal of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban. And as a result, people died in Tucson who almost certainly would have lived if the shooter had to reload sooner. I don't know how they live with themselves.

Your supposedly "lefty" argument is a total straw man. Yet as #62 and others point out, your "righty" argument is actually repeated ad nauseam by the gun lobby and its enablers. (Wonder why there's such a discrepancy in your presentation....)

Anyhow, most lefties are really asking for *sensible regulation* of gun ownership and use, with such regulation emerging from *reasonable debate* on how far regulation should go. Big difference.
I never met my grandmother, great-aunts, and great-uncles, because they were murdered in the Holocaust. My grandfather survived, and owned "more than five" guns until the time of his death. He practiced with them regularly until he was no longer able to do so due to his health. I own several guns, not because I particularly seriously believe that it could really happen here, but because if anything similar *were* to ever happen, I for one will not be going along nicely.

I concealed carry a Kel-Tec PF-9, on the very slim chance that I ever get mugged. I'm a small woman, and while I don't think that any of my stuff is worth anyone else's life, I value my life more than a rapist's life. I am aware that the odds of being raped by a complete stranger are very very small, the potential still exists, and I take measures against that. I don't go out in bad neighborhoods alone, I try not to walk around by myself at night, and on the off chance that I do end up in a sticky situation, I have a gun that I will do everything in my power not to use. At the same time, I am absolutely not willing to be beaten or raped, end of story.

I'm a liberal in both the social and economic sense, and I like guns. They're fun to shoot and practice with, and nice to have around on the very off chance that something unpleasant were to happen.