Sunday, October 4, 2015

Agree to disagree? I'd rather not.

With the latest spree shooting, the anti gun forces are out, and gleefully dancing in the blood of the dead, happy for this incident, so they can use it for political advantage, despite the fact that most of what they are pushing for wouldn't have prevented the shooting.

The biggest call I have seen is for background checks. I started by pointing out that there ARE background checks in place, this man owned 13 guns, and according to police, all 13 were legally purchased from a dealer. This means that the man passed 13 background checks, and not one of them caught that he was a potential killer. Oregon already has Universal background checks, which is the exact law that the antis are telling us would have prevented this killing. Background checks just don't work.

He then came back with the statement that, if we had gun registration and purchase limits, the shooter would not have been able to have 13 guns. I responded by asking him how many guns one needs to carry out a massacre, and pointing out that in this case, the shooter only had four guns with him during the rampage. Four is not a large number, so setting the limit that low is rather silly. Such limits would prevent nothing.

He then responded with the old standby of "you have to report to the state when you sell a car, why not a gun?" Here was my response:

 So you say that you want to regulate guns like you do cars, eh?
I have to register a car ONLY if I plan on operating that car on public roads. As long as that car stays on private property, I can buy, sell, or trade them without registration or title as often as I please.
Motor vehicles:
I can own as many cars as I want. I can buy them where ever I want. I can buy a Trans Am in Illinois today, and a Corvette in California tomorrow. I can travel to New York and buy a truck.
Even if there IS a title, all the law says that I have to do is sign it over, there is no requirement that I go down to DMV and actually register it, unless I want to operate it on public land or roads.
I can make my own automobile. I can give it the engine I want, the fuel tank I want.
The car I own can be a race car, it can be automatic, it can be manual, it can have 100 seats, or no seats.
That car can have a small fuel tank or a large one.
Licensing is only required to OPERATE a car on public streets, not to OWN a car.
Any 16 year old in the country can get a license to drive a car.
The license that I get in Texas allows me to drive a car on any street in the country, even in New York. It must be accepted by all 50 states.
The license allows me to drive on school grounds, on government installations
I don't even need a license, as long as I only operate the car on private property.
If I get caught driving without a license, I only pay a small fine.
No criminal background check is required for a license- felons, child molesters, all sorts can get a license.
Guns are FAR more regulated than cars.
The reason that I am against so-called universal background checks is that this would outlaw a person selling his or her own guns, loaning them to a friend or family member, or any other means of transferring ownership, no matter how temporary. Meaning that I would then have to pay a dealer to handle the transaction, assuming any of them would.
Currently, if I want to send a gun to someone out of state if I sell a gun on the Internet, that is how it has to be done. The two dealers involved (one in this state, one in the receiving state) each charge $50 on average to handle the paperwork. The person on the receiving end has to fill out the same forms and go through the background check. No loophole there. This would still not prevent gun ownership by criminals, who get their guns on the black market. The only way for such a scheme to work, then, would be nationwide registration. There is only one way that this would then go: confiscation.

He then said, so the only reason you don't want to register guns is personal inconvenience and a little money? That isn't a good reason. He then said that we would have to agree to disagree.

I refuse to "agree to disagree." That is stupid. Suppose I came out and said that men should be able to freely rape women, or we should be able to own slaves. Would he still want to "agree to disagree?" When someone says that to me, it comes across as some smarmy, superior attitude that basically says "I am smarter than you, and I am your better, but since you, with your obviously inferior intellect, cannot see reason and agree with me, I will simply smile at you, and tell you that you have a right to your opinion, you simpleton."

I won't “agree to disagree” in this conversation or in others, because “agree to disagree” is an incredibly lazy tactic. It ranks up there with “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” among the pantheon of dishonest and self-defeating statements made in lieu of actual argument. I cannot heap enough contempt on the idea of “agreeing to disagree.”

The argument could be useful, I suppose, if it meant no more than what it says – mutual recognition of a disagreement. Some arguments are intractable – issues of personal taste or the subjective importance of certain values cannot be resolved empirically. In an argument like that, once both sides have expressed themselves as clearly as possible, if there is still no agreement then there is nothing left to do but acknowledge there is a disagreement, and leave it at that.

That is not, however, the sense in which I most often hear the phrase “agree to disagree” used. What is usually meant is “we’re both equally right, both equally wrong.” It is an arch-liberal dodge, invoking the most ludicrous type of relativistic equivocation. If I am holding a flamethrower and you are holding a lit match, it is true that we can both start fires, but pretending that we can just “agree to disagree” about which is better suited to the task of lighting a candle is nonsense.

Two positions, one demonstrably true and the other based on nothing more than feelings, do not share the same level of validity. If we can agree on some basic definitions like “true” and “evidence”, and if we can agree that it is important to have true beliefs rather than false ones, then we can and should examine different ideas. While it might be nice to pretend that this kind of dispute is simply a difference of opinion, it most certainly is not. I refuse to pretend that a poorly-argued position, based on straw men refutations of legitimate questions, holds sufficient validity to be granted any more respect than belief in aliens or the Loch Ness monster.

When a person claims that they wish to "agree to disagree" is really saying is, “I want you to agree that my position has just as much merit as yours”, and I am certainly not interested in engaging in masquerading a clear true/false dichotomy as a simple difference of perspective. Truth is not established easily, and that’s a good thing. In a universe where an infinite number of explanations for a given phenomenon are conceivable, we must scrutinize and test to see which ideas are worth keeping and which can be discarded safely. “Agreeing to disagree” is simply asking to lump the good ideas in with the fanciful or debunked ones in some misguided sense of fairness.

Some things are simply so repugnant, and so against freedom and decency that I cannot agree to disagree. The point here is that we live in society that claims to value freedom. There are always those who would abuse those freedoms and hurt others. We do not punish the innocent and take away the freedoms of the 99.9995% who didn't break the law last year and shoot someone illegally in order to stop that 1 person in 500,000 who might. So instead we, as a nation, wait for someone to commit a crime and then we punish them. This principle is the rock upon which we build our society. The alternative is to become the sort of totalitarian regime that we have always fought against, and begin punishing people based upon our belief of what they MIGHT do someday.

There are more than 99,988,000 gun owning people every year who do NOT use their firearms to commit murder. We don't punish the innocent in order to catch the 12,000 who are guilty.

It has been demonstrated again and again that gun control doesn't work. Background checks don't work. So why continue to do something that doesn't work and deprives people of liberty, instead of looking for real solutions? In this situation, no amount of background checks would have prevented the shooting. The person in question went through those background checks 13 times, and not once was he denied. Background checks failed, as they usually do.

There is no way to predict when or if a person will snap and go crazy. There is no department of precrime, and we are not in the land of the movie "Minority Report" and I would not wish to be.

It isn't about inconvenience, it is about FREEDOM and LIBERTY and the very ideal upon which our nation is based. We have freedoms and liberties, and anyone who would take those away for an ideal Utopian idea that we can prevent murder, an ideal that can never be reached, is against the very foundation of this nation, and is a person with whom I have no hope of ever having a common ground or rational discourse, for we each view the world though a fundamentally different lens.

I refuse to agree that it is OK for you to demand that I give up my freedoms, so that we can agree to disagree. You see, what you are wanting to do is NOT agree to disagree. If you get your way, a law will be passed that REQUIRES that I do things your way, on penalty of imprisonment or death, if I resist. That is hardly "agreeing to disagree."


Graybeard said...

I have to borrow Borepatch's line: this is so completely, perfectly awesome that it threatens to collapse into a black hole of awesome.


Longbow said...

Quote: "It has been demonstrated again and again that gun control doesn't work."

Bullshit! Gun Control works perfectly. It works exactly as the Control Freaks intend it to work. It is about controlling YOU.

Stop arguing about crime and criminals. They are not relevant to the discussion.

Almost all criminals are breathing when they commit their crimes! We must all then submit to "reasonable restrictions" on our right to breathe... correct?

Reg T said...

While I agree that gun control (as the Left wishes it) is not about guns, it is about control, it _is_ indeed (once again, as the Left wishes it) completely non-functional. It does _not_ work, and it will never work.

"Control" _will_ work, if we allow the Left to impose it on us, just as it has in every other country where registration has transitioned into confiscation, i.e. EVERY COUNTRY except, so far, ours. Without the means to resist, governmental CONTROL works every time.

I'm a poor student of history, but I believe the only times man (in Western civilization, at least) has successfully resisted such control (for a while, anyway) was when two documents were signed: the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence.

Reg T said...

Oh, I left out the important part: I completely agree with Graybeard. This creates a whole new category for "awesome". Bravo

Epsilon Given said...

I would like to disagree with the claim that we cannot predict who will go crazy, but the more I think about it, the more I have to agree.

Of schizophrenics and depressed people, who seem particularly susceptible to the temptation to commit mass murder and/or commit suicide, only a small percentage actually do. While I won't hand my schizophrenic sister a gun (and sometimes fear, thinking she has access to knives), I don't expect her to do anything violent. Trying to prevent schizophrenics from getting guns will not necessarily prevent violent crime.

However, we've defined "harmful to self and others" so narrowly that in many places, you can't be a harm to yourself or others until you maim or murder someone, or literally starve yourself to death. We need to re-evaluate this, if only for the sake of those who are mentally ill.

AND I would add that, while it will likely make it easier to get treatment for schizophrenics, it won't prevent all such situations: some people who go on rampages simply aren't mentally ill, or if they are, they aren't sufficiently ill to receive treatment (or they get treatment and do this anyway). Even so I suspect that helping schizophrenics get treatment will do more to help reduce these killings, than any form of gun control will...

Anonymous said...


Don in Oregon

AuricTech said...

How about this:

"We can agree that I find your totalitarian impulse disagreeable."