This is from our very own Dave's column in the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Please go read it.
The Ann Arbor Chronicle | In It For The Money: Brawling About Guns
We characterize “debate” as a rational process of sorting competing ideas, but it isn’t. In America, “debate” is just another word for “brawl.” No one learns a new point of view when they are jumped in an alley or hop into the monkey knife fighting pit; you show up with what you’ve got, and pound on each other until someone flees or collapses.
If you are about to take exception to this characterization, then riddle me this: If you are “rational” and “pro-gun control,” then why the hell aren’t you already familiar with the SCotUS 2007 opinions? Isn’t an understanding of the current state of the Second Amendment sorta-kinda vital to “debating” about the Second Amendment?
And if you “rationally support gun rights” – likely because of personal safety issues – then why aren’t you already concerned that guns appear to protect people once for every two times they hurt someone? Would you take meds your physician prescribed while noting nonchalantly, “Oh, FYI, if these pills do anything at all, there’s a 64% chance they’ll hurt or kill you, and an unknown – but very high – likelihood they’ll do nothing. But they might also save your life. Maybe. We haven’t really done the research on that. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids!”
If you’re about to defend our prettified process of verbal violence as an even halfway-decent way to arrive at good public policy, then explain why our “rational debate” revolves around assault rifles (hardly ever used to hurt folks), mass shootings (which get tons of reporting, but kill fewer than three dozen people per year), and small children accidentally killing themselves and each other with poorly secured firearms (something that happens about 60 times per year).
These are all terrible, terrible things – but they are statistical blips. We obsess about 100 gun deaths per year – the sensational and heartbreaking ones that will draw the most ad revenue, to be perfectly frank. And we’ll almost completely ignore the hard-to-report and often ugly majority of the gun deaths: Our 19,000 annual suicides.
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