A letter to the Editor of The Daily Tar Heel headlined Nightmare gun rights logic is twisted and outdated:
I find that people who advocate for “gun rights” tend to have a really interesting picture of reality. Do you really think, given a situation where someone tries to break into your home, or tries to rob you on the street, pulling a gun on that individual and initiating a firefight is the best way to deal with the situation?
I love the word “interesting.” It’s the perfect adjective to describe the evening dress your wife reveals when you know she’s looking for the word “fabulous” but you just can’t quite get there. Well, maybe not the perfect word. That would be “fabulous.” But it’s a whole lot better than “hideous.”
In this case, Mr. Foote (for it is he) deploys “interesting” in the sense of deluded, misguided and just plain stupid. To credit gun control advocates with an “interesting picture of reality” is to say that they are completely divorced from it.
By putting the words “gun rights” in quote marks (the grammatical equivalent of an arched eyebrow), Foote asserts the self-evident “truth” (see what I did there?) that there’s no such thing as a right to keep and bear arms. Which there is. But you knew that.
What you may not know: there’s a whole population of ostensibly educated people who consider a self-defense gun an offensive weapon per se. Ipso facto. Working from this deeply flawed premise, Mr. Foote suggests that drawing a weapon is an unjustifiable act of aggression—no matter what the circumstances surrounding the unholstering.
I don’t think Mr. Foote has considered the full range of criminal activities which could trigger a justifiable defensive gun use (DGU), such as, I dunno, attempted rape. Equally important, his statement leave an obvious unanswered question: what IS the best way to deal with a home invasion or street robbery?
I’m thinking that Mr. Foote would counsel compliance. But I don’t want to make that assumption; that would fail to credit him with an ounce of common sense and suggest that he is without access to Google, which offers access to a large number of stories of victims who did as they were told—and nonetheless suffered grievous in many cases lethal attacks.
If a person is violent enough to carry a weapon with intent to use it, then how does matching that aggressiveness with additional aggressiveness make for a better situation? The counter retort that guns somehow give criminals “a mental sense,” or some kind of “tingling in the force” that there is a firm defense close by sounds just as ridiculous. Overall, what kind of society are we advocating for? A society that instigates violence with more violence or a country that realizes by legally endorsing the ownership of guns we are sending a strong implicit message their use is also acceptable.
I doubt Mr. Foote has ever been in a fight. Anyone who has encountered violence against his or her person knows the only way to stop the aggression is to either run away or counter force with equal or greater force. (Fight or flight.)
“The counter retort”? From the department of redundancy department, no doubt. The rapid decline in Mr. Foote’s rhetorical skills gathers pace as he mischaracterizes deterrence as some sort of psychic transfer. The subsequent use of the word “overall” as a qualifier indicates that he’s all at sea, even before he ends his sentence with a preposition (up with which I will not put).
“A society that instigates violence with more violence . . .” I don’t think that means what Mr. Foote thinks it means. People who carry or use guns for self-defense aren’t instigating violence. Quite the opposite; they’re defending themselves against violence.
The second part of the sentence reveals the philosophical underpinnings beneath Mr. Foote’s antipathy to firearms. ” . . . by legally endorsing the ownership of guns we are sending a strong implicit message their use is also acceptable.”
The problem with that way of thinking: preventing legal ownership of guns does nothing to deter criminals who believe that their use is acceptable.
I call Mr. Foote’s reasoning the Make the World Go Away School of Gun Control. Not to coin a phrase, but people who believe that we can eliminate evil by some collective act of will (e.g. laws) have an interesting picture of reality.
I applaud Katie Noonan’s insight (“More guns won’t solve the campus’ safety issues,” Mar. 30). Laws are written for good reason, but they have a historical and social context. Just as we have amended our Bill of Rights to better reflect the times, so too should we amend the outdated laws written in times where revolution was in the air and wild animals still roamed through American backyards. Making weapons less available may not completely eliminate gun violence, but it will certainly lessen the more prolific and preventable danger of accidental gun injury.
Whoa. The Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Excluding Kentucky (which became a state after the amendments were approved), Virginia was the last state to sign off. In 1792. As far as I know, the Bill of Rights hasn’t been amended since.
And while we’re talking about this whole “get in touch with reality” deal, Mr. Foote may wish to note that there’s still talk of revolution in the air (it’s never really stopped) and there are plenty of Americans who live in places where wild animals roam through backyards. In fact, even extremely urban environments are home to any number of wild animals, even if you exclude history and zoology-blind liberals.
If there’s one thing that really sticks in my craw about gun control advocates, it’s their abject refusal to state a coherent position and stick to it. You can no more pin them down than you can render an experienced jello wrestler immobile (if they’re in their preferred grappling medium). If you corner a gun control advocate on a point of fact or logic or reason, they change the God damn subject.
Mr. Foote concludes his dietribe [sic] by switching from the inadvisability of defensive firearms to preventing firearms accidents. But first he says well, gun control may not work, but it will work a little. Enough so that it’s OK to abrogate my Second Amendment “gun rights,” apparently.
So how much gun control is needed? How much is enough?
Show me a gun control advocate who’s willing to throw down some numbers or quantify their approach and I’ll show you someone pretending to be a gun control advocate just to get me riled up. Not to put too fine a point on it, these people are cowards. At the first sign or trouble they cut and run.
Here’s the most disturbing part of Mr. Foote’s letter: the fact that he’s a philosophy student. There is nothing philosophical here. But there is condescension aplenty. And it’s catching. So I’ll end my anti-counter retort with a quote from Voltaire: “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”