Reader Billy M. read Nick’s takedown of Julian Sarafian’s “Dummy’s Guide to Winning Gun Control Debates yesterday and it apparently left him…unsatisfied. He wanted a crack at Sarafian, too and forwarded this point-by point rebuttal:

1. The overall murder rate in Australia was unaffected by their gun ban, and our murder rate dropped far more drastically than theirs since 1997. Regardless, the oft repeated postulation that there haven’t been any mass shootings since then is a lie. The Monash University shooting took place in 2002. Furthermore . . .

It carefully ignores other forms of mass murder that apparently replaced mass shootings, such as these arson fires: the Childer’s Palace Massacre (15 killed, June, 2000), The Churchill Massacre (10 killed, February 2009) or the Quaker’s Hill Nursing Home Massacre (11 killed,  November 2011). Funny how you don’t see the same level of outrage when the weapon isn’t a gun.

2. No one is arguing against laws that only apply to criminals; the argument is that the laws pushed in the wake of Sandy Hook are nothing but a wish list gun control organizations have been pushing for decades. Also, your comparison to rape creates a false dichotomy and false equivalency. We make rape illegal because it’s a crime, but we don’t make sex illegal to prevent rape.

3. There are so many issues with this statement it’s difficult to concisely counter, but I’ll simply start by saying, yes, gun laws unduly take away the rights of law abiding people. I’ll throw in there that, with #2 in mind, the same laws are completely ineffectual against fighting crime. You can argue against the 2nd amendment and its modern-day application all you want, but the fact remains that A) it’s there and isn’t going anywhere for the time being, and b) the supreme court affirmed twice in the past 5 years that it’s an individual right. Regardless, your argument that it’s outdated because the technology that exists today didn’t exist then is just another logical fallacy. Does free speech apply to the internet? Does the press only have the freedom to print newpapers? Can police search your computer and mobile device whenever they want?

4. Again, you’re using logical fallacy after logical fallacy, inserting diversions and straw men while ignoring the base argument – that the people who seek to harm people should be regulated and punished, not guns and the law-abiding people who don’t. We can see that working right now in Chicago – a gun controller’s paradise. After years of relying on gun laws and watching crime rates escalate, the police tried something new – they focused on high crime areas, identified 400 likely repeat offenders and – guess what? – they got a 30% reduction in homicides. Of course, this is just an inconvenient truth for folks like you, just like the the people killed in those three cases of arson in Australia. That case of the would-be killer in China is a favorite of your group, and the fact that it totally relies on coincidence and a vacuum in context means nothing. Do we know for sure that he was even trying to kill the children? I don’t know if we ever will. I do know this – Chen Shuizong was certainly trying to kill people when he set fire to a bus a week or so ago. And he did. He killed 46 people, and himself. In China. A place with virtually no civilian-owned guns.

5. Dianne Feinstein has said repeatedly, as have her cohorts, that if they could, they would absolutely, positively confiscate “assault weapons” . . . if they had the votes. The fact that they continue pushing that agenda despite the complete failure of the original AWB to demonstrably reduce crime is more than enough evidence to reasonably assume they’d like to move to confiscation. Furthermore, nearly every other nation that began with ‘common sense’ gun laws eventually moved to confiscation (Canada, UK, Australia, Japan etc.).

6. You’re talking about California, right? I mean, you openly admit that you don’t know what the gun regulations there are, so perhaps a little research would be in order before offering advice on how to argue with dummies. Otherwise you may end up looking like one. Tell you what actually – why don’t you go out and try to buy a car and a gun on the same day. Let me know which is easier to acquire in California. Also, see how hard it is to acquire alcohol, something that kills 120,000 people a year.

7. The actual number is somewhere between 50,000 and 2 million defensive gun uses per year in America (depending on the source), and about 8,500 deaths due to gun violence. Your number includes suicides, and while one suicide is too many, there is no data aside from a questionable study conducted by the Australian government that indicates the presence of guns increases the chance of suicide. In fact, gun-free South Korea has a suicide rate that is almost twice our murder rate and suicide rate combined. You close this statement with the same old same old – that we’re making a choice between our guns and other people’s right to live. That’s a false dilemma and an intentional one since you’ve already admitted (and failed to counter) that our entire argument assumes that gun laws don’t prevent gun crimes.

I have little faith that you’ll absorb or even read any of this, but I do hope that someone else on the fence reads both your piece and mine and realizes that your flavor of “debate” involves massive doses of untruths, deceptive statements, hyperbole, false logic and emotional calls to action. It’s too bad for anyone who actually wants to have a conversation or debate about violence in America, because those on your side have already copyrighted those phrases, and they’ve been sullied.

60 Responses to Debating For Dummies…Like Julian Sarafian

  1. Such well-reasoned words will roll off the Berkeley sophomore’s brain like water off a duck. He’s been indoctrinated, and only cult deprogramming will suffice now.

  2. TTAG should “reach out” to the little twerp and ask for a rebuttal to TTAG’s counter arguments. See what mental gymnastics he’s cappable of to defend his position.

  3. Actually, the data from Australia and Canada is that when they tightened gun laws, firearms were substituted with other means. Canada has about the same suicide rate as the US. I get so tired of hearing magazine bans, background checks, and assault weapons bans justified with death #s that includes suicides. It’s not even plausible.

    People are not straw-purchasing guns and stealing guns to commit suicide. The fact that places like Alaska and Nevada have high suicide rates says more about access to health care and culture – not gun laws.

      • Politifact.com is a liberal organization. I would not rely on them for straight reporting on any gun-related issue.

      • In a vaccuum, the studies cited in Politifact’s article would carry some weight. Unfortunately, many of the cited studies fail to note other confounding factors that would cast doubt upon their conclusion. To take the recent Australian study as an example: Overall suicide rates DID decline in the wake of their gun confiscations, but the nation simultaneously instituted aggressive mental health initiatives intended to reduce suicide. Is the overall drop in suicide due to reduced access to firearms, or is it (as I believe) due to increased access to mental health treatment and greater acceptance of such treatment in Australian popular culture?

        There is another factor to consider when judging whether gun availablity is a factor in overall suicide rates: A major percentage (I believe it is more than 50%, but can’t find the source data to verify it at the moment) of the firearms used in adult suicides are purchased or acquired within two weeks of the suicide. This doesn’t suggest to me that the suicidal person acted on impulse, as the anti-gunners imply. This suggests that the suicidal person carefully planned out their suicide, then acquired the tools needed to accomplish their plan.

        Finally, when looking at firearm availability and overall suicide rates, pro-2a authors often prefer to cite the high suicide rates of several nations with low rates of firearm availability and high suicide rates. If you want to compare “apples to apples”, you can also look at suicide rates in various nations that all have high rates of gun ownership. Such data strongly suggests that other cultural and economic factors significantly outweigh the availablity of firearms when determining a nation’s overall suicide rate. In nations where people own guns, they are often used for suicide, but overall suicide rates do not consistently track with gun ownership rates.

  4. I noticed between this article and the one yesterday. Is it the same guy in the picture? This guy doesnt really look much like the dude from yesterday.

    Also, the daily californian sounds about like naming your morning dump.

  5. Good job on all of the points made. What I would like to see is Julian get on here and try to defend his statements. I sent him a tweet last night to the earlier post. I’d like to see how he responds to actual facts and logic.

  6. Great point and a great rebuttal overall. I do take issue w/ this though:

    “that our entire argument assumes that gun laws don’t prevent gun crimes.”

    That is not our entire argument. It might be yours but it is not my entire argument nor that of many pro-freedom people I know. Inalienable rights, balance of power, and consistency are frequently points I appeal to before crime rates.

    Julian Sarafian’s arguments are collectivist in nature and the counter points given are (for the most part) collectivist as well. The very nature of this debate shows how far as a society we have fallen. Does anyone really think that the likes of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr would trade (temporary) safety over freedom? How about Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, etc.

    • the fact that some government action might reduce crime is irrelevant: the Bill of Rights specifically prohibits the govt from taking certain actions in the name of public safety like censoring the Anarchists Cookbook, warrantless searches, or forcing people to implicate themselves – except in very narrowly tailored ways.

    • Being a (mostly) Libertarian I do try to appeal to the need for freedom for all people, but simply stating that it’s an inalienable right or that it’s in the constitution isn’t an argument. The latter is a statement of fact and the former is a postulation that requires it’s own argument to back up.

      Regardless, you’re right that the ineffectiveness of gun laws isn’t our entire argument, but it’s impossible to sum up our entire argument, and in the context of the fallacy that he was using (you’re choosing your guns over your children) I was simply pointing out that we aren’t, and gun laws won’t do anything to save the children.

  7. As a college student, it’s really disappointing that Julian, who attends one of the premiere universities in the nation, is not being corrected on basic logical and argumentative fallacies.

    I know that any of my professors, had I submitted this op-ed, would have ripped it to shreds and laughed in my face.

  8. I would also add this rebuttal to Julian’s point # 2

    “2. Gun control won’t prevent another Sandy Hook.

    This argument makes absolutely no sense. The point of gun control laws is to threaten would-be criminals with penalties if they so choose to break the law. If we don’t enact laws simply because they won’t “prevent” heinous acts from continuing, why do we have laws against murder? Rape? Theft? The law is used to create a disincentive for potential criminals who would otherwise commit the acts laws seek to prohibit and punish.”

    So, let me get this straight; his response to the argument that Gun Control won’t prevent another Sandy Hook is that laws would prevent another Sandy Hook because they threaten would-be criminals with severe penalties, thus creating a disincentive to commit crimes. Um, don’t think so Skippy. Yes, severe penalties might reduce some crime, but they would not prevent another Sandy Hook, which is the original point. Why? Because the douche bag that plans on shooting up a school and then killing himself couldn’t care less about your life time sentence without chance of parole. BECAUSE HE IS GOING TO OFF HIMSELF!!

    So, in summary, tougher penalties would not prevent another Sandy Hook.

    What a clown…

    • The only real law that we need is that “criminals, would-be criminals and those with mental health issues be required to turn in their weapons within 24 hours”. With the dummies we have in congress, especially Colorado, one of them is bound to propose it.

      Go after those that break the law or are too ignorant of the Constitution instead of the law abiding citizens.

  9. Can police search your computer and mobile device whenever they want?

    That’s another can of worms, for another day…

    • My point was that electronic documents and means of speech did not exist when the constitution was drafted, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t protected by the first and fourth amendments anymore than AR-15’s aren’t protected by the second. I probably could have worded it better.

      • It’s definitely a valid point. Our digital information is, or SHOULD, be protected under our 4th amendment rights, just as ar15s should be protected under the 2nd.

        It’s just that the NSA doesn’t care.

        • Absolutely true, although the metadata the NSA has been mining probably isn’t covered under any existing SCOTUS rulings. Not at all saying it’s right, just saying it’s probably going to take some time before there’s a ruling on it.

  10. 3. … Can police search your computer and mobile device whenever they want?

    So.. since Congress failed to amend the 4th amendment to include electronic communication, yes the government can, at any time – without a warrant or probable cause, search electronic communications including email, texts, web pages visited, etc.. So strictly speak, they cannot ‘search’ the devices themselves, any communications that traverse the digital spectrum are up for grabs…

    • I believe the supreme court actually ruled that police cannot search your cell phone or mobile device as part of a plain view car search.

  11. I have since given up these arguments to individual anti-gunners in person or on the internet. It’s become too exhausting. I have since focused my limited time and resources to supporting as many gun-rights organizations as possible and supporting the right politicians. Occasionally I do hear a friend say some horribly incorrect anti-gun retort, and I will correct it; but not near to the degree of emotional involvement as in the early days of 2013.

    • I agree. Recently a friend of mine started up with my about gun accidents with small children. I told him his swimming pool is more dangerous to small children than my guns. I gave him the numbers. He comes back with 1-18 year olds and accuses me of “cherry picking” the data. I went to the CDC site that he claimed to use and got the right numbers. The ratio of gun deaths to drowning was still 1:1 excluding suicides. I also showed him the suicide rates for the “five eyes” countries (US, CAN, UK, AUS, NZ) along with their gun ownerships rates. I got NZ wrong so he used it as excuse ignore the numbers and then went to back to five year olds. Bottom line is that he will always be anti-Second Amendment no matter what the data shows. He also believes in outsourcing his security, including the call to 911, to his alarm company. I am sure he will blame ADT and the Prince William County Virginia Sheriff’s officeif he is a victim of a home invasion.

      No more discussion with him.

      • Also, what are the numbers for DPUs (defensive pool uses) per year again? How many people can say “I’d be a goner if we didn’t have the pool in the backyard”?

  12. “Can police search your computer and mobile device whenever they want?”

    Umm….. Morally, or under color of law, now?

  13. I’m all blushes. To be fair, I wasn’t totally disassitsfied with Nick’s rebuttal, I just wanted to add some points I felt he missed.

    Thank you for publishing!

  14. Nice takedown.

    I would add one thing on #4. The gun grabbers love to refer to that one Chinese knife attack that had no fatalities. What they don’t realize is that there’ve been several knife attacks on schools there in recent years, and in most of them there were many fatalities. It appears in the last attack the guy was just trying to slice off ears and fingers and such, which is bad enough, but in the other attacks, bunches of kids were killed.

    • I actually thought about, but in the interest of being concise I chose to focus on arson, which tends to be the deadliest type of mass murder (including here in the US).

  15. You can’t see it, but I’m golf clapping right now. 🙂
    I’d like to see the sourcing for your data/claims. Then we’ll have something rock solid.

    • I blasted this out as a direct response to him in about 15 minutes, with cursory research when I needed to verify a number or date. If I have spare time I may pick one or two of the subjects in there and write an actual article with references. Provided, of course, TTAG will have me again.

  16. Good job Blinky. More info on China in #4 for your future reference. Mass stabbings in China have been on the rise dating back to 2004. From March of 2010 through December of 2012 there have been 25 deaths and 115 wounded (both mostly children) during knife attacks at China schools. This little excerpt from a 2010 NY Times article is something I’ve been saying about mass shooters for years:

    “In the current string of knifings, which took place hundreds of miles apart, “probably there was some kind of copycat element,” Liu Jianqing, a professor of criminal psychology at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said Thursday. “People in similar predicaments emulate this because of the impact of the mass media these days.”

    The Chinese government has apparently put a block on news reporting of these incidents and have increased school security and tried to “arm” the guards with pepper spray and other blunt instruments. Apparently at some larger, more well-to-do schools, armed police are stationed at the schools during the day. Interestingly enough, the knifing attack in China that took place just before Sandy Hook had security guards “overwhelm the attacker” but not before he had already slashed & stabbed 21 kids. We will never know how many could have died if the security wasn’t already stationed at the school. Just as we can’t predict the total number of possible victims saved by the likes of Carolyn Gudger and Jeanne Assam (to name two prominent examples) if they hadn’t been there to stop a mass shooter in the early stages of their rampages. But, as we know all too well, those questions and possibilities are mere inconveniences to those on the anti-2A side.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/world/asia/30china.html?_r=0

    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/china-to-deploy-more-security-guards-at-schools_100638848.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2248054/China-stabbing-22-children-elderly-woman-stabbed-outside-primary-school-Chinese-knifeman.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_attacks_in_China_(2010%E2%80%9312)

  17. isolate, mock, ridicule ~Saul Alynsky
    The Politics of a Bully
    there has been an interesting discovery Independent thinkers have a different brain structure than Followers
    We are being attacked by the Bullies who fear independent thinkers and they do so through their Followers

  18. About #2: saying it’s illegal because it’s a crime is a tautology. The real difference between gun control laws and something like rape is that rape is a real harm to a real person, and will always be wrong regardless of whether there’s a law or not. The acts proscribed by gun control laws inflict no harm on anyone in and of themselves, but are prohibited on the theory that if they are restricted, some other bad consequence or harm will be avoided or reduced.

    The first kind of law is always justified. The second kind is sometimes justifiable, but in most cases not.

    • Looks like it’s still there… give it another shot; just click the link at the top of the page for Nick’s take down and click on the link there.

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