Dawn DiPrince (courtesy pueblourbanrenewal.org)

I lived in the UK when Bush The Younger was president. To say the British chattering classes sneered at Americans who elected “that cowboy” would be like saying that I miss cruising the web for Israeli supermodels for metaphorical linkage. I mean real linkage for metaphors. See how tricky words can be? They can be even trickier when an anti-gun agitator uses them to manipulate readers’ political perspective. Here’s an excellent example of the rhetorical device known as the fallacy of false choice, written by a breed of Yank I met whilst living in The Land of Hope and Glory (the self-loathing American) . . .

The [Colorado] recall results on 10 September will be about more than the electoral fate of these two senators. It will speak to the kind of country we want America to be, and will signal the future political power of the NRA. Do we value the right to have high-capacity magazines more than the rights of children to be safe when they go to school? Will we allow the gun industry undue influence in our democratic process? And will NRA money be defeated in the American west?

The scribe, Dawn DiPrince, writes for the left-leaning Guardian. While we thank the UK broadsheet for giving Mr. Snowdon a chance to expose the fact that the NSA knows which porn sites we prefer, their anti-gun stance is as anti-freedom as their NSA whistle-blowing is pro-liberty. But you knew that.

Guardian readers who don’t [really] qualify for the latter part of the Armed Intelligentsia moniker will fall right into DiPrince’s logical fallacy. The polemical prose above offers a choice between “high-capacity” (a.k.a., standard capacity) magazines and the “rights” of kids to be safe. First, what right? Second, who says we have to choose?

Ms. DiPrince, of course. And her ilk. People whose desire for civilian disarmament blinds them to the fact that guns save life. That “shall not be infringed” means that Americans have the right to own any damn magazine they please. That Colorado’s version of the Second Amendment (Art. II, § 13) also says nothing indicating the legislature’s ability to limit magazine capacity.

Despite the fact that millions of citizens own tens of millions of 30-round detachable rifle magazines without ill intent or incident, Ms. DiPrince reckons “high capacity magazines” = evil. So that’s how she frames the debate.

Only it’s not a debate, is it? It’s the fallacy of false choice. Support gun control or your kid will die at the hands of an active shooter. Like that.

Ms. DiPrince also trots-out what car salesman call the “assumptive close.” “Will we allow the gun industry undue influence in our democratic process?” assumes that we (whoever that may be) are allowing the gun industry undue influence in our democratic process (Constitutional republic that it is). Hey DiPrince! Define “undue,” ’cause I’m thinking you’re using that term to mean influence with which you don’t agree.

“Will NRA money be defeated in the American West?” assumes that NRA money is responsible for the Colorado recall election. It isn’t. The campaign was and is a grass roots effort. But hey, if the NRA wants to write some checks to exercise the checks and balances provide by the Colorado state constitution, I say gopher it.

I for one am eager to see the ugliness of this fight to leave my usually friendly community. But even more, I hope that we will unite on the side of our children and with our legislators’ courageous leadership against corporate bullies.

And I hope that there will come a day when the anti-gunners to stop bending the language to disguise an emotional appeal as rational thinking. You don’t have to read her final paragraph to know that ain’t gonna happen. But rest assured TTAG will be there to slap some sense into these people. Metaphorically speaking.

68 Responses to Gun Fact: Anti-Gunners Offer The Fallacy of False Choice

  1. A civil liberty is above all “safety” goo-goo feelings.

    The NRA, nor any other organization, did not pen the Bill of Rights. They hold no authority in this regard.

    To imply otherwise is a falacy of constitutional understanding and regard.

  2. Here’s another choice. Do we allow people the means of self defense or do we follow their path and let our children be slaughtered by psychpaths while they cower defenseless in the classroom corner?

    • Im sure they would be happy with the children being slaughtered so long as no law abiding citizens have guns. Besides in a classroom you can throw books and staplers and stuff and have bullet proof white boards. All else fails, p!ss, sh!t and vomit all over yourself so your attacker wont want you anymore.

      • An gun-control advocate is a person who has armed guards 24/7 or has never been mugged.
        .
        Once they have been mugged, the change sides!
        .
        I recommend mugging a liberal today!

    • Actually, that’s not a choice and neither is the one posed by the original author. That’s the message we need to get back to. We had a meeting; we talked about all if this; there was a vote; we all agreed that the government would not have the power to even infringe on this issue. All choices on this issue have been made.

      • All the choices have *not* been made. That’s why they continue to challenge gun ownership. You’re making the same mistake that they make when they argue that enacting a law magically makes the intended effect happen — also known as “doing something.” Just because it is in a law somewhere does not mean the law is obeyed in text or in spirit. Likewise, just because the Second Amendment is in the Constitution does not mean it will be followed. See the 9th and 10th Amendments for reference points.

        Every single day there is a choice about what we will do and what we will not, regardless of whatever has been done or agreed to before. That is something that the other side understands and why they constantly move against gun ownership. If you assume that “the choices have already been made” when it was placed into the Constitution or in an agreed legislative compromise, you will lose this battle because they do not agree. They see everything, every single day, as part of the fight to obtain victory; you think there’s nothing to fight about. There’s no easier way to lose a fight than to not realize you are in one. You’ll only realize what is happened when it’s over.

  3. I love the continued use and blame of the “gun lobby” and “gun industry.” Both of which would be powerless without gun enthusiasts. The people panic buyed during the attemped gun grab of late last year and this year, the people joined the NRA.

    Unless I am on a firearm related website, reading a firearm related magazine or there is an upcoming gun show I NEVER see advertisments or propaganda trying to influence people to buy guns. It isnt like the tobacco industry once was where ads were everywhere showing how cool smoking would make you. At least not in my area of Tennessee and never in my years growing up in Connecticut. I have seen two commercials related to gun ranges and pistol permits when I was in Florida last April. TWO in my whole life on television.

    These losers are going around talking about the industry like they own us. We own them! They speak for us and with us, not the other way around.

  4. In a few years, after she has been forcably converted to a good Muslim wife, we shall be reading the same carpola about Jews, Americans, The Elders of Zion,, no, wait that’s Al Jazera (America)

      • +1, but ensitue seems pretty committed to the idea that he’s going to be subjected to Sharia law at any second. To be fair, there is an entire cottage industry dedicated to Islamophobia.

        • It’s not Islamophobia to notice that certain segments of that religion want to kill and subjugate the entirety of Western civilization. It’s also not Islamophobia to object to that. And if you think AJA is propaganda-less, then you just might be hopeless. But don’t feel alone, in the old USSR, there were people who believed every word Pravda wrote.

        • To the mysterious commentor You Keep Using that Word (man up and at least use your regular anonymous on-line identity),

          I don’t disagree that there are Muslim crazies who do in, fact, think they should take over the whole world. However, they were barely able to take over Afghanistan, even with U.S. arms and CIA support. There are plenty of Christian Dominionists in this country, several of them in Congress, but I’m not really all that afraid of them, either, although I think they pose more of a threat to our freedom than any Muslims.

          As for Al Jazeera, they certainly have a perspective and a bias toward the audience they mostly serve. Unlike any U.S. media outlet, they actually show the results of U.S. attacks on civilians. You may not want to see that shit, but it’s happening, and it’s why a lot of people in the Muslim world think that the U.S. is waging war on them. They see it. People in Europe see it, for that matter, but our domestic media has a self-imposed censorship policy on graphic images of the results of warfare, and they have since Vietnam. The public turned against the Vietnam War because they saw it on their televisions and in Time magazine. Now, we don’t see any of that – if we see anything it’s maps and graphics with some retired colonel “explaining” things. And I’m not even talking about Fox News, which is on a whole other level of awful. I think people should have ready access to a bunch of different information, and they should make up their own minds. Our U.S. networks are like Soviet state-run media with capitalist sized paychecks. The debate is so narrow as to be absurd.

          So, yes, Islamophobia, Islamophobia, Islamophobia! Be afraid of those Bad Scary Muslims. Freak out if some group wants to build a mosque somewhere. Know that that airport search is for your own safety. Keep watching Fox News , and you’ll be safe, citizen

        • So they want to bomb and hurt us. You agree with that. Yet, if someone objects or is concerned, you claim they have a “phobia.” See, the problem is that you are claiming someone who disagrees with you about the size of the problem has an psychological disorder. (I mean its not like Islamic radicals have crashed planes into the buildings or bombed public events, amirite?) It’s a cheap tactic to try and claim that you are correct because the other guy has a psychological problem. That is total BS and mighty fascist of you. (See how that works?) When someone calls you on it, you get mad and go all junior high, claiming the moral higher ground because you’re smart and stuff because you watch certain television stations, the good ones, the ones that are really neutral and good and stuff, not like the ones that your sure I watch. Whatever. You also puff out your chest and insult me for daring to question your name calling. Typical. Try some self awareness, wingnut. (It works again!)

          Oh, and “NCG” telling someone to man up because they are anon on the internet. Did you really do that? Wow, what a hypocrite.

  5. Given that more children die from drowning in 5gal buckets than from gunfire and there is no constitutionally protected right to own 5gal buckets one who was truly worried about children’s safety would be for banning such buckets (They are just the right height for little ones to fall into head first after which they can’t escape because the bucket is too narrow and when filled with water too heavy).

    In fact, a simple safety modification to the standard 5gal bucket is available (think rounder and shorter) but even that isn’t on the horizon. Never mind we could switch to only selling 2.5 gal buckets (not that big a deal) which are largely too shallow to entrap the arms of toddlers and small children and thus basically drown proof.

    I don’t see anyone advocating this simple thing that would save children’s lives without infringing on anyone’s rights (though perhaps their convenience) Nor do I see laws requiring such buckets to be accounted for, locked up when not in use, limited in number or even that they be stored with lids on or just upside down, all of which would save lives every year.

    Now we could move on to swimming pools, and how many children’s lives could be saved with mandatory fencing . . . but it doesn’t matter. The fact is that so few children are killed in these ways (guns included, which kill fewer children than either buckets or pools) that it’s not really something that requires legislative intervention. In fact, simple supervision of children prevents these and many more potentially fatal accidents . . . it’s just hard to legislate good parenting.

    Those who are for civilian disarmament are always irrational, misinformed or disingenuous about their actual goals. I’m going to defend that statement at some length.
    A rational person whose only goal was child safety would devote their time to such things as water safety, vaccination drives and car seat drives and awareness. These would save many more children’s lives than complete prohibition of firearms even if such were possible. Thus if child safety is the concern, civilian disarmament is an irrational project, it’s both massively more difficult and far less effective than a multitude of other causes.
    A well informed person, who was also rational would already know the above and thus would not choose civilian disarmament as a cause for children.
    Now, a disingenuous person, who cared neither for children’s safety nor rational argument might be well informed, but dishonest in framing the debate.

    Thus those who enter into the civilian disarmament movement and who use children’s safety as their rallying cry can choose from being irrational, ignorant or dishonest, or even some combination thereof, but cannot possibly be rational, well informed and honest all at the same time.

    It simply begs the question why anyone is listening to them at all.

    • Excellent commentary and I agree completely.

      So please answer a question. The gun grabbers are mentally unstable. Why do we yield to them in any way, shape, or form? Would we yield to cannibals or pedophiles if there were a lot of them, their public relations campaign was well funded, the mainstream media was on-board, and police departments supported their agenda?

      • We are not yeilding to them willfuly. But it isnt easy considering the gun-grabber-and-chief sitting in the oval office. Its not like all of the law makers are on our side and we are submitting, this is an uphill battle.

      • They’re not mentally unstable. (At least, the great majority of them.) They’re just wrong.

        Misguided, irrational, not thinking clearly, or misinformed. Getting them to change their minds, or at least understand where we’re coming from, is not easy. When emotions are involved, there’s a lot of resistance to change; people of all political persuasions will outright deny even the most obvious fact if it contradicts some deeply held belief.

        Why do we yield to them? We don’t just yield. As In Memphis said, it’s an uphill battle. The media, the president, and half of our two-party system are all in together against what we know and value — anti-gun sentiment is the public default setting.

        With all that, it’s no wonder that so many people identify or support (or actually are) “gun grabbers.” When you think about all the public resources and the ubiquity of the anti-gun message, it’s actually surprising that so many of us are saying no to it. There are a few big drivers who deserve to be called out as fascist-minded liars, but anti-gun folks on the whole aren’t mentally diseased or malevolent; they’re just ordinary people, coasting along on the default setting.

        • ING,

          They aren’t just wrong – they are pushing civilian disarmament in order to concentrate power into the hands of those who share their worldview.

      • I’ll try uncommon:

        My original intent was to advise against giving any credence to what the hoplophobes have to say. (If that much wasn’t clear I need to work on clarity.)

        What I’m suggesting is that the hoplophobes fall mostly into a group to be pitied but protected against. An all too large subset of what’s wrong with the country in general; people lacking in logic and critical thinking skills to such a degree that they are unable to separate a good argument from a bad one even when one is very good and the other terrible. People for whom, given their lack of critical thinking, must then decide solely on emotion which argument ‘makes sense’ to them rather than which argument is true.

        The remainder, those who are not severely and fundamentally flawed either in intellect or education can be categorized by their lack of moral character. One who sees that an argument is logically flawed such that what it advocates is wrong either in fact or in character and yet still presses the argument is either actually lying, or knowingly committing to a course that would bring about more harm than good. The former is morally wrong, the latter is perhaps (without much hyperbole) the definition of evil.

        Thus there isn’t any high ground in the argument for civilian disarmament. I’m certainly biased, but I simply see no way to escape the condemnations I placed on them in my original post; to support civilian disarmament requires a level of immaturity in which magical thinking is superior to reason, or else a level of dishonesty and evil intent that makes any means acceptable to for the ends.

  6. Kids have “What right?” to be safe.

    Actually, kids have no Constitutional rights, as spelled out in the various articles. Minors, y’know.

    Such being the case, they’re wards, same as the Red Man was for a while, and a term also used in justifying involuntary servitude.

    Violations of the person of a minor are treated basically as violations of the sovereignty of their keeper, at least at the Constitutional level.

    Since they’ve no right of freedom of assembly, free travel, armed self defense et cetera, it is incumbent on the community/state/something-apart-from-the-kids-themselves to provide for their wellbeing.

    It may not be a right to safety, but it’s a spelled-out obligation on the part of persons of majority to make their best good-faith effort to provide it.

    • I don’t buy your argument. “…inalienable right to life, liberty…” It doesn’t say “…for adults,” does it?

      • I agree Jus Bill,

        I am working on a somewhat longer article in the hopes that TTAG will post it. But here’s the short of it.

        Rights in and of themselves are NOT the end game. They are a verbal, limited attempt to describe what necessary conditions must exist if we hold human life to be sacred. We would not need to state rights if everyone held human life to be intrinsically valuable. Sadly, many people view fellow humans as objects to be used, abused, consumed, dominated, exploited, and controlled any way they desire. So we talk about “rights” to push back at such monsters.

        Let’s talk about children. Either you hold that children are intrinsically valuable or you do not. If you hold them valuable, then they are fully entitled to all rights as well. For example children are entitled to due process even though they have not reached our legally defined “age of majority”. Similarly a parent cannot “terminate” the life of a child because the child was crimping their style. We all know this. However, it gets in the way of some people’s agendas. And that is when you observe their verbal gymnastics as they try to confuse and argue away another person’s rights.

        Nevertheless, no one has a right to “safety” because safety is completely subjective. Further, even if safety was objective, it would be impossible to provide safety to anyone. Of utmost importance, one person’s desire for safety does not override another person’s desire to exercise any right.

        Any time there is a potential conflict of “rights” between two people, the resolution is exceedingly simple. Either person can do whatever they want as long as what they want doesn’t involve forcing the other person to do something against their will. But that doesn’t work for the monsters in the world who want to use, abuse, dominate, consume, exploit, and control others. Hence we have gun grabbers.

  7. Also, note the obligatory reference to gun banners as “courageous.” There is nothing courageous about agreeing with the ruling class that it should become more powerful.

    • They are about as courageous as thoes guys who buy some surplus ACUs and troll for women at the mall, telling war stories that would have made them p!ss their pants if they were real soldiers.

      • Off topic i know, but…Does that really happen? Sounds like a good way to get your ass kicked. Also, since when did ACU’s get you laid? Didn’t ever do much for me…maybe because I sweat like a hog and smelled like a locker room after I got off duty? Anyone who’s that desperate for a$$ has some issues. Probably more so than the antis, and they deserve to be pilloried equally, or better yet, if caught, make them join the infantry.

        • Jared it happened so much that I believe it was once illegal. I believe it was called the stolen valor act or something like that. I know someone who did a little time for it.

  8. I lived in London and was on vacation in France during the 2008 presidential election. Obama! Obama! you vote for Obama! boy were they excited. They hated Bush.

    Now, 6 years and an NSA spy scandal later they are running from him. The spy scandal is hitting Merkel’s (Germany) re-election hard i’ve read.

    funny thing, the force of the office of the president that causes Presidents to abuse executive authority does not discriminate based on race. Obama was against all these executive powers, until he became President.

    Well, now we know. I wonder, will people vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, or having learned their lesson will they actually scrutinize her on the issues.

    • We never learn the lessons of history. Just look at Syria – we’re gearing up to blast them just like the Sandbox, the ‘Nam, etc. The Russians at least learned from their Afghan adventure…

    • I spent some time in Madrid in 2004. I was amazed at the numbers of the working class (taxi drivers, etc-the folks who actually worked for a living) who, when they realized I was from the US, would tell me how much they admired Bush. So much for the narrative.

      When I was in the UK, on the other hand, the working class didn’t talk politics with me, but the upper middles in the City, including the US expats, were at pains to tell me that W was an incompetent cowboy.

    • I wonder, will people vote for Hillary because she’s a woman

      Wait — Hillary’s a woman? Holy cr@p. Does she know?

        • Locker room , checking in! Every strong woman is not a “real” woman, or whatever. I find H.C. totally creepy for any number of reasons (I suspect she’s a closet Christian Dominionist, for one thing), and I think if she becomes President the National Security State will jizz in its collective pants. Plenty to criticize. Trying to demean here for what is arguably her greatest strength – she ain’t no shrinking violet-, just makes you look weak and stupid.

        • NCG,

          I was just making a joke on account of the fact that Hillary is just slightly more attractive than Rosie O’Donnel, and Rosie is just slightly more attractive than DiFi. There are some zombies, incidentally, that are just slightly more attractive than DiFi.

          We’re I Hillary’s boss, I would fire her simply for bungling Benghazi. I would expect termination if my gross incompetence or lack of accountability cost the lives of US citizens. There are a host of other reasons why I don’t like Hillary including statism, civilian disarmament tendencies, and leaning much too far to the left. I’ve even got a few more things that I can’t mention on TTAG.

          As for Hillary making me look weak, I sincerely doubt that will happen short of me being involved in a horrific vehicular accident and paralyzed from the neck down.

        • Accur81:

          Again, commenting about the relative attractiveness of female politicians is just plain stupid. For the most part, politicians are not attractive. Tom Delay, of course, is an incredibly handsome fella who could turn any of us gay, which is why he’s avoided prison, nothing to do with his political connections in Texas. But I digress.

          Seriously, the right wing can’t resist making comments about the physical appearance of HIllary Clinton, or DiFi, or whoever. I’m saying that your arguments (and I agree with your 2A arguments, if not much else) will sound a lot better if you can avoid sounding like a seveteen-year-old jock. And of course, Rush’s comments about Chelsea Clinton when she was 13 totally crossed the line into cruel and nasty.

          Don’t be an asshole, and people are more likely to listen.

  9. Sadly, since “Fake but True” Dan Rather in 2004, the main stream media just ramped up their activitism and let all pretense of objectivity in the dust bin of history. Intellectual dishonest like this is pretty much all the liberal/media side has at this point as documented in the leaked gun control/ban playbook. It just a new way to call opponents bigots/racist/sexist/evil when you say either you agree with their gun ban or you want children to die. There is no way to work with creatures like that. But fortunately, they are not the majority and we can convince those that do not have much of an opinion, that our stance makes more sense. Most soccer moms and real fathers know that something bad can happen at any time, and it is a small step or two to empowerment in their own self defense.

  10. “It will speak to the kind of country we want America to be-” Yes Madam, once again we’ll be able to choose between a free nation or one controlled by a rich empowered secretive “upper” class… just like we’ve done for what? 237 years… Ask your hosts, I’m sure they’ll have a firm opinion of it…

  11. “Do we value the right to have high-capacity magazines more than the rights of children to be safe when they go to school?”

    Yes.

  12. I think the main point of this whole exercise is as follows:
    “It will speak to the kind of country we want America to be… Do we value the right to have high-capacity magazines more than the rights of children to be safe when they go to school?”
    We value both those rights, which is why there are recall elections taking place. Sponsored and executed by residents, not commuters or long-distance pundits, I might add.

    And besides, she’s ugly. I’ll bet they airbrushed out the warts, buggers, and acne. Photoshop can do wonders, but it only can go so far…

  13. Another freakin’ Democrat hag. Is there some kind of rule that all hoplophobic gungrabbing lying Democrat beyotches have to be hags?

    • Feminists don’t care how they look because they don’t let their lives revolve around pleasing men. Notice that for most men, a pretty woman with long hair and a nice smile are attractive. Thus feminists are all about lack of makeup, short hair and a good scowl. But they love themselves just as they are.

      • I’m sure you won’t have to look far to find a lying gun-grabbing babe who wears an aggressive bra and puts her makeup on with a mason’s trowel in the approved Fox News fashion. Jeez. The facts are on your side, for Christ’s sake!

  14. All liberals are guilty of the same debate fallacies.

    … and as you pointed out, it’s not really a debate because no one can ever hear the oppositing side over their screeching about “the chhillllddddreeennnnn!”

  15. All I know is this recall is getting fun. The giron and Morse commercials are hilarious. They talk about extremist groups pushing the recall. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with ignoring your constituent’s will. Yep, extremist groups moved down to the springs and have Morse more votes for recall than he got to get elected.
    there’s a pretty good commercial I heard on the radio today from Sheriff Makita basically telling Morse to go eat a huge bag of d!cks.

  16. So if the fight that brings ugliness to her “usually friendly community” leaves, wouldn’t that make her community less “friendly” after?

  17. Thanks! I wasn’t going to donate to the Basic Firearms Freedom Defense Fund again when they sent me a fundraising newsletter. But after this article, I’m sending them some more money. I want her, and everyone, to know just what kind of America I want to have. A free one.

  18. Striking me here is the continued situation whereby the pro-gun community (well, R.F., anyway) is giving grudging respect to the Guardian for it’s role in exposing the National Security State for the Satanic(I don’t mean literally Satanic) octopus that it is.

    That said, I don’t recall Glen Greenwald having much to say one way or the other about private gun ownership, please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I agree that the MSM in this country is pro-authoritarian and anti-gun, and the Brits think guns are just plain crazy no matter what. With the Guardian forced to smash a bunch of computers in what can only be described as an orgy of pointless prior restraint, you’d think the UK might be ready to consider at least a First Amendment.

    As I’ve stated before, the 2A community should be ready to get over it’s authoritarian cognitive dissonance to make common cause with people it would rather just ignore. Freedom is freedom. A lot of goodwill could be gained by vocal support of 1A and 4A.

  19. How about this “choice”, then?

    “Are you going to knuckle under to leftist pressure, or defend your God-given right to defend your loved ones?”

    Or,

    “What would you prefer, that you and your loved be defenseless in the face of armed aggressors, or will you take steps to keep your family safe?”

    Or how about this:

    “Are you going to let criminals rob and kill your family, or are you going to defend your right to protect them?”

    Hey, two can play the game, right?

    Molon Labe, b!tches.

    • How about us saying, as the pro-2A community, “We totally support your God-given (I’m not big on God, but whatever) rights to 1A and 4A, and we sincerely wish you would consider supporting our 2A rights”? There’s a case to be made. Arguably, 2A is actually in better shape than 1A and 4A, since only lefties have cared about 1A and 4A until Obama was president.

      Man Up, Gun People! Have the courage to support people who disagree with you on one issue, but agree with your on three or four others. Fall for the Culture War and the bad guys win.

  20. Yeah, the Colorado recall is only about gun control. Never mind the fact that legislators voted for a bill despite what their constituents wanted and Morse was on TV telling other legislators to ignore the voters opinion.

    Doesn’t matter what the issue is, ignoring the people who put you in office merits a recall. They need to remember that they work for us.

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