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“The candidates’ positions on the gun issue are why I feel that debates are not enlightening and actually serve to confuse the public. For example, can anyone out there tell me what a semi-automatic weapon is and looks like? When I’ve asked people that in the past, they usually say ‘a machine gun.’ I would agree. But that’s not what politicians usually mean when they refer to assault weapons. You have to read the definition of such weapons in an actual law to understand exactly what’s being banned, and those descriptions can vary widely. The debate over this sort of thing is what drives a lot of the National Rifle Association folks to the point of sounding irrational. But I get it. They know about guns, and the rest of us usually don’t. Assault rifles must be bad or we wouldn’t be using them to assault people.” – Phil Kadner in Guns really aren’t the problem [at southtownstar.suntimes.com]

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54 Responses to Quote of the Day: I Got Nothin’ Edition

    • Wow – I feel like I just got off a roller-coaster.

      I can see his point that social ills can’t be distilled to a “guns” problem. But, did he have to travel the world to get there?

      • Some people need to take the long way around the fence post. I did in regards to a lot of issues. At least he’s learned that we don’t have a “gun problem”, to his credit.

    • “But before you get bogged down in that argument (easy to do with the NRA folks), consider the fact that very few crimes are committed using assault rifles.The weapon of choice for most street criminals is the Glock semi-automatic handgun or one of its many cousins.They are capable of handling magazines that hold as many as 33 rounds, but they are not assault weapons. You have to keep pulling the trigger to fire. But that can be done easily and quickly.”

      I wasn’t aware that my AR was fully automatic until this man enlightened me. The time he took to research his topic(waiting for his computer to boot) was truly enough. I also had a great time playing “Where’s W̶a̶l̶d̶o̶ The NRA” with this one.

  1. “I’m not buying the argument that a person needs an AR-15 to shoot critters such as coyotes.”

    There goes that pesky Bill of Needs again.

    • Whether anybody “buys into” that argument or not is totally irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that certain tools are indeed the best ones for certain jobs, and there is absolutely zero legal or moral reason whatsoever that any law-abiding citizen should be barred from having one.

  2. He’s complaining about how ignorance clouds the argument then proceeds to join the camp of the ignorant.

    I bet he takes the short bus to work.

    • “But that’s not what politicians usually mean when they refer to assault weapons” I’m pretty sure most of those politicians don’t know what they mean. Like that shoulder thing that goes up right?

    • An “assault weapon” is any weapon (that can be) used in an assault, silly. 🙂

      Once they’ve taken away our guns, they’ll come after our bows and knives and anything else “offensive,” then our cars, swimming pools, razors, writing utensils, spoons, vices, hands, teeth, eyes, noses, tongues, reproductive organs, brains, etc. At least we’ll still be able to get on our (heavily-censored) internet to praise our lords and masters for protecting us, right, comrades?

  3. Hammers must be bad or we wouldnt be using them to beat people.
    Cars must be bad or we wouldnt be using them to crash into people.
    Pools must be bad or we wouldnt be using them to drown children.
    Knives must be bad or we wouldnt be using them to stab people.

    Yep, totally the objects fault and not the fault of a person.

  4. “I guess you could pass a law saying, “People who are going to commit a crime with a gun should not be allowed to carry a gun,” but my guess is the criminal mind (devious as it is) would ignore that law.”

    It sounds to me as he fundamentally understands the problem at least.

  5. Willful ignorance.

    I can forgive innocent ignorance. But, willful ignorance is intolerable, inexcusable, and a dereliction of duty when it comes to those making the laws.

  6. “When Rauner contends that Democrats have failed the state’s black community, he makes an interesting point.

    On the other hand, Republicans have never shown a lot of interest in funding public health care, unemployment programs, public schools or increases in the minimum wage, which help a lot of poor people in minority communities.”

    This quote is why my hometown will remain condemned to be a violent cesspool.
    Chicago is a great place in so many ways, and in others it is as bad as any Afgani village. The source of the problem isnt guns, regulations, or even the entrenched culture of corruption so pervasive it would make Hamid Karzai blush. It is the woefully failed social policy in place, the one which says we should pay poor black women to shun two parent households via welfare policy. Every metric , if honestly anaylized, would reveal that the ideal of government eliminating poverty by social policy actually makes it worse.

    By providing welfare, we have deincentivized honest work. By deincentivising honest work, we thus grant notoriety to the dope man. When one transacts dope ,like any other business , contract disputes and competitive forces arise-except , being an underground market, there are no courts or arbitration processes as we have in civilized society.

    So, disputes are settled with full auto Uzis and stolen HiPoints. The men thus get shot or jailed , their kids grow up without them, and the next generation of dope dealers arises to repeat the cycle. Until we approach urban crime as an economic skill problem instead of an equipment one, so it will continue.

    • Well said, ST.

      I’ll go you one further, though. It may be at least in part even more fundamental than an economic skills problem. The issue as I see it rests on cultural values in general and the value of ‘family’ and ‘home’ in particular.

      A man without specific marketable skills CAN find honest work – there are plenty of ‘unskilled’ jobs. Yes, they don’t always pay very well, but they exist, and a man motivated by an inner drive to provide for his family will seek that out.

      A man brought up to believe men are the useless, hangers-on of human existence won’t care.

      There has been a LOT of destruction of “family” in our culture in the last three-four decades, and not just in black, inner city communities. Those communities are feeling it acutely, but the general lack of fathers in the home and even social peer pressure pushing moms out of the home certainly is not helping ANYBODY.

      We have tried a grand experiment – can human society function better without intergenerational continuity – and we are finding that the connection from parent -> child and indeed grandparent -> grandchild is so fundamentally important as to be foundational.

      • All true. Better family and community structures would go a long way in reducing crime, as well as people being economically independent of government hand outs.

  7. “So now law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns just like the bad guys.”

    Almost there dude… Your logic failure is The Citizens are Allowed, the bad guys AREN’T allowed. They just do it anyways!

  8. From Kadner’s column:
    “More people than ever before in this country feel the need to own guns and carry them to work, on commuter trains, to the grocery store or on their way to church. Just about everyone, those without guns and those with them, fears being shot or raped or mugged.”

    I’ll give him credit for trying to be objectively critical and not just parroting the usual liberal lies. But when you live in an urban bubble and never spend any time in “flyover country,” your critical thinking runs into a wall of ignorance pretty fast.

    He claims that Chicago once banned all guns. Actually it was just handguns. And the commuter trains he mentioned are “prohibited areas” for Illinois Concealed Carry Licensees. Ignorance is a terrible impediment to critical thought.

  9. “You’re either for guns or against them. A good guy or evil. There’s no room for debate here.”

    I see what he did there.

  10. Ugghh I kind of hate it when opinion pieces have comments disabled.

    ” if the definition is a narrow one and refers to weapons adopted for civilian use that are commonly distributed to the military.”

    Those are NFA select-fire, unless you’re talking about ones which are functionally identical, which then would be pretty much every service pistol, bolt action rifle, and semi-automatic rifle ever.

    “The weapon of choice for most street criminals is the Glock semi-automatic handgun or one of its many cousins.”

    (Citation Needed.)

    “Of course, this country already has more people in its prisons than any other, and the Cook County Jail is already over capacity.”

    We could start by not imprisoning people for non-trafficking drug crimes and most non-violent crime.

    “In a perfect world, you could write a law to prevent people who have been treated for a mental illness from buying a gun.”

    That would prevent people from seeking treatment, wouldn’t it? 1 in 4 adults or thereabouts have a mental illness. The vast majority manage to live and function just fine with it. Disincentivize the seeking of treatment (when it’s already a huge social and sometimes legal stigma) and you’re just going to make the problem worse.

    “The clear message — something terrible and awful will happen if you vote for the other guy.”

    Politics in a nutshell. The sad part is that it’s true. The trick is deciding which terrible and awful you can live with, and which you can not. The candidate who doesn’t trust me with the power to exercise my human right of self-defense is clearly not someone to be trusted with the power of public office.

    • Ugghh I kind of hate it when opinion pieces have comments disabled.

      It must be so nice, warm, and cuddly in that giant Leftist bubble.

  11. His argument when you read the entire thing seems to be that guns are not the problem in Illinois, but it’s easier to yell about guns than make serious attempts at changing the fundamental problems. He’s ignorant of guns, but he’s also acknowledging they’re a distraction because politicians are lazy. How is this not what gun people have been arguing? This QotD feels like cherry picking what is overall a good, if slightly convoluted essay.

    • That was my take-away, as well. I could have done without some of his condescension, but overall I don’t see the article as anti-gun. He makes some lame statements, to be sure, some about guns and others about gunowners, but his real focus is the lack of focus on the real social and economic root causes.

  12. This idiot clearly has access to the interwebz yet lacks the intellectual curiosity to lift a finger and research the topic and become learned. Some small amount of reading and maybe watching a couple of youtube videos and this clown would understand these simple machines that are much maligned… Lazy, ignorant idealist.

  13. I would encourage everyone here to read the full article and read it carefully. The article is titled “Guns Are Not the Problem” and he is not being ironic. He goes on in the article to show how guns are not the problem. Why are we attacking him for that? He does take a jab at “assault weapons,” but other than that, his article pretty much supports the idea that guns are not the problem, but that liberal politicians are using the fear of guns to keep from having to deal with the real reasons there is too much violence in our society. I would hope we all would agree with that. Overall, his article is good for us.

    Public Relations 101 (which I used to teach, BTW.) If a media piece does your position more good than harm, it is a good piece. If the author says one or two things you disagree with, it’s easy to over-react to that, but it can actually be a good thing. It gives his agreeable messages more credibility with people who might be leaning the other way. We need more articles like this.

    • I agree with you John. I just wish he had taken five minutes to educate himself on a subject before writing about it.

    • The article may have been positive en toto, but he falls down where it’s implied that the argument is too black and white us vs them and that some beneficial compromise solution could be reached if only both sides would bother to give a little… to which I reply, just what is the anti-gun side offering to give up?

  14. Understanding the mechanics of the different kinds of firearms is not rocket science. Understanding that the 2nd Amendment was inserted in the Constitution to give We The People the ability to fight against tyranny is not rocket science either. Democrats are in their own little utopian, elitist bubble where they dictate unconstitutional edicts to their serfs without restraint. They are as oblivious as the British aristocracy of the 1770’s to the plight of freedom by the Colonists.

  15. The full article is actually ok. He is saying that politicians are ignoring so many other problems. If there were no thugs, then no one might need a gun for protection. I mean, it will never happen but I get his point and that it is we need to focus on society to help people succeed…problem is its too late. There are too many thugs who will always be thugs

  16. Phil: They are called assault rifles because the Germans introduced a select fire carbine and called it a Sturmgewhr which literally means assault rifle. Assault rifle rolls off the tongue better than a select fire carbine that uses a cartridge of intermediate power.

    And by the way a semi-automatic rifle is the perfect gun to hunt coyotes.. Having done it with a bolt gun it’s one and done because they take off with the speed of a greyhound. If you are working a bolt it is very hard to get ahead of the target.

    • Good answer, but for this guy you’d have to remember he’ll be baffled by the terms “select fire”, “carbine”, “bolt gun”, “cartridge”, and “intermediate power”.

    • It actually was designated an MP-43 or MP-44 for Maschinenpistole. Most Soldaten never called it a Sturmgewehr. Sturmgewehr was later applied to sex up the weapon.

  17. When compared to a lot of the complete garbage floating around the internet talking about guns etc. I actually thought the article was good. He came really close to the right answers at several points and yeah his comment about “needing” an AR15 to hunt coyotes is on its face, quite inflammatory and off base, but he acknowledges his shortcomings in terms of knowledge on the subject several times. He continues to circle back to how both sides exploit peoples fears to turn them out to vote instead of tackling the issues at hand. In that regard he is spot on. America has seen a wholesale decline in morals, the destruction of family values, and a complete decay of anything resembling personal responsibility. Most unfortunate of all there are career criminals err I mean politicians and activists whose entire life and purpose is focused around deflecting criticism from their sacred cows. Since when did “democracy” become like a college football game where the winning team feels obliged to run up the score. We are so entrenched in a broken system that even if a good man ran for office on issues that would solve the problems they would be shouted out of the room by the protectionists of the status quo.

    Again, I read the whole article and feel like it had a lot of great points. The author acknowledges his shortcomings and while he demonstrates a general progressive lack of knowledge and even fear of firearms, he also acknowledges that the guns and people killing each other is only a symptom of the disease.

  18. “They know about guns, and the rest of us usually don’t”

    ….he should have left it at that. he’s right. he doesn’t. and the rest is just drivel.

  19. “You have to read the definition of such weapons in an actual law to understand exactly what’s being banned”

    Heaven forbid someone should actually have to read a law to know what it does, rather than just make vague assumptions about it…

  20. If you are going to quote the guy, please be accurate. What he said was:
    For example, can anyone out there tell me what an assault weapon is? When I’ve asked people that in the past, they usually say “a machine gun.”
    He did not, according the to the original article, say:
    For example, can anyone out there tell me what a semi-automatic weapon is and looks like? When I’ve asked people that in the past, they usually say ‘a machine gun.’

    • Yes, he did say “semi-auto.” He corrected the article after I emailed him. He meant to write “assault weapon” but didn’t. RF quoted him accurately the first time.

  21. ” . . .They know about guns, and the rest of us usually don’t. . .”

    This is his most telling comment. It signifies the cultural gulf that defines Bloomberg, The Moms, sundry anti-gun activists, (mainly) liberal politicians, and a vast population of people I discursively refer to as “cosmopolites”. The defining characteristic of these people is that they don’t know, or have any particular interest in knowing, how things work. Being a red-neck kid, from birth it seems I was fascinated with the inner working of, well, everything. I took things apart, studied how they fit together, and (usually) put them back together. I grew up around people for whom putting a roof on a house or rebuilding a car engine was a taken-for-granted activity, something everyone was expected to know about. Even if you could afford to hire others to do this work, you shared the knowledge with them about how the work was done. These expectations extended, of course, to hunting and to guns. Just as you knew about tools (everybody had tools, right?) so did you know about guns, their differences and inner workings.

    For a lot of people, however, these kinds of life experience are completely alien to them. Most live in big cities, most come from multi-generational families where basic knowledge of how things work didn’t exist. They don’t know how things work. They don’t own tools and wouldn’t know what to do with them if they did. These people live in a post-technological world. They plug things in, switch them on . . . and they just work. And when they don’t work, they call somebody. And these folks think we’re weird. The issue of guns neatly defines the sharp cultural differences between them and us. An example of what I’m talking about is the comment by gun-banning politician, Carolyn McCarthy who famously described a barrel shroud as “the shoulder things that goes up”.

    Tellingly, the good congresswoman felt absolutely comfortable attempting to speak authoritatively about gun-control despite her woeful ignorance about the most basic aspects of gun technology. Across the cultural gulf, those kinds of people claim the right to discuss, control, and ultimately ban guns despite not really knowing anything about them. Their view of the world is very different from ours. In various significant ways, they think we threaten them.

  22. Despite the errors in his ideas about what a gun is, etc, the author is at least serious about looking at the social issues behind violence. And that is a good thing, as that should be the direction these conversations should be taken. I’m willing to overlook the technical details which non-gun owners/potential gun-control advocates get as excited about as we might be listening to an economics professor talking about the price of tea in china.

  23. I read his whole article and agree with him. He seems to think a semi-auto is a “machine gun” (may have been a grammatical mistake) but other than that – everything else was pretty straightforward.

  24. I emailed the author. He misspoke in the article. He meant to write “can anyone out there tell me what an assault weapon is and looks like?” not “can anyone out there tell me what a semi-automatic weapon is and looks like?”

    • You were in stoned and in college at 16? I knew people who were in college at 16, but they usually weren’t stoned. I was stoned at 16, but I was two years away from college!

  25. Phil Kadner was more of a typical Chicagoian bleeding heart liberal the last decade. He came out with some pretty cookie cutter anti stuff during Otis McDonald’s case . When I clicked on the link to his editorial I was expecting nothing but ignorance. Maybe He’s finally seen a glimmer of light. It was definitely better than works I’ve seen of his in the past.

  26. Yeah this is my local paper. I used to read the Southtown Star. Actually this is pretty evolved for the local “expert” columns. Which is sad. I have no idea how they keep printing a paper.

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