Since the Sandy Hook shooting, I’ve written several posts about interactions with liberals who refused to believe the facts I cited them about guns. (The facts I rely upon are here; a good example of a fight with liberals is here.) Clearly, I am not persuasive.
As I learned today, though, when you’re arguing with an ideologue, nothing is going to be persuasive. Today was the day I opened my “real me” Facebook page and saw, much to my surprise, that one of my uber-liberal friends (someone with whom I was once very close, so I continue to “friend” on Facebook), had linked to this article from Mediaite (a hard left-leaning outlet):
A study published in the latest issue of the academic journal Applied Economics Letters took on many of the claims made regularly by advocates of stricter gun laws. The study determined that nearly every claim made in support of stronger restrictions on gun ownership is not supported by an exhaustive analysis of crime statistics.
The study, “An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates,” conducted by Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius, examined nearly 30 years of statistics and concluded that stricter gun laws do not result in a reduction in gun violence. In fact, Gius found the opposite – that a proliferation of concealed carry permits can actually reduce incidents of gun crime.
Along with the link, my friend included his own statement to the effect that this was certainly food for thought, but that he still believes that guns should be as tightly regulated as cars. I couldn’t resist adding my mite to this, because I thought that, with his having cited the article himself, his liberal mind might be opening just a crack to let in the light of pure reason. We ended up having a polite back and forth that I’ll summarize so as not to destroy his privacy.
I noted, as I always do when the car comparison comes along, that cars are not constitutionally protected, while guns are accorded the highest protection possible (“shall not infringe”). Otherwise, you can compare cars and guns: both are useful, both are fun, and both are dangerous. I added that life overall is dangerous and governments are the most dangerous of all. I even threw in the fact that, as a predicate to committing mass murder against their own people, totalitarian governments always disarmed them first.
My friend replied that he wants a constitutional amendment so that guns can only be in the hands of people the government pre-approves. He believes government can commit mass murder without first disarming its people. To him, it was irrelevant that those governments that actually (not hypothetically) murdered their people all began with disarming them. Somewhere, somehow, he’s sure there’s a government that successfully committed mass murder against its own well-armed citizens. He then threw in the usual trope that guns are made solely to kill, while cars are not.
That last comment left me with an opening: his statement seemed to belie the very study that he had posted in the first place. It said that fewer people are killed when more people of good will had guns. That means guns are made for protecting people, not killing.
My friend’s response was to launch into a laundry list of shooting stories — drive-bys, robberies, fights, etc., all of which explain (to his mind) why guns should be banned. Once again, he’d totally forgotten about the study he cited. He then repeated that guns are meant only to kill and that the only way to save society is to get rid of guns.
I came back with fact: as the study he cited shows, places that ban guns have more crime, including gun crime. Places that once banned guns and then un-banned them (as happened in Washington, D.C. after the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller) had less gun crime.
He opted for sarcasm: So, do we give everyone a gun?
I suggested that doing so is reasonable, based on the conclusions from the study he cited. I also said that Hollywood is a problem. Even as its people demand gun control, they make pictures rife with guns and hide behind armed guards. They might want to change the message in their movies. I also pointed out that gun crime is an inner city problem and that we should look at the culture there, rather than at the guns themselves.
His bottom line had the virtue of being honest: I don’t really care about the study. Guns are bad and should be done away with.
And that’s why you can’t argue with an ideologue. Data is irrelevant. Blind faith is everything.