Friday, February 25, 2011


Regular readers of this blog may have noticed a pair of articles I wrote here on the topic of gun control were picked up by Gun Pundit.  I had a few exchanges with various gun rights fundamentalists that commented on my posts.  None of them appeared particularly interested in what I was writing or in responding to the studies that I repeatedly pointed them to, with one of them finally dismissing all studies on the dangers of guns to have been discounted in a grand meta-study - for which the poster who cited it appears unwilling to name or send me a link to.  The main interest then has been to advance an ideological point - namely that nothing should impinge the rights to private gun-ownership whatsoever.

Once I discovered where these stray commentators were coming from, I started checking-in periodically on Gun Pundit because I was curious.  Apart from the typical shop talk regarding the minutiae of various weapons specifications that makes up much of the site's content, what emerges is a rather chilling world view.  Certainly posts detailing open-carry laws on college campuses have been disturbing, but three recent posts in particular each demonstrate something galling about the views of the self-stiled 'responsible gun-owners' who visit the site.

Post 1, on the subject of an automatic border guard/gun on the North/South Korean border sees the principle blog author, Murdoc, entering into a sort of lazy moral equivalence:

Not really an option for the Mexican border, but I could be convinced otherwise. Yes, the Mexican border is not the same as the North-South Korean border. But it’s still an important border to control. Too bad more politicians don’t think so. [Emphasis added]

So here in a single statement, though we see the seed planted for an idea, then dismissed but just as quickly reopened as an option. While the author does not come out completely in support of this statement, he remains open to the idea.

Never does it seem to enter his mind that such a device would effectively exist to murder impoverished Mexicans, many driven into the US as a result of illegal American agriculture subsidies which allow for the dumping or surpluses on the Mexican market which undercut local producers (despite higher overall production and environmental costs).

Effectively, what is being said here by the author is that he could be convinced that Mexican peasants attempting to enter the United States should perhaps be treated as though they are in the middle of a war zone.  This point is re-enforced by the dull mutterings about how it is "too bad" more politicians don't seem to think the Mexican-American border is important to control, or at least view it with the same importance as Murdoc. The subtext of flippant xenophobia within this post speaks for itself.

Post 2, on the subject of carrying a shotgun into the library via open-carry laws seems to carry a several self defeating logic:

Sure, points will have been made. Those points will be remembered for about three minutes, unless it’s a point good for the anti-gun crowd, in which case the point will be remembered forever and ever as a basic truth about guns. Like the basic truth about how guns are twice as likely to kill a family member as an intruder in a home defense situation and the basic truth about how no one needs a semi-automatic assault weapon for anything except killing people.  You do not dilute opposition and win allies by irritating and intimidating and scaring people. You’ve got to be smarter than that.

Murdoc here quotes an earlier post, however the context remains the same.  What is telling about this post is that he seems to note that guns are indeed harmful to the general public, however, the roll of responsible gun-owners should be to show the way forward.  While I appreciate that Murdoc seems to advocate for fewer abuses of open-carry laws as a means of intimidation - and that he seemingly through syntax-error seems to agree with me that guns are dangerous to the public as a whole - the underlying problem to me is not that people abuse open-carry laws but that gun laws in which abuse of spirit of the law can constitute carrying a loaded shotgun into a public place in the first place is the bigger problem.  

Murdoc's conclusion that: "You've got to be smarter than that." gives away the game.  Clearly, he is ideologically alright with people carrying loaded shotguns into public libraries but is deeply concerned with winning the public relations war as seething liberals (like myself) tend to seize of this type of thing.

Post 3, detailing Chicago's recent population loss, titled 'Rats from a sinking ship' is also quite confusing.  Blog Author Murdoc cites another blog that states:

This will mean loss of representation for the city, which strengthens the pro-gun position in Illinois, and weakens the anti-gun position.

Before Murdoc himself concludes:

Sooner or later, Chicagostan is going to be allowed back into the Union.

Despite the seeming tautological redundancy of the first statement (strengthens/weakens) this post seems to imply that the City of Chicago has somehow separated from the Union and formed it's own country - however this nation's independence is deterministically timestamped.  Or perhaps it is merely that Gun Pundit sees fit to unilaterally dismiss whole municipalities from the Union that do not share it's proclivities.  The title of the piece alone implies a gloating almost adolescent triumphalism in response to implied social attitude changes that have been stated largely without evidence.  These are some very strange causal links that have been implied here.

On the whole then, as strange as it was to have had my piece held up as "typical liberal irrational fear of guns" by Gun Pundit - never mind that this blog's readership is quite small and that I am not a policymaker or public opinion shaper - it has been even stranger to spend the time to digest some of Gun Pundit's content.   In some ways, it was almost flattering to be held up as the anti-thesis on everything believed on the site.  At the very least, I am starting to understand the rhetorical and ideological weirdness Sadhbh Walshe must have to wade through every week in order to file her column.

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