4 Gun Nut Arguments That Debunk Themselves
"Gun nut" is a loaded term that I'm going to use anyway, because it refers to members of a very specific group: Those who base their entire worldview around the idea that the presence of at least one gun can improve literally any situation. In the name of gaining a completely unbiased understanding of their position, I wanted to take four of the terrible, already debunked pro-gun arguments they use and see if they actually believe them when there aren't any libtards around to own.
In order to do this, I found some products created by gun nuts for gun nuts -- things they never would have expected to fall into the hands of someone with critical thinking or research skills. I should try to establish a little bit of rhetorical authority here by stating that I grew up shooting guns, still shoot them, and really don't care if you have one. To be more clear, I was raised by "Russians and aliens are coming" gun nuts, not "bring our machine guns into Applebee's" gun nuts. And if you're desperate to poke holes in my expertise so you can dismiss everything I say, I am certain AR-15 stands for "Action Rifle 15stopher."
"Only A Good Guy With A Gun Stops A Bad Guy With A Gun!"
Using a gun to kill an attacker is the American dream, like inventing the next F.emale B.ody I.nspector hat or breaking your leg near an improperly displayed "wet floor" sign. But how likely is it? Even in this great country where there are as many firearms as people, a Harvard University analysis found that guns are only used for defense in 0.9 percent of contact crimes. And here's the statistic everyone is going to hate: Getting a gun drawn on your attacker only reduces your chances of being injured by 2.4 percent. If you wore a T-shirt that said "Don't shoot me, Randy Bruckner (Aquarius)! I'm you from an alternate timeline!" every day, it would have the exact same odds of protecting you. And I'm not even done crunching all the numbers.
Assuming you live an average American lifespan and have average luck, you have a 0.3 percent chance of being the victim of violent crime before you die. That means carrying a gun has a 0.0000648 percent of protecting you from something! Over the course of your life! Those odds are, sadly, lower than the chances of you or someone in your family making a mistake with the gun or having a suicidal urge, but those are factors you can sort of control, so let's ignore them. The point is, carrying a gun to protect yourself is like carrying around a giant strawberry in case someone ever asks, "What's a scarecrow's favorite fruit?" You look like a total asshole for the teeny, tiniest chance of one day doing something horrific.
But enough about reality. What the shit does reality know about protecting yourself from imaginary gunmen? Pick up your gun and let's take a look at a self-defense instructional DVD from the ARMED RESPONSE Video Training Series, called Tactics And Techniques For Defensive Shooting.
Showing statistics to gun owners always works, and I just solved our national crisis. You're welcome. However, there are a few who can't be convinced -- those who treat guns like religion. Owning a firearm is the one self-evident truth in their lives, and all of reality is built out from there. The host of this DVD, Ralph Mroz, definitely feels that way, and here's how it works: Since you have a gun, you must need it. And since you need a gun, there must be enemy gunmen everywhere. And since there are enemy gunmen everywhere, you must be switched the fuck on at all times. There is a potential shooter in every car, a potential bomb in every stroller, easily seven cobras in every toilet. Only you can stop them. You're now in the proper mindset to safely go to the bagel shop.
The first few minutes of the video are spent convincing the viewer to always carry their firearm. Otherwise, what's the point of any of this? Not carrying a gun disgusts Ralph, and he starts contemptuously listing the feeble excuses gun owners make. He scolds, "A lot of people say, 'I only need a gun at night,'" but counters that this is "obviously not true." The next excuse is how a lot of people don't need their gun since they're "only going to the store." That's not true either because "random street crime is called random street crime for a reason." And with that, he has debunked all the excuses.
Oh, you thought there'd be more? No, Ralph has been foiling imaginary crimes for so long that he can't even picture a situation in which a loaded gun might be inconvenient. Hey, Ralph: airport, water park, haunted house, CAT scan machine, cha-cha lessons, holding a pizza, any location from the perspective of the other people worried about the spooky fuck with the gun.
So it seems like gun people still make incoherent arguments to justify their guns even when they're alone in a room with an American flag. And speaking of incoherent, Ralph thinks of guns like seat belts. In a normal room, one with critical thinkers, this next part of the argument would be drowned out by objections and laughter, but Ralph talks about the old days, when they first put seat belts in cars and no one bothered with them. It took a public service campaign to get people to use them, and guns need something similar.
Maybe Ralph skipped a cue card, because from here he moved on to holster comfort, but I found his line of thinking fascinating. How could a person not see a single difference between putting on a seat belt and taking a lethal firearm to a salad bar? It requires such nimble stupidity bounding through your brain and erasing things before logic can get to them. I mean, if I was a scientist trying to teach earthworms the difference between two things, I would start with seat belts and guns. Those are the two most different goddamn things that have ever been. So, Ralph, if you want to take a gun to the dentist, enjoy, but don't pretend you did it because you're a wise genius.
The DVD is sold as a survival video, but it's almost entirely about gun fighting techniques. There is very little time devoted to deescalating a situation before a deadly shootout. Ralph must have figured the kind of guy who'd watch two hours of contact battle drills for grocery stores isn't going to finesse his way out of anything. Which brings me to the main issue I have with this video: It is Dungeons & Dragons for psychopaths. The one thing guns have going for them is that they're cool, and this video makes them seem lamer than a Wendy's Instagram post. Ralph looks like Mr. Spock if Star Trek was made in Kosovo as the dying act of starving potato farmers. He lumbers around pretending to foil ambushes in the soup aisle, seemingly unaware that we live in a world where that's an embarrassing thing to do. He makes carrying a gun look less cool than asking a new mother if you can milk her.
If you have a vivid imagination, but only about killing Starbucks bathroom intruders, Ralph's system is perfect. But you probably shouldn't go to the strip mall like you're clearing houses in Fallujah. Statistically speaking, playing Army Man all day is preparing you to shoot your wife during an argument, not foil a kidnapping. If all you have is a gun, every problem looks like a paper Osama bin Laden. If you really need to feel tough, do what I do and challenge outer space to kill you every night.
You may already know this if you or someone you know is crazy, but for years, beneath our perception, a battle has raged between two rival factions: maniac gun people and maniac knife people. Set aside 300 hours someday and put some of those words into a YouTube search.
Ralph is a gun maniac, so he knows that in order to defeat a knife maniac, you have to start the fight at a distance. How far away? I'm glad you asked, because there is a test you can take to find out. It's called the Tueller Drill, and it would be sort of adorable if it wasn't a training exercise for killing a confused jogger. This is going to sound stupid when I explain it, but in a Tueller Drill, your friend stands next to you while your gun is holstered. Both of you get ready, as if you're about to do something very important like adults. Your friend gives you the signal (by running away as fast as he can), and you draw your gun and fire! Now, wherever your friend is when your gun goes off is how far away you need to be when someone's holding a knife. It's what us gun badasses call the thin line of knife murder, and we walk it every time a potential threat is making stir fry or opening a letter. Pansies would never understand.
Ralph spends a lot of time explaining the results of his drill. He mentions his friend's bad knees and adjusts the numbers for a knife maniac whose legs are not riddled with arthritis. Then he adjusts the numbers for someone who might be very slow with a gun. So who knows, really? It's sold as the ultimate scientific test to find your threshold of knife safety, but it turns out it's a wild guess based on a middle-aged man's six-yard dash. It doesn't even account for the times you're reading a book, nursing a baby bird, or learning how to pull taffy when knife sprinters strike. This DVD costs $34.95, and ten minutes of it is nonsensical babbling about how far you have to stand from the easiest Nintendo enemy to kill him if he ever shows up in real life.
I get the appeal of this type of thinking. When you've verified that you could gun down a man speeding from the shadows with a knife as long as he's 21 feet away, it feels like you're pretty good at defending yourself. But how is your jiu-jitsu? I only ask because if you don't know any, you're at risk of any casual UFC enthusiast killing you with a headlock. And are you more than 30 pounds overweight? OK, you're still beautiful in your way, but your sloppiness does mean a former below-average high school athlete can grab your phone, wallet, or baby and escape at a light jog. Speaking of fleeing, how fast can you move three miles with your full go bag, which you of course have ready? Also, where are you going? Did you and your family establish an emergency rendezvous point or an FRS frequency? Does everyone know the passphrase to use when in distress? Bitch, did you even booby trap your staircase with Micro Machines? You fat, dead idiot. You never cared about protecting yourself. Your gun was a fucking toy that somehow got tied up in your political identity.
"You Need A Gun To Protect Your Family!"
It's easy to mock irrational gun owners. They say and do silly things their entire lives, then quietly pass away from diabetes dozens of hospital walls and countries away from any action-packed gunfights. But there is one thing that can help you understand them: children. When you become a parent, every chemical in your body is demanding that you protect this fragile dumbass constantly putting mysteries in its mouth and darting for the nearest certain doom. It not only makes you more violently paranoid, it also adds a self-righteous certainty to that violent paranoia.
I'll give an example. I live in beautiful San Francisco, where about 38 percent of the city's outdoor surfaces are covered in schizophrenia. It's not unusual for a homeless man to leap from a pile of trash and shriek about how Burmese Cody can hear your teeth. You'll find this upsetting at first, but you quickly develop an internal voice to remind you, "Remain calm. Punching this man will get AIDS on your hands. Maybe Google how you can help with social programs and mental health assistance later." That voice is very different when you're a parent. When you're with your kid, that same hobo voice hisses, "Kill the footpad! Protect the chiiiiild!"
So I'm not saying I "get it" get it when you aim a gun at the dick of your daughter's prom date or refuse to vaccinate your child, but I understand it's more complicated than you being dumber than the rest of us. To help understand more, let's look at some literature written for gun nuts who are thinking about children. My Parents Open Carry is 24 pages of fiction set in a world wherein heavily armed reactionaries are normal and every conversation is two people reminding each other how wonderful guns can be. It's a dystopian nightmare far worse than our world, where guns are merely used to kill.
The book was written by Brian G. Jeffs and Nathan R. Nephew, a geologist and a software developer who founded Michigan Open Carry, a nonprofit organization promoting the legalization of an already quite legal thing. I wouldn't say their life's work is "pointless," because I think their ridiculous book has done more harm than good for their cause. So they are in fact worse than pointless, both as people and creators. This isn't a team of like-minded thinkers feeding off each other to create motivated art. These two write dialog like they're NRA help desk robots who accidentally got on the phone with each other.
The cover sells the book as "An Open Carry Adventure: Safe - Responsible - Fun." Each of those words is a lie. It's about Brenna Strong and her family running errands in their small town, fully armed, and experiencing the joy their weapons bring others. That's all. These moon-faced creatures strut around town with lethal firearms while reciting dubious gun facts to the extremely receptive, and nothing else happens. That's not an adventure. That's the other side to the story "I almost got shot today by this weird family of terrorists who came into the bakery."
As far as calling the book "safe," I'd argue that guns blow holes in human flesh, and those are quite dangerous. And "responsible" is definitely not the word for a book of overwhelmingly debunked gun myths written for children. But I guess you could call it "fun," since it's sort of like listening to a supervillain explain his unique plan to eliminate Earth's dumbest citizens. Seriously, if you tied up Captain America and read him this book, he'd say, "You'll never win, Red Skull! Americans would never terrify their own children and then give them guns!"
This book is strongly in favor of terrorizing your kids and arming them. As Brenna's dad always says, "Crime and evil can happen anywhere at any time. History shows that." He also likes to sneak up on her to "increase Brenna's awareness." The sequel to this book is definitely going to be I Shot My Own Father: An Open Carry Tale Of Loss And Forgiveness.
My Parents Open Carry is illustrated by a woman named Lorna Bergman, who draws like a sketch artist who forgot how to draw non-sex criminals. She draws like her only influences were her fifth-grade art teacher and his suicide. From her line work, I'd guess her normal medium is building traps out of doll parts. And she's perfect for this fucked up nightmare of a book.
Brenna and her family go to different locations, getting compliments on their guns or annihilating gun skeptics. You would think the story would eventually involve foiling a terrorist plot or gunning down an escaped gorilla, but nothing ever happens. I think these authors, in their wildest fantasies, only want to finally win an argument about guns.
The closest the book comes to a plot is when Brenna's dad tells a story about how he brought a gun into Woodruff's Waffle World and no one robbed it. This is a pretty common argument from gun activists, that criminals stop doing crime because of guns. That'd be tough to prove, but ... maybe it's true? I mean, it's not, as dozens of studies have shown, but this book takes place in a magical world free from research, where every pro-gun argument comes true. Look at this crazy shit:
So the police arrest two men who confessed they were going to rob the place before they saw Brenna's dad's gun. Fucking what? Are you telling me this is how stupid you need the world to be for your ideas to make sense? Robbers confess to crimes they don't do hours after seeing guns? Your dad is lying to you, Brenna. Your dad is a liar because he thinks guns are more important than truth. These dumbshit authors could have written an actual waffle house crime getting foiled by heroic armed citizens like they get foiled by heroic unarmed ones in our world. Instead they wrote a pile of horseshit taking place in a world made out of horseshit. So now the book's hero, Brenna, has to decide whether her gun activist father is very dumb, very dishonest, or both. Which is how you would describe most people trying to sell you on guns. You fucking apes know you can just buy a gun, carry it around, and shoot it, right? There's no reason to spread a bunch of ridiculous lies and willful ignorance to trick us into letting you.
Related: Happy Birthday, Badass - August 3
"Men Are Monsters, So Women Need Guns!"
So maybe guns do more harm than good when it comes to protecting yourself or your family, but what if you're a woman? Well, you may have heard the statistic that when a woman has a gun in the home, it triples her chances of being murdered. Holy shit, right? Relax. When a woman has a hot dog in her home, it also triples her chances of getting colon cancer. She can triple her chances of being murdered by telling the internet she never saw the appeal of Legend Of Zelda. So I guess don't fully relax, but your odds of being murdered are very slim, and made only slightly worse by every single possible choice.
About 38 percent of gun owners are women, but they don't seem to be interested in shooting those guns for murder or self-defense. In 2014, only 15 ladies gunned down a man in self-defense. That obviously doesn't include the women who defended themselves at sea and told no one but the sharks what they had done, but 15 seems low, doesn't it? That's the number of women out of 16 who probably had every right to kill a man in 2014.
Women obviously don't want to solve their problems with guns, so why are we pushing them so hard to do so? And what would that even look like? How is a woman supposed to tell when you're a regular creep, a violently insecure creep, or a harmless pervert only after a picture of her feet? If a woman pulled a gun at every single early sign of trouble, she'd be killing everybody, including the thoughtful gentlemen trying to pursue real relationships by framing their titty compliments in a polite, feminist way.
While on the subject of awful problematic men, I tweeted this back in February:
A psychiatrist might say that I lack the courage to be vulnerable, or a doctor might say that I have some kind of testosterone problem brought on by a dangerously oversized penis, but I like to think I was using my toxic masculinity for a good cause. If we can make owning a gun seem like something only a delicate lady would do, maybe we save the world? I don't fucking know; I just like movies about Rambo and think doughy pussies with guns pretending they're Rambo devalues Rambo. But I did learn from several unlovable gun activists who took that tweet personally that this myth of Lady Quickdraw, Catcall Executioner is not perpetuated by women. It's the knee-jerk defense when you call someone a pussy for needing a gun. You see, gun rights aren't for the tough guys like them; they're for the other, helpless gender with no access to guile or karate.
So let's look at how well these gun activists' respect for women holds up when there are no freedom-hating leftists around calling them names. As you might imagine, most female-centric firearm videos are about sexy bikini girls firing machine guns, because even Ted Nugent's fan needs to masturbate. But I wanted one that exploited women's paranoia, not their sexy, sexy bodies. I chose A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FIREARMS, a 1987 VHS tape starring "actress and mother" Lee Purcell, and "star of television's Simon And Simon" Gerald McRaney. Spoiler: Gun videos for ladies aren't as good as gun videos about ladies, but neither of them think much of women.
You might be wondering how a firearms guide for women is different than one for men. Well, ladies like to be romanced a little bit, so A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO FIREARMS opens with a lengthy intro set to smooth jazz. If it wasn't at the start of a gun VHS, I'd say the song was written for gentle penetration and nothing else. It sounds like a saxophone slowly pulling its panties off. When I tried to Shazam it, the app said, "Song unknown, but mmmm ... why, let's think of a name together while we fuck."
Shazam and I decided on "Wet Moonlight," and the song led into a sketch starring journeyman actress Lee Purcell at home with her child. She hears a strange noise outside while her husband is out of town! She has a gun, but doesn't know how to use it! She is shouting all this into the phone like a woman who knows she can't get fired from this acting gig. It's weird how she claims she doesn't know how to use a gun, because she's letting it escalate a single unidentified noise into a tremendously dangerous crisis, which is almost exactly what most guns are used for.
Since Lee doesn't know how to open fire at what is probably a raccoon, she calls for help. Not to the police, but to rugged character actor Geoffrey Lewis. He must have been on the way as soon as he heard "husband out of town," because he is there immediately, finding no danger whatsoever. And that's it! The tale of the harmless uninteresting noise, ripped from today's headlines, is over! Which means two insane things have already happened: 1) Even in a fictional world designed to teach us the value of guns, guns are only useful in helping paranoid people wildly overreact, and 2) Lee called one of the stars of Jean-Claude Van Damme's Double Impact for help, and it wasn't either Jean-Claude Van Damme? Absurd.
OK, so the sound turns out to be nothing, but Lee would sure feel better if she knew how to shoot at the next one. Let's be clear: She and the producers of this video think Plan A for strange noises in residential neighborhoods should be throwing bullets at them. Luckily, Geoff is working on a movie and getting trained to use guns by one of the best: Mike Dalton. Geoff suggests that maybe Dalton's partner, an unnamed possible gun expert, can help her. So like that, Lee has the number of a co-worker's gun trainer's business partner. It's networking skills like this that explain how she's a working actress without the ability to express emotion or deliver a line.
The rest of the video is Lee at the shooting range getting guns taught to her as if she had never heard of them before but may soon need to assemble one. Mixed in with basic firearm safety is a strange amount of information on the inner workings of guns and bullets. The script calls for Lee to be fascinated by every fact, but believably gasping with delight when she sees a bullet get chambered is beyond her capabilities.
It's crushingly boring, which is unexpected. Gun videos for men feature corner-pieing drills and quick draw techniques to eliminate multiple ninjas. Ralph Mroz showed me how to talk an outlet mall shopper into carrying a loaded firearm and then kill him by diving under an SUV and shooting his feet. This lady video is almost un-American in how it treats guns like exhausting responsibilities no one should ever touch without expert training. Lee learns about holsters, eye and ear protection, trigger guards, and firing pins from two creeps who talk like they only teach firearm classes because their hypnotism careers never took off. They seem to truly want to keep the viewer alive. Which is weird, because if that was their goal, it would have been more effective to write UNTAMED & FORBIDDEN: The Farm Burglar's Guide To Horse Sex and not make a video about guns.
After each lengthy seminar, the video cuts back to narrator Gerald McRaney, the left Simon from TV's Simon And Simon. He's sitting in what might be his study -- a troubling room decorated entirely with framed pictures of firearms. Maybe they're the guns that killed his family? Maybe the set designer was making a sarcastic joke no one caught? Either way, these scenes help break down all the things Lee learned, in case you learn slower than the world's dumbest woman as played by the world's least interested actress. This video really wants you to know what you're doing before you blow the fuck out of that noisy shadow outside your home.
This has nothing to do with anything relevant to anything, but after Lee finally gets bullets downrange, Gerald McRaney is so proud of her that he frames a picture of her shooting and adds it to his strange collection. I love this because you can't fake that kind of weird. If you wrote a million joke versions of this video, you would never decide to put the star in a little picture being proudly displayed by some narrator she's never met. You have to be a genuinely insane person to make this kind of decision, and we should always feel lucky to witness such rare, true absurdity. So please enjoy.
This video was produced by a company that sells holsters, and while it does seem to want its viewers to avoid shooting themselves, its main goal was selling guns and gun accessories to women. Which explains why it felt so strange as I watched it. When you sell firearms to men, you tell us everything's trying to kill us, and we already know how easy it will be to kill it first. Women don't generally walk around with that kind of unearned confidence. When you sell firearms to women, you don't need to convince them the world wants to them dead -- you need to convince them their gun doesn't. So that explains why men get insecure doofuses playing John Wick and the ladies get boring, responsible, nuanced training videos with an all-star cast. Men win again, ladies.
"We May Someday Need An Armed Uprising Against Our Tyrannical Government!"
There are certain hypothetical scenarios in which a gun is helpful or even necessary. Go ahead and imagine some. OK, now use that amazing brain to imagine some situations where you don't want everyone in a home, highway, or bar carrying a gun. It doesn't really matter where your imagination takes you, because when you combine all people and situations together, guns add up to a serious net loss in safety. And it doesn't really matter if you care, because we're allowed to have guns anyway. So I hope you enjoy pictures of bikini girls shooting machine guns, because none of these words matter!
The Second Amendment guarantees arms for a well-regulated militia, but who is that? Well, according to the Injury Control Research Center at Harvard University, half of our guns are in the hands of 3 percent of the population. And according to Scientific American, most of those people are racist cowards, which I mean in the most clinical way possible. Studies show gun hoarders are predominantly white men worried they can't protect their families who suffer from economic insecurity and racial fears. It might be what you already suspected, and maybe you're smug enough for those findings to be satisfying, but we should be a little worried that there's a massive industry lobbying to make twitchy intolerant people as lethal as possible.
You run into a lot of constitutional scholars on Facebook or Fox News these days who specialize entirely in aggressively insane interpretations of the Second Amendment. It's like when someone can easily recall any given state's age of consent. They're not so much a civics expert as they are interested in doing awful (but technically legal) things. Let me put it another way: If you're on the internet defending guns while you live in the country where the most mentally ill person can buy any gun they want, the statesmanlike convicted fraudster you voted for would describe you by holding up a gimpy hand and going "DUHHR UHHHHRR."
"You gotta see this guy. Uaaahhh!" -- Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States
There are no shortage of uneducated, mentally ill men self-publishing books on the Second Amendment. Amazon has thousands of them (though many are miscategorized ladies underpants), and that number is increasing faster than any single madman can read.
The most insecure genre of nonfiction is Second Amendment books. I have a theory that after you buy your tenth gun, they start to whisper to each other at night, only to fall silent when you scream, "Who said something about my small penis!?" I looked for a whimsically insane one to review, but the theme of every single one of these books is how after night falls, guns laugh at the author's penis. These books are all disorganized collections of echo-chambered arguments for how 27 words written two centuries ago ensure the author's ability to melt his congressman with a flamethrower.
It doesn't really matter how you feel about the Second Amendment. I mean, you can have an opinion and debate and threaten your congressman with melting, but the Supreme Court might one day disagree with you. So what then? For decades, gun owners have been threatening "civil war" if anyone ever comes for their guns, and honestly, that seems like an overreaction. Who cares if the government makes your guns illegal? Just hide a few. You maniacs are on Facebook threatening to murder police if they come to take them, but you're scared to lie to the hypothetical gun collector? That's like refusing to download Westworld, but being okay with torturing James Marsden until he tells you what happens in it. Look at it this way: Throwing stars are illegal right now, and ask me how many throwing stars I have. Or try with all those throwing stars in your neck, mouth, and dick.
These books are filled with titty-thumping threats about rising up against tyranny. They assert that all these handguns are there to insure no government ever tries to take things too far. But what would that look like? Some of the more coherent books try to pull obscure events from history to demonstrate the dangers of gun control, but there's a more contemporary example. Philando Castile was pulled over by police 46 times for things like speeding, not wearing a seat belt, or having muffler trouble. Actual "jack-booted government thugs" took his liberty, stole thousands of dollars of his money, and eventually shot him to death because he had a legal gun in his car. And not a single one of you grabbed a rifle and overthrew the government. So don't tell me there will be a second civil war. You've already seen tyranny, and your reaction was to blame the victim for not meekly complying hard enough. Unless ... oh shit, unless you're ... no. Unless you're ... r-racist?
If you're scared because everything wants to kill you, a gun won't make that go away, you coward. And if you're stockpiling weapons to defeat America, do you have enough men to operate your LPs and OPs and still maintain your defensive positions? Why am I asking? They have tanks, buddy. If the American military decides they want American civilians dead, your choices are joining the Army or dying with a lot of valid questions. So if it makes you feel good to carry your gun around, or play with it, or yank it out in a panic when you hear a strange noise, that sounds fun, but stop trying to convince us it's because you're super smart and tough.
Fight the careless violence with a Careless Whisper.
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For more, check out 5 Reasons Even Gun Owners Should Hate The NRA and We Asked A Mass Shooter Why The Hell This Keeps Happening.
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