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Response to Straw Man (Reply #114)

Tue Apr 10, 2012, 08:25 PM

121. Here's my take.

I recall one point that Rachel made -- I don't know if it was in this particular segment -- was that the gun issue is "ungoogleable", due to the amount of misinformation that is out there on gun blogs and gun propaganda websites. Her point is that in order to get to the facts, you need to do old-school non-google research -- for example, to figure out what happened in the "plastic guns" episode, you need to actually go back to news articles and reports written at the time, because the version of the story that you get from the gun blogs (the version that you have just repeated) is utterly unreliable.

For example, in the course of disproving some NRA talking points that gejohnston was repeating, I happened upon an AP article from 1986 that discussed a report from the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment about plastic guns:
"From our investigations, it appears that the materials technology does exist to produce non-metallic firearms whose only metal components may be some small springs," the study said.

Those guns "would be difficult to detect with metal detectors and X-ray machines now in operation at most airports," the report said.

Now, I bet you never heard of this particular report. And why would you have? The gun blogs where you get your information have no interest in presenting an even-handed or factual account of this issue.

To be honest, I didn't know about this report either. I was ready to accept the possibility that Rachel was mistaken. But it didn't seem likely. On one hand, it has been my experience that almost nothing that pro-gunners claim turns out to actually be true. On the other hand, Rachel Maddow is an intelligent, skilled journalist, who I have found to be very trustworthy on a variety of issues, who has a reputation to protect and thus a vested interest in being accurate, and who has access to a professional staff and also a lot of sources of information besides just google.


Oh, and, by the way, if you read the whole transcript, you will see that the point here was not to show that plastic guns pose an "imminent danger which must be addressed". As she pointed out very clearly, this issue already has been addressed several decades ago. And it was also not to conflate the Glock that Loughner used with the "Glock 7" from Die Hard.

No, the point was to show that, despite the fact that the Republican party is wholly in the pocket of the gun lobby, and that the NRA will oppose just about any restriction on guns, no matter how slight the imposition on gun owners or how great the potential for saving lives, despite all that, the conventional wisdom that any form of gun control is a political non-starter is mistaken:
None of those things, the anti-aircraft weapons or the machine gun or the plastic guns, the cop killer bullets, none of these things are the type of weapons or ammunition that were used in the shootings this weekend in Arizona. There was nothing unusual about that alleged killer‘s choice of a $500 pistol.

But the idea that in the wake of this shooting, in the wake of this national convulsion of grief and anger and a desire to respond to this shooting, the belief that despite how the country feels right now, that any form of gun control, any form of public policy to try to curtail gun massacres in America is impossible, the idea that it‘s impossible to pass any legislation regarding guns in America, I believe that idea is not true.

You might disagree with her. Maybe you think that the gun lobby is too powerful. Fair enough. But don't misrepresent her argument.

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jpak Apr 2012 OP
gejohnston Apr 2012 #1
jpak Apr 2012 #2
gejohnston Apr 2012 #3
jpak Apr 2012 #5
gejohnston Apr 2012 #8
fightthegoodfightnow Apr 2012 #15
gejohnston Apr 2012 #26
Riftaxe Apr 2012 #14
fightthegoodfightnow Apr 2012 #17
rl6214 Apr 2012 #29
Starboard Tack Apr 2012 #32
fightthegoodfightnow Apr 2012 #36
Hoyt Apr 2012 #67
fightthegoodfightnow Apr 2012 #125
gejohnston Apr 2012 #54
Starboard Tack Apr 2012 #119
spin Apr 2012 #25
one-eyed fat man Apr 2012 #110
teddy51 Apr 2012 #12
Starboard Tack Apr 2012 #118
gejohnston Apr 2012 #120
rrneck Apr 2012 #4
provis99 Apr 2012 #6
rrneck Apr 2012 #9
Straw Man Apr 2012 #81
petronius Apr 2012 #7
CokeMachine Apr 2012 #10
fightthegoodfightnow Apr 2012 #18
Straw Man Apr 2012 #23
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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Here's my take.
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