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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Massad Ayoob

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FOR THE NEW YEAR

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Activists for the civil rights of gun owners know how destructive a bullet we dodged when Hillary Clinton lost the “foregone conclusion election.”  Hell, I felt the way the English must have felt when they learned that unexpected circumstances had warded off the invading Spanish Armada.

If I have learned anything in an adult lifetime spent teaching the management of high-stakes human conflict, it is this: one cannot expect to defeat an opponent one does not understand. It is with that in mind that I offer the following as suggested reading.

Guns and Empathy

It’s not the first time one side has confronted the other, and won’t be the last, but I commend the way this interaction was carried out.  The prohibitionist side tends to denigrate the gun owners as ignorant hayseeds and the pro-gun side tends to paint their opponents as wimpy limousine liberals, but the fact is that both sides have very visceral feelings which those who debate these issues need to take into consideration.

You’ll see some things you agree with and some that you don’t. For instance, having gotten to know George Zimmerman personally, I disagree with the assessment of him put forth by the man who sold Zimmerman’s gun.

My own opinions remain unchanged…

…but, please read…

…and please, share YOUR thoughts on the linked article, here.

28 Responses to “SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT FOR THE NEW YEAR”

  1. J.J.Kitts Says:

    We dodged a huge and terrible bullet with the election of Trump over the corrupt, incompetent anti-2A woman. Now, I think I’ll be able to live out my retirement years in the peace of knowing that SCOTUS isn’t going to render moot the Second Amendment.

  2. Tod Says:

    It does not appear that having empathy solved any differences or caused anyone to change which side of the gun debate they were on. It seemed to act as a catalyst for some of the participants to begin accepting those with opposite views with a bit more respect and person hood – not just as wackos on the other side. Often the gun debates get out of hand and the arguments can be down right childish. We will win more people to the defense of 2A if we show respect for others as persons rather than the bottom of the food chain.

  3. Sharpshooter Says:

    You can’t understand WHAT someone thinks unlss you understand HOW someone thinks.

    Without tthqt, it’s just a jumble of broken pieces.

  4. Dennis Says:

    Am I the only one who is feeling a tightness in their gut, cautiously optimistic, yet feeling there is another shoe left to drop? Like waking up from a nightmare and realizing you’re safe, but lying still and wide awake, all senses on alert, waiting to make sure the danger is past. Slow to relax?

    I’m not speaking of just the threat to the 2nd amendment, but all the evil freedom robbing intentions of those Obama has filled the government with during the last 8yrs. Short of a massacre, Trump cannot purge these “Trojan Horse” civil servants overnight. Like fighting cancer, it will either be a slow and painful recovery or a quick, ugly death.

  5. Roger Willco Says:

    I am glad I live in a country where people came up with that empathy experiment. Recently I saw a video about the Islamic State teaching the young boys who live among them to cut the heads off dolls and teddy bears with knives. I also remember seeing a photo of a toddler in the Middle East dragging a Kalashnikov behind him.

    Here in the USA we value public opinion a lot. We want to know what others are thinking. We learn from other people. I must confess I have a low opinion of human beings, and a high opinion of God.

    Most humans used to believe slavery was OK, now they think it is evil. Many people used to think abortion was bad, but now they think it is OK. Many thought sex outside of marriage was wrong, but now they think it is OK. In other words, human beings change their opinions a lot. God will change His plans, but good and evil, right and wrong never change with Him. Therefore I am more interested in what God thinks about something than about what a changeable human thinks.

    Selling a gun that is famous or infamous, I just see that as an economic transaction. It is OK with me. Artifacts have a place in history. Would I sell the gun Hitler used to kill himself? Probably. Would I sell any of Hitler’s paintings? Probably. Those are just things, pieces of history. I can use the money for good or evil.

    The Bible says the meek will inherit the earth. I think that verse is referring to the new earth, not this old earth. In today’s world, the future belongs to the powerful, and as Chairman Mao said, “Power comes out the barrel of a gun.” If they could be resurrected, I’m sure six million European Jews would confess they never should have turned in their guns when Hitler legally outlawed and confiscated their weapons.

    Firearms give power to those who would otherwise be powerless. During “Rule of Law” times, the powerful are those with a lot of money. But during times “Without Rule of Law,” those rich people will not be respected unless they have guns or bodyguards with guns.

    For thousands of years before guns were invented, human beings were great at slaughtering each other with knives, swords, spears, arrows, crossbow bolts, poison, fire, axes, and rocks. Guns aren’t the problem. The problem is the human heart.

  6. Mark Says:

    This was an interesting article to read and hope that there can be found a middle ground between the two sides in the 2 Amendment debate. This is more a debate about individual rights than about guns but the guns are a very powerful symbol of those rights. This debate is about individual rights and the role of government and the two sides hold opposite views and we who are on the side of individual rights are responsible for continuing the vision of the founding fathers of this republic. The progressives would see that vision die in order that the progressive state be given total control. Unfortunately that is the crux of the current gun control debate. This kind of program is interesting but doesn’t change the endgame. Thanks Massad.

  7. jack76590 Says:

    I believe it was an old Greek guy who advised us to “remember your audience.” My audience is often not the hard core Brady bunch person I may be talking with, but people listening to our exchange.

    I really have little hope of changing the opinion of a hard core Brady bunch person and will often not bother to engage them in discussion. But if there is an audience, that I believe I might influence, I will engage. And to influence this audience I want to know the arguments, that may be thrown at me and have counter arguments.

    For me this is not about reaching common ground, but winning as much support, as I can for my position. And for that I agree you need to know your opponent and his arguments and tactics.

  8. Tom606 Says:

    That extremely racist George Zimmerman should be tortured for days, then drawn and quartered, or at least be greatly ashamed of himself, that he shot the little innocent kid over two dozen times with his .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol, an evil assault weapon so powerful even Dirty Harry Callahan would not carry because it is too powerful and inhumane to use on people.

  9. Style47 Says:

    I am reading Jeff Coopers, “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth,” and I must admit, I am a little ashamed that I am just now reading that masterpiece. Mr. Cooper seems to indicate that, at least in his opinion, the anti-Second amendment, anti-gun individuals are suffering from a mental illness. Specifically an unnatural fear of an inanimate object, which is exactly what a gun, any fire arm, truly is. I am certain there is a clinical term for this. His “opinion” really helped me understand their position.

  10. Galtus Says:

    I read the article in its entirety which is a rarity since I have fallen victim to short Internet attention span syndrome lately. Usually, such an article would fall under the TL;DR (Too long, didn’t read) category.

    And yet, I cannot help but conclude that the exercise was a grand appeal to emotions rather than facts, from both sides. Empathy is a great weapon for persuasion, but is a poor substitute for logic, reason and evidence. Those that rely solely on emotion have a weak basis for effective decision making.

    Yes, it is an emotional tear-jerker to contemplate the death of children in a mass shooting. Even if one fell for the emotional attack (and one would have to be a monster not to recognize the parent’s pain), none of the proposed “common sense” legislation would have prevented Lanza from acquiring the fire arms for his horrendous attack. So, basically no emotional argument could overcome the basic fact that further gun control legislation would not result in disarming those bent on destruction. It might make the gun control advocates feel better to implement an assault weapons ban, but would not reduce gun violence one iota. In the end, yielding to emotional arguments for gun control would only be an exercise in mental masturbation.

  11. Steve from MA Says:

    I subscribe to NYM and had already read that article. As a psychologist,
    I was impressed that people would consent to be involved but they probably didn’t realize the potential personal effects. IMO, it wouldn’t pass current university guidelines for psychology experiments because the potential for traumatizing some of the participants outweighs potential positive findings. Maybe long term it will prove to be a good experience for them, maybe not. Personally, I would not have volunteered. I like to minimize the experience of trauma in my life. If need to cope with having used a weapon to defend myself, a statistically negligible risk as a civilian, I’ll deal with it then.

  12. TN_MAN Says:

    I would go even further back in History than the Spanish Armada. I would go back to the Year 1281 when a typhoon (The Divine Wind) saved Japan from the hordes of Kublai Khan. In our modern example, Typhoon Trump blew up and smashed the gun control plans of the Left into a floating mass of wreckage.

    Of course, there is one difference. Kublai Khan did not create the typhoon that destroyed his own invasion fleet. Mother Nature created it. However, the Left did, to a very great extent, create Typhoon Trump. The Leftist media poured literally billions of dollars of free coverage into the Trump campaign to help him secure the Republican Nomination. They did this because (a) Trump draws ratings and makes them money and (b) because he was perceived as a weak candidate in the general election that Hillary could defeat. While (a) proved to be true; (b) turned out to be false.

    I would recommend that all those on the Left re-read Mary Shelley’s classical novel. Like Dr. Frankenstein, the Left has created (with their own hands) the monster which is destroying them. It is ALIVE! 🙂

    As for the suggested reading link, I am afraid that I don’t have much “empathy” for these “touchy-feely” approaches. I rather agree with the Paul Bloom quote that “empathic decisions, such as donating to the organization that makes you feel the most for its cause, can be both ill-conceived and inefficient. Empathy privileges the one over the many and personal experience over data.”

    I also strongly dispute the contention of the paper that “primal fear…. is at the root of people’s feelings about guns.” This is completely and totally WRONG.

    The dispute about gun control is driven ENTIRELY by the left-wing / right-wing worldview divide. Leftists view all human beings as innately good. Therefore, all evils in the world are caused by external social forces. Ultimately, this leads to a worldview whereby all human beings are puppets that dance as the strings of social and environmental forces make them. In this sense, all humans are “victims” of external forces. It is not a coincidence that “victimhood” holds such a central position in the Leftist mind or that they continually think in terms of “Identity Politics”. The Left sees innumerable external forces (poverty, ignorance, racism, sexism, class warfare, drug abuse, child abuse, gun violence, etc.) at loose in the world and they see humans as the eternal victims of these negative external forces. So, it is natural for the Left to split humans into separate categories depending upon which negative forces are working upon that group. To the Left, the first step to a better world is to acknowledge that you are the victim of one or more of these external environmental forces. Only by defining which force(s) are at work upon you can you ever hope to be free of it.

    Consider the Sandy Hook Shooting. A man (Adam Lanza) armed with guns commits a horrific crime. Anyone, regardless of political orientation, who sees this crime naturally turns their mind toward how to prevent any similar future crimes. The question becomes: How to stop this kind of thing?

    A person on the Left will answer this question much differently than a person on the Right because they perceive the world differently. A Leftist (because of their underlying belief system as outlined above) cannot blame Adam Lanza for this crime. A Leftist will instinctively, automatically seek to place the blame on some external force. The obvious one, in this case, is guns and gun violence. To a Leftist, the solution is equally obvious: We URGENTLY NEED more restrictive GUN CONTROLS.

    A person with a right-wing orientation has no problems with placing the blame squarely on Adam Lanza. From this point of view, the problem is “People Control” rather than “Gun Control” as shown by the motto of the right that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

    The right-wing solution would be confinement in a mental hospital for dangerous mental defectives such as Adam Lanza plus the elimination of soft-target “Gun Free Zones”, as was the Sandy Hook School, in favor of hardened, armed ones.

    So, while lack of empathy for people on other side of the gun control issue exists, it is NOT THE MAJOR PROBLEM! Indeed, placing the blame on an external force such as a “lack of empathy in our society” is, itself, an example of left-wing thinking.

    However, the true underlying problem is the clash of worldviews due to the simplifying assumptions made by the Left and the Right.

  13. Rusty Ashbaugh Says:

    Mas,

    I think about individual rights a lot. A man has the right to defend himself and his family (or other innocents) from physical violence/attack. Period. I see no reasonable disagreement with this. A gun is simply one means of doing it.

    No one has the right to prevent another from defending himself. And no one can perfectly predict the future. But everyone has the right to use his best judgement in preparing for it. Whether owning a gun and using it for self-defense will work out well or not is simply unknowable, like a lot of things in life. But as a moral thinking person we have the right to make the choice.

    The horrible stories in the referenced article don’t change these facts. They certainly point out the horror and tragedy where guns were used by criminals. Again, people have the right to choose their own means of protecting themselves. In my opinion the 2nd Amendment was intended especially against government’s potential violation of one’s rights but the the underlying right to self-defense against anyone provides the moral basis of this amendment.

    Best regards,
    Rusty Ashbaugh
    MAG40 Graduate!

  14. James Torson Says:

    Empathy and emotion allow us to see the human in somebody else. In hearing actual stories (especially when it comes to guns) we may find ourselves caught for a moment with senses of awe, disgust, shock or relief. When we hear these stories, we feel things. We imagine ourselves or our loved ones in those situations. These emotions can lead to powerful convictions without any hard evidence to provide a solid foundation. We feel things with little regard for what the facts may actually tell.

    Logic and reason remove all of the feelings. If I am arguing the facts with somebody, I don’t see a person, victim or otherwise. I see talking points and that’s all I’ll engage. Facts don’t lie, and they’re nothing more than what they seem. Logic and reason require taking a dispassionate approach to points, dissecting them and critiquing as required, with little to no regard for the feeling of the person we are engaging.

    For me, there is no greater reward than enabling somebody to think for themselves, to ask questions and to start them on the road to self-determination. I find that it’s easier to work with people who do not have fervently held beliefs, because they’re less likely to be locked into a particular set of opinions and less likely to refuse to engage the argument.

    We must use both facts and logic in the right places in order to give ourselves the best chance of convincing a person to come to ‘our side’. We cannot make people do something they don’t want to do. All we can do is acquit ourselves in the debate as well as possible. After that, it’s out of our hands as to whether the other person is convinced.

  15. Tionico Says:

    The one about the Sandy Hook debacle is the one that tells all. Empathy while useful for some things, is NOT an appropriate tool for making policy decisions on an individual or collective level. Nor is fear.

    When one considers that the perpetrator of that supposed event had committed somewhere between twenty and forty felony crimes between the time he is said to have murdered his Mother and the time he alledgedly broke into the school, (note well, both the single alledged urder of his Mother and the alledged murders of the twenty six at the school are EXCLUDED from this list of felony crimes) I wonder: can ANYONE name or describe what new law would possibly have deterred him? Those felonies, at state and federal level, all relate to his possession, transpor,t and use of firearms. If ALL THE LAWS we now have in place did not stop him in the executioin of his plans, what NEW LAW possibly COULD? Background checks? He STOLE the guns. Secure storage? He killed the owner of the secure storage and bypassed that problem. Need a Mother May I Card to transport concealed on his person? He ignored that one. Loaded in the car? Again, ignored. Waitigng period before taking possession of handgun? Ignired. Transport with intent to commit serious bodily harm? Once more ignored. Federal Gun Free School ZOnes? Now THAT one worked out fine.. it prevented him from brining them to the campus, didn’t it? Uhhhhmmmm.. maybe not so much. And on it goes. Can anyone imagine one new law that would not have mede the useless total of “common sense gun control laws” increase by one or three… makint it somewhere between 23 and 43?

    With cold hard facts such as these being IGNORED by the anti gun crowd (the Clinton She Unit, the kinyun, Shotgun Joe, Peligrosi, DiFi, California’s nasty piece of work Kamala Harris, or how about the “rright honurable State Assemblyman Leland Yee, one of the hardline insatiable gun grabbers in that state infested with them, doing hard time in the CrowBar Hotel for…… illegal trading in and smuggling guns, and providing them to foreign combatants, all against federal law? California’s (hack hack) Golden Boy gun ban king, busted for dealing in guns like none of us ever could…..

    No, empathy and touchy feely gamesmanship has no place in the serious discussion of our God given right to arms.

    All that said, there MIGHT be a place for such people to be able to listen to the stories of those of the opposite opinion. Understanding and empathy are good things. But without cold hard facts being seriously examined, no one will change their mind. And no, I do not advocate reading more MainStream Media “reports’ on these incidents. They are the louts that conveniently left out the minor details of the San Bernardino shooters last year… about their travels to the mideast, training there, their marriage of convenience, the way our Stte Department FAILED to vet the female involved, she even gave a false address and that was never ‘discovered’ until after the shootemup. What, are those gummint clowns asleep at the wheel, or merely playing poker on watch? That pair and their pals never should have taken things to the point they did, utter failure of our “security” (theatre) systems.
    The true emotion of value for ALL Americans to have in light of all this is fury… at the organised corruption that not onluy allows but in many cases enables these incidents to take place.
    And they want ME to jump through even MORE hoops to keep and bear arms? No thanks….. EVERY law abiding resident of any state should have the unfettered right to keep and bear arms nearly everywhere. Emotion me all you want. thinking folk know that’s a ruse distraction, smokescreen, foboff…..

  16. Jaji Says:

    Empathy is letting the heart rule the head. While it can be the impetus for action, as in the “baby stuck in a well” scenario, it can also be the impetus for extreme RE-action, such as the rush to ban whatever is seen as causing a horrific event. In other words, that same empathy can logically be extended to a push to ban wells or even babies being within 50 feet of a well after a baby has fallen into one.

    What appears to be missing in the article (at least I didn’t see it) is the presumption that the other person’s POV is just as valid. They each have their emotional reasons for their beliefs but that is the level on which the discourse seems to remain; facts are stated but laid out as emotion.

    As Sharpshooter noted above it’s a matter of determining *how* a person thinks, and my Upper West Side Manhattan mother-in-law and I have come to many political *agreements* by simply assuming the other was intelligent with a valid POV. That assumption does not come across to me from that article.

  17. Racer Says:

    “a lot of misinformation by people who are completely uneducated, making an emotional decision, and trying to justify it intellectually.”
    And there you have it, in a nutshell. And ne’re the twain shall meet. Stay safe

  18. Christina McCarthy Says:

    Thank you for posting this article. It made me re-think my position as a gun owner and realize that I am not safe, even with a gun. That will not stop me from having one however because it still is better than a club! I tried to empathize with each participant and found it difficult-but it did open my eyes to how some anti gun advocates came to their position. I believe these ppl are not politically motivated-however the left does use their stories to prove their agenda-which is in my opinion-the disarmament of the US populace. I will fight for my 2nd Amendment Rights because for me it is the only law that stands between freedom and tyranny. For me it is that simple.

  19. Penrod Says:

    I finished the article, which I thought pretty interesting.

    Then I read the comments -not the ones here, but the ones in NYMag- and decided that it had had exactly zero impact on the commenters.

    They were mostly personal insults to the gun owners. Big surprise: emotion, insult, no engagement. If the commenters were representative of the readers, the article failed.

    As for the Adam Lanza/Newtown murders: He was mentally ill, and his mother apparently knew he was mentally ill. If she allowed him free access to her guns, rather than keeping them locked in the safe (which I understand she had), to which he should not have had the combination, the mass murders would likely not have happened.

    So, given her knowledge that her son was mentally ill, and given that she taught him how to shoot, and given that she did not keep the safe locked and the guns inaccessible to her mentally ill son, what are her responsibilities for what happened?

    Absent the guns he stole from his mother, he might well have murdered her with a kitchen knife or a baseball bat, but the events at the school would not have happened, at least not as they did.

    Given his apparently known mental illness, given his mother’s apparently blase’ attitude toward his access to guns, what responsibility should we see on her shoulders?

    If any of us gave a four year old a big can of gasoline and a box of matches, then when to sleep night after night after night with the gas and matches freely accessible, would we we bear some responsibility for the results?

    Since most of us with lawnmowers and small children functionally do that every day, I’m not sure what the answer is. In Lanza’s case though, his mother apparently knew he was mentally ill.

  20. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Style47,

    I also greatly admire the writings of Col. Jeff Cooper. He was a man who was both intelligent and articulate. His book “To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth” (which is a collection of articles on various topics) is among his best work.

    However, none of us can expect to be correct 100% of the time. In my opinion, the article that you referenced above, which I assume is “The Root of the Evil”, represents one of the few times that Col. Cooper got it wrong.

    In this article, Col. Cooper (as you indicated above) advances the theory that the gun control movement is rooted in a mental disorder that he defined as hoplophobia. He said that this is an irrational fear of firearms and other weapons and that the people advocating for more stringent gun control measures are mentally ill. Furthermore, since they are mentally ill; rational and sane individuals, such as himself, are under no obligation to listen to their rantings. Specifically, he said “My point – and I hope that it is clear – is that hoplophobia is a mental disturbance rather than a point of view…..The mentally ill we cannot reach. But we can identify a form of mental illness for what it is, and so separate its victims from the policy considerations of reasonable people.”

    In my opinion, Col. Cooper views (as expressed in this article) are clearly wrong. I won’t deny that there may be a few people in the gun control movement, such as Gabrielle Giffords for example, who have been directly traumatized in a firearms-related incident and who may suffer from some kind of psychosis as a result. However, it is ridiculous to dismiss the entire gun control movement as the work of the mentally unbalanced.

    One should keep in mind that Col. Cooper (although an educated man) was not a mental health professional. He was hardly qualified to diagnose mental illness much less propose a new category of it.

    Rather, Col. Cooper held such a strong, right-wing worldview that he was literally incapable of understanding the mental processes of the left-wingers who were pushing for gun control. To him, their actions seems totally irrational and incomprehensible. So much so that he could only explain their actions as those of people suffering from mental illness.

    You see, Col. Cooper’s right-wing worldview was based upon an underlying assumption that “All humans are innately Evil or sinful”. Policies advocating gun control are, indeed, irrational if that is your point of view.

    However, Leftists believe that “All humans are innately Good”. If that is the basic premise upon which you base your political worldview, then gun control makes a lot of sense since blaming guns helps explain the actions of someone like Adam Lanza. Gun control is not irrational to a Leftist and it is wrong and self-defeating for those on the pro-gun side of the argument to dismiss the gun control groups are just a collection of crazy hoplophobes. They are far worse than that. They are dedicated fanatics who sincerely believe that they are helping to save the world by moving heaven and earth to push their gun control agenda. They are totally immersed in the left-wing worldview and can no more understand the progun folks than Col. Cooper could understand them.

  21. Two-gun Steve Says:

    Human empathy and antipathy may be well explained in a work such as “Social Psychology of Inclusion and Exclusion,” Abrams, Hogg, and Marques, eds. At least one psychologist somewhere has said that inclusiveness and exclusiveness trace back to a possibly instinctive, primordial level that is reflected even in individual cells.
    One might say that use of a firearm to maim or murder is the reverse of an act of empathy towards the victims, but yet might in some bizarre way be intended as an inclusive act through the seemingly final exclusion of an unworthy Other. Teaching empathy to children should be accomplished with an eye towards deescalation through better understanding, but without self-degradation.

  22. Paul Edwards Says:

    Here’s an interesting article about the current Fort Lauderdale shooter!

    Paul

    http://americanactionnews.com/articles/breaking-fort-lauderdale-suspect-makes-shocking-claim

    The suspected Fort Lauderdale shooter made a shocking claim, according to CBS Miami:

    His aunt, according to nj.com, said after a tour of duty in Iraq, he “lost his mind” and was hospitalized at one point for mental health issues.

    According to the Associated Press, the Pentagon said he went AWOL several times as a specialist during a stint with the Alaska National Guard and was demoted to private first class. He was given a general discharge, which is different from an honorable discharge.

    In November 2016, he walked into an FBI office in Anchorage claiming that he was being forced to fight for ISIS and was sent to a psychiatric hospital, officials revealed.

    If Santiago’s claim is even close to true, then a severely mentally ill veteran seems to have approached American law enforcement, admitted involvement with terrorist organizations, or, at the very least, terrorist impulses, and he was left free to roam the streets.

    If that version is anything close to true, then this horrific attack may have been entirely preventable.

    Source: AAN

  23. John Rueve Says:

    Every major decision I make gets evaluated, heart, mind and gut. Core beliefs filter all incoming data. I have found over the years, that it is not a lack of intelligence, heart (including empathy) or gut that amounts to differences. It is core beliefs.

    For example, I believe that life is difficult, read the forward to The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck, that ultimately suffering is not evil, rather it is a root condition of the human experience, that life involves accepting necessary losses, and that exceptions prove rules. The violent nature of man is a reality that continues without guns or with. We cannot uninvent
    guns, nukes or other objects. Criminals by self definition have no regard for the law. The law only infringes on honest law abiding citizens. There is no legal intervention that logic, or experience, or first hand experience says will work. Only a child can believe that more laws, or less laws are a fix. I am not a child. I prefer we all act and believe as adults. When I hear otherwise, I can only reply that serious thinking people don’t believe a word of it.

    No amount of empathizing can bridge or alter the different conclusions that global beliefs engender. What is of interest is listening to each other; I do suggest that focus on core beliefs would spotlight why we come to different conclusions. I suggest As A Man Thinketh as a wonderful begining point.

    We are subject in the final analysis to judgement upon ourselves in front of God. The whole of the law hinges on God first, then loving your neighbor as yourself. Love, patience and understanding is the pathway we all ought to consider embracing.

  24. Captain Bob Says:

    I, too, read the whole article. My opinion is that empathy can be helpful BUT the theme of this “experiment” was whether guns are good or evil. Guns are inanimate objects. Better results could have been obtained with stories of great personal loss by a variety of means. This was centered on guns as if THEY were the evil rather than the people who wielded them. Zimmerman’s GUN did not kill Martin. Zimmerman did and the reference was “murder” not kill showing a slant against someone who successfully used a gun in self-defense.
    The stories were heartbreaking but it was not guns that caused the heartbreak and this soured the article for me. I’ve often said, “Explain to me just how this new ______ (fill in the blank) gun control law will actually stop criminals from killing and I’ll be right there with you supporting it.” Invariably, with a straight face, they say, “By keeping guns out of their hands…” They just don’t get it.

  25. LarryA Says:

    IMO, it wouldn’t pass current university guidelines for psychology experiments because the potential for traumatizing some of the participants outweighs potential positive findings.
    Amen.
    There’s also the questionable strategy of basing opposition to legal gun ownership on horrendous and relatively rare examples of their misuse. It’s like basing debates about human sexuality on stories of very violent rapes. I spent many years working with survivors of sexual assault, and I heard many very disturbing stories, but they aren’t the examples I used discussing consensual sex with my daughters and, other than avoiding potentially dangerous situations, they certainly aren’t what I tried to base their dating rules on.

    Leftists view all human beings as innately good. Therefore, all evils in the world are caused by external social forces.
    I would say rather that the progressive/gun control side sees people as incapable of making the “correct” decisions about their personal lives, and therefore must be directed by government. This is true whether they are considering bans on guns or large soft drinks. Under such a worldview opposing opinions are effectively heresy.

    in the aftermath of the shooting there, (Sandy Hook) the Obama administration failed to get any new gun legislation passed.
    This is a gun control argument, implying that “We had this horrendous event, yet nothing was done.”
    In fact, since Sandy Hook, more and more schools are abandoning the “Gun-free school zone” plan. According to the Texas Association of School Boards more than ten percent of Texas school districts now have teacher carry. Many more are getting school resource officers. Large school districts are expanding their own police forces. Texas Department of Public Safety has just opened classes for a new certification for License to Carry instructors to teach teachers a School Safety class, certifying them to carry handguns.
    Other states are implementing their own similar programs. College campus carry is spreading.

    From what I read in various sources:
    Adam Lanza … was mentally ill, and his mother apparently knew he was mentally ill.
    But Lanza didn’t start out mentally ill, and apparently wasn’t considered dangerous when he was young and learning to shoot. His deadly intentions were recent, and his mother was seeking to have him evaluated and committed, but the mental health system moved too slowly.
    If she allowed him free access to her guns, rather than keeping them locked in the safe, … to which he should not have had the combination,
    The guns were locked up, and he apparently didn’t have access to the key until he murdered his mother.
    the mass murders would likely not have happened.
    From the accounts, he killed everyone with one rifle. I don’t think you can assume he would not have obtained a different, equally effective firearm. Or built a truck bomb.

  26. TN_MAN Says:

    @ LarryA

    “I would say rather that the progressive/gun control side sees people as incapable of making the “correct” decisions about their personal lives, and therefore must be directed by government.”

    While your observation is true, it is still less penetrative into the Leftist mind than my previous one. Your observation immediately raises another question: Why do Leftists (progressive/gun control) see people as incapable?

    Don’t you see? It is because they see people as innately good! That innate goodness REQUIRES that mankind MUST be incapable of running their own lives and of resisting external negative social forces. Because if mankind is both INNATELY GOOD and CAPABLE (competent, effective, successful, whatever adjective you choose) then there would be little or no EVIL in the world.

    A Leftist MUST reconcile (a) his own internal belief in the innate goodness of mankind with (b) the obvious fact that there is a lot of evil in this world. This is a paradox that he must solve. Therefore, by absolute necessity, a Leftist MUST conclude that (a) the evil in the world is coming from sources external to mankind himself (from social forces such as poverty, ignorance or racism) or from external environmental objects (such as drugs, alcohol or weapon proliferation) and (b) mankind is INCAPABLE (too weak, ignorant, incompetent, etc.) to deal with these external negative forces on an individual basis. That opens the window that allows him to solve the paradox and explain the evil in the world while still holding on to his core belief in man’s innate goodness.

    This leads the Leftist directly to conclude that the ONLY WAY that these negative external forces can be defeated and the effects of evil can be reduced is for Left-wing Activists (who understand this truth) to seize control of the government and then use organized government action to free mankind from these negative environmental forces (i.e. use government to create a positive environment free of negative influences) that will allow mankind’s natural innate goodness to shine through.

    Don’t you see? All the qualities that we associate with the Left (socialism, big government and big government spending, the creation of a “nanny” State that tries to run our lives right down to the amount of soda pop we can drink, identity politics that splits people into different groups of “victims” depending upon what negative social force is attacking them, etc., etc., etc.,) all flows ultimately from a simple basic assumption. All humans are innately good. This is the core belief (the cornerstone) from which all the edifice of Leftist ideology is built.

  27. Alpheus Says:

    Having read the article, one major takeaway that drove me nuts was the assumption that if you’re a victim of gun violence, you will be anti-gun. I can’t help but wonder how the victims of the mass-murder shootings would have responded to Suzanna Hupp, if they had to share their experiences with hers.

    Indeed, having a survivor of the Trolley Square incident hit home with me. I can’t remember if I was in Utah or in New York when that event took place, but I *have* spent time at Trolley Square, and it’s the location of one of my favorite movie theaters of my college days. While the victim herself explained that she isn’t sure that she would have responded to the attack, even if she had a gun (and I probably would have been in the same boat as her, had something like that happened on my watch), I can’t help but think about two things: first, that particular shooting was ended by an off-duty police officer, carrying in opposition to the mall’s rule that firearms are forbidden; and second, that Suzanna chose to leave her gun (which was illegal to carry at the time) in her truck, and when the shooter started shooting, she would have had a clear shot to stop him, had she carried, and instead, she had to leave her parents to die when her father had already been killed, and they had an opportunity to flee thinking her mother was right behind her (but had chosen instead to stay with her husband, and had been shot for her compassion).

    Suzanna went on to become a State Legislator, and pushed for the Texas Concealed Carry License law. While they are somewhat more challenging to find, there are victims and survivors of mass shootings like Columbine and Sandy Hook that, despite (and to a certain extent, even because of) their loss, are still supporters of Second Amendment rights.

  28. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Alpheus:

    “one major takeaway that drove me nuts was the assumption that if you’re a victim of gun violence, you will be anti-gun.”

    You are correct in that this is a totally false assumption. Most humans, as they reach adulthood, develop either a left-wing or right-wing bias. They then tend to filter their understanding of the world through this bias.

    Someone who has a pre-existing Left-wing bias will, indeed, react to being a victim of violence involving firearms (I prefer this phrase since the term “gun violence” has become a left-wing code word for their belief that guns “cause” violence) by becoming more “anti-gun”. A prime example of this is the case of Gabrielle Giffords. Ms. Giffords was already pretty left-wing prior to the shooting incident that injured her. The attack she experienced sent her on over to the lunatic fringe of the anti-gun worldview.

    As you point out, Suzanna Hupp (who already had a carry permit and was clearly in the right-wing camp prior to the incident that claimed her parents), reacted just the opposite to Giffords. She became an activist for 2nd Amendment Rights.

    A violent attack does not change peoples minds on this issue. It merely strengthens and reinforces their pre-existing bias.

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