“Morally Neutral” Technology

“Morally Neutral” Technology October 19, 2015

Whenever there is a gun massacre, one of the standard pieces of rhetoric trotted out to defend the strategy of doing nothing whatsoever is the pre-recorded NRA message “If guns kill people, do spoons make you fat?” Alleged moral: Gun are, like tools–all things–morally neutral. They do nothing by themselves. They are mere passive instruments and it always entirely the humans wielding them that are the actors.

What is overlooked is that, in fact, easy access to things–such as, you know, food does in fact tend to help make people fat, which is why Americans are more obese than people with less easy access to food.

And it’s not just the case with food.Witness, for instance, that piece of technology called the Pill, which the very same conservative subculture that constantly reduces guns to utter passive instrumentality clearly understands to act upon us and change us. Or consider TV, or violent video games, or porn films: the very same people who assure us that gun technology is totally passive also assure us that these forms of technology *change* us. So we are constantly being exhorted by such people not to let our kids be exposed to such technology lest it act on them and harm them.

Same with nuclear weapons. The whole of the last century was lived in the shadow of the fact that the mere existence of these weapons exerted pressure on two major civilizations to use them–and forever altered us and the way we thought and acts in their presence.

But with guns? Nah. Having a gun easy to hand, we are assured, makes absolutely no difference and does not change our thinking or behavior in the slightest. A civilization with easy access to the Pill with have its thoughts and actions very predictably altered toward easy acceptance of loose sexual mores, but a civilization with easy access to guns will in no way be very predictably altered by that technology toward easy acceptance of violence, murder and suicide to solve its troubles. And just because that is exactly what we see demonstrated when we compare US gun violence rates to those of the rest of the civilized world, what does that prove? Repeat the mantra: Do spoons make me fat? Har. Har.

As near as I can tell, every argument put forward by the NRA beyond the naked assertion of reckless will (summarized as “Screw the dead! Moar guns!”) is an absurd fallacy. And the naked assertion of reckless will cannot be argued with because it is not an argument but a mere assertion of desire like a child screaming “GIMME!”

“Guns are completely passive instruments” is just another falsehood that joins the roster of other terrible arguments for doing absolutely nothing to alter our annual human sacrifice toll of 32,000 plus two Sandy Hooks that the NRA does everything in its power to maintain as it lines its pockets with gun industry money in total disregard for human life.

"as I'm fond of saying, the Church and the truths she teaches belong to Christ, ..."

Rod Bennett on his new book ..."
"Thank you, Mark. The attitude of some Catholics about the good old days makes me ..."

Rod Bennett on his new book ..."
"The Bible influenced the entire course of Western civ after the Christian era and remains ..."

Some Reflections on the Crucifixion for ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Scott Bute

    Mark, it’s not so much that some of us NRA members don’t care about easy access to guns, in my case I have absolutely no confidence in a government who will not even enforce the many thousands of laws already on the books and can’t even run the post office without losing billions of dollars. You think they are going to fix this problem? Dream on.

    • kenofken

      What are these thousands of laws on the books the government isn’t enforcing? Are you talking about gun laws or other things? It’s a longtime assertion of the NRA and gun lobby that existing firearm laws are not enforced. I’ve never gotten any specifics on that though.

      If anything, the gun lobby has a pretty long track record of actively trying to undermine the enforcement of existing laws by sandbagging the ATF, the agency with primary responsibility for enforcing firearm laws at the federal level. For seven years, they made sure the agency did not have a permanent director and have generally cast the agency’s overall enforcement activities as jackbooted authoritarian harassment.

      This is not to say that agency is above criticism or has not done some monumentally stupid things (letting guns “walk” into Mexico during investigations etc.), but the gun lobby’s argument is less than honest where enforcement of existing laws is concerned. When the feds crack down on straw purchases and trafficking, they’re bullying gun owners. When they fail to stop every criminal use of a gun, it’s evidence of their incompetence and the idea that no gun law can be effective at deterring crime.

      • For starters, it’s illegal for a convicted felon to try to buy a firearm. Thousands of firearms sales through FFLs were prevented by NICS checks, because the buyer admitted he was a felon. How many of these felons trying to obtain firearms were prosecuted? How many times did the BATF/BATFE turn the information over to local prosecutors and/or law enforcement?

        If you guessed “zero,” I’d say you’re right.

        We have a documented case of a gun dealer with a Federal Firearms License calling the ATF, asking, “Can I sell this gun belonging to me, and not my gun dealing business, as a private individual, rather than as an FFL?” They told him he could. And then they prosecuted him and sent him to jail for several years. ATF has shown a marked preference for prosecuting FFL gun dealers with large collections of expensive, collectible guns, and a tendency not to prosecute black market dealers with inventories of cheap and/or damaged guns.

        • Stu

          This is true. The government VERY rarely goes after any of those denied a firearm purchase who lied on the background check. Yet, government officials tout the fact that the system so effectively denies people who shouldn’t have firearms.

  • HornOrSilk

    I’ve pointed out the “morally neutral” argument undermines their position with nuclear arms and places like Iran…

    • Pete the Greek

      Or why it’s bad that Iran MIGHT somehow, at some point, magically, get ONE, but totally cool that Israel has large stockpiles of warheads.

  • Heather

    I think that what would help would be if the NRA was actually an organization to advance the interests of gun owners, instead of the interests of the gun industry. Apparently there was once a time when it was actually the former, but it’s certainly not now.

    • Pete the Greek

      There are actually a bunch of other organizations besides the NRA (i’m a member of a couple). They just don’t get as much air on mass media.

  • Pete the Greek

    It seems like most of the debate in this country (I’m sorry, I meant ‘debate’) is between one side which claims that simply having access to a firearm is a panacea that will solve all our problems and the other side, many of whom comment here, who seem to think that just a couple more demonstrably meaningless gun bans are a panacea that will fix everything.

    Meanwhile, nothing to address social decay is ever done.

    “As near as I can tell, every argument put forward by the NRA beyond the naked assertion of reckless will (summarized as “Screw the dead! Moar guns!”) is an absurd fallacy.”
    – I would say that you might want to look into arguments beyond the internet memes.

    • Joseph


  • Andy

    The elephant in the room, an elephant that we refuse to see, is the proliferation of anger and rage issues in our country. We have devolved into a place where my anger and my desire to be right has replaced the ability to talk to one another. We see the increase in anger here on the Internet, we see it our willingness to think the worst of someone we disagree with.
    I do not know if guns are morally neutral – it strikes me that we can say nay weapon is morally neutral so why worry about nuclear weapons? I do know that our rage and anger are not morally neutral and if we cannot control those then short of melting all weapons into plowshares will continue in our merry way of not seeing the dignity of all people.

    • Pete the Greek

      “it strikes me that we can say nay weapon is morally neutral so why worry about nuclear weapons?”

      – The USCCB’s doc years ago actually drew a distinction, as I remember. Nuclear arms by their nature are meant to create massive devastation and destruction of life totally indiscriminately, mainly against civilian populations. So, by their nature they are a different thing than an individually owned firearm.

      • Andy

        The same USSCB also calls for safe guns, laws to control easy access to guns to control violence, measures supporting of guns and sensible regulation of handguns. So if we accept their distinction between nuclear weans and individually ownehanduns shuoldn’t e accept their I strictures about handguns?

        • Pete the Greek

          defining the nature of something and defining specific policy recommendations are different.

          That being said, we have adopted some: We have background checks (certain improvements could be made on this point), certain firearm/weapon types are not available in the name of public safety (newly manufactured automatic weapons, for example, are not available to civilians, but amazingly, items like flamethrowers, which are rather easy to build yourself, are usually not restricted in any way. but then they usually don’t get used in crime either.), felons and aliens are prohibited from owning firearms, etc.

          Where the push back begins (here I’m talking about average people. Radicals on both sides need not apply) is when SPECIFIC laws that can be shown to have no effect on violence but are rather nothing more than political attacks on the law abiding are proposed, or when laws that might be sound in principle are proposed that are very badly constructed and dangerous, or silly and meaningless restrictions are proposed in an effort to salve people’s outrage but draw attention away form real, critical problems that are too politically incorrect to address.

          I would also point out that those of us like me on the gun side have the same kind of concerns with any laws that come out restricting Constitutional elements, be they the Patriot Act (Hey! We’re in danger! Our freedom is meaningless if we don’t stop them terr’ists!!), laws attacking homeschooling, religious liberty, etc.

          • Andy

            I am not sure that any laws may have an impact on the gun violence we see – I pointed out what the bishops said because I think we – that is all or many of us trot the bishops out when we agree with what they say.
            My bigger concern is the culture of anger/rage that seems to be the norm in the US. We have so focused on ourselves as most important that when crossed or thwarted we react with anger. Until we start to deal with that nothing will change for the better. It is indeed hard to follow what the church teaches and then act in our individualist manner.
            I also agree about constitutionality of various laws, reacting out of fear – the Patriot Act is a great example. We, my wife and I just got Patriot Acted because we began to pay for out daughter’s wedding – trying to get ahead of the curve – and it was more than we were allowed to transfer. We got a face-to-face call from a representative of some agency and went through bunch of BS only to have this suit say – Oh, our mistake. Ain’t fear wonderful?
            I think that in many ways we agree – I just seem to come from a different angle – my “liberal” leanings showing through?

            • Pete the Greek

              ERMEHGERD!! WHY DO YOU HATE ‘MURICA!!!!??

  • LFM

    As before, I don’t think I recognise the conservative sub-culture of which you speak. Most of the Americans I encounter (in the flesh or online) who oppose gun control vehemently are also vehement libertarians. Thus they tend not to oppose contraception on any grounds. Certainly there are exceptions, especially on highly political websites like NRO, but if anyone commissioned a poll on the subject, I suspect that they would find little crossover between the anti-contraception brigade and the anti-gun control troops.

    However, your argument is weak for other reasons. Of those people who *do* think that contraception is immoral, and changes individuals and society in unhealthy ways, how many want to make contraceptives illegal – not just abortifacient contraceptives like certain estrogen-based pills, but all of them – condoms, the “diaphragm”, cervical caps and so forth? Not many, as far as I can tell, and it is very unlikely that such a movement would garner public support on the scale of the NRA. So how do these people resemble anti-gun control activists again?

  • Mark

    Yeah, I’m no gun fan. I would never live in a house where a gun was kept (unless it was owned and kept at all times by some sort of professional security officer), and have no recreational interest in them.

    But I’ll admit I’m suspicious of gun-control efforts, and I’ve got to admit this particular argument is very weak. Mainly because it sets up straw-men about conservatives supporting the criminalization of “tools.”
    Truth is, not many of my conservative friends are, in fact, pro-criminalization-of-contraception or trying to censor the internet (even if that means porn is available). Certainly they’re not for getting rid of certain soda sizes as a way to fight gluttony/obesity, etc, or criminalizing cigarettes, etc. The expansion of government needed to do that would just be terrifying. Those cats are out of those bags, and if people are not going to use them…it will have to be either because of some economic solution (taxes due to externalities) or because of a real moral revival in our communities where people *choose* not to in spite of availability.
    Nuclear weapons are a sort of reduction ad absurdum, btw. There, the potential devastation is so huge, that even if the risk of some crazy using them is 0.0001%…that’s still too much if we consider proportionality. Because what good would “being allowed to own a nuclear weapon, but never use it” do for anyone? The only possible use involves at least the *threat* of their use.

    So, nuclear weapons are NOT morally neutral tools. They can do nothing but evil (at least until Elon Musk starts terraforming Mars with them…) so there is no question of balancing a good against an evil use here because there is only an evil use (and when we do reach the point where we are talking about terraforming companies applying for nukes to make Mars habitable…then we *will* have to have a conversation about how to regulate that and how the risks stack against the benefits.)

    Guns, on the other hand, have plenty of legitimate uses that people would admit, and so there is a question of balance (especially since they’re destructive power is much more limited than a nuke). Namely, recreation and defense (and, more minor, meat-procurement). So any gun control legislation would have to weigh the positive effects of the legislation (the REAL practical effects, not some naive “ideal” effects) against the loss of these positive effects, as well as any insidious side-effects in terms of the expansion of the State required to enforce it.

    The fact is, women have just as much access to guns as males…and yet they almost never do this stuff.

    If you ask me, *that’s* where we have to start looking for an answer.

    • Pete the Greek

      Another poster noted one fully, non objectionable use of nuclear weapons a while back: asteroid collision/extinction event prevention. Then again, the possibility of that is SUPER rare, so not sure how that still validates stores of them…

      “The fact is, women have just as much access to guns as males.”
      – Interestingly enough, women are also the fastest growing market for firearms in the US.

      Thanks for the balanced contribution to the discussion!

      • Stu

        I could see a justification for using nuclear arms against a flotilla of warships far out to sea. But such a use would also be rare as well.

        But attempting to equate nuclear arms with firearms is a real stretch given there is amply utility for firearms that is not immoral.

        • Mark

          Well, my point is more that those are not legitimate *personal*/private usages. Presumably, asteroid deflection and a flotilla of warships are problems for the government. The only *private* use I can think of is Elon Musk’s idea about Mar’s ice-caps or other massive projects in outer-space, and even those wouldn’t be used by individuals, but by corporations which presumably would be pretty regulated.
          In this sense, I think I would actually be fine with gun control that was aimed at banning certain types of guns which have no redeeming real life use. Guns that aren’t good for hunting, actual skill-based sport, or realistic defense situations (defending yourself against a few intruders or a gang of hoodlums is one thing…imagining you’re going to need to mow down dozens doesn’t seem quite realistic).
          So I suppose I’m fine with saying “Private citizens shouldn’t own machine guns” because they have no possible redeeming use. The only “recreational” aspect of them is nothing other than the act of firing them itself (there is no skill aspect special to them, it wouldn’t seem; target and trick shooting can all be done with lesser guns). So I’m fine setting a limit by *type* of gun.

          I think the only reasons people want to own these are a weird psychological phenomenon whereby either it’s some power/masculinity/aggression trip (even if they never act on it) or some paranoid fantasy that they will be able to rebel against the government someday if it gets oppressive (sorry, but that’s a silly dream; the government has bombers and tanks, no little militia is going to overthrow them…)

          • Pete the Greek

            “Guns that aren’t good for hunting, actual skill-based sport, or realistic defense situations”
            – LOL! Well, you’d ban Kel-Tecs and anything by Bryco-Jennings… and that’s pretty much it. 🙂

            “(there is no skill aspect special to them”
            – Just a small quibble: actually to EFFECTIVELY operate an automatic rifle does require quite a bit of skill.

            ” some power/masculinity/aggression trip (even if they never act on it)”
            – Meh, I’d disagree. White I’ve not owned them, I’ve fired some. It’s SERIOUSLY fun.

            “the government has bombers and tanks, no little militia is going to overthrow them.”
            – REALLY don’t want to get into this topic, as it brings the kooks out of the woodwork, but I will leave it at saying that you VASTLY overestimate the security of a government and the very nature of the armed forces. I would recommend you study a bit more besides how many airplanes we have. But, like I said, let’s not discuss, I think kooks can literally SMELL posts like this and it draws them. 🙁

            • Nate Winchester

              “the government has bombers and tanks, no little militia is going to overthrow them.”
              -said right before Iraq/Afghanistan

              Not to mention that a lot of military equipment requires SUBSTANTIAL maintenance (that’s what a buddy of mine does) so you wouldn’t even have to bring it down. Just bring all the support staff over to your side and the pilots are grounded.

              • Stu

                Assuming the pilots wouldn’t go to your side as well. 😉

            • Mark

              Sorry but “It’s thrilling to fire it” is just not a redeeming value.
              This conversation is leading me to believe automatic weapons should be banned, and that the main point of debate is about semi-automatic weapons. I can certainly imagine home invasion situations or situations camping with a grizzly bear or something where you’d want a firearm that reloads instantly (ie, semiautomatic)…but a “two feature” definition of assault weapon is starting to sound pretty sensible to me.
              The rest of the stuff about militias…yeah, the kooks are brought out by this and I sort of think you’re one of them. If your argument is that citizens should be allowed to own automatic weapons so that some day if need be we can devolve into a government situation like Syria or Iraq…that is, to me, an argument against allowing them, not for.

              • Pete the Greek

                “”It’s thrilling to fire it” is just not a redeeming value.”
                – To you, maybe. “It’s nice to look at” seems to me a stupid reason for another person to own any kind of collectable, but since it’s not sinful, it’s not my business.

                “This conversation is leading me to believe automatic weapons should be banned”
                – Then you’re late to the party and behind on your facts. They already are. Unless you have $10,000 laying around and months to spend being put through the wringer by the ATF and walk on eggshells for the rest of your life.

                “the kooks are brought out by this and I sort of think you’re one of them.”
                – And I’m beginning to think you’re an ideologue who demonstrably knows nothing about the subject matter but has such an inflated opinion of himself that he automatically believes his uninformed opinion on the topic should be taken seriously.

                “If your argument is that citizens should be allowed to own automatic weapons so that some day if need be we can devolve into a government situation like Syria”

                – Actually, my point can be summed up by saying that if you think the US military would just machinegun, bayonet and bomb their own families and friends, then you can add ‘military’ and ‘culture’ to the undoubtedly long list of topics you know nothing about.

                “I can certainly imagine home invasion situations or situations camping with a grizzly bear or something where you’d want a firearm that reloads instantly”
                – Add ‘grizzly bears’ to that list as well.

  • MarylandBill

    Mark, you might want to look at your paragraph on nuclear weapons. Nuclear bombs were not invented until 1945, so certainly the whole of the last century was not shaped by them. And while I won’t, and indeed can’t defend the existence of such weapons, I would also point out that a fairly strong case can be made that their existence actually exerted strong pressure on both the East and the West to not have a direct confrontation (i.e., no World War III).

    Mark, I also think you greatly weaken your argument by including gun suicides in your arguments. Unlike its murder rate, the U.S. suicide rate is not out of line with the rest of the first world and indeed is lower than several European countries including Poland and France.

    Finally, I think as a society, we are looking at gun violence the wrong way. Yes, in theory tightening up on access to guns will reduce the risk of gun violence and perhaps, 10, 15 or 20 years down the road it might save some lives. That being said, how are we going to reduce access to the roughly 300 million guns that are already out there?

    Personally I wonder. If we look at the statistics, if we compare the United States to other advanced nations, besides our gun ownership and gun violence being out of synch, the other thing that is out of synch is wealth inequality. When we consider the fact that most murders occur in the poorest urban neighborhoods (and are often related to drugs and gangs), perhaps our efforts might be better focused on finding a solution to those problems. Its hard to be sure, perhaps legalizing drugs (which my gut says would create a whole host of other problems.. but perhaps better than the violence that currently exists) would help the situation? More importantly, perhaps finding a way to help the poor out of poverty might be the best solution. Of course that might well involve some solutions that liberals don’t like, like encouraging traditional marriage (How about allowing each parent to take a dependent deduction provided the dependent lives with them?).

    • Stu

      The suicide rates and the violence rates with firearms are indeed different problems sets and accordingly have different potential solutions. The suicides happen in mostly rural areas while the homicides happen in the inner city. Basic generality, rural folks don’t typically turn guns on others but rather themselves and mental health facilities are lacking in those parts of the states. And the inner city problem is what makes our gun violence number go through the roof with black males between the ages of 18-40 having about the double the rate of death as any other demographic. We need to see gun violence as symptoms of bigger problems.

      As a gent I know on Facebook remarked:

      “A few things homicide rates don’t really seem to be affected by:

      1) Gun control
      2) Gun ownership
      3) Westernization
      4) Economic “development”

      A few things that do seem to correlate with low homicide rates:
      1) Strong families
      2) Very small countries
      3) Localism
      4) Strong communities
      5) Economic solidarity

      My fellow Americans: We are arguing over the wrong issues.”

      I think another thing that is often lost on those who call for more “gun control” is that there are often better and more cost effective ways to deal with any given problem. Indeed, we could confiscate all firearms and that would certainly reduce gun deaths. But is that really our goal or would are efforts be better aimed at going after the underlying challenges? I think the latter and I believe more people are coming around to that way of looking at this problem.

      • Andy

        I agree – “we are arguing over the wrong issues” –

        • Stu

          Now if we could only get the discussion going in this forum and other places.

    • John Barba

      I wonder how the statistics will express suicides by doctor assist. Oh gun violence didn’t go down, its just new laws are helping people die with dignity.

  • Scott Bute

    I reiterate: Who in their right mind thinks that the Obama administration and the United States government could actually solve gun violence when they can’t solve much of anything? I want to know what Mark S. would do tomorrow if he had the authority and power to do it? You can’t just whine incessantly about it, you have to have a plan. So, the NRA sucks and is in the tank with the firearms companies. Yeah, we get that. Now what’s the plan?

    • Joseph

      It would be a bit hypocritical when the US government just dropped another 50 tonnes of weaponry to the Syrian “rebels” (aka, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, ISIS) out of desperation because the Russians are destroying all of their assets. On the one hand, “Gun Control! Because guns are dangerous and hurt innocent people”, on the other, “Quick get more guns into the hands of extremist barbarians… we must topple Assad no matter what the human cost”.

      I don’t know if I’d be too hasty to sign up with such a two-faced government.

      • Pete the Greek

        And of course there are people like this guy:

        • Joseph

          Yep… that too. LOL. Don’t forget about ‘Fast & Furious’. Geez, Louise! If only the Obamabots would just take a minute to review their blind support for his gun control views… which only cuts one way. Guns for terrorists and drug cartels… no guns for you!

          • Andy

            Fast and furious started before Obama under a number of names. It has been a policy for so long.

            • foulweatherfan

              No. Operation Fast and Furious was initiated under the Obama Administration. A predecessor program called operation Wide Receiver had been initiated and terminated during the Bush administration. A little research reveals that unlike F&F WW was narrow in scope and involved actual tracking in cooperation with Mexican law enforcement authorities.

              • Andy

                my point is that this sort of bs behavior occurs regardless of who is president and what it is called. Wide Receiver, from Bush, had its own issues and Fast and Furious was a continuation of what came before which is what my comment says “Fast and furious started before Obama under a number of names. It has been a policy for so long.” Not trying to support Obama, just saying that our policies are really offed up and we keep them going.

                • foulweatherfan

                  Fair enough, but my point is that the two programs were not comparable in any fair sense.

                  • Andy

                    The programs were not overly the same I agree – it is the policy that leads to these programs is stupid beyond belief.

                    • Joseph

                      Exactly. All I’m asking is that you repeat your last sentence over and over again while thinking about whatever policy they’d cook up with regard to gun control… or anything else for that matter.

                • Joseph

                  I agree here. My point is that it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, the policies are still the same. So, making a folk hero out of the president and believing that he represents Americans, no matter who it is, is ridiculous. The Obamabots who stand behind Obama’s call for strict gun control while he gives free military grade weaponry to Islamic terrorists and the drug cartels is no different than those who stood behind a so-called pro-life Bush. I honestly can’t say which group is more deluded, but at this moment it appears to be the Obamabots… probably because he’s in power right now.
                  Essentially, think about who you’re putting your trust into when backing policies. Do you trust this government to make sound and just judgments and policy? Willing to put your life and livelihood in their hands? Just look at the Middle East. Putin’s rhetorical question that he asked during his address to the UN echoes, “Do you realise what you’ve done?”. In other words, are you really that psychotic that you’d literally destroy the entire Middle East, support the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Christians and other minorities in the region by arming and protecting their oppressors simply for your own little geopolitical games? Yeah, no thank you. I welcome sane gun control laws, but I certainly wouldn’t want the sitting US government to try and find a *final solution*. Maniacs.

            • John Barba

              No excuse

  • Philosophical Actuary

    Mark, if an argument from basic principles not involving absurd memes and nonsense led to the conclusion of some significant freedom with respect to guns or other weaponry, would you consider it?

  • kenofken

    Guns may be morally neutral in that they are obviously inanimate objects with no moral agency of their own, but if we are to examine them in the context of tools, the primary purpose they were designed to serve must be taken into consideration. The firearm was designed to kill human beings efficiently. All other uses are incidental, even if they constitute the vast majority of day to day uses of guns even in our troubled society. As a species, we did not spend the better chunk of a millennium and mountains of wealth to develop entirely new areas of metallurgy and chemistry in order to punch holes in paper or to hunt animals. The name of the game from minute one has been to develop a better weapon for human-to-human combat – one that could let an average fighter defeat the strongest swordsman, level the tremendous advantage of cavalry, pierce armor and knock down city walls. If we are to be at all honest about the issue, we have to at least acknowledge that. The gun debate in this country is not about target shooting or hunting. It’s about the power to kill people and how that power should be distributed and the perceived goods of that distribution to individuals and collective society.

    • You raise solid points and solid questions. My take is that wider distribution of firearms levels the balance of power between those who devote their lives to fighting and those who do not, and in particular makes defensive war easier, and offensive wars harder.

    • MarylandBill

      With respect, not all advances in firearms have been to make them better weapons for killing people. Rifles almost certainly developed as hunting weapons and a century or more passed between their development and them becoming common on the Battlefield. There are a lot of reasons for this, but it boils down to, prior to the development of the minie ball, rifles took too long to load, fouled too easily and the smoke that covered battlefields generally was considered to limit their advantage in range and accuracy.

  • Right. There are no moral arguments against gun control. There is no moral imperative to preserve one’s life against criminal assault, or the lives of those one loves. Besides, the police will arrive soon enough. In the US, there is no correlation between increasing restrictions on gun ownership and an increase in violent crime rates. Everyone knows that it is those inner cities where it is hardest for poor people to legally arm themselves are the safest places in the US.

    Gunclock.com does not exist. Gary Kleck and Mark Gertz never investigated whether people use guns to save lives from criminal assault. (http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/kleck1.html) And even if they did, no other well-respected criminologist who advocates total population disarmament would EVER have said of such a study, “[T]hey have provided an almost clear cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator. …I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research. Can it be true that about two million instances occur each year in which a gun was used as a defensive measure against crime? It is hard to believe. Yet, it is hard to challenge the data collected.” (http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/peer.html)

    Making it easier for evil people to victimize you doens’t encourage them to do so. They prefer a challenge! Just like publishing your Social Security Number doesn’t encourage identity thieves to perpetrate fraud, labeling a gun-free zone doesn’t embolden violent criminals.

    NONE of those are arguments. NOBODY ever forwards them, because they are not arguments. And even if they WERE arguments, they certainly do not show that guns can ever be beneficial. Guns are only for murdering murderers who murder (and cops).

    • Ryan Godfrey

      Bro, too much logic will make Mark Shea’s head explode. Nice job. Murderer.