Friday, January 21, 2011

Emotion makes for a baseless argument

Reading this Washington Post hit piece about how Colin Goddard is influencing lawmakers to enact gun control, one has to wonder why the author doesn't talk about the flip side of it all.

As you can read in the story, Goddard survived the gunman's attack at Virginia Tech, and the point is pushed that he carries more weight in the gun control argument because he knows first hand what it's like to be shot by an armed lunatic while at school, and the rest of us don't. There is no mention at all about why Goddard also carries weight to the argument that packing thousands of unarmed people in a small area with minimal security attracts armed lunatics of all types, and the outcome of an event like that will be the same despite whatever law gets passed to prevent it.

Again, for those who don't know:

The most fatal school massacre in US history was committed with a bomb.

The most fatal act of terrorism in the US was committed with commercial airliners hijacked using boxcutters.

The most fatal act of domestic terrorism in US history was committed with a bomb.

The second most fatal spree killing in modern world history was committed using a shotgun, a sword, and an axe, the first was committed with a rifle and grenades.

None of this is addressed in the article, nor is there any mention of potential unintended consequences. It seems that the sum of the story is that Goddard has an edge because he's been the unarmed victim getting bullets pumped into him while he lies defenseless on the ground, and that should be the best policy. He's also a fudd, so there's that too.

Arguments based entirely on emotion don't get much pull with me. How about putting some facts in there somewhere for the people who aren't so naive.
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