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Red Herrings and You - Gun Control

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posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:18 PM
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Right now there is a hot bed of debate on the internet both about terrorism and about mass shootings and gun control. Personally I'm not sure what laws, if any, might help prevent these events but the debate about what we can do to help prevent mass shootings is one that needs to happen. We need not just legislative solutions to be on the table but cultural ones as well as I believe that there is a deeply ingrained fetish for guns in America that prevents some Americans from having any rational compassionate discourse about the issue.

Case in point, the endless stream of absurd Red Herrings I see coming from all corners for the pro-gun side. Today it was this one:



A Red Herring is a statement in an argument that is meant to distract or mislead away from the main point of discussion. Often times Red Herring's can seem like they are a good point to make, at least to some people. I'll give an example of a Red Herring. Let's say you are in a discussion with someone about neglected and abused animals and instead of agreeing that something should be done you say, "why should I care about neglected and abused animals when there are neglected and abused humans to worry about?"

Examples of Red Herrings when discussing gun control are far far too numerous but most of them boil down to a person who doesn't understand the fundamental differences between a gun and another object that they are conflating with guns. One of the most common comparisons is that of guns to cars, the gist of the argument being that the number of deaths in car accidents is pretty damn high and that the numbers alone should appall us at least as much as the numbers for guns. The reason this is a red herring is simple, first off it distracts us from the debate. A debate about the safety of cars and roadways might be interesting but it has nothing to do with a debate about gun control.

There is also a fundamental difference in the primary purpose of both things. A car is designed to convey people from place to place, that is the intention that the designers had in mind when they made it. The fact that someone could, conceivably, purposefully use a car as a weapon is utterly irrelevant when we're talking about gun control.

Guns are designed to kill living things. That is why they were invented hundreds of years ago and that is why they are still being manufactured today. Whether you are trying to put down a potential threat on a battlefield, protect your family by mortally wounding a burglar, or put food on the table by going hunting your gun is designed to kill. Even if you carry it just to intimidate people out of attacking you it is the fact that you are carrying a deadly weapon that they find intimidating. Fear is the side-affect, not the main purpose of the thing.

So when someone says, "should we outlaw forks for their contribution to the obesity epidemic?" they are engaging in a logical fallacy known as a Red Herring. Forks are not guns, obesity is not a mass shooting, these are badly formed analogies designed to distract and end rational reasonable discourse about the issue.

The fact that some gun owners are so irrational that they do not grasp how guns are different to these other things is frightening.

Now to be fair I'm adding a section about the Red Herrings on the anti-gun side and there are numbers of them. One of the most disgusting recent ones is blaming pro-gun Republicans for mass shootings and basically calling anyone pro-gun a terrorism/shooter enabler. This distracts from any gun control discussion by making the whole thing about whatever political ideology you want to demonize/defend. Why gun control has turned into such a right left issue I don't understand.

Similarly a recent now infamous Newspaper article blasted those same politicians for saying their prayers and thoughts were with the victims. As empty as those platitudes may have been it is a low-blow and obvious Red Herring to bring them into the issue. Stop using gun violence to attack the Republicans (and in the same vein stop using gun rhetoric of some to smear everyone on the Left).

And so on and so forth, with BOTH SIDES getting no closer to any sort of agreement or even approaching a calm rational discussion.


edit on 7-12-2015 by Titen-Sxull because: clarifications added

edit on 7-12-2015 by Titen-Sxull because: Edit to add: Red Herrings from the Anti-Gun side, in the name of fairness.



+11 more 
posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:34 PM
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Tell me this, How is taking guns or putting more retsrictions on guns, going to stop criminals/terrorists who don't obey the existing laws?. Do you think more laws will stop the gang banger who got his gun from another gang member? Is it going to stop the terrorist that has contacts that supply the weapons? Are more laws going to effect anyone but the law abiding gun owner?
No.
You could ban guns this instant and the only people who would turn them in are the law abiding citizen. The bad guys would just keep their's and ignore the law, just like they do with all the other laws they're not supposed to break.
This is what the anti gun crowd seems to want to ignore. How much more simple can we make it? They Are Called Criminals For A Reason.


+3 more 
posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:34 PM
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If outlawing guns from the American populace would not prevent mass shootings such as Paris or California, then why are we discussing gun control at all?

Let's start there.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull


The fact that someone could, conceivably, purposefully use a car as a weapon is utterly irrelevant when we're talking about gun control.

Has every analogous thing to do with it.

But I feel ya. If you outlaw stuff to make explosives don't forget sparklers and matches. Your pic of a pipe bomb is from a video of a sparkler bomb. If plumbing is outlawed, then use a length of muffler pipe hammered shut, a magazine rolled up. Toilet paper roll and duct tape. Pour gasoline in a basement and throw a road flare in. Natural gas, propane, sugar and piss, flour, dust, chaff, etc.

Next time you need to light a match, call the guard. 1:45 into here.

edit on 7-12-2015 by intrptr because: bb code



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull

Is it a red herring when someone asks me why I need a 30 round magazine and I reply asking why they need a vehicle that goes well over 100 mph?

I agree that there's hyperbole on both sides, but only calling out one side seems like bad form to me.

Taking emotions out of the debate would be a damn good start!



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:37 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull
These posts make me giggle inside.
So afraid of the big bad black guns with buttons and levers and scary stuff.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:45 PM
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Since you did not mention the right to bear arms specifically, I will stay away from that part of the debate, as it would be off topic.

As far red herring and the rhetoric/tactics, I completely agree. What you described are perfect examples of how the entire debate can become sidetracked by using irrelevant red herrings to conflate the issue.

If we want to have a debate about guns, let talk about guns. If we want to talk about pipe bombs, let's talk about it. But don't derail the debate by moving the focus elsewhere.
edit on 7-12-2015 by introvert because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: DAVID64

I never said more laws are definitely the answer. In fact I think it has more to do with a culture that treats guns like the answer to every problem than it does lax laws.

This thread, however, is not about my views on guns, its about a specific type of fallacy I see employed all the time. One does not need to be on either side to want to remove fallacies so we can have a clearer discussion.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:47 PM
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I don't necessarily disagree, but I'm not sure why you focus only on gun rights supporters. The anti-gun side of the issue uses plenty of blatant falsehoods, misleading arguments and other disingenuous debate tactics all the time, too.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: KawRider9

Yes it is a Red Herring, even if it seems like a good point to make it is designed only to end the conversation.

Car speeds and gun control are too entirely separate issues and as I pointed out above it is what the objects were designed to do that makes it a particularly bad analogy to make. A debate can be had on whether someones car needs to do over 100 MPH, but it has nothing to do with guns and gun control.
edit on 7-12-2015 by Titen-Sxull because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:51 PM
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a reply to: vor78

You are absolutely right, but I wrote this because I get the feeling neither side understands what a Red Herring is when they see it.

The other side definitely say some really stupid stuff too but I don't see them using Red Herrings as often. Also I try to avoid the anti-gun side, because I want my arguments and thoughts on the subject to be my own. Nothing stifles the mind quite like being in an echo chamber where everyone agrees with you.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 12:57 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull

Depending on how they're used, I'm not entirely certain that they are pointless red herrings, anyway. If a person makes that argument in an attempt not to change the subject, but rather to draw attention to the fact that society treats certain risky activities and resulting fatalities differently, I'm not convinced that its an entirely invalid argument.

The stupid little memes are ridiculous, I'll definitely grant you that one.
edit on 7-12-2015 by vor78 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:00 PM
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Red herrings, blue herrings, green herrings....none of that matters.

More gun control is non negotiable
till other factors in our society are addressed such as
open borders bringing in illegals of all types, gangs roaming streets, sleeper cells of terrorists next door, drug addicts, rapists, robbers, and others of the bad criminal element that go through the revolving door of the justice system, and, of course, mental illness health issues many times made worse by pharmaceuticals that cause homicidal and/or suicidal tendencies.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:01 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull

It's was a rhetorical question and yes, I understand it was a red herring. But it's a legit one.

I and millions of others explain in great detail why we need certain firearms, ammunition or magazine capacity and it falls on deaf ears by the anti crowd. They then resort to hyperbole/red herrings and we're back to square one in our debate.

There are several people on this site that always hit me and others with "why do you need 30 rounds to shoot deer"? When we explain that we don't and that it's illegal to hunt with 30 rounds in your firearm, the focus gets shifted to," oh, you're one of those nutters that thinks you can take on the government with your pea shooters, while the government has tanks and nukes"...

The empty rhetoric gets tiresome on both sides. And again, blaming only one side of this is bad form!



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:19 PM
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i am trying to get ats members to sign a petition to ban cancer and lightning, they both kill people and i understand that one is a disease and the other is a retribution by the god of lightning( lol), but think of the children.

Some people will come up with different analogies to sell there point, it dosent always make sense but damn its funny when they do it.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:21 PM
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a reply to: KawRider9

There's no such thing as a legit Red Herring, a fallacy cannot be legitimate.



The empty rhetoric gets tiresome on both sides. And again, blaming only one side of this is bad form!


Fair enough. And I totally agree that the rhetoric on both sides gets annoying and unbearable. I'll try to update my OP with some Red Herrings from the anti-gun side

edit on 7-12-2015 by Titen-Sxull because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:40 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull

Red herrings are useful because it can expose a logical inconsistency. Not all red-herrings are created equal. I think is perfectly legitimate to make these analogies out because it exposes the weakness of their argument.

It goes both ways.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:47 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull

The bigger problem, though, is that the conversation is so exaggerated and off-topic anyhow (from both sides, more often than just one) that red herrings actually end up making sense in the overall discussion.

See, what you're wanting is unrealistic--our current media and debating climate is not similar to that of a high school debate team, with rules and logic governing both sides. So, if one side starts to go off the rails, the other feels a need to follow suit as to not be outdone with unnecessary points, even if they are decent enough points to make.

Take, for example, this article that has necessitated innumerable responses correcting the absurd claim that 355 mass shootings occurred this year, including and up to San Bernardino. It's utter crap, but the problem lies with the reality that uneducated people will run with that without doing any research into it.

You cite red herrings as a major problem with modern debates about hot topics, but I think what trumps your concern is the fact that most Americans seem to be full of apathy and/or laziness and would prefer to read BS articles or memes on Facebook than spend 5 minutes doing an internet search to research a claim.

Hell, I WISH red herrings were the apex of our problems when it comes to debates in America.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 01:52 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

A Red Herring is a logical fallacy, and if we're going to have a productive discussion it is best not to engage in fallacies. Of course whether something IS functioning as a Red Herring or not can depend on what the parameters of a discussion are. If discussing a broad enough range of things or engaged in a totally free form discussion something that ordinarily would just be a Red Herring may not be seen as one.

I'm talking specifically in discussions about guns and gun control. It doesn't help the discussion when someone scoffs and says, "Oh and I suppose we should ban forks too, because they make people fat!". Many such Red Herrings are said to be facetious and thus shut down any serious discussion from happening. Others are distractions or blatantly bad analogies.



posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 02:13 PM
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a reply to: Titen-Sxull
So, all those bombs the SB terrorists built were just Red Herrings to distract us in the gun control debate?

I suggest that it isn't so. They had both guns and bombs as did several other cases where the goal was to cause mass destruction and death. So why should our focus be exclusively on guns when it can clearly be shown that the people involved were perfectly willing to break existing laws against murder and mayhem?



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