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.