Soundtracking the Resistance - Favorite Excuses

The Ridiculous Arguments Against Gun Control

May 25, 2018 Bookmark and Share


This week we look at the ridiculous excuses reeled out to avoid suggesting guns play any part in gun violence, plus Trump blows up his North Korea nuclear summit, several male cast members of Arrested Development disgrace themselves, and Lykke Li watches a volatile relationship combust. 

The Big Event

It can't be that hard reporting the news. A small selection of stories run endlessly, only needing a few tweaks to keep them current. The same stock responses and the same stock footage and the same half-baked analysis usually do the trick. Don't worry if you fear you haven't seen an old favorite covered recently either: it will come around soon enough.

So as surely as Trump will tweet a bunch of nonsense about his own nonsense like a child demonstrating guilt by talking endlessly about the crime, another story on a deadly shooting will swing by eventually.

It was Santa Fe in Texas last week, where a 17-year-old kid wandered into his high school toting the kind of arsenal usually seen in Hollywood thrillers. If only it stayed in Hollywood thrillers. At the very least it shouldn't make it into the hands of a 17-year-old kid stalking the corridors of his school.

He used the weapons to kill 10 and injure another 13. No doubt there are personal reasons for his actions. He might have been the victim of bullying, which can provide context without justification because nothing can justify what he did.

But that's not what we're here to talk about. Instead of the shootings, and the personal heartbreak and thoughts and prayers and all the other motions public figures go through, let's take a quick detour through some of the reasons the guns-for-all crowd come up with to explain away the ridiculous number of deadly shootings.

Santa Fe offered a few doozies. If you're asking Lt. Gov Dan Patrickand based on his answer no one should ever ask him anything other than could you please leave the roomit was the large number of entrances that somehow shot and killed the kids. What would be much better is one entrance that could be more easily guarded, or alternatively allow an attacker to funnel victims and prevent them escaping.

New NRA head Oliver North has been shooting from the hip too, so to speak. Ritalin is his culprit of choice. "Guns don't kill people, Ritalin does" probably won't be appearing in a commercial near you anytime soon.

How about this gem from MSNBC host Hugh Hewitt? We should be keeping an eye out for suspicious people, and that means trench coats, people. Ignore the easy access to guns but bring out the shackles if you see anyone strolling about in a duster.

This combination of sheer idiocy and an impressive degree of verbal flexibility to contort answers is not confined to the attack last week. After the Stoneman Douglas shooting, one local Florida politician blamed a lack of God in public life for the atrocity. Presumably this is our fault for banishing God, rather than God's fault for slacking off on the community politicking.

Video games are a favorite villain as well. Go back to Columbine and the blocky '90s classic Doom was getting its fair share of the blame for helping the assailants learn to shoot. What was probably of more help when it comes to learning to shoot is actually shooting a gun but that kind of commonsense tumbles overboard quickly.

Then there's the attempt to switch attention to mental health. Every incident is isolated and it's always because the shooter has mental health problems is how the story goes. Therefore, providing more mental health support should be the response. Sure, it's not a bad thing to do more to improve mental health treatment, but this ignores two things. Firstly, it's not an either/or proposition. Better mental health services AND gun control measures can both be implemented, and secondly, if there are so many people with mental health problems committing mass shootings, why is it so easy for them to get hold of guns?

Finally, we have the disingenuous "yes but" arguments. They run like this: yes, people have used guns to kill, but they've also used knives and cars and planes and hammers and pillows and pretty much everything ever made, so why aren't we banning all of them?

How about the fact something like a car is far more regulated than a gun, crazy as that sounds, and none of the items above are primarily made to be used as a weapon anyway? Just because someone chooses to use their gun as a paperweight or backscratcher doesn't mean it's the primary purpose of the weapon.

That's because it is a weapon. Sure, a person can get one for self-defense but using a gun for self-defense is a little like using nuclear weapons for the same purpose. As a strategy it can work, providing no one ever actually pulls the trigger. When it comes to guns they do, all the time. Back to that famous phrase then: "guns don't kill people, people do." Yes, and giving them guns makes it an awful lot easier.

What's Going On 

That's the end of that then. Trumpy cancelled his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and all the parts of the world that don't want to be blown up by nuclear weapons breathed a sigh of relief. North Korean officials have been saying mean things about America and enough is enough. No one calls Mike Pence a "political dummy" without consequences so they had to call it off. Probably best to put that Nobel Peace Prize champagne back on ice for now.

The NFL has finally come up with a scheme to stop players kneeling during the national anthem. It's a little plan called We Encourage the Right to Free Speech Provided it's Practiced in a Dark, Sound-Proofed Room. That means players who don't want to stand for the anthem have to stay out of sight until it's done. Nothing screams "the land of the free and the home of the brave" like forced patriotism and punishment for those who won't toe the line.

Trumpy really hasn't had a good week. On top of the North Korea debacle, it turns out he can't go banning people who are mean to him on Twitter anymore. A court has ruled that as his personal account is his de facto presidential account, first amendment rights stop him blocking anyone for political reasons. We all have the right to disagree with the president and revel in the joy of his half-baked conspiracies, surreal rants, and occasional attempts to sound like a rational person.

Speak Up!

Arrested Development is a show full of thoughtless, unpleasant people, and several members of the male cast did their best to demonstrate it's not all just an act in a group interview for The New York Times. When addressing the allegations surrounding Jeffrey Tambor, who was removed from Transparent for alleged sexual harassment, Jessica Walter, who plays Bluth matriarch Lucille Bluth, found little support from her male co-stars when talking through tears about verbal harassment she received from Tambor. Only Alia Shawkat stepped in to speak up for Walter as Jason Bateman, Tambor himself, Tony Hale, David Cross, and Will Arnett either downplayed Walter's experience or stayed silent.

Song of the Week: Lykke Li - "hard rain"

Swedish artist Lykke Li's video for "hard rain" starts out as the very picture of a perfect romance before everything spirals downhill and a showdown takes place by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

It could be taken as a tale of doomed love, or, given the overly aggressive way Li's video partner seems to be handling the break-up, as something much more unpleasant. Or, in the week Trump cancelled his big presidency defining meeting, as an accidentally apt portrayal of the volatile nature of that most unlikely of relationships.

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quotes of G-Eazy
May 28th 2018
4:16am

I Really like your video hard rain And enjoy it a lot