Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Emotions Vs. Reason: Yes, Facts Matter

Last night, I was accused of lacking love, compassion, and - yes - a heart. All because I'm not joining the chorus of Gun Control Central.

It's time to say my piece.

I have taken a Facebook hiatus since the latest mass shooting at a Florida high school. Very much like the one I took after the 2015 Canadian election, and for the same reason: Leftists and gun-grabbers (most of them ill-informed, or downright uninformed) who suddenly become political. I pull away from Facebook at times like these, not because I can't "deal with" the opposing views, but because it is so, profoundly tiresome. See, leftists react because emotions have flooded their core, and they are emboldened by their supposition that their position is the only one to hold. They believe that those of us on the right dare not refute the words of a grieving mother, or a teenage survivor.

They're wrong.

See, I hold to facts, and reason. Information is power, and any employer will tell you that if you are faced with a decision to make, and you choose to go with your heart over your head, without weighing all the facts, without seeing the big picture, you will make the wrong decision. Every time.

In crises like these - shootings, specifically - the left tends to leave reason behind and go with emotion.

No one is saying this isn't an emotional situation. I weep for those grieving families and for the survivors whose lives will never, ever be the same.

But does being a critical thinker, someone who looks for facts to try and understand a situation, does that make me uncaring?

According to this leftist last night, and others I see across social media, it does.

I'm a big fan of Ben Shapiro, the conservative analyst whose reason and articulate analyses are profoundly sharp. I'll quote Ben quite a bit here, because he states my position beautifully.

The latest accusation from kids in Parkland, where the shooting took place, is "you're either for us or against us."

Anyone who's ever been in any kind of relationship knows those words are the kiss of death in an argument, a debate, even a disagreement. And, as Shapiro says, the kids are mobilizing now, to march on Washington and demand that President Trump "do something."

Here's the problem: they can't delineate what they want him to do. In fact, in many of the interviews with these teens, they show a marked lack of knowledge where civics are concerned. Perhaps they aren't learning that in school or, they aren't getting it. But their belief that POTUS can enact sweeping measures is misguided and just plain wrong. It shows that they have no understanding of the roles played by various government branches.

But they're marching. And they're giving interviews. And the sole purpose of those actions is just to get the listening, and sympathetic public on board.

I'm not without sympathy. No parent should ever have to bury their child. No child should ever have to witness the horrors, experience the terror, or live with the likely post-traumatic stress they will suffer for decades to come.

But I also don't believe that, by simply lecturing government to "do something" - especially without any proposals behind that imperative - the government must enact what will be ineffective, redundant, and unsuccessful measures.

The students are calling for "victory" - as Shapiro says, "what does that look like? If by victory, they mean no more shootings at schools, then yes, we're with you. If it means sweeping gun laws that will do nothing but penalize the law-abiding gun owners in the USA, then no, we're not."

This is what I've found in the past 6 days since the shooting occurred. I left Facebook, but have been on Twitter, where the commitment to "socialize" is more fleeting, and where dabbling is more the norm (for me, anyway).

But last night, I checked in, and saw someone arguing that it's wrong to - his words - "quibble about the numbers of mass shootings."

So I jumped in.

See, it's not wrong to correct the inaccurate. If someone continued to say something about you,. and it was not only inaccurate, it was wildly out of bounds, would you not want it corrected? Would you not want to set the record straight?

That's all I did. However, I was met with the same leftist talking points, which I'll list here, along with the facts I produced to refute them:

  • NRA
  • No need for automatic weapons
  • You don't care about those kids
  • NRA
  • Second Amendment
  • NRA
  • AR-15s are bad
  • NRA

Full disclosure: I am an NRA member, and have been for years. I'll repeat here what I've said to countless accusers:

The NRA makes no legislation. They have no power in the Senate, House, or in Washington. The NRA actually pushes for gun laws and gun safety, along with teaching responsible gun ownership, safe gun handling, and educating about the Second Amendment.

From 1998-2016, the NRA has spent a total of just over $203M on political activities. That ends up being approximately $22.6M per 2-year election cycle.

By contrast, unions spent $1.713 BILLION for the year 2016 alone.

The NRA is powerful because a huge number of Americans agree with its mission. If people would stop trying to repeal or rewrite the Second Amendment, there would be no need for the NRA.

The NRA donates to politicians who support its teachings. The leftist of last night (let's call him Last Night's Leftist, or LNL for short) stated that politicians are "bought by the NRA."

Again, quoting Shapiro, show me even ONE politician whose position changed from being anti-gun to pro-gun because of an NRA donation. That's the only proof that politicians are "bought" by the NRA.

See, the NRA won't donate to politicians who don't support its cause, just as Planned Parenthood won't donate to any politicians who aren't pro-abortion. It's common sense.

LNL claimed that the AR-15 is not "needed" for law-abiding citizens. Claiming to be "ex-military" (one is never "ex-military; the term used is "former military"), he showed a disturbing lack of knowledge about the AR15.

See, the AR-15 operates the exact same way handguns do. Its cosmetic makeup changes nothing about its operational mechanics. One squeeze of the trigger = one bullet. Nobody is "sprayed by thousands of rounds a second."

LNL said: "start confiscating and ending the sale of this type of weapon."

There it was. That's what they mean by "gun control". Confiscation. And history will show that is not only not a solution, but that disarming those who never have murderous intent leads to tyranny and death of innocents - moreso than if law-abiding citizens remained armed.

Cocaine is banned. Meth is banned. Has that helped the drug addicts in this world? How's that opioid crisis intervention working out?

Bans and confiscation are not the answer, but LNL was having none of it.

I replied with:

AR15s = handguns with a different body. If you're former military, you know this. Stopping the sale of this weapon would have no effect on the gun crime rate (look at Chicago stats and weapons involved).

For the record, kids die every single day in places like Chicago. Why aren't there hashtags and TV coverage for that?

His response:

Like I said...NRA NRA NRA

I care about saving more children's lives now and in the future. Stop trolling me with NRA alternative facts. As per the constitution, the right to bear arms was for muskets back then. Do more research.

 The Musket Defense. With glee, I responded thus:

Tell me how in the world the NRA figures in. None of those facts comes from them. How are they even remotely responsible?

The FBI dropped the ball. They got info about this very event about to happen, a month before it did, and never forwarded the tip to the Miami Field Office.

Police were called 39 times to the shooter's home - many of those calls came from his mother.

He'd brought weapons to school, was expelled, and he wasn't allowed on campus with a backpack. Students said they were afraid of him. They said it was a known fact that they all thought if their school were to become the site of a mass shooting, he would be the perpetrator.

Now tell me how he got away with it - and wake up to where the system went wrong and failed those 17 victims.

NOT the NRA. You, and people like you are so obsessed with your NRA talking points you can't even explain why you have a hate-on for it.

Honestly, what you don't know about the Constitution is astonishing, but not surprising. The Second Amendment was written for muskets? What a laugh. I know more than you do, if this answer of yours is any indication.

Do you think the Founders didn't foresee automatic weapon? Look up Puckle Gun. It was in existence for 73 years before the Bill of Rights was ratified.

But let's just say the Bill of Rights is antiquated, as per your opinion.

Don't reply. At least, not here. Go get your quill, ink, and parchment, and write your reply to me there. Then have it delivered to me by some guy on a horse.

After all, there were no computers or Internet when the First Amendment was written. There were, however, machine guns when the Second was.

I don't need to research in order to field your replies. Clearly, I can cite more off the top of my head than you with Google. You didn't even know the basics about semiautomatic weapons.

What did you learn while in the military, hmmm?

Probably not world history.
I included a historic photo.

That's when he came back with his accusation that I lack love, heart, compassion for those kids.

I drafted this response - and it never got posted because the thread got deleted.

But it deserves to see the light of day.

I see. Because I face these tragedies with facts and by thinking, I must automatically hate kids. Wow, you just pull out every specious talking point you can parrot, don't you. Newsflash: I weep for grieving families and survivors whose lives will never be the same. But I also know how to look at facts.

I believe knowing all the facts is CRUCIAL to how to approach any problem. In ANY situation. No employer wants someone who doesn't see the whole picture. And people who pick and choose will never have a clear understanding of anything.

It's sad that you are exonerating the shooter. He loves people like you. People who blame the NRA, the inanimate object, and a 227-year-old, often-misunderstood document - that's what this shooter loves. Because you must think he's a victim of evil NRA members and "gun nuts". Poor little shooter. According to you he's innocent in all this whirlwind created by the big bad NRA and the scary black rifles.

You have a real problem. You don't THINK. You just let emotions take over.

It's your liberalism that blinds you to reason. Emotions and facts CAN co-exist (and I'm an example of that), but those who throw away reason in favor of emotion are those who never, ever understand the core of the issues. Those who react only based on emotions will be gullible to regurgitated talking points, erroneous blame, and ignorance of the facts. And *you* are an example of *that.*

"Everybody react! Don't assess the facts!" You must be fun in a crisis.

I'm proud of my critical thinking skills. I can sleep at night knowing my sense of reasoning is ever-sharp and I don't epitomize the very meaning of the word "kneejerk."

This is where we are. Gouging each other's eyes out with accusations that I don't believe the accusers really take seriously. It's their verbal weapon, but it is a sad, impotent non-starter pistol.

I've always used facts in my discourse. It's the researcher in me, it's the curious mind I've always had, it's the need for truth, even if that truth is not something that supports my side of the debate.

But to be in any debate - especially on social media - with leftists who want Emotion to be the ONLY thing present in any debate, I expect the replies I got from LNL: accusations, talking points, and baseless finger pointing.

Now, the leftist media is trotting out kids to make their (the left's) argument. And that is exploitation.

There is, however, one teen who isn't as visible on television, whose name isn't being used in hashtags, and who isn't getting a microphone shoved in his face everywhere he turns.

Here are some of his quotes:

I wholeheartedly believe that the media is politicizing this tragedy. It seems that gun control laws is the major topic of conversation rather than focusing on the bigger issue of 17 innocent lives being taken at the hands of another human.

 I know many people who are pro-gun and others who support gun control but it seems that the media is specifically targeting those in support of gun control to make it seem as if they are the majority, and the liberal news outlets are the ones that seem to make the bigger effort to speak to these people, and I'm talking from experience.

There are measures that should be taken right now. Eliminating gun-free zones. Arming security guards and posting them at every door, every entrance to the school. Shapiro suggests that lockdown procedures, as in hospitals, be implemented in new buildings, or that buildings be amended to accommodate them. Having just those two measures alone would save lives.

We post armed security at banks, museums,. Federal buildings, even Hollywood VIP events. Why are children being left vulnerable, in gun-free zones where criminals know they are sitting ducks? Leftists say I don't care? It's precisely because I do care that I want to see children properly protected.

I won't elucidate my thoughts on the measures that can be - and should be - taken, at least not here.

But if you find yourself accusing pro-Second Amendment people of not caring? Then you should be ashamed of yourself. Because you know that is as far from the truth as it gets.

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