Shooting Holes in the Gun Nuts’ “Facts”
I went looking for a gun graphic to illustrate a quick point I wanted to make. I couldn’t find that image, but I found this (on a gun nut’s page) instead:
Since I know a thing or two about school shootings, that image was begging for me to shoot it full of holes.
First of all, like all subjects, there seems to be a diversity of opinion on guns, and that’s fine. Some of those opinions are held by rational people, and that’s even better.
The problem is, there are some people out there with extreme opinions, who think and behave irrationally. Those are the people who bother me. They poison the well. They’re so extreme that they make it impossible for rational people in a rational society to have a rational national discussion on the topic.
There are several topics that seem to attract a disproportionately-massive share of the lunatic fringe. Abortion is one. Guns are another. I don’t know which has the craziest crazies, but I do know which are the most dangerous. Never combine irrational extremist emotion with firearms.
(BTW, just so you know where I’m coming from, I don’t like guns, but I have no desire to repeal the Second Amendment. I do question the sanity and/or logical capabilities of the most rabid of the gun supporters.)
Let’s start with the logic of the argument expressed in the above image.
Problem #1: Correlation ≠ causation. For example, CBS began broadcasting color television signals in January of 1950. Joseph McCarthy began his witch hunts less a month later. Therefore, color television caused McCarthyism!
Problem #2: Children did not take machine guns to school. Therefore, the “fact” that they could, in theory, purchase the gun had no bearing on the safety of their school.
Problem #3: It’s just plain incorrect. There were numerous school shootings prior to 1934! Where’s your machine gun now, Charlton?
For example, the earliest known school shooting was the Enoch Brown school massacre (a.k.a. Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre) on July 26, 1764.
Wikipedia mentions a few shootings in the 1800s. By the early 1900s, school shootings were all the rage. Wikipedia lists eleven shootings between 1900 and 1934. That’s an average of one shooting every three-and-a-half years. That’s not very rare, is it? Sounds a lot like our modern era, doesn’t it?
So tell me, gun nuts: How is allowing students and teachers to pack heat going to keep our schools safe?
BTW, I just wanted to point out one of the especially unpleasant school shootings of the early 20th century. Read the Wikipedia entry for the San Francisco shooting:
February 12, 1909 San Francisco, California. 10-year-old Dorothy Malakanoff was shot and killed by 49-year-old Demetri Tereaschinko as she arrived at her school in San Francisco. Tereaschinko then shot himself in a failed suicide attempt.
OK. Murder-suicide. We’ve seen that pattern play out numerous times. It’s this last part that’s especially disturbing:
Tereaschinko was reportedly upset that Malakanoff refused to elope with him.
She was ten years old!!! WTF!!! I know standards were different then. I know teenagers often got married, sometimes to much older men. But she was ten freakin’ years old!!!
Who the hell did that guy think he was? Mohammed?