Arguing Semantics

By olegv published on in General, News

When talking with staunch anti-gunners, it’s worth inquiring whether they object to firearms or to weapons. Contrary to their initial impression, the two are not the same. This Anschutz target rifle is a firearm. While it can be used as a weapon, it’s designed for an entirely peaceful purpose. That didn’t stop California from temporarily banning Olympic .22Short pistols as “assualt weapons” because of the forward location of their 5-shot magazines. Equally contrary to the initial impression, a basic cable gun lock is a weapon, a sap. It’s not an ideal weapon but far better than nothing in restrictive environments. A bicycle cable or channel lock is a more obviously potent variant, and widespread on every college campus.

If the anti is against firearms, ask if crossbows, longbows, slings and atlatls would be permissible. If yes, what makes them different? If no, ask how they intend to un-invent neolithic technology. Most are against weapons, which is why so many are OK with specialized sport guns and other tools that they do not perceive as weapons. At that point, make the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons. Almost anything can be a functional offensive weapon — a 5-gallon can of gas, a bottle of acid, a rock or a vehicle. It’s a bit harder to press such improvised weapons into timely defensive use. A pistol can be deployed in a little over a second and used very directionally. Getting a Molotov cocktail going takes longer and the effect is not nearly as considerate of the innocent bystanders. Make the distinction between offensive and defensive weapons — by use rather than by construction.

Some antis feel that weapons should be restricted to the well-trained police and soldiers. Equally well-trained regular people aren’t good enough for them. Often, retired police or military aren’t good enough either. That’s where we run into the first rational antis, those who feel that private defensive weapons do not serve the interests of the state while official offensive arms do. They either identify with the government or have some ulterior motive, perhaps criminal predation on disarmed victims. Those antis are not misguided idealists but consistent and dangerous foes and should be treated as such. Since open warfare has not commenced, we should do everything possible to discredit them in the eyes of the more more numerous moderate anti-gunners. Those are naive but less vicious than their activist counterparts and may be reformed over time.

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Comments (13)

  • Kristopher

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    Cargosquid: We are winning. We need to crush them, and salt the earth afterwards.

    We need to hammer them so badly that they will not rise again for fear of being committed to a mental institution for severe hopolophobia.

    Reply

  • Cargosquid

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    Most of the arguing seems to be done on the internet. While satisfying to argue, “Because…F@#k you.”, much of the argument on the sites that aren’t limited to “Reasonable Discourse” is for the lurkers and those that come upon the comments. Arguing semantics and logic, with evidence (which we have and they don’t) reveals the antis’ idiocy. Visitors to the anti site get a dose of reality. But, don’t get me wrong…..”Because…f@#k you.” is also a valid argument. We just have to make sure that readers understand WHY it’s valid.

    Reply

  • Jake

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    I would put forth that you can’t talk. That talking isn’t going to work.

    Try telling the families of the four people who died yesterday in Seattle that weapons could have saved the lives of their loved ones. You would be arguing that the very culture they live in is inferior and ultimately led to the deaths of those people. That if only they had been able to fight back and kill their attacker, they might have lived.

    “Might” is a heavy word to these people. “Kill” is the heaviest of all. You are talking about, in their minds, playing judge, jury and executioner. You are ending a life without charges, without trial, without any other sentence besides death.

    When we carry guns, we are, in a very real way, “playing God” to the antis.

    Bad enough that police have to carry weapons like that, that they have to shoot people; but a regular citizen? Who only through statute, and not necessarily training or any extra government blessing, has the legitimized use-of-force at his disposal? No, they say. That’s not the answer. Take all the guns away. Stop the violence. Stop the KILLING.

    Because if you can’t stop humans from being themselves, you can at least force them to take extraordinary means.

    Arguing over words, and invariably meaning, doesn’t change that instinct of theirs. It doesn’t change how they want to teach children and society that, just like smoking, guns are bad and unhealthy and do not promote a reasoned, reasonable and vibrant society.

    It just doesn’t work that way. Why should it? It wouldn’t work that way with us.

    If you’re talking about people on the fence, sure, by all means educate them. Let them know how it goes. However, I would suggest the first part of that discussion should be, “This is a gun. It helps you kill things, usually people, who threaten you and yours.” THAT’S the semantics of a gun. It’s a tool to kill. It has no other purpose.

    If they can’t accept that base meaning, then you’re wasting breath.

    Reply

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