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Strawman - Guns in Self-defense

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Gun Control in America and the straw man arguments of the pro gun lobby.

Strawman: Annually, over 2.5 million times guns are used in self defense in the US. According to the pro gun lobby, the myth by those who favor gun control state that guns are only used in gun violence, never in self defense. In reality, over 90% of all gun usage in America in any given year is for self-defense. Therefore, the use of guns is almost always used to defend oneself and not to attack another.

The straw man here states that the percentage of guns being used in crimes is a very small fraction of the overall usage of guns in any given year. By far most often guns are brandished by people who use them for self-defense.

The absurdity of this straw man is apparent to all foreigners everywhere. Only Americans can be naïve enough to think that a country where its citizenry is forced to pull out a gun 2.5 million times a year is a sign of a great civilization. Using this logic, the hope would be that someday we'll be forced to use our guns in self-defense 20 million times, or even 200 million times a year.

In order to use guns for self-defense, one needs first to be attacked. Pulling out a gun because a bee is hovering nearby is ridiculous. Someone's ten-year-old child who stares at you with a clenched fist and threatens you for having just stepped on his favorite GI Joe is never a reason to pull out a gun. Likewise, mere shoving matches between two drunks rarely ever turn violent enough to warrant the introduction of such a deadly device, and even when fisticuffs come into play, a gun is not always automatically presented to up the ante. Yet, according to pro gun lobbyists, over 2.5 million times a year someone, somewhere in America feels the need to raise the stakes to the level of possible death.

Guns are never pulled out playfully when used for self-defense. In real life, a gun is never twirled around one's finger while the owner banters on with Hollywood-style bravado. Guns are always brought into use as a last resort. It is foolish to believe that if a beggar asks for spare change, someone would pull out a gun instead of a dollar bill. It's illogical to assume that guns are always brandished when any two people raise their voices slightly, or use vulgarity inappropriately. Weapons as lethal as guns are only brought out when all other less lethal methods have proved ineffective. Yet, according to the pro gun lobbyists, we should feel proud that we feel so endangered in our everyday activities that a gun is added to our confrontations 2.5 million times a year.

Maybe someday, using this same logic, everyone will be armed with concealed weapons and gun use for self-defense will become mandatory for everyone out in public. If the waiter in a restaurant threatens our life with a butcher knife, we'll be able to use our gun in self-defense. We wouldn't necessarily kill the waiter, or even shoot at him, but merely show that we're armed to the teeth, so that the waiter will be forced to hold back and not try to bludgeon us before our meal is served. I can hardly wait until I get to try that one out.

Perhaps, if we are lucky, someday we'll be forced to use our gun for self-defense 50 times before arriving at work. We can show the guy who just cut us off that we have a gun and aren't afraid to use it if that clown tries it again. If some irate driver pulls up along side our car brandishing a gun pointing in our direction, we can pull out our gun and show them that we are just as armed as they and have no qualms about using our gun in defense. We could even ask little Johnny to lower the window in order to get a better aim at the other driver.

With any luck, we'll be forced to use our guns several dozen times during the workday and another 50 times on the way home. If our boss comes to our desk with a baseball bat threatening to use our skull as batting practice, we can pull out our gun and show him that if he dares to swing at us, we will have no problem using our weapon and placing six bullets in his upper torso area near his heart, any one of which could be fatal. If that snotty young brat by the copying machine gives us a hard time, we can pull our gun out and show them we mean business and when we want to make a copy it means now, and not when they are good and ready.

In the future, even at the dinner table, little Johnny will be happily forced to pull out his gun to keep his older sister, Sue, from attacking him with shards of broken glass. Of course the gun would be a lot smaller since little Johnny is only five years old, but in order to live in the US, it will be necessary to be armed and ready, even at the dinner table.

For some inexplicable reason, pro gun lobbyists want the world to know just how many times Americans are forced to use lethal weapons, such as guns, in self defense. It seems important to demonstrate to the world that here in America, guns are used everywhere and all the time. Over 200,000 times every month, someone is forced to pull out a gun in self-defense. That's 7,000 times everyday, 600 times every hour, and 10 times every minute. In other words, in the new "safe" America, a gun is used in self-defense every six seconds.

I suggest we change our tourism advertising to reflect this new, "weaponized" America. "Welcome to America, did you remember to pack your gun?" "Come to the land of the free and the home of the armed and dangerous." "At Disneyland, armed children get in for half price."

There are nearly 300 million private guns in America, more than half of the entire private collection in the world. These guns are put to use in some form of self-defense 2.5 million times every year. Over 35,000 people die every year from gun-related deaths. Multiple murder incidents happen with a frequency that staggers the senses. "Going postal," is an American term based on American events that are practically unheard of anywhere else. "Gang banging," used to be a term that meant "the rape of a woman by several men one after the other," when I was growing up. But by the 80s, its use became, "one gang firing a weapon at another." Again, this is something that is practically unheard of anywhere else in the world.

Whatever happened to the America where one could leave their front door unlocked and not fear their neighbor breaking in? Since when did we decide that using guns in public was "a good thing," as long as it was for self-defense? As a child, I remember hearing about people helping each other build homes, sharing meals and working together for the betterment of their community. Apparently, as long as one is fully armed with the latest in weaponry, they need not fear their fellow citizens. But woe unto the man with kindness in his heart who does not carry around deadly weapons, for that person will be preyed upon and cast down as a weakling. In this new America, only the brave AND FULLY ARMED survive.


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66 year old Californian-born and bred male - I've lived in four different countries, USA, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela, and currently live in the Dominican Republic - speak three languages fluently, English, French, Spanish - have worked as a (more...)

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