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How the gun control debate is increasing American ignorance

After my third day of watching the anti-second amendment crowd utilize the mass murder of children in their “tragic proof we need gun control” story line my wife was getting frustrated with me.  After watching a long list of emergency room surgeons claim they could tell if a person was shot with an “assault rifle” as opposed to a “hunting gun”, that assault weapon bullets are designed to “blow up” when they hit a person, and that “assault rifles have no hunting purpose”.  We were both getting frustrated.  After I watched Piers Morgan shout down Dr. James Lott from Yale (the man who has done the most comprehensive long term international firearms and crime correlation study to date- actually two of them) and then nod in approval while Dr Gupta ( a CNN medical correspondent) stated that “assault weapons are weapons of mass destruction” I was disgusted.  Basically, when we are forced to watch a hand-picked group of opinion generators who consistently lie to us while we wait to see the weather report, we begin to lose our grip on what is real, and trade it for a lie.  So I decided to jump in a throw everyone a line- don’t expect much, the truth isn’t that exciting except when you realize you have been lied to.

The gun control argument is a simple one, yet the desire to make it more palatable to the “average Joe” has made it increasingly complex.  In the United States it is a civil right for a law abiding citizen to be able to own a modern military type light weapon in order to defend themselves against enemies both foreign and domestic.  In order for that firearm to have a short barrel, be fully automatic or select fire, have a sound suppressor one must pay taxes on it to the BATFE.  This has been decided again and again in the Supreme Court, and while it is kind of beyond arguing at this point those who want Americans of certain classes disarmed will still attempt to make it.  Many people believe that this right to an effective means of self defense is outdated or anachronistic, and would like to have this and other civil rights eliminated.  It is their belief that firearms have value in sports, possibly in hunting, and in the hands of a special class of citizen. That is a very simple concept, and it is not unheard of throughout the globe, in fact it is common in places like Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Serbia, and Russia.  In many cases other American civil rights have been altered or abridged due to popular opinion without major chaos or revolt.  The first amendment, while not protecting individuals from speech likely to incite immediate violence or chaos did protect your right to speak.  But with laws that protect the speech of certain classes, or undermine the rights of others, that right has been abridged.  You have the right to say certain things if you are of a certain class.  Due to the public fears of Islamic terrorism the Patriot act was passed, and the protections from “illegal search and seizure”, habeas corpus, and trial by jury have all been “modified” for certain cases.  The very concept of being able to track down and assassinate an American at home or abroad without even a perfunctory trial would have seemed ludicrous twenty years ago, but as of January 2012 it is not only the law, it has been done.  I do not believe the point of all this is so aliens can take over, to facilitate mass extermination and one world government, or any other crackpot theory.  I think these things are done by overly confident people who are sure they know what is best for everyone generally, and who knows- maybe they are right.  So why must the argument for gun control be so full of liars and idiots who are granted the public podium?

The lies

Here is when I started to get really upset:  The use of the mass murder in CT as an excuse to politically attack a civil rights organization (the NRA) and pretend that it is something else such as a corporate lobbyist, a front for gun companies, or a shelter for mad gunmen.  This was then followed by news interview after news interview with some of the most ignorant people in respectable positions I have ever seen.  I will give you some examples here, try to clear up the nonsense and maybe we will all feel a little less stupid from having our eyes blighted by the local news and CNN.

First, the study performed by Dr. Lott (Yale University 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004) proved conclusively that when firearm bans are enacted crimes go up.  You have to go to the Social Science Research Network for copies, they are not on Wikipedia, in fact according to Wikipedia his surveys were lost and he was accused of fabricating evidence.  There is also a link to the surveys on reference 58 of Wikipedia despite the contention.  There has been a lot of effort to attack his work from changing the measurement technique of the data curves to linear measurement; to simply arguing “you’re a liar gun crime went down in many places” (Lott’s study indicates that crime overall went up when the population was disarmed, gun crime only went up for 3-4 years after the populations were disarmed).  Because of these attacks he re-did the study extended it out to 2004 and found his results consistent.  No gun control advocacy group to date has addressed this study with anything other than accusations of “liar” and other non-productive forms of heckling.

On CNN 19 December 2012 Dr. Sanjay Gupta referred to assault weapons as weapons of “mass destruction”.  I am just shocked at his complete ignorance to be honest.  In the past he has also referred to poor nutrition as a weapon of mass destruction.  I think I have finally figured out why despite the discovery of chemical artillery rounds in Iraq we never found any weapons of mass destruction.  We were either holding them or eating them.  I never knew my M16 was so good, and my MRE’s were so bad, thanks Dr. Gupta, now I see why you work for the President.

On WGNO New Orleans I watched two representatives talk about new firearm regulations.  One wanted a gun ban on assault weapons, the other one didn’t know what she meant, because assault rifles are already banned, and a weapon is anything that can be used or constructed to gain an advantage over an enemy.  “Assault weapons” is a mashed together “catch all” creation that doesn’t have a real world counterpart; it is a political term that varies from time to time and state to state.  She replied, well “those guns you can shoot over and over without having to reload”.  He then explained that a semi-automatic had to have a round chambered, and then it would shoot a bullet every time you pulled the trigger- but you still had to reload, just not as often.  She said “good, than you would support me if I move to ban guns that shoot every time you pull the trigger”.  He replied “no, that would mean you would be banning every double action revolver built since the late 1800’s, I think you need to study this a little more before you proceed”.  I changed the channel.

After I changed the channel I landed on another news station that was interviewing two emergency room trauma surgeons.  They both made the following points in support of repealing the second amendment:  They have treated tens of thousands of gunshot victims here in New Orleans (really- they must have treated every single one in the last ten years, neither looked over 45, so they must have graduated school with Doogie Howser) and they can both tell on sight if a person has been shot with an assault weapon.  They can tell because the bullets from an assault weapon are designed to explode on impact and cause much more destruction to the human body due to their fragmenting design.  Two surgeons said this on television forever convincing untold thousands of a complete lie.

Just so you all know an “assault rifle”: “is a selective fire fully automatic or burst capable rifle that fires and intermediate cartridge (between full length rifle and automatic pistol) from a magazine.  They are standard issue in the armies of the world, and most law enforcement agencies of the world”.  They are not to be confused with light machine guns that fire sustained automatic fire, or submachine guns that utilize pistol calibers such as 380 ACP (automatic colt pistol) 9mm, 10mm, 45 ACP, or 32 ACP.  They should also not be confused with “assault weapons”.  Unlike the term assault rifle, the term “assault weapon” has no consistent or specific definition and is, therefore, subject to varying definitions for varying purposes, including definitions that include common non-military firearms.  To this day, after 22 years in the Marine Corps, I cannot tell if somebody has been shot with a rifle on burst or semi-automatic, I can only guess based on the fact that on automatic good riflemen miss more often.  I can tell if someone has been shot with a pistol or rifle about 80% of the time with confidence.  I am an expert rifleman, a former military EMT, a former special investigator, and former Sniper.  I can tell you these two don’t have any more idea of what they are talking about that I have about brain surgery (at least the kind folks live through).

The reason I wanted to point out the difference here is to show the absolute silliness of the claim that you could tell what type of firearm created a given wound since every cartridge is used in multiple platforms.  In fact the most well know “assault rifles” the M-16 and the AK-47 shoot calibers that are found in bolt action rifles and even pistols.  Somehow theses surgeons can tell at a glance if a person was shot with a 9mm, a 380, or a 357 based on the destruction (the 357 is used in some small carbines and revolvers, it is by far more destructive than the other two)?  All three of those have nearly the same diameter, the 380 and 9mm are occasionally found in the type of guns banned in California, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut such as Mac-10’s or Tec 9’s.  These miracle working doctors can tell if a person gets shot with an AR-15 vs. a Remington 700 in .223?  It is the same bullet, traveling at the same speed, only a forensic analysis of the bullet and rifling could reveal which gun fired it.  To further prove to the world that they are completely ignorant of that which they wish to take away from their fellow citizens (firearms) they claimed that “assault weapon ammunition is designed to blow up”.

Actually assault rifle ammunition is designed to hold together so that it can shoot through enemy soldier’s helmets, car doors and sand bags. All rifle and “intermediate rifle” ammunition travels very fast so you can shoot far with it.  A battle rifle from World War One shoots much farther than a modern M4, and is more likely to kill when it gets there, as it is a full length rifle round.  Intermediate rounds like 5.56/.223 or 7.62x 39 travel faster and farther than pistol rounds but lack the lethality and range of large rifle rounds.  That is why snipers use rifles, and not assault rifles.  Any fast moving bullet will break bones, damage tissue, and even start to break at the canalure where it is seated or crimped  in the case.  The copper jacketing may also get peeled apart as it passes though bone, walls, or metal.  This is all despite the best engineering efforts to make sure it doesn’t happen.  Now a 38 revolver with a Glaser safety round is designed to hit you and bust open inside you.  Police use them as well as hydro shock and black talon hollow points.  This isn’t to make the emergency room surgeon’s job more difficult, it is to make sure that the bullet stops in the intended target, and not in the house next door. It is designed that way to save innocent lives.  But they don’t offer anything like that (at least not past the experimental stage) for “assault rifles”.

My personal experience with 5.56 or “AR-15 type ammo” is that is a poor performer at close range unless you have a short barrel like an M4.  I watched a lot a men in Iraq have dust knocked off of them by bullets that just passed right through their bodies without injuring them enough to immediately stop them from shooting at me and
my fellow survivors.  One of my compatriots shot a man with an AK-47 seven times from six feet away with a 9mm berretta pistol during a firefight.  He was very upset for days not just by the fact that he had to kill a man who was trying to kill him, but by the fact that it took so many shots to the man’s chest.  Too bad we didn’t have these magical surgeons around to tell the bullets to “blow up”.

What does it all mean?

For me it means that there is either a collective ignorance about guns driving the effort to abolish the second amendment, or a clear intent to misinform citizens on a mass level in order to accomplish what some people believe to be the right thing.  For me I took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, and to me that includes the first ten amendments (aka the bill of rights).  I would be hard to convince in any case, but when the effort to convince me is based on ignorance and lies, it only convinces me to speak up.  I hope that my voice, even if it can’t pull the wool from them,  will at least get the sheep out of your eyes.

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