Thought I’d take some time to actually write something, instead of just posting custom made images. I’m seeing some, for lack of a better word, dumb images on Facebook regarding gun rights. So I thought I’d like to share my thoughts on them. My goal is to show why they are poor analogies at best, and downright lies at worst. Here’s today’s picture:
At first glance it seems like a powerful message. Timothy McVeigh didn’t use a gun to commit one of the worst acts of terrorism on American soil. Hence taking away guns won’t stop people from killing each other.
But if you stop for a moment and think about it (go ahead), the argument is absurd. Just because one person killed many people without a gun doesn’t mean guns are safe. These are completed unrelated events. For instance I could replace guns with a number of things that are either safe or unsafe, but it wouldn’t tell us about any of those things. For instance:
- Timothy McVeigh didn’t kill people with drunk driving, so drunk driving is safe.
- Timothy McVeigh didn’t kill people with grenades, so grenades are safe.
- Timothy McVeigh didn’t kill people by starting a forest fire, so forest fires are safe.
- Timothy McVeigh didn’t kill people with carrots, so carrots are safe.
Heck if you believed this line of thinking, you could make this argument with anything. Well except for making a truck bomb.
And I’ll address the secondary argument too. McVeigh used racing fuel and fertilizer to make his bomb, and those things are still legal, hence guns should be legal too. One way to show this is false is to think of in terms of reductio ad absurdum, which means just because things share the same traits don’t mean they are equivalent. For instance there are murders committed by just human hands. If we don’t ban using hands, then all things to commit murder must be legal. Clearly this is a slippery slope we’re on.
But things like hands, baseball bats, and fertilizer all have other uses. Actually their primary use is not for killing other people. You can’t really say that about a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle (the one used in the Sandy Hook School shooting). It’s a weapon designed to kill people. It has no other primary use. Hence you can’t use the same argument.
Ironically, this pro-gun image could easily be turned on its head. One underlying part of the picture is that the thing McVeigh did use to commit mass murder, a bomb, is in fact illegal. It doesn’t state that, but everyone who see it knows it. Additionally the facts on the image (namely the number of people killed) help support that argument.
So if you replace Timothy McVeigh with Adam Lanzo, Seung-Hui Cho, Charles Carl Roberts IV, etc. and you have yourself a gun-control picture! Albeit, a very dumb one.