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Gun nuttery leads to bad analogies

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, January 20, 2011 22:56 EDT
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So, I caught this clip of Lawrence O’Donnell arguing with Rep. Trent Franks about gun control. Franks looks really, really stupid in this clip. It’s hard to pull out the stupidest thing he says, but one particular item jumped out at me as something I could see taking off with the wingnutteria, and so I thought I’d deal with it right now. Franks opposes even the teeniest measure of gun control proposed after this shooting, which is to limit the number of bullets you can put in a magazine, because the NRA has determined this is like lopping inches off your symbolic cock instead taking the whole thing, and that’s almost as bad. And Republicans are just as owned by the NRA as by big business, though I suppose it’s worth pointing out that gun manufacturing is big business, and the NRA basically stands in for the financial well-being of the gun industry. (For the gun industry, mass shootings are good business. Glock sales shot up after the shooting, and the cynic in me has to point out that an incident where a man hit 19 people with 31 bullets is a good advertisement for the gun’s accuracy. Sad, but I’m not the one running out to buy a Glock after hearing this story.) Anyway, O’Donnell shouted Franks down, but it’s not like Franks had an argument. Letting the ban on 30 round magazines die, as per the NRA’s wishes, meant the death toll is probably twice what it would have been. Them’s just the facts. It’s truly pathetic seeing people who only shoot guns at the range kick their heels like wee infants at the possibility that they may have to waste precious calories reloading more often so that future mass murders have fewer victims. We’re not even talking about stopping mass murders at this point. We’re just talking about minimizing the casualties. And yet, whining.

Franks says that requiring a limit on magazine sizes like this is like trying to stop drunk driving by limiting the size of fuel tanks. I realize this asinine analogy makes emotional sense to his intended audience—big trucks, like big guns, being penis substitutes that are clung to like infants clinging to well-worn teddy bears—but it’s a crappy analogy. As O’Donnell makes clear, this is about limiting the damage that can be done once the horrible thing has happened. So, really, the proper analogy is safety features and both cars and roads. If someone gets behind the wheel drunk, the fact that we have seat belts, airbags, cars that are designed to crumple in the safest way they can, glass that shatters instead of breaks, speed limits, wide lanes, clearly marked roads, cars that drift right instead of left if someone passes out at the wheel, rails on bridges, medians, and traffic lights are all things that can reduce the chance that the drunk driver is going to kill someone, even if he gets into an accident. It dramatically reduces the chance he’ll kill someone else. These things are technically impositions on our freedom. They mean we can’t just drive around like wildcats, figuring out how to manage each other without any set rules. But the benefit of safety far outweighs any theoretical gains from having no rules of the road and no safety features on cars. Same with this high capacity magazine ban that’s being proposed. There’s just no reasonable argument for why having to reload a little more often is an imposition that’s worth multiple human lives every year.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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