The other day, I was talking with Sheila Rae Thorvaldssen, a woman from Dilworth Minnesota who writes the liberal-leaning blog Oh Noes, Wingnutz Are Blooming Like Loosestrife On My Lawn. It is one of the leading blogs, left or right, from outstate Minnesota.
The conversation went something like this:
THORVALDSSEN: Har har, Merg! You gunny wingnuts have been pwn3ed again! Tony Cornish said stuff that wasn’t true!
ME: Yeah, that’s the problem with being a pro-Second Amendment activist. If you’re a gun controller, all you have to do is keep repeating the same lines over and over again. On our side, you have to keep up with current events. Israel “toughened” up their gun laws in the last decade or so!
THORVALDSSEN: It must be awkward to realize you were wrong on all the facts!
ME: Well, it sucks bobbling facts, and we all try not to. But here’s the rub; you’ve heard that old saying, “the British lose all the battles but win the wars?”
THORVALDSSEN: No. Did Conan O’Brien say it?
ME: Nope. Anyway – it’s a little like that when you’re a 2nd Amendment activist. Every once in a while you may bobble a fact, or factoid, that’s part of the larger discussion – but we’re still right on the actual conclusions.
THORVALDSSEN: Oh, riiiiiight.
ME: Well, wrapped around that factoid about the Israelis “toughening” their gun laws are two facts that everyone, like you, that jumps up and down about Rep. Cornish – and me! – bobbling the fact is the inconvenient truth that that factoid reinforces two conclusions that we’ve always made.
THORVALDSSEN: That’s just crazy talk.
ME: Well, yeah, but not in the way you think. For starters, the “tightening” of gun laws – on the law-abiding – in Israel cut the number of legal firearms in half – but more than doubled the number of illegal ones, and reinforced the black market. Which is exactly what happens whenever gun control is tried, whether in Tel Aviv or Chicago.
THORVALDSSEN: Hah hah! You said there were two conclusions, but you only gave one! You are a liar!
ME: Well, the other one is this; whatever happened in Israel in the past decade or so, and whatever they do now, it is a historical fact that in the seventies, there were several attacks on Israeli schools and school children – the 1970 Avivim Massacre which killed 12 kids, the Kiryat Shmona massacre (which began as an attempt to kill the children at a kibbutz school and evolved from there, ending in 18 dead, eight of them children), and the Ma’alot Massacre (terrorists killed 22 children and five adults). That’s 42 dead children among three incidents, in a population about the size of Minnesota’s. Can you imagine almost five Red Lake massacres in four years, the affect that’d have here? Anyway – at the time, one of Israel’s responses – one of many – was to allow teachers in high risk areas along the borders to carry legally-permitted guns.
ME: So the attacks on children stopped. They found softer targets – actually, they largely switched to bombs and rockets.
THORVALDSSEN: But Cornish got current Israeli law wrong. So your entire point is invalid! Hah! Bow down before my superior reasoning, bitchez!
ME: Not if your point is “there are some ideas out there to stop school violence”. The point being, once schools became harder targets – in this case, harder because teachers in vulnerable areas were armed – school shooting stopped.
People like Cornish – and me, by the way – say that that just might be a better than the “gun-free school zones” that we’ve been trying for the past 25 years or so.
THORVALDSSEN: But you forgot the ultimate argument against arming teachers.
ME: What’s that.
THORVALDSSEN: It won’t work. Period.
ME: What makes that the ultimate argument?
THORVALDSSEN: I said “Period” at the end.
THORVALDSSEN: That means you’ve been pwn3d.
THORVALDSSEN: Do you feel awkward yet?
ME: Sure, why not?