Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of Straw Men

Watch Mitch Berg ANNIHILATE More Liberal Hamsters!  Mind Blown!

UPDATE:  A key “source” in the piece I fisk has turned out to be fraud.  See the Update at the bottom of the story.. 

One of my long-time stalkers – who’s been tweenting about me at least ten times a day for the past six years, which may be as perfect a definition of “a wasted life” as I can imagine – has been spamming the Northern Alliance’s hashtag on Twitter and Facebook with…well, random collections of factoids gathered from Googling, apparently.

And in so doing, he introduced me to yet another article in Raw Story – aka “liberal-friendly news even dumber than The Awl.”

This time, it’s entitled (with that usual online news biz subtlety) “‘It’s insane’: Combat veterans shoot down NRA ‘fantasy world’ of ‘good guys with guns’”

Now, we’ve pretty well  shredded Raw Story – whom I suspect just sold a ton of ads to “Everytown” or “MoveOn”or some other group that’s trying to run a PR war against the NRA, given the enthusiasm with which they’re reporting gun issues generating half-informed anti-gun content.

But even by Raw Story’s dubious standards, this is a dumb piece.  So dumb, in fact, that I’m not going to fisk the whole thing (as I did earlier this week).  Because while it’s a deeply stupid piece, it does touch on a key theme you need to know when you try to engage gun-grabbers.

Because like pretty much all aggressive, inflammatory anti-gun “journalism” cribbing fromn other left-leaning news sources today, it’s made up of:

  • Appeals to ridicule
  • Non-sequiturs
  • Strawmen

Har De Har Har:  Officialdom – cops, soldiers, paramedics, bureaucrats – always, always believe that nobody could do their jobs.  Sort of like union teachers believe homeschoolers can’t possibly, y’know, teach kids:

The NRA’s chief spokesman, Wayne LaPierre, infamously claimed following the Sandy Hook child massacre that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” — but Rivera and other combat vets say that’s ridiculous.

“I think they would absolutely panic,” [Sgt. Rafael Noboa y Rivera] told The Nation. [Editor’s note: Rivera served as Raw Story’s associate publisher in 2013.]…“I think there’s this fantasy world of gunplay in the movies, but it doesn’t really happen that way,”…

Well, thanks, Sergeant Obvious.

To be fair (something Raw Story will not), it’s entirely possible there are law-abiding shooters out there who do think it’s like the movies.

But you don’t go through any sort of concealed-carry training with any such illusions – any more than any cop or soldier.

But while we’re on the topic of cops and soldiers…:

“When I heard gunfire [in Iraq], I didn’t immediately pick up my rifle and react. I first tried to ascertain where the shooting was coming from, where I was in relation to the gunfire and how far away it was. I think most untrained people are either going to freeze up, or just whip out their gun and start firing in that circumstance.”

Right.  In combat, where the situation is fluid and confusing and the adrenaline and stress are overwhelming, lots of training is required to survive, much less make sure you don’t kill the wrong person.   And for police work, where there generally isn’t an “enemy” and situations can be incredibly ambiguous (ambiguous enough that police departments grant cops a lot of qualified immunity for the inevitable, inadvertent, accidental shootings of the wrong people in the line of duty), lots of training is a legal, moral and tactical imperative.


Complete The Thought, Now…:  …self-defense is not combat, and it’s not police work.

As we pointed out in Monday’s piece, there are 3-4 criteria that a civilian – not a soldier in combat, or a cop on duty – must follow for a shooting to be considered legal self-defense [1].  And “hearing a shooting, and running to engage the shooter”, depending on your state and the zeal of the prosecutor, might very well violate two of them (“The Threat Must Be Immediate” and “Duty to Retreat”).

There’s a flip side to that; while hearing gunfire in the distance is chock full of nasty, lethal ambiguities, there are certain situations that are not ambiguous at all:

None of these situations are remotely ambiguous.  You don’t need military training, or police experience, or even to have an IQ above 75, to know exactly what is going on.  You need nothing special in terms of knowledge to know that each of these situations is an immediate threat to your life.  Right now.  

And you don’t need any special training (although practice and drilling and, yes, training certainly help) to respond.

Which brings us to the next non-sequitur:

Stephen Benson first learned during Navy SEAL training that carrying a gun would be more likely to expose him to gun violence.

That lesson directly contradicts the message promoted by the National Rifle Association and increasingly cited by gun owners as their motivation for buying a firearm, reported The Nation [There’s a freaking shock].

“It’s insane,” Benson said, recalling how his military training exposed the lie behind the most persistent pro-gun argument.

“We put on our issue .45s, and our instructor said, ‘Gentlemen, the first and most important thing you’ve done by putting on that weapon is you’ve increased your chances of being in a gunfight by 100 percent,’” he said.

[By the way – this last couple of paragraphs tripped my BS detector.  And as Joe Doakes showed in the comments, my BS detector is better than Raw Story’s, or my stalker’s.  See the UPDATE below]

After which the SEALS (who are not, to the best of my knowledge, “issued” .45s, although it’s entirely possible Mr. Benson went through “SEAL training” before 1985) did what?  Learned de-escalation techniques and put the guns away?

No – they learned how to win gunfights.  It’s their job.

For civilians, it is a non-sequitur; if you carry (concealed, usually – not openly, inviting a pre-emptive strike), it should decrease your chance of ever getting into a fight of any kind, since avoiding fights becomes an imperative.  It also decreases your chance of being defenseless against a lethal threat.  To zero?  No – sometimes it just doesn’t work, But the record is good: hundreds of justifiable homicides a year; tens of thousands of defensive gun uses, mostly with no shots fired; crime rates lowered with no gun use needed at all.

Said No Law Abiding Civilian Gun Owner, Ever:  The rest of the article is more of the same; this sort of thing:

“Unless it’s constantly drilled into you, it’s very hard to maintain discipline in those situations,” [former ATF agent and Vietnam veteran ]  told The Nation. “You’re immediately hit with a massive thump of adrenaline…conscious thought shuts down because you’ve been taken over by your nervous system, and your nervous system is saying, ‘Holy sh*t, things just got really bad.’”…“Someone can always say, ‘If your mother is being raped by 5 people, wouldn’t you want her to have a gun?’ Well, okay, if you put it that way, I’d say yes — but that’s not a likely scenario.”

Well, duh.  It’s not likely to happen to anyone’s given mom on any given day.  But if it’s any given mom, and that mom doesn’t wanna get raped, is Mr. Benson saying that there’s any ambiguity in the situation requiring any special training ?

Any at all?

 “The question is: If you see someone running out of a gas station with a gun in their hand, do you want an untrained person jumping out and opening fire?” the former ATF agent said. “For me, the answer is clearly ‘no.’”

Far be it from me to question the qualifications of an ATF agent – an elite, utterly-qualified federal agency that gave guns to narcotraficantes  but the “answer is clearly no” to any citizen with a carry permit and no badge, too.   Jumping out and firing at people who aren’t a direct threat to you can get you in trouble with the wrong prosecutor – and even, sometimes justifiably, the right ones.

Look – we get it.  If you have a heart attack as you’re walking down the aisle at Target, you’d like the first person to come along to be a cardiologist, not a receptionist with a cell phone and a six-months-old Red Cross first aid card.  If you’re is stranded in a blizzard, you’d like it to happen as you pull up to a Embassy Suites with a trunkful of “Free Evening With Champagne” coupons rather than in the middle of the prairie with a candle, a bag of Snickers bars and a space blanket.  And if you’re stuck in a room at your church when a pasty-faced forty-something loser in a “Minnesota Progressive Project” t-shirt barges in with a .25 automatic, you’d like there to just happen to be an off-duty cop with a service  Glock in the room with you rather than some random guy with a carry permit.

But if the only thing standing between you and personal extinction is that secretary, that candle and those snickers, or tha pudgy projectile-sweating middle-aged guy holding a pistol in his shaky hands, are you going to say “No! I choose death on priciple, you mere pretenders!”

I’m gonna guess not.

Especially since – all the derision from Raw Story The Nation notwithstanding – the regular schlemiel’s record is pretty good, all in all.

UPDATE:  Mr. Benson, the “SEAL”, who gave the spiel about the “Instructor” in “SEAL Training” that “warned him” about the risk of “gunfights” if he”carried a gun” like “SEALs” do, tripped my BS detector even as I quoted him.  I thought Mr. Benson sounded more like Heather Martens than Marcus Luttrell.

And as Joe Doakes pointed out in the comments– my BS detector is pretty darn good after all .  Mr. Benson, the “SEAL”, is a fraud.  He duped The Nation:

The original story identified a source as a combat veteran and former Navy SEAL. A records search has since revealed that he significantly exaggerated his military record. His comments have been removed from the article, and the headline has been changed. We apologize to our readers.

Of course, Raw Story doesn’t favor us with that factoid in their copy and paste job.  And my not-very-smart stalker is probably gonna find it a surprise as well.

[1]  In case you’re forgotten them, they are:

  1. You can not be a willing participant in the altercation
  2. You must be in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm – meaning danger right now, and of death or very serious injury.  In some states, it can be a lesser degree of harm – but “immediate” means “in your face, NOW”.  Which, depending on the prosecutor, could mean lots of things, but generally means “if it’s not right in the same place you are, don’t do it!”
  3. You must use appropriate force. In other words, shoot only until the threat is over.  Don’t finish anyone off when they’re down.
  4. You must try to avoid lethal force.  This doesn’t apply in your home in “Castle Doctrine” states (like Minnesota), or in public places where you have a right to legally be in “Stand Your Ground” states.

18 thoughts on “Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of Straw Men

  1. Government-employee police view armed citizens the same as government-employee teachers view homeschoolers, and for the same reasons. Now we can add government-employee military. I agree I can’t do their job as well as they can; but can I do it well enough in a pinch?

    A kid with .22 in the right place at the right time is worth more than a company of heavy artillery a mile down the road and an hour late. Why isn’t an armed civilian inside the school worth more than a cop miles and minutes away?

  2. Navy Seal is in college classroom, studying. Suddenly a student stands up, pulls out a revolver, and starts shooting people. The last thing our Seal thinks is “Gosh, I sure am glad I didn’t bring a gun to class with me today! That would be dangerous! I hope no one else is going to shoot back!”

    Some things are beyond satire.

  3. “Stephen Benson first learned during Navy SEAL training that carrying a gun would be more likely to expose him to gun violence.”

    Ummm, is that because he is a SEAL and his job will be heading into gun violence maybe?

    Notice that phrase “gun violence.” It is carefully chosen, since the left views suicide by gun as “gun violence.” Factor that out and there’s nothing left that’s meaningful.

  4. “Far be it from me to question the qualifications of an ATF agent”………with the exception perhaps of Lee Paige, maybe some others as well.

  5. “EDITOR’S NOTE: The original story identified a source as a combat veteran and former Navy SEAL. A records search has since revealed that he significantly exaggerated his military record. His comments have been removed from the article, and the headline has been changed. We apologize to our readers.”

    Their source is a liar. But they didn’t revise the headline. Because Social Justice Warriors always lie. It’s fake, but accurate. Or something.

  6. The argument is armed civilians won’t prevent crime as well as experts. Fine, then let’s have experts: arm the teachers or at least campus security. Station cops in every school. Redeploy Marines from the Middle East to every school. Costs money? Lay off a few Diversity Consultants. Harden the soft targets, don’t soften the rest of the country into a huge target.

  7. As soon as the topic of gun control comes up, members of the armed forces become experts at avoiding civilian casualties and cops become the equivalent of guardian angels.

  8. The original story identified a source as a combat veteran and former Navy SEAL. A records search has since revealed that he significantly exaggerated his military record.

    He actually bought a pith helmet from, along with a pair of desert camo pants from the Army/Navy Surplus store on 4th Street.

  9. Civilians with a fire extinguisher won’t be as prepared to put out a fire as professional firemen. But I still keep a fire extinguisher in my kitchen and fully intend to use it if my stove starts on fire.

  10. Still out there baying at the moon? Dang, I thought that feckless, old twit had died….could have sworn I read something about the cops finding a bloated corpse atop a heap of rotting trashbags, feces and #deadcats in Minneapolis.

  11. Just read the piece in The Nation.

    Do these morons have no self respect, no pride in their product at all? How does putting a disclaimer admitting you’ve been punked by a Stolen Valor scumbag work better than just spiking the twaddle altogether?

    The only explanation is that they know their readership consists of mental midgets who will misquote them anyway, so what the hell.

    We didn’t need more proof that liberalism is a mental disease, but there it is.

  12. If you want to know more about what the founders meant when they used the word “militia” in the 2nd amendment, I would recommend reading this book:

    It’s mostly reminisces and stories about the Indian Wars and the French and Indian War. These stories are nearly contemporary with the drafting of the Constitution.
    A militia was everyone in the community who could bear arms when the community was threatened with attack or had been attacked. The leader or captain was chosen by acclaim. It was not some group of paid warriors and bureaucrats organized by the state or territory with a chain of command that led to a central army commander.

  13. (shrugs) Read the book. It’s free.
    If we can’t make reasonable application of the words of the constitution and the bill of rights to case law, we might as well not have a constitution.

  14. EI
    do enlighten us,
    what are the flaws of the founders that negate the argument – do be concise and accurate!

  15. From one Cesiare to another: Cesare Beccaria from his seminal work, On Crimes and Punishment: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

    My personal favorite re: AWRM
    Thomas Jefferson: “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?”

  16. My reference regarding the 2nd amendment comes from the lives of people as they lived them. Emery’s comes from an aristocrat.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.