Of course the last answer is a zinger to be savored, but the earlier “compared to what?” comprises Thomas Sowell’s favorite response to typical “do you think that… (yada yada yada)” questions intended to trap the respondent; it is amazing to me that more people don’t stop to ask that simple question: compared to what? Try it, and you will see first confusion and then anger when the trapper becomes the trapee.
Lawdog has performed an exercise in futility, amusing and enlightening to us though it may be.
He has engaged with Ms. Joan Peterson, author of the blog at commongunsense.com and eponymous patient zero of the Peterson Syndrome, as described by Joe Huffman.
Ms. Peterson famously could not understand, or would not understand, that if the number of deaths from criminal use of guns went down but the number of total deaths due to violent criminal attack went up, that this was a bad thing.
She is, or was, a Brady board member, and brings her finely tuned mental processes to gun rights issues with the same vigor that she thinks about deaths from gun use.
She is the answer to Archie Bunker’s famous response to his daughter:
Gloria: Do you know that sixty percent of all deaths in America are caused by guns?
Archie Bunker: Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?
And not because “it’s an effective tactic”, though it is.
But because I have a philosophy background… and know that you can’t meaningfully discuss anything with anyone, unless you’re both using the words to mean the same thing… or at least each of you knows what the other means by the terms.
People get indignant about so-called “scare quotes” around terms like “assault rifle”… but that’s because they refuse to admit that the term is not simply to be accepted by everyone because they have a vague mental idea about what it means.
The so-called “national conversation” that they want can only be meaningful if the terms are clearly and unambiguously defined – and all sides accept them.
(This is why they love “assault rifle”; they defined it and deliberately use it to confuse people into thinking they’re talking about a machine-gun…
Thus triggering the heuristic: “If you need to play dirty tricks, you have a weak argument”.)