How many rhetorical fallacies does the NRA commit? Count with me.

by Nicole Plyler Fisk

A Guest Blog Post, by: Dr. Natalie R. Leppard

Natalie

The National Rifle Association’s 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters join the nation in horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut … who suffered such incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime. Out of respect for those grieving families, and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent.

This was a nice sentiment until the last two sentences wherein the NRA “trie[s] to exploit tragedy for political gain” by pointing out they think the other guys are doing just that. “Holier than thou argument”: failed. Attempt to rest on authority . . . AND an ad hominem attack. Off to a brilliant start!

Now, we must speak … for the safety of our nation’s children. Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one — nobody — has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?

Actually, NRA, everyone has been addressing just that. All that talk about gun bans . . . some of which doesn’t even mention the NRA . . . or do you only read/watch things that mention you by name?

The only way to answer that question is to face up to the truth.

Yes. Let’s do that. But, I’m betting my Christmas bonus the NRA will do no such thing.

Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

Slippery Slope argument and Scare Tactics alert. This couldn’t be better illustrated than by the horrible shooting that happened on a road on 12/21/12 in Pennsylvania that killed 3 people in addition to the gunman. Not a Gun-Free Zone. Other recent mass shootings have been carried out at a Seal Beach, CA hair salon, a San Ysidro, CA McDonald’s, a Carson City, NV IHop, a Tuscon, AZ parking lot, a coffee shop, an Air Force base, an Army base, shopping centers and malls, private companies . . . MotherJones has a map (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map). These are certainly not all gun free zones.

How have our nation’s priorities gotten so far out of order? Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses — even sports stadiums — are all protected by armed security.

Red Herrings! I’m thinking about it and the logic does not track. I protect my important documents by locking them in a safe. Should I do that with children? I protect myself when walking in the dark by carrying an adapted set of brass knuckles. Should I give a child a set? I protect my car by setting an alarm. Should I put an alarm on children? I protect my pets by having them micro-chipped. Should we micro-chip humans? I protect my identity by shredding papers . . . In other words, we protect different things in different ways. There is not and cannot be a general solution.

Further, the examples given are terrible. Between Jan. 1, 2011 and Mar. 31, 2011, according to the FBI, there were 1,081 bank robberies, 268 used a firearm, and there were 21 deaths (3 of which were of the perpetrators). Now, according to NRA logic, the other deaths were thwarted by armed guards. Except there were only 39 guards on duty during those crimes. So, what stopped deaths in the other 229 robberies? The goal of the criminals: they wanted money, not lives. The same holds for the other examples, except the office buildings. And, well, if you look at the Mother Jones map, you’ll see that quite a few shootings took place at office buildings, armed guards or no.

We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers.

This also just does not track logically. You’re comparing apples and oranges, NRA. This isn’t an issue of “caring” and using language like that is emotional blackmail. False analogy!

Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!

Scare Tactics! Slippery Slopes! Sentimental appeal! Oh dear. Yes, NRA, let’s call the mentally troubled “monsters.” Meanwhile, “leave them utterly defenseless” seems to say we need to arm children so they may defend themselves . . .

The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment? How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave — while provoking others to try to make their mark? A dozen more killers? A hundred? More?

They may have waited a few days but the NRA came out swinging with the offensive comments. Apparently they missed the “let’s help the mentally ill” portion of the conversation everyone else has been having. So, again, Scare Tactics! Slippery Slopes! Sentimental appeal! Try a new slant, NRA.

How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

SERIOUSLY!!! Even with the slight connection to the mental health conversation–this is quite the offensive non sequiter-ish strawman. The NRA sure is advocating for a LOT of constitutionally problematic solutions when there is one constitutionally supported solution staring them in the face.

And the fact is, that wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger and more lethal criminal class: Killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang members who have spread like cancer in every community in this country.

What? And people kill bunnies too! While that’s terrible, it has nothing to do with this conversation unless a gun was involved. But, the NRA is talking about people (“killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang members”), not the crimes or the weapons. This is a whole slippery slope of a false causational non-squitor-ial faulty analogy.

Meanwhile, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% — to the lowest levels in a decade.

Well, prosecutions go down when crimes go down and the overall violent crime rate has decreased.

So now, due to a declining willingness to prosecute dangerous criminals, violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years!

Nope. Lie. MOST violent crimes are decreasing. When looking at the trend line of the bigger picture, it goes down.

Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.

What? Invite Mad Max and we’ll have a Thunderdome. NRA. We’re talking about school shootings and kids, remember. You’re so off track now I’m not sure you can recover.

And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

Nope. Didn’t recover. Went further into the crazy. A May 2012 article in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence ONCE AGAIN indicated that there is no provable correlation between violent video games and violence.

Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.”

How many of your members play shooting games, NRA? How many of your members are going to watch Jack Reacher this weekend, NRA? Plus, try to come up with more recent films; you look really out of touch. Again, no correlation has been proven or substantiated with data.

OH WAIT! Fun fact!! There is an “NRA Gun Club” game for Play Station 2!! So, um, pot, kettle, NRA. . . I’ve lost track of fallacies . . .

But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography? In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes — every minute of every day of every month of every year.

STRAW. MAN.

A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18. And throughout it all, too many in our national media … their corporate owners … and their stockholders … act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators. Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.

STRAW. MAN. We’ve got a whole field of scarecrows by now. Get the guns, we’ll shoot the crows.

The media call semi-automatic firearms “machine guns” — they claim these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military, and they tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle 5 calibers … when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don’t know what they’re talking about!

They might not know what they’re talking about with the specifics but at least they’re staying on topic. And the media isn’t the group making legislation.

Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban— or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect us where 20,000 others have failed!

20,000 other what? Gun bans? I’m SO confused.

As brave, heroic and self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms, and as prompt, professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable — through no fault of their own — to stop it. As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school. The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away … or a minute away?

Well, here’s an article about how armed people on-site don’t actually stop shootings. Thank you, again, Mother Jones: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/armed-civilians-do-not-stop-mass-shootings

Now, I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow morning: “More guns,” you’ll claim, “are the NRA’s answer to everything!” Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools. But since when did the word “gun” automatically become a bad word?

You think we’re waiting until tomorrow? Welcome to the 21st century NRA. Meanwhile, I don’t think any serious participant in the conversation is advocating for a ban on all guns. So, no, “gun” is not automatically a bad word.

A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting the President isn’t a bad word. A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the United States isn’t a bad word. And when you hear the glass breaking in your living room at 3 a.m. and call 911, you won’t be able to pray hard enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you. So why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect our President or our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in their schools?

The Secret Service agent is trained to use a firearm. A soldier is trained to use a firearm. The “good guy” to protect me is a police officer, I assume, who is trained to use a firearm. A gun used to protect our children is bad because armed people rarely stop mass murders even if they are trained with firearms. Scroll back up to that map I mentioned above–it includes an army base and an air force base. That’s a lot of trained, armed people and they couldn’t stop the crazy with guns.

They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them — it’s our right to protect them.You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. But what if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security? Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? Is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather continue to risk the alternative?

It is not your right when it endangers other people. What if Lanza were looking for a gunfight and you were at a school armed? You’re putting a school full of children in the middle of a war. Further, again, armed people do not stop mass murders. And, no, I will admit no such thing because, if you add in a person with a gun, you’ll have to add another fatality. The crazy with the gun knows he’s going in to kill people; the person “defending” children will be taken by surprise and, likely, killed.

Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners that you’re willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the children in her care? No one — regardless of personal political prejudice — has the right to impose that sacrifice.

Sigh. Even your NRA dude in Congress says it’s time to stop grandstanding.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no national, one-size-fits-all solution to protecting our children. But do know this President zeroed out school emergency planning grants in last year’s budget, and scrapped “Secure Our Schools” policing grants in next year’s budget.With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget,we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school? Even if they did that, politicians have no business — and no authority — denying us the right, the ability, or the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.

Didn’t the NRA stop Clinton’s COPS initiative which would have done this? Yes, yes they did.

Now, the National Rifle Association knows that there are millions of qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military; security professionals; certified firefighters and rescue personnel; and an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every school. We can deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer — relying on the brave men and women of America’s police force.

Again, you stopped a program that would have increased police by 100,000 in 1994.

The budget of our local police departments are strained and resources are limited, but their dedication and courage are second to none and they can be deployed right now.

So, we’re not going to pay them?

I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.

Convenient of them to call on Congress to act soon when the President already did that.

Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work —and by that I mean armed security.

Where did we prove that? Oh, right, no where.

Right now, today, every school in the United States should plan meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers and local authorities — and draw upon every resource available — to erect a cordon of protection around our kids right now. Every school will have a different solution based on its own unique situation. Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now. And the National Rifle Association, as America’s preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years, is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.

Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now. We did it for the nation’s defense industries and military installations during World War II, and we’ll do it for our schools today. The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields. Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as a U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts available anywhere, to get this program up and running from the first day forward.

If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the security that is only available with a properly trained — armed —good guy. Under Asa’s leadership, our team of security experts will make this the best program in the world for protecting our children at school, and we will make that program available to every school in America free of charge. That’s a plan of action that can, and will, make a real, positive and indisputable difference in the safety of our children —starting right now. There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action.We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work. We mustn’t allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. We must act now. For the sake of the safety of every child in America, I call on every parent, every teacher, every school administrator and every law enforcement officer in this country to join us in the National School Shield Program and protect our children with the only line of positive defense that’s tested and proven to work. And now, to tell you more about the program, I’d like to introduce the head of that effort — a former U.S. congressman, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas and former administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Honorable Asa Hutchinson.

This last part is just a commercial for the NRA and Asa Hutchinson. Meanwhile, way to go NRA, instead of waiting for government action (as you demand is missing and call for) you step right up to implement your faux plan. The results of all of this: the NRA will sponsor this program, Hutchinson will come to the conclusion that armed guards are needed, and the NRA won’t do anything about it because they cannot legally put armed people in schools. Instead of working WITH the government, the NRA has, once again, taken it upon themselves to grandstand and lobby for guns while being fully aware that this amounts to little more than a campaign speech, full of nonsense and empty promises to enrage their base.

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