Monday, December 17, 2012

Gun control, Newtown and the unimportance of facts

I'm usually wary of getting involved in political discussions. Not only can you end up alienating your friends, I'm often discouraged because these sort of debates frequently descend into simplistic arguments and sound bites.

But the other day, shortly after the massacre of 27 people in Newtown, Connecticut, I saw a posting on Facebook that caught my attention. A woman by the name of Holly Williamson posted this:

"I fail to see how keeping guns from being owned by law abiding citizens would have kept this from happening."

To me, this was not so much a political statement, but a question of facts, so I tried to answer her.

I said, "Well, the assault weapon the shooter used was owned legally by his mother; he took it from her home. If assault weapons were banned -- as they were from 1994 to 2004 -- she wouldn't have had the gun."

Now you may support gun control or you may not, but I was simply stating the fact: If assault weapons had been banned, than Nancy Lanza would not have been able to obtain one, and her son Adam would not have been able to use it to slaughter 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Holly immediately replied: "I stand by what I said. Period."

Huh? She stands by what? She said she didn't see how gun control could have prevented the shooting; I explained how it could have. So she chooses to ignore the facts and stand by her, um, ignorance?


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