Because if you’re going to be awash in irrational bullshit you might as well make a game of it.
Remember The Three Questions?
1. What do you mean?
2. How do you know that?
3. So what?
I use them a lot. A’s father distilled his decades of debate experience into these three questions which work in almost every debate circumstance. Either you ask them to force your opponent to rethink or retreat or you make sure that anything you say has already covered them so they can’t be used against you. Most of the squares above, which are culled from the idiocy all over social media this weekend, can be countered with just the three questions, but I’m going to go into detail because I’m a detail kind of witch.
Self Defense – It’s important to understand what this argument actually means. It means that the speaker values their ability to kill someone if they feel threatened. Because it’s not like there is a real metric for what makes a credible threat when one of the people in the interaction is dead and the other one was “acting in self defense.”
Make them own it. Keep using “what do you mean?” until you drill down into what they are really saying.
Mental Health – This is a variation on “Guns don’t kill people,” but it’s popular enough that it merits its own square. The assertion that the people who use guns dangerously are, as a result of their behavior, crazy is a logical fallacy, as I previously mention. Further, it is an attempt to derail the conversation, drawing it away from guns to mental illness.
How do you know that? Unless they knew the shooter they will back off eventually.
More Armed People – This one comes it two flavors. Flavor the First, “if everyone were armed, then no one would use their guns because they would know that everyone was armed.” Flavor the Second, “if I had been at the movie theater/school/shopping mall with my gun I would have taken out the shooter and everyone would be alive.
Feel free to take as much time as you need to recover from those two. Don’t feel bad. It took me a bit to overcome the idea that people actually thing that people will rigidly follow Schelling’s Theory of Rational Deterrence,compounded by the Rambo, masturbatory, self congratulating fiction that anyone, no matter how well trained, is going to be able to shoot down a threat without causing collateral damage.
Gun Safety – This is the assertion that the problem isn’t really guns but training. If more people were trained in gun safety, we would all be safer. This is also derailing. The problem is guns but you’re being asked to talk about gun training. If you do that you accept the premise that training is the solution. Don’t accept the premise.
How do you know that?
The Knife Argument – The knife argument is a straw man. I mean totally aside from the fact that it’s a lot harder to use a gun in a drive by, for instance, and that knife violence is just less common and less deadly than gun violence, as show in previous links, this argument is a straw man. Not interested. Totally aside from that, knives kill fewer people than guns.
How do you know that? Followed by, the appropriate response when they jump to another square.
Guns Don’t Kill People – Cars, when not being operated by a human, tend to be fairly safe. So does the average chainsaw. The same is true of a gun. People with guns kill other people and very often themselves. Guns are simply a dangerous tool designed to kill people and when used in exactly the way it they were intended, they lead to a significantly larger number of injuries and deaths than would otherwise occur.
How do you know that? This is the time to make them defend every single piece of information they come up with.
Now Isn’t The Time – To talk about gun violence or gun control. That’s true. The time to talk about both would have been before 28 children got killed but we didn’t do that so let’s talk about it now.
What do you mean? When is the time? When will it be OK to talk about the guns that killed these people?
Criminals Will Find A Way To Get Guns Even If You Control Them – Please note that this square connects with both Self Defense and Women Need Guns as well as Home Protection, Crime Deterrent, Fewer Guns More Crime and Criminals With Guns. They’re all variations of the same argument. They’re all bullshit and if you see someone pull one out, you’re about to win the game.
Hunting – No one huts with an AR-51. Very few people hunt with a hand gun, unless they are hunting other humans, in which case, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun.
Control Equals Ban – This is one of the most common and yet so small and insidious that many people don’t see it when it happens. When you start talking about rational forms of gun control and someone else starts talking about a gun ban, they’re trying to derail you. If you allow it to continue you’ll end up defending gun bans, which is a much harder position to maintain.
What do you mean? How do you know that? It depends on whether they are trying to mischaracterize your statements or just hijack with their own.
In Case Of Revolution – A.K.A. Defense against tyranny! When it comes to a showdown with the 82nd Airborne or the US Air Force, the citizen or group of citizens loses. In reality the populace has no ability to defend against the government and we haven’t since muskets were cutting edge technology. End of file.
Violent TV/Movies/Games – Similar to the Mental Health Square, this is an attempt to blame anything other than actual guns for the gun violence in America.
How do you know that?
Free Space! “Because I Want To Keep My Guns!” – This is the only honest answer that I came across. Don’t get me wrong, it’s horrifying but at least it’s not a lie or an excuse. People want to keep their guns. Many people, care more about their guns than the lives of their fellow citizens and they are willing to spend those lives if it means they get to keep their guns.
Crime Deterrent – As covered about, not really. But it would probably be best to use “how do you know that?” rather than laughing in someone’s face.
Second Amendment – The Second Amendment is a crappy basis for an argument. It’s badly written. It has different possibly valid versions depending on what copy of the Constitution one is looking at. It was written at a time that the combustion engine didn’t exist let alone the rocket launcher or the ability to empty a clip in a fifteen seconds and it couldn’t even hope to account for the myriad ways we’ve discovered to perfect the art of killing each other in the intervening 236 years.
Polls Show People Want To Keep Their Guns – This is actually connected to the Control Equals Ban square and it’s a common way to backdoor into a conversation about gun bans. Poll actually say that most people are against a full gun ban. Deeper, more detailed polls show that a lot of people are totally in favor of stricter controls.
My answer is generally, so what? Polling doesn’t trump lives.
Law Abiding Owners – This is one of the most common and most effective. the cry of the law abiding gun owner that he will be punished because people misuse their guns. It sound remarkably like “IT’S NOT FAAAAAAIIIIIIR!”
Right up until the moment that he decided murder 28 people, Adam Lanza was a law abiding person. The guns that were used Friday were bought legally. They were, according to reports, kept and stored legally. They were under the ownership of one of the victims and her reasoning was the same as yours. She wanted to keep guns. She educated herself and her children on the use of them, teaching them to shoot and taking them to the gun range regularly. She was totally open about that fact and in compliance with current law. Up until Friday morning, the Lanza family was the very definition of law abiding.
And then Adam Lanza picked up the legally owned handguns and assault rifles and gunned down 28 people. Saturday, an 18-year-old man was arrested because he was planning to use the guns he had access to, which were legally obtained, to shoot up a high school. Sunday, a man in Indiana was arrested for planning to kill his wife and then attack ANOTHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL using the 47 guns he legally obtained.
You know what all those people had in common? Right up until they shot or announced that they were planning to shoot they were in compliance with the law and would have fit anyone’s definition of educated, law abiding gun owner.
The question that I have for pretty much everyone who is on the pro-gun side of the argument is this; in the face of 30,000 gun deaths a year, 87 a day, 8 dead children a day why is your first and overriding instinct to protect your gun and not the lives of your fellow citizens?
Feel free to copy paste that shit.
Unless We Ban All Guns – Connected to both Criminals With Guns, Criminals Will Find A Way and the Protection squares. This is another attempt to derail by getting you to accept the premise that we need guns for safety. The premise of this square is that the only way for society to be safe is if no one has guns. Otherwise we all need access to guns. Again do not accept the premise.
Tradition/Way of Life – America has a great tradition of gun ownership and it is a part of our way of life. Thus, we should not control guns. Almost identical to the 2nd Amendment square.
Home Protection – Nope, still not logical. Covered above.
Criminals With Guns – As covered above.
Women Need Guns – to protect ourselves from the big ,strong, scary mens that want to hurt us. Because women are weaker. Because we need to be shielded. Because women are victims. Fuck that noise.
Fewer Guns Equals More Crime – No it doesn’t.
How do you know that?
Just Fear Mongering – If you reach this square it’s because you’ve been debating so hard, you’ve haven’t been filling in you squares. This is the last gasp of someone who doesn’t have any more talking points. Instead of trying to defend their position they’re attacking you.
What do you mean?
Why Not Ban Cars? – Again, an attempt to bring bans into the conversation as well as an attempt to talk about something other than guns. Don’t accept the premise.
There you are everyone. Play in good health.