Published DateTo the editor,
How is it possible to debate with people who refuse to acknowledge facts and instead continue the argument ad nauseam? Let me present some examples of the hogwash and buffoonery that I've come upon in the last few weeks:
1. The government (police — state and local — FBI, ATF, the county coroner's office, etc.) have all conspired to cover up the Newtown shooting. You cannot believe anything they say nor any of the evidence they present. This "big lie" has been perpetrated in order to advance President Obama's gun legislation (some quick calls were made that December morning to apprise the Connecticut officials of this plot).
2. President Obama (who is only the president of the people who voted for him) intends to ban all guns; to believe otherwise is naive and treasonous.
3. Doors will be kicked in, houses invaded (perhaps by my family and me), communities turned into battle zones, a civil war will erupt, the nation will fall — the end is near (so get some more guns and ammo).
4. I am an evil gun hater who sides with the anti-gun people because I think something should be done regarding background checks, the preposterous proliferation of semi-automatic AR-15 rifles like the Bushmaster (which wasn't used in the Newtown shooting!), armor-piercing bullets, high-capacity clips and so on.
5. The NRA is an infallible and benevolent organization that isn't connected with and supported by gun manufacturers.
6. Nothing should change. The government can't restrict anything! It will not work. Nothing will work except the status quo.
My initial letter in early February pointed out this flaw in the overall debate: consistent appeal to lower emotions, a complete lack of logos and ethos to go with all the pathos, and a reliance on redirection, distraction and rot. While discussing this nonsense with a friend in Arkansas, I was reminded of the George Bernard Shaw quote, "I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."
At some point, I hope the debate moves beyond the sty.