Michael Shermer gone to the dark side?

Michael Shermer recently posted an article regarding the Aurora, Colorado shooting. It seems Shermer, a proclaimed libertarian, is now convinced that we need more gun control laws, especially around what he calls WMMs (Weapons of Mass Murder). This post literally reads like it was written by the mainstream media. Is Shermer now a shill, or just brainwashed like the rest? Shermer claims to be a skeptic, a truth seeker. We’ll lets take a look at this article and see if that holds:

I now believe that the freedom of a few people to own WMMs (Weapons of Mass Murder) conflicts with the freedom of the rest of us…

So immediately he creates a term building on  propaganda from our recent past. Remember the Saddam’s Weapons of Mass destruction that did not exist? The irony of that fiasco was that the “mass destruction” was perpetrated by the United States. So Shermer immediately turns to propaganda, appealing to emotion. So much for truth and reason.

…enter the public sphere without the chance of our ultimate freedom of life itself being cut short.

Without a chance? I guess Shermer’s starting point is that no-one in a theater should be allowed to have a gun or other weapon. Yep, take weapons away from people in general, so the only people who have them are those who would own the illegally. Let’s be perfectly clear, gun control would not have removed these weapons from James Holmes. Only naivety would allow you to believe that.

First, there’s a good chance that James Holmes is schizophrenic, suffered from severe depression, or is a psychopath.

So we need gun control because of Schizo’s. This is getting really low.

So let’s conservatively estimate that if only 1% of these 3,140,000 men commit any kind of violent act, this results in 31,400 acts of violence per year, a nontrivial number.

Since there is no link between Schizophrenia and violence I can only assume that Shermer (who claims to seek the truth and surely researched) used the term because it appeals to emotion. Doesn’t seem very “Michael Shermer” like. Shermer goes on to include “major depressive disorders” and psychopathy. Well, I’m not sure about you but if there are going to be 31,400 acts of violence a year, I want to be packing. That is, I prefer not to die without a fight.

When the Second Amendment was written stating that citizens have a right to “keep and bear arms,” rifles took over a minute to load one bullet at a time. The most crazed 18th century American could not possibly commit mass murder because no WMMs existed at the time.

This is just flat out nonsense. It sounds good because this type of violence rarely happened then. Maybe we should be spending more time trying to figure out why that is? Might it have anything to do with the fact that our own Government seems to easily justify the murder of others?

Shermer goes on to discuss that these events will happen again and can’t be predicted (ok, something I can agree with). And finally…

Thus, damage control is the only option we have, if we want to do something about this tragic social problem. And by damage control I mean gun control. Specifically, I mean outlawing all automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles for anyone who is not in law enforcement or the military.

 This is no loss of freedom. It is, in fact, an increase in freedom—the freedom to move about our living spaces without fear of being gunned down in cold blood.

If Shermer is a truth seeker and a “libertarian” as he claims, why does he not even discuss the other side of this story…. AT ALL!? A few other things one might want to consider:

  • Other mass shootings in the past did not even use Shermers WMM’s. The Virgina Tech killer (Seung-Hui Cho) killed 32 and wounded 25 armed with only 2 pistols. Jared Lee Loughner killed 6 and wounded 14 in Tucson with a single pistol. He fired 31 bullets and had an additional pair of 15-round clips on him when arrested. So obviously we need to ban pistols too.
  • Such a ban would be just as likely to increase violence as decrease it. First off, it is rarely newsworthy when an American citizen STOPS crime by carrying a weapon. This despite the fact that very few Americans carry. Then add to this the additional violence we will see due to banning these guns (violence always increases when we making anything illegal).
  • Criminals won’t follow the law. So what is the point? This just gives the criminals a higher fire power advantage.
  • If an average joe can make a gun what is the point of outlawing them?
  • When will we ban envelopes, fertilizer, gasoline, matches, large hunting knives, etc?
  • Why don’t we ban alchohol? Drunk driving kills many more people than guns? Oh, wait. Tried that. Didn’t work.
  • Why not ban cars? They kill more people than guns. (more here for details on silly “gun vs car” talk)

The truth is that this is all a bit of a distraction when you consider that politicians use gun control as a tool to gain power. If Shermer is so concerned with murder, maybe he should write an article about the 262 million people killed in the 20th century by governments, including the United States murder of up to 1 million Iraq’s. Of course, the U.S. commits it’s murders silently so as not to draw attention to emotional folk like Shermer.

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