Author: Steve Olsen

Want to Keep the 2nd Amendment? You Don’t Get to Have it For Free.

Just Make a Law

If guns cause violence, then why not just make a law against them? Maybe in a perfect world this would work, but not in reality. Have you noticed that murders are illegal, yet they still occur?

The problem with criminals is that they tend to break laws. That is literally the definition of the word: one who commits a crime.

Then there is the assumption that a law ensures that an undesired action will not occur. This is obviously false. A law only prescribes the punishment as a consequence of action. This deters law-abiding citizens, but not those who wish to harm others.

How to Deter a Mass-Shooter

If laws prescribe punishment, and if law abiding citizens are deterred from committing crimes, because they have obligations to their family, careers, and reputations, how do you deter a disturbed individual who has no family, career, or reputation? What law will you use to deter someone who wants to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible to others, before ending their own life?

Many politicians have suggested making guns less accessible in the United States. Then you are left with another problem: the 400 million legally owned guns and over a trillion rounds of ammunition. If you ban the sale of guns today, you still have to contend with existing firearms for decades.

Laws are useless against people trying to destroy themselves and others.

So we can wait for the police to show up, because it takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun, or we can use the 2nd Amendment, bear our arms, and make psychopathic killers think twice about being the lone wolf looking for sheep upon which to prey. Sheep need protectors.

Open carry and concealed carry are legal in many counties and states, so why do so few people carry?

I don’t blame someone for not carrying- it is a tremendous responsibility. Most people probably shouldn’t, but one or two armed people in a crowd may be a deterrent.

Many more should carry. There are too many sheep, and too few guardians.

If firearms advocates are not willing to accept responsibility for performing their civic duty, the 2nd Amendment will be repealed, an unprecedented revocation of the original bill of rights.

If the 2nd Amendment is not used to protect the innocent from evil, it will not exist in the future.

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United States 10th Most Dangerous Country for Women? Probably Not.

This article by The Thomson Reuters Foundation titled “EXCLUSIVE – India most dangerous country for women with sexual violence rife” rank orders the countries in the world based on danger to women. Among the countries listed, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia. Not all that surprising.

What is disturbing, is that the United States was included on the list. Is the United States really comparable to Congo when it comes to women’s experience with violence?

I was skeptical about this.

This Was Not a Study

It was a poll of “experts” although it is not clear from Reuters what criteria was used to select them.

The information about dangerous countries also was not produced from a consistent methodology. The survey asked the individuals polled, which countries they “thought” were the most dangerous.

The reasons given were varied. Physical violence, war, slavery and women’s rights were cited. But the reason the United States was included in the list was not for these reasons.

So Why is the United States on This List?

The #MeToo campaign has brought to light many cases where prominent actresses (and actors in some cases) were sexually harassed, and had to trade sex for roles in movies. This was headlining the news for many months.

There is a question of bias when topics in the media are covered for a long period of time. It gives the perception that issues are more prominent then they actually are. Did those who conducted the survey take this into account when they published this information? How biased were the perceptions of those polled? There is no way of knowing.

This is an Inconsistent Comparison.

The survey conflates sexual harassment in the west, with slavery and death in Africa and the Middle East. It does not give information on the severity of danger to Women, rather, it gives insight on the perceptions and biases of those polled.

It is also not clear what percentage of women are affected by the criteria levied on the 10 countries listed. This would be a more accurate measurement for rank ordering countries based on Women’s safety. The problem is, that this data is entirely reliant on information being reported accurately. In western countries, crime statistics are much more complete, than data collected in war torn countries. So if you rank order countries, there will be a higher bias in western countries, in theory, because of lack of data.

This was a survey, not a study. It measured what people thought, not actual data. There was no consistent methodology for rank ordering countries, because the methodology varied from person to person.

Not to discount experiences of anyone, man or woman who has been a victim of terrible, malevolent behavior. But ranking the United States in the bottom 10 countries for women’s safety? Probably not accurate.

Title Image Credit: Marc Nozell from Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D

Argumentum Ergo Decedo, Like it or Leave

Denotes responding to the criticism of a critic by implying that the critic is motivated by undisclosed favorability or affiliation to an out-group, rather than responding to the criticism itself. The fallacy implicitly alleges that the critic does not appreciate the values and customs of the criticized group or is traitorous, and thus suggests that the critic should avoid the question or topic entirely, typically by leaving the criticized group.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergo_decedo

The Fallacy

President Trump’s Tweet suggested that elected government officials, who came to the United States from other countries, who disagree with United States policy, should go back to their home countries and attempt to fix them before being critical of America.

This is demonstrative of the fallacy: argumentum ergo decedo. Which loosely translates to “then go off,” or “then leave.” That if one has criticism of the country, they should leave.

It is a fallacy, because rather than responding to the specific criticism, it directs the critic to leave, if they don’t like it.

A Strategic Error

At the time of writing this article, July 14th, 2019, AOC and Nancy Pelosi were at odds, with AOC implying, perhaps accusing, Pelosi of racism for criticizing her. The reasoning being: that Pelosi is white and AOC is Hispanic; a terrible argument. Meanwhile Trumps approval rating soared to the highest it has ever been, approximately 47%.

A contributing factor was that the media was largely focused on the Democrats, putting them at a strategic disadvantage comparatively to the Republicans, months before the 2020 presidential election.

The damage: now the spotlight is back on the Republicans instead of the Democrats. The quarrel within the Democratic party was an opportunity for Republicans to silently await for Democratic support to erode. This opportunity has evaporated with the President’s tweet.

Allegation of Racism

Finally we come to the issue of racism. The question: are the statements of the president racist?

Although unstated, it can be assumed that the statements were directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, a refugee from Somalia, elected to Minnesota’s 5th district.

The president’s statement is being interpreted as “go back to where you came from,” which can certainly be taken as a racist, xenophobic statement.

To be more accurate, the presidents statement is actually closer to this: “Before you criticize America, fix your home country.” The “go back” part of the statement, was a colossal error.

But is it racist?

Test it with other groups of people. If a German living in Kansas was critical of the United States, the statement would apply to them. If a Chinese person living in California was critical of the United States, the statement would also apply to them.

The statement applies to country of origin, and not race. The countries that it applies to are all countries that are not the United States. The affected races of people, are all races of people. Therefore race is not specified, therefore the statement cannot be racist.

It is being touted as a racist statement due to political expediency, not because of an accurate and truthfully motivated analysis.

The president’s statement is fallacious, but not racist.

Reductio ad Hitlerum

Playing the Nazi card, is an attempt to invalidate someone else’s position on the basis that the same view was held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party, for example: “Hitler was against tobacco smoking, X is against tobacco smoking, therefore X is a Nazi”.

Two similiar looking pictures: a fence, people held in detention on one side, political officials on the other.

The creator of the picture even matched the colors to make them more similiar.

This is an example of the Reduction to Hitler fallacy. Upon analysis, it is absurd. The difference between immigration detention in the United States, and concentration camps in Nazi Germany during World War II are incomparable.

Attempts to draw parallels between the two are politically motivated, evidenced by the complete lack of outrage at the exact situation under the Obama administration. It is an attempt to manipulate the emotional state of the public to lessen the support for the current administration, and is exploitative of all who suffered under the Nazis during World War II.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

Palestinians- Victims? Or Master Propagandists?

This image of a distressed young girl is making it’s rounds on Twitter. Authors of these posts are claiming that the image is of a crying Palestinian girl. Her home destroyed by an Israeli bomb.

There is one problem. That is not what the photograph depicts.

The photo actually shows a young Afghani Harazi girl, after an ISIS suicide attack in West Kabul.

The Harazi people are a persecuted minority in Afghanistan, and the photo comes from the Harazi United Movement website. (Link Below)

https://hazaraunitedmovement.org/author/hazaraunitedmovement/

This isn’t the first time Palestinian propagandists have misrepresented provocative photographs as Israeli oppression.

Earlier this year, this photo, shown below, was shared on Facebook, depicting a young Palestinian boy shot by Israeli forces.

But the picture is not real. It was from a film called Mamlakat al-Naml (The Kingdom of Ants) released in 2012.

There have been incidents of Israelis abusing the Palestinians, so why produce manufactured outrage?

Because reality is boring. The real incidents are too few, and not as effective at invoking emotion to mobilize anger and hatred for the Israeli people. Reality is insufficient to produce such outrage, so propagandists misrepresent ambiguous photographs.

The propagandists are aware that westerners are suckers for oppressor-oppressed narratives. Their motivation is that of hatred of a different group of people. The truth be damned, they will use every tactic to defeat their 1,500 year old enemies. To direct hatred and violence toward the Jewish people, and to manipulate naive westerners to hate them as well.

There is no political strategy. There is no power to be gained. This is primal hatred of a different tribe of people. This is a fight over who Daddy (God) loves more.

Maybe one day this will all be resolved. It is certainly something worthy of our hope. Until then, be skeptical, and use Google reverse image searches liberally.

“Immigration” and “Illegal Immigration”

Many influences and media outlets are conflating immigration, and illegal immigration. Is this an honest mistake, or political manipulation?

A post or article that uses the term “immigration” in place of the term “illegal immigration”, should draw immediate skepticism.

It is a subtle difference, but it shifts the narrative from a legal issue, to a xenophobic issue.

Some authors exploit the meaning beneath the surface to frame the reader’s point of reference.

Here are some possible underlying meanings of immigration terms:

Opposing “illegal immigration”:

  • Desire to enforce the laws of the nation.
  • Recognize the sovereignty of the nation.
  • Respect for immigrants who followed the legal process.

Opposing “immigration”:

  • Xenophobic
  • Racist
  • White Nationalist

Perhaps an author made an honest mistake in imprecisely transposing the two terms, but be aware that some authors are willfully attempting to manipulate the narrative in order to empower their hidden political motives.

AOC is Going to get Trump Reelected

Who is AOC? A first term, junior representative from New York. How is she having the impact that many senior representatives never reach?

Money.

AOC has huge monetary support from her base. Most Democratic representatives rely on support from established Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi. Most of them have to stay in lock step with the party to get monetary help from the Democratic establishment. But not AOC.

AOC is able to say whatever she wants, when she wants, without consequence from the Democratic leadership. It is because she does not have to rely on support from politicians senior to her.

Her outlandish statements against the Democratic establishment are causing a rift within her party. She does not consider the strategic mistake she is making on the precipice of the 2020 elections.

If she continues to “go rogue” (where have we heard that before), she is going to continue to divide her party, and give the perception of instability which will harm the prospects of the Democratic presidential candidate, whoever that may be.

While she might feel like she is leading the party, in reality, she is taking the attention off of Trump, and on to the Democrats. Typically, that means lower polling numbers, giving the Republicans a competitive edge that the Democrats cannot afford to lose, if they expect to win the election.

AOC lacks knowledge and wisdom. She is a powerful figure, but also a figure of divisiveness and instability. Something that will certainly hurt the Democrats in these critical months before the election.

Photo Credit: El Borde [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons