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Distorting the Debate

Driving on I35 yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker stating "Guns Cause Violence just Like Flies Cause Garbage". This is one of those irritating statements that does nothing but create arguments (as opposed to stimulating debate). The point I believe the speaker, who appears to be Zink Mitchell, wanted to make is that guns are not the cause of violence just as flies are not the cause of garbage. Though true in spirit, this analogy is a fallacy.

Let's look at this statement closer. I will agree that flies don't create garbage, they are attracted to the smell in their search for dead organic material to lay their eggs on. Knowing this, we can determine that garbage must first exist for flies to appear. Additionally, it also seems that flies are one of the organisms that are responsible for breaking down garbage, or making it disappear. Some would say that flies make garbage worse, but if you understand the process, you would know they actually help remove garbage from the ecosystem.

Let's compare the second part of the analogy to the first. We have determined that flies are attacked by garbage, and are not the cause of garbage. For the analogy to work guns must be attracted to violence. If this was true, it would seem to follow that guns would appear anytime a fist fight broke out, or any other violent activity. I think we must all agree this is not the case.

Once again I hate statements like this, they don't add anything to what is a very important debate. Though I don't believe that banning guns is the answer to violent crime, I can not see how one can argue that strict controls on hand guns and automatic weapons are a bad thing. I have no problem with my neighbor being able to go to Cabela's and buy a shotgun or rifle for hunting. I do have a problem with my neighbor being able to go out and purchase a sub machine gun or assault rifle. If he really feels the need to fire a sub machine gun or assault rifle, he should join the military. I would guess most of the men and woman in uniform would rather carrying a shotgun any day.

Oh and to make a correct analogy on guns, how about "Guns cause violence like cameras cause memories".