Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.

Stupid Conservative Memes…

“Treat Bombs Like Guns”

As summarized by Wikipedia, “Between March 2 and 20, 2018, five package bombs exploded, mostly in the American city of Austin, Texas, killing two people and injuring another five. The suspect, […], blew himself up inside his vehicle after he was pulled over by police on March 21, also injuring a police officer.” It is our policy not to immortalize murderers by repeating their names, which explains the ellipsis.

It was not long before the following meme appeared, apparently lampooning supposedly ineffective efforts to curb violence with guns—

SCM-Bombs

As to the points raised—

  • “Bomb Control Laws” (gun control laws): The data are in and the conclusion from around the world is—gun control works. There is more evidence here (CDC), and here (Australia) and here (Chicago).
  • “Raising the Bomb-Making Age to 21” (raising the age to purchase a gun to 21): This idea shows every characteristic of a move politicians can make to appear to do something when in effect they are doing very little. Some politicians (Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein, for example) have proposed raising the gun-buying age to 21, as have some private vendors, such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The NRA is already suing Florida. The move also has popular support: a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 67% of American Adults favor raising the legal age for buying a gun to 21 (26% oppose).
  • “Bomb-Free Zones” (gun-free zones): The data are in and the conclusion from around the world is—gun-free zones are no more dangerous than open-carry areas. Gun-free zones were actually a Republican idea: President George H. W. Bush signed the Gun Free Schools Zone Act of 1990. There is more evidence here and here, where it is pointed out that one unfounded assumption is that mass shooters are rational actors.

To say this meme raises a false equivalency is putting things mildly—

  • You cannot buy bombs in stores, unlike guns.
  • Manufacturers of legitimate explosives have strict liability, unlike gun manufacturers.
  • Building bombs (improvised explosive devices or IEDs) takes skill and knowledge, unlike shooting a gun.

The Austin serial bomber killed only three people in just over two weeks. But if we’re going to make comparisons, remember that the Parkland shooter killed 17 people in seven minutes with an AR-15—with no real skill, no trouble acquiring the weapon, and no liability.

You’re welcome.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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