Friday, April 12, 2013

Meanwhile on Facebook: Guns vs. Knives, A Bad Analogy

You hear it all the time regarding politics and hot button issues: both sides do it. Meaning, both sides are equal in their horribleness in whatever way they're being horrible right now. As a liberal, but also a somewhat dispassionate observer--at least over topics that aren't my hot-button issues--I think on the gun control/gun rights issue, the right is nuttier than the left. There are exceptions, but liberals don't tend to get as instantly frothy over guns.

One area where both sides can get out of hand though, is memes. These images with words are passed around on social media, and sometimes can be very clever. Sometimes they can be informative, and sometimes they can really grab you. Other times, they only think they're clever, and are in reality deeply stupid. Also frequently in bad taste. Throw in abuses in punctuation, spelling and grammar, and they can really be a mess. Take this image, now floating around on Facebook

The target (pardon the pun) is ripe for parody, were the subject matter not in almost-impossible-to-pull-off comedy danger territory. Hint: too soon. And even though the best humor exaggerates the truth, this one misses the mark (pardon) for a very large, glaring reason:

The crazy guy who stabbed all of those people? He didn't manage to kill any of them.

That's a fairly stark difference between a mass stabbing and a mass shooting. Nobody has ever argued that there aren't crazy people. That crazy people aren't dangerous. That other weapons aren't dangerous in the wrong hands. The aim is to try to do something to prevent mass murder. Most weapons outside of guns and bombs are very inefficient for killing lots of people in a short period of time. Bombs and bomb making materials are subject to pretty tight restrictions and laws. Why aren't guns?*

The other day I posted a very bad analogy between guns and cars. Now this one. I'm sure there are many more, and I'll try to explore those as I find them.

*Come to think of it, there are fast ways to kill lots of people, like toxins, poisons, hijackings, and other terrorism. But last I looked we have a war on most of that stuff, and people don't seem to mind (or at least put up with) controls, restrictions and laws around all of that stuff.

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