“We actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be the Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen to Use Terror as a Weapon to Try to Shake the Conscience of the Free World.”— George W. Bush, leader of the free world, unsung satirist
I’m a pretty good shot with a pistol, particularly when I’ve been practicing regularly. I’m not entirely awful with a rifle, and could be a decent shot if I had more opportunities to practice. Until today, however, I could honestly say that I knew absolutely nothing about shooting shotguns.
I like Clayton Cramer. We disagree on almost everything except guns, but since we first corresponded eleven years ago, I’ve respected his scholarship and reasoned thinking. I stop by his site every few days, and learn something about as often as I find something to argue about.
When it comes to The Pink Menace, though, I can’t follow him. Reason and reference are replaced by anecdote and Coulterish “lumping”. A German cannibal self-identifies as gay, and this is taken as evidence that gays are a danger to society?
Or try this one on for size:
"Now, I can understand why the left is so interested in doing so. Once these ideas are no longer relevant, the left thinks that one of the big obstacles to the leftist agenda---bestiality, child molestation, same sex marriage---will be out of the way."
I like Clayton, but I won’t reference any of his excellent gun-law articles in debate, because his rabid anti-gay rhetoric seriously undermines his credibility with the sort of people who most need persuading on the subject of gun control.
Queers and Lefties are welcome to join me at the range any time. I promise, all the bullets will be going downrange. Friendly, safe, fun.
Update: After a few thoughtful emails, I thought I’d clarify my position a bit. Currently, I think the moderate position in American politics is “slightly pro-gay, slightly anti-gun”; that is, they view gays as ordinary people who are unfairly discriminated against because of their choice of partners, and private gun ownership as a contributing factor in violent crime. My goal is to convince them that the latter view is not supported by the evidence, while not getting sidetracked by potential conflict on the former.
In fact, I’m probably more pro-gay than the average moderate, but Clayton, a useful source of information on the gun debate, is so strongly opposed that there’s a real risk of guilt-by-association. Gun control supporters are for the most part using emotional rather than statistical, legal, or historical arguments, and are often quick to judge their opponents by what else they believe.
So, if Clayton is strongly pro-gun and strongly anti-gay, and I point them to one of his pro-gun articles, they may assume that gun owners as a group are prone to be anti-gay, which ain’t so.
Okay, my iTunes Music Store purchases are getting a bit silly now:
Picked up a copy of Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed over the weekend, in case our group wanted to try it out sometime (D&D 3.5 went over like a lead balloon), and discovered that, while Monte may have learned a great deal from the rules mistakes in 3rd edition D&D, he has definitely not learned from the layout mistakes.
The only nice thing I can say compared to the WotC D&D books is that the page backgrounds aren’t crufted up with “spiffy” graphics, so you have black text on a white page. That high contrast, along with the generous leading, are all that saves it from complete unreadability. 3M Post-It Flags are all that can save it as a reference manual; you’ll never find anything quickly without them.
He does offer it as a PDF, which would be great if it weren’t for the tinyfonts. I suspect it would be quite readable blown up to fill a 20” widescreen display, but not on anything smaller. Blech.
Updates: I’ve found some more layout errors to be annoyed by.
Goodness he talks purty. I must remember to look up his writings to see what else he had to say.
Copied from the always-useful James Randi:
It’s a familiar sight for anyone who shoots at a public pistol range: a man and a woman come in together so he can teach her to shoot, and he gives her a loud, hard-kicking gun and incompetent instruction. Usually he’s a terrible shot himself, and sometimes he’s a danger to himself and others. His real goal, conscious or not, is to convince her that guns are a “guy thing,” and she should let him be her protector and champion.
I got tired of watching this a long time ago, and usually I try to sneak in when he’s left the room and give her a few quick pointers, including the all-important “rent a .22 next time.” When he comes back and she’s shooting better than he is with his favorite gun, the session usually comes to a quick halt.
Today was a bit different.
Got three pieces of mail today.
I kinda felt sorry for the guys at Fleet. “You’re still selling Platinum?!? Got any eight-track tapes to go with that?”
Could be worse, I suppose. Last year they replaced all my credit cards with new ones that had American flags on them. I think they were trying to tell me that I had money to burn.
Brian Tiemann went on a computer-free vacation right before the latest virus hit, and came home to more than 21,000 pieces of email. This has somewhat reduced his affection for Microsoft.
My first thought was to reply to his article via email, but fortunately I came to my senses.