Tag Archives: Gun control

The Myth of the word “Militia” in the 2nd Amendment

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. ~ 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.

Nothing seems to evoke more passion from either side of the political aisle than America’s illustrious 2nd amendment. People on my side of the fence often cite the “shall not be infringed part,” but those who wish to limit or eliminate the citizenry’s right to carry arms often cite the “a well-regulated militia” part. Their argument being that the framers meant for Americans to be able to form militias (think local governments) to protect the people, and those militias would need to be armed.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

Their argument seems pretty sound on the face of it. Makes sense, right? Not so fast.

If we apply some critical thinking, it is patently out of character with the rest of the bill of rights.

The Constitution was drafted, not as a set of laws for the people to abide by, but instead it is limits set on government as to how they may rule over the people.

“We the people” grant government the right to infringe on our freedoms in order to serve the greater good of our nation. But fearing that such a government could become as oppressive as our recently defeated European overlords of the time, they drafted the Constitution to protect us from future similar oppression.

For instance, our first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” versus something like “You are free to practice any religion of your choosing.”

This pattern is consistent in the entirety of the Bill Of Rights, and while most see both those phrases as essentially the same, there’s an incredibly important distinction. As the Constitution is written, the people have the power and are imposing a limit on the government’s ability to limit their religious freedom (The first phrase, as the constitution is written). In the second theoretical example, it implies government has the power and is granting religious rights to the people.

So with that in mind, let’s revisit the meaning behind the word “militia” in the second amendment. If we assume the term “militia” refers to the military and police, which are government entities after all; those who wish to limit our gun rights believe our forefathers wrote an amendment that says that government cannot infringe on government’s rights to bear arms. This is not only inconsistent to the rest of the Bill of Rights, but its redundancy is nonsensical. If government cannot infringe on government’s rights to carry guns, then there would be no reason to even mention it in the first place.No_gun[1]

So why do gun control advocates believe this is what the 2nd amendment implies? It’s a simple case of confirmation bias—a phenomenon whereby someone attempting to prove something they hope to be true/false, eschew interpretations that conflict with their bias and/or accept suspect data that supports their bias, due to an inner desire to substantiate their argument.

We are all prone to do this, and with the exception of devout skeptics like myself, we’ll rarely even know we’re doing it, nor act to correct it.

For instance, imagine a detective investigates the murder of a married woman. We all have heard that when someone who is married is murdered, the most common culprit is the spouse. So if the detective, after interviewing the spouse, gets a bad vibe from him, may ignore exculpatory evidence; only accepting info that could insinuate he’s guilty. As you can imagine, this leads to belief in things that often aren’t true.

In Dale Carnegie’s Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, #5 is “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” It is easy to assume gun control advocates are simply people who hate guns and want to take them away from those of us who don’t.

While this is occasionally true, some people are being quite reasonable, they just have different values or beliefs, and don’t understand our views. Opinions don’t have right or wrong answers, so we shouldn’t paint them in the light of “wrong,” just different than us.

Others may me be like former US representative Gabby Giffords who was brutally shot in 2011 by a crazed killer on an unhinged political shooting spree, or former Reagan White House Press Secretary James Brady who was shot in a failed presidential assassination attempt. Their lives were forever changed because of gun violence, so it’s quite reasonable to assume they would advocate limiting our right to bear arms. And when people have been forever affected by senseless gun violence, it behooves all of us to respect their trepidation in respect to lax gun laws. We haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

James Brady & The Reagan Assassination Attempt
James Brady & The Reagan Assassination Attempt

So what did the framers actually mean when they wrote in the “militia” clause? Why is it even there, if it doesn’t mean what those people think it means?

You’ve no doubt heard many people argue that the 2nd amendment was written so the people could be armed to stand up to an oppressive government, and probably assumed this was just conjecture by gun-rights advocates, or based on quotes from the framers at the time.

But it’s also the real purpose behind the “militia” clause.

What they actually meant was that the government will always be a threat to become bloated and oppressive. And while a government can pass a million laws, those laws have no teeth if there is no militia to enforce them. So in order to keep that government and its enforcement wing (the militia) well-regulated, the people should be armed as well. This way, the government (and militia) always have some level of fear from the people, to balance the people’s fear of the militia. In other words, they meant for the PEOPLE to keep the MILITIA well-regulated, not for a well-regulated militia to have arms. A militia, by definition, is already armed.

So apologies to those who wish to limit our rights to bear arms, and believe the “militia” clause supports your argument. If you want to argue against gun rights, using the “militia” argument, it just isn’t consistent with the rest of the Constitution, and you’re unfortunately misinterpreting the clause.

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All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

 

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke (Disputed)

There has been much heated debate about the subject of Stand Your Ground Legislation. Proponents argue that when faced with a dangerous situation, a person’s fight-or-flight response should default to flight by law.
keep-calm-and-stand-your-ground-5[1]

Imagine a scenario where a middle-aged person of average health like myself gets confronted by a would be attacker who is much younger, fitter, stronger, and faster. I’m expected to make an attempt to flee in states where Duty-To-Retreat is the legislation du-jour instead of Stand-Your-Ground.

What happens in this scenario? Ultimately I run—hopefully to some place safe. But this creates a very unsafe situation for me instead of my attacker, because now I’m on defense and I have to hope I can run fast enough to get away. I also have to hope my attacker doesn’t have a gun, because I wouldn’t know once I started running; I have my back to them—a position that makes me as vulnerable as a person can be. Plus, like most people, I can’t outrun a bullet, if they’re armed.

In this situation, the victim is ultimately expected to put themselves in a more dangerous position because of the actions of a would-be attacker, but also they’re often expected to abandon their property as well. But why does the attacker get the benefit of having the upper hand or having their rights protected while mine are diminished?

Victim Drawing On An Attacker
Victim Drawing On An Attacker

With Stand-Your-Ground, I simply draw my gun, keep my eyes on my would-be attacker, and ultimately either they flee, or they get shot due to a scenario they created. I could flee if I thought it was the best way to protect myself, but I shouldn’t have the threat of 20-to-life hanging over me if I opt not to.

The problem has often been that politicians hear news stories about young attackers getting shot and killed and court voters as the compassionate one who feels it’s a tragedy a child is dead. While I agree it is sad on the face of it, I feel this is disgusting to act as if a young felon’s life is somehow more important than the life of the innocent victims they decided to attack.

Let’s dispel some scientific nonsense first. Nothing magical happens at 18 years of age. There’s no radical change that takes place in the human body. Making 18 the age of adulthood was something Americans decided via legislators, and it has little do with science. It is generally just that we know humans stop growing around that age, not their mental capacity to understand the weight of their actions; that varies from person to person.

To act as if a 16-year-old for instance, who is putting someone’s life or property at risk with malicious intent is somehow  innocent or unaware of what they are doing, or doesn’t understand the heinousness of the act, requires a monumental amount of ignorance.

To act as if the victim should understand the person is under 18 is equally nonsensical. Attackers usually don’t show you an I.D. first.

I don’t want anyone to die needlessly, but whatever bad outcome happens to a violent felon caught in the act, up to and including death, is justice in my eyes. Whether they are 14, 18, or 40 is irrelevant. They voluntarily chose to create this situation, and they’ll potentially pay the price for it. If so, they will serve as a warning to others not to choose a psychopath’s lifestyle.

However, an often not discussed issue I want to delve into is the psyche of the victim. While I don’t profess to live in the middle of gangland, I have had the unfortunate honor of being attacked, robbed, and had a gun put in my face at different times in my life.

While it’s easy for politicians to pass laws that a rational person would adhere to, until you’ve been victimized, it’s impossible to understand the natural and sometimes uncontrollable rage that will fill every victim who is put into that situation.

In each instance, if I had been carrying a firearm, I would have emptied it into my attacker and then probably pulled the trigger at least a dozen more times to make sure there weren’t any bullets left that my gun just somehow missed.

Now maybe you’re thinking I’m a violent guy, but I’ve genuinely never instigated a physical altercation, so the evidence indicates otherwise. These three instances are the only ones I’ve been involved in since 5th grade, and all of them were unprovoked on my part.

It is a fool’s mission to expect a reasonable person to behave reasonably when they are thrust into a situation that puts them in mortal danger. It’s hard to predict what a situation like that will do to someone, but assuming they’re not an emotionless sociopath or a trained soldier mentally equipped for such an act, it will affect them in a way they’ve never been affected before, and a controlled outcome should not be expected.

Putting innocent victims in jail because they overreacted to a violent attack is one of America’s biggest atrocities it commits on its own denizen.US Constitution

Not only do I believe that the Constitution should be amended to include Stand-Your-Ground, I also believe that the law should clearly state two things:

  1. Attackers have no rights during the commission of, or while fleeing from a felony. Nor shall they or their family have any legal right to civil damages incurred by their counter-attacker later.
  2. If the victim, or an innocent bystander harms the attacker in any way during the commission or fleeing of a felony, the person acting against the attacker should be immunized from all criminal prosecution.

(In both instances, I emphasize during the act—I do not condone hunting them down later in an act of vigilantism)

I understand that people may think my idea is radical and heartless, but you shall not convince me I’m on the moral low ground.

While I do value life, I only value the lives of people who respect the rights of others. If you opt to attack, rape, murder, or rob another person, I feel your early and untimely death will be to the benefit of humanity.

It not only protects society from your future bad acts, but if sociopathy is genetic, which some in the psychiatric profession suspect it is, the genes of a sociopath are removed from the gene pool as well. From a purely logical standpoint, my argument makes the most sense to advance society as a whole.

So what about the Edmund Burke quote? My plan would hopefully encourage the good men from the anecdote to do something instead of nothing. If a victim is killed because a good person who could have helped opted to do nothing out of a fear of prosecution for intervening, then evil will have triumphed, and the right to life isn’t nearly as Constitutionally protected as it should be.

 

The simplest way to curb ‘gun violence’ and the left hates it.

Guns have always been a part of American life. It’s in our Constitution that the citizens of this nation will be allowed to bear arms. It’s one of the fundamental principles and the undertone of the checks and balances system that this nation is known for. We are armed for a reason; to protect ourselves from the government, an idea that is still very relevant today.  As usual, American Liberals and the Liberal Establishment have decided for us. They have decided  that guns are too dangerous and since there are those people who would use them improperly, none of us should have them. The only ones that need guns are those employed by the state.

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

I happen to know that the American Liberals that are in power are usually very educated people. They come from hallowed places of higher learning Harvard, Columbia University, etc. I know these people have seen places in which the population is not armed but the government is. And yet in spite of all this, they publicly insist the answer to gun violence is to yank the guns from the hands of citizens. I believe in private, they know that isn’t the answer and I also believe they know the answer is much simpler and easier and wont require a Constitutional Convention or start another American Civil War.

The simplest way to curb gun violence is to start with the children, and begin immediately to introduce gun safety classes in junior high and high schools around the country. It sounds too simple to work, but it does work. The  left are always thrilled at the idea of teaching young people. They claim the answer to everything is ‘education,’ it’s their feel good word that makes everything better.

So why are they not jumping at this idea?  They have introduced other non-essential topics in school classes like how to engage in gay sex properly, and how to report parents to authorities for ‘parental infractions’. Why not introduce a topic that may actually help?

Why not have junior high and high school students learn about guns, what they are for, and a quick overview of what happens when a gun is used improperly? They want to teach kids how to put on condoms in 5th grade, but they don’t want to teach them about guns.  blog3

Not only would gun education classes most likely decrease the number of incidents, but it would also benefit even younger children because the older kids that would have taken this class would most likely share the information with their younger siblings. The classes don’t need to be a daily occurrence, but they can be taught in the same manner as sexual education classes. Most parents of junior high and high school kids are familiar with the permission slip that comes home with the student setting special days for sexual health classes. The same can be done with gun violence classes.family-3[1]

It’s a simple and effective way to address an issue, Also, it’s bipartisan, there are no racial overtones, and there will be no revolution or protests if this idea is on the table. And we just can’t have that, can we?

Blue Sky Poll: Guns for the poor!

As I was researching open carry laws, an idea came to me. What if the police resold confiscated guns to the underprivileged, but lawfully able masses?

Guns are expensive, and a lot of poor people are simply forced to do without one for protection. But using similar criteria to other government entitlements, police could resell these guns to people who can’t afford a new gun and help these folks out?

The money raised could help the community a bit, the cops could also engage with these people by teaching them proper safety and usage as well as building trust and respect between the police and the underprivileged who are often wary of law enforcement. Plus, we wouldn’t be destroying valuable property that many underprivileged people could really use since their communities are often the most dangerous. A lesson we should have learned with the Cash For Clunkers fiasco.

Or I could just be crazy.

But this is my first blue-sky-thinking poll, so chime in and tell me what you think. Comment below if you wish to elaborate.

Let’s Protect The Victims, Not The Felons

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

This may not seem very libertarian of me to some, but often we have our own unique views of liberty. Some libertarians are anarchists who believe in no rule of law whatsoever. But much like socialism; anarchy relies on the notion that people will always do the right thing, which is obviously unrealistic. Under anarchy, those who don’t respect the rights of others would be brought to justice solely by vigilantism; a scary proposition. As such, like socialism, anarchy would never work if we are to maintain a civilized society.

So as a logical libertarian, I feel there is a need for police to protect one person’s constitutional rights from another who might infringe upon them. If this occurs, then government applies commonly accepted justice to the offenders. However, the power to protect ourselves must remain with the people first.

Home IntruderHere’s the part where I think my opinion may be somewhat unique and controversial. While I consider myself a humanitarian, I draw a very clear and concise line on the lives I respect.

It stops at people who would willingly infringe upon my rights; such as rapists, murderers, molesters, and other violent felons. If someone breaks into my home in an attempt to take my life or property, I feel they’ve voluntarily forfeited their rights, and I will kill them with little remorse—a scenario most castle doctrines allow. I am always content to read about such attackers getting killed by either the police or their victims; it’s the epitome of swift justice.

Having liberty means that you have the right to take risks. You should be able to sky-dive, smoke a cigarette, drive without a seat belt, or drink a 20-oz soda (despite his excellency King Bloomberg’s wishes) if you so desire. So then in my opinion, if someone decides to engage in a felonious act against another person, whatever happens to them during that act was the risk they took in doing so.

If a man decides to rape a woman, and she shoots him in the back as he climbs off of her and runs away, you expect me to believe that she’s done something wrong? Yet by law, she is a murderer.

Jonathan Lowe's Mother
Jonathan Lowe’s Mother

I was disgusted last year to read about disabled veteran Jonathan Lowe being prosecuted, despite being the victim, because he stabbed a man to death who violently attacked him. How can any reasonable person consider this justice? The reason given was that the attacker had gotten up and was fleeing when Jonathan grabbed him and stabbed him, but I don’t care. Jonathan’s reaction was purely understandable.

The issue with many lawmakers and pacifists is that they’ve never been a victim of a violent crime, nor seem to appreciate the reaction it induces in even the most altruistic people. It requires unfathomable hubris to assume that they know how people will react in such a situation if they’ve not experience such an attack themselves. Controlling one’s instincts, emotions, and resultant actions after such an event is nearly impossible.

Humans have an innate sense or instinct of self-preservation. No matter how hard we might try to suppress it, we will react in an uncontrollable manner to stay alive. Don’t believe me? It is virtually impossible to commit suicide by holding your own breath. You’ll either breathe despite your best efforts not to, or you’ll pass out and then take a breath once you’re unconscious.

We’re unfairly penalizing people for succumbing to this instinct in a situation that they did not cause nor create. Once your life is threatened, unless you’re a soldier or police officer trained to stay calm in life-threatening events, temporary insanity will often ensue as you fight to stay alive and destroy that which threatens you. Anyone who has ever been violently attacked knows this.

With all that in mind, I am proposing victim protection legislation that would involve the following:

  • Duty to retreat laws should be abolished and prohibited at all levels.
  • Stand-your-ground-legislation should be a constitutionally enumerated right.
  • A carry-conceal permit from one state should be recognized by all states, just as a driver’s license currently is.
  • Committing an unprovoked felony would constitute a total forfeiture of rights under the law during the commission and escape of the felony by the felon.
  • The state, nor the perpetrator and their family should ever be allowed to criminally or civilly prosecute a victim, Samaritan, or officer who retaliated against the felon, no matter what injuries the felon may have sustained as long as the actions were committed during the commission of, or the fleeing from, the crime scene. If the felon escapes visual contact, only then should the victim or defender be required to cease any attempt to retaliate and allow the police to take over. as to stop vigilantism.
  • If someone retaliates recklessly, such as shooting a fleeing felon on a city street, the original victim could be charged for discharging a weapon within city limits or other applicable crimes, but the victim could not be charged in any way for a crime against the felon.

I specified “unprovoked” so that random bar fights and other escalations that started off civilly and grew to a felony would be treated differently. My act should only pertain to violent felonies involving premeditated intent, not flared tempers.

Police OfficerOne of the reasons crime is so prevalent is that criminals have too many protections under the law that embolden them. If more Americans armed themselves, and more would-be felons were killed by people who stood up to defend each other, then would-be-criminals who are on the fence about committing a felony might think twice.

I have a great amount of respect for our people in uniform overseas and on America’s streets. But I’m sick of the police telling me that I should allow myself to be victimized because the felon has rights too.

If the police had a 100% prosecution rate, if a victim’s property was always returned in tact, and the victim never suffered permanent bodily injury or emotional damage, maybe I could go along with giving the felons rights. But conviction rates are around 80%, and that’s only when they are able to find and arrest a defendant. Plus, property loss along with physical and emotional injury are the norm.

So with respect Mr. Police Officer or politician that thinks I should be bound by law to behave rationally when faced with an irrational attack—f*** you. I’ve been the victim of a violent crime twice in my life, and both times wasn’t armed. To this day, I regret not being able to retaliate against those thugs, and that was decades ago. Hopefully there isn’t a third, but if there is, armed with my pistol, I intend to be severely more prepared. Best of luck to my attacker (not really), but be assured I’ll be calling the police to send the coroner, not asking for them to come save me when they can get around to it.

We need science, not knee-jerk reactions

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Previously, I showed that stats don’t add up when making the case that gun owners are dangerous. Conservative estimates show that for every one person who murders with a gun in a given year, there are approximately 100,000 that own guns without incident—1:100,000 does not a  pattern make, by any standard.Armalite AR-15

I do not subscribe to the, do-something-even-if-it’s-wrong mantra. If the desired outcome is a positive result, doing the wrong thing is fundamentally illogical, and will in all likelihood make matters worse—the infamous Washington DC Gun Ban is a prime example.

When children die, it’s always tragic. Being the intelligent beings we humans are, it’s in our nature to solve problems—that’s a basic part of our evolution. A tragedy such as Sandy Hook would push anyone to action, even if that action was contrary to their own long-held beliefs.

For instance, the famous skeptic Dr Michael Shermer, someone whom I greatly admire and partially credit for shaping my way of thinking, wrote this article  in January of 2012, only to reverse course a bit in the wake of this recent tragedy; he now compassionately asks for a restriction on guns.

I respect the passion with which people have decided to come out in favor of banning so-called “Assault” rifles (a made up term), their concern is understandable. The fact that someone famous for always putting logic over passion like Dr. Shermer can change his opinion shows this issue can move anyone.blog4

But, I believe removing guns from law-abiding and sane citizens will only save one potential victim while making a potential victim out of another. It seems more of a knee-jerk reaction than a logically deduced solution.

We know how many lives were ended by guns, however we can never know the lives saved because a killer was stopped by a good Samaritan with a gun.

For instance, if the Sandy Hook shooter had been shot by a teacher immediately after killing his first victim, there would have been no way to know he would have went on to kill 25 more. As such, you should be wary of anyone who says they have data proving that guns kill more lives than they save. Such numbers are purely theoretical and often swayed by the writer’s opinion.

One common attack levied at gun control dissenters is, “Yes, let’s do nothing.” Sadly, this is a straw man argument that does nothing to further intelligent discussion. Most rational people are not proposing we do nothing, certainly not me. So making that statement towards gun control skeptics as if we advocate doing nothing, then attacking us for being do-nothing people is insulting and wrong.

So in the wake of this awful tragedy, I am proposing we use good science to improve this issue.

In order to keep this story reasonably short, I’m going to focus on spree killers such as the Sandy Hook shooter (for the record, I am purposefully not mentioning the name). If we are to get serious about reducing all violent crime, repealing “vice” laws against certain drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc., is needed. We know this because repealing prohibition worked, yet for reasons of religious ideology, we continue to ban many other victimless crimes because zealots consider them to be immoral.

One of the traits that seems very common amongst spree killers of any type, whether they use a gun, bomb, arson, or any other deadly means of attack, is that they often had a documented history of mental illness and/or psychopathic behavior.

Based on this information, I believe there is usable data that is not being fully taken advantage of. What I am proposing is that the American Psychological Association (APA) have a convention where an open invitation is sent to any psychiatrist who has treated a patient who went on to commit these heinous acts. americanpsychoass[1]

Those doctors would confer and collect data about common traits that were exhibited amongst most or all of the attackers they worked with. This data would be published in medical journals for other mental health professionals to review and provide relevant feedback. The APA would then assemble a list of traits they feel are consistent among spree killers while ruling out those traits that were consistent among killers and non-killers alike. Once we have done this, we should have a reasonable collection of warning signs that can be shared with the public so that we can be aware of what to look for amongst society.

This approach is similar to what was asked of us after 9/11 where the public was given warning signs to look out for to prevent terrorism. If a family member, friend, or acquaintance is behaving in a manner consistent with the behavioral patterns of these killers, we can be more prepared to act.

Gun owners like me for instance, might lock up our guns in a secure safe or remove them from the house altogether. We could call a local medical health facility about what we’ve seen to determine if the person in question may need evaluated. If the person has already been diagnosed and prescribed medication for their issues, we must be diligent about reporting if they go off their meds, which may result in violence.

One look at the Giffords shooter’s (Also not mentioning his name) YouTube videos was rather convincing that the man needed help. I feel that if mental health professionals worked harder at getting info to the public about what to look for and when to report it, the caring among us would do exactly that, and unlike gun bans, lives could be saved with few deadly unintended consequences.

Murder rate statistics of the United States show we are well below average among the rest of the world, so being an alarmist is hyperbole at best—we are not experiencing an epidemic, and immediate action isn’t needed. Other studies have shown that violent crime is simply in steady decline around the world. As we evolve as a species, we become more intelligent, and less violent.

But politicians use hyperbole to advance a political agenda like Gordon Ramsay uses swear words to make a point. There is no epidemic, spike in violence, or reason for panic. What is needed are clear thinking medical scientists applying the scientific method towards mental health issues, then educating the public on how best to deal with them.

As a libertarian, I cringe at the notion of government locking someone up on the premise they might be a threat before they’ve actually done anything wrong. So I believe incarceration should only be done at the behest of licensed medical professionals, and there should be appeals in place to help these people get a second opinion if they feel they are being unfairly detained.

While I’m advocating for advancements in mental health science, and using those advancements to identify threats and potentially get them out of society until they are no longer deemed a threat, it is imperative that like our prison system, we take every step to not detain someone who is of little threat to society.519x361[1]

Logical Americans must demand we use science, not knee-jerk reactions and politically motivated legislation to solve our problems. There’s a reason we have cures for thousands of diseases, rovers on Mars, and mobile phones the size of a playing card—it’s called the scientific method. Unlike politicians and hyperbole, it leads to truths and it actually works—let’s stick with it.

 

Illogical Arguments That Destroy Your Rights

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As we consider how America should respond to recent gun violence and other issues in our country, those eager to take away constitutional  freedoms from millions of law-abiding citizens to thwart future bad acts of a few, often resort to tried and true arguments with little concern for the fact they are completely illogical.

For instance, if you’ve been watching the gun debate recently, one critic of gun rights, CNN’s Piers Morgan, routinely states that no one can make an argument why people need guns such as the Armalite AR-15 platform (contrary to belief, the A is for Armalite, not assault). This statement would only be relevant or logical in a country where freedom is not the default.

I cannot stress enough that in a free country, the starting point is that everything should be legal. From there, we make a case with a well-reasoned argument where We the people agree that something should be made illegal because one person’s right to do it infringes on the rights of another.Piers Morgan

So as we move into the well-reasoned arguments for criminalization and regulation, let me outline one that is commonly improperly formulated; the cause-and-effect argument.

Starting with the aforementioned gun debate, some argue that gun owners are dangerous people. However, a proper analysis of the numbers clearly refutes this. There are approximately 80 million adults in America who own guns and nearly 11,000 criminal gun deaths. That means that 0.01% of gun owners kill, leaving 99.99% who don’t. So by no proper mathematical analysis can you argue gun owners are unsafe when for every one killer among us gun owners, there are 9,999 who are not.Armalite AR-15

Another similar false cause-and-effect argument is that marijuana is a gateway drug. People assert that by virtue of using marijuana, the drug triggers the user to gravitate to harder and more dangerous drugs. The first issue with this argument is that studies show alcohol is usually the drug that addicts of harder drugs start with. Once bored with that, they may gravitate to marijuana, then harder drugs after that. But because alcohol is legal, it is often removed from the dialogue.

But the reason alcohol and marijuana are the drugs people usually start with in the first place is by virtue of their abundance in the marketplace. They are simply the ones most readily available, and therefore, the ones people most often initially experiment with.

But I want to focus on these cause-and-effect arguments as they are completely backwards. In order to argue cause-and-effect, we first start with the cause (in this case marijuana users) and then see how many effects (harder drug use) result. But, the opposite is occurring.

Let me give an example to prove my point. We know that all Boston Celtics are basketball players, but not all basketball players are Boston Celtics—thousands in fact are not, nor ever will be. So those making the marijuana gateway drug cause-and-effect argument falsely are arguing that by virtue of being a basketball player, you are likely to become a Boston Celtic. While many kids with a basketball in their hands might love this notion, there are almost infinitely more with broken dreams and a regular job.Boston Celtics Logo

While I have never used marijuana, I happen to know many habitual users. They’re in the millions across America, so I’m sure you do to.

Like me, I would hope you’ve noticed that most of them have used it for years without ever graduating to cocaine, meth, or anything else. So I’d like to think you knew all along this argument was wrong, but simply hard a hard time refuting the math people gave you because you weren’t aware of their flawed methodology. Now that you realize it’s a false premise, you’ll be better prepared to refute such nonsense in the future.

As a poker player, I’ve seen how such arguments destroy liberty and ruin lives. Look no further than online poker’s infamous Black Friday. Thousands of American rounders were literally forced into unemployment as they were denied their rights to earn an honest living playing a game of skill based on the cause-and-effect argument that gambling ruins lives and therefore should be regulated or outlawed completely.

First let me point out that poker isn’t gambling—it is a game of skill. It has even been ruled as such by the federal government since 1986. So we have people who falsely consider poker to be a game of random chance, who then make it illegal using another false argument of the backwards cause-and-affect. 

Millions of people visit casinos every year without losing their house, car, or child’s college fund, yet because every gambling addict who did lose everything started in a casino, the significantly greater portion who can responsibly lay a few bucks on the line get punished. We can no longer enjoy the one form of entertainment that might actually pay us back.Poker's Pocket Rockets

So next time someone uses the false cause-and-effect argument to take away your rights, I hope this will help you to be better prepared to take them down by destroying their poor methodology.  More importantly, the next time someone says to you, “Why do you need that gun, drug, etc.?,” you can respond by saying something like this:

This is a free country, I don’t have to make such an argument—everything should be legal here. The onus is on you to make a case for making it illegal by explaining how me enjoying that freedom infringes upon your rights. If you cannot make such a case, we’re done here.

If we’re lucky, they will either have an epiphany and embrace freedom like you and I, or they will remain swathed in a blanket of ignorance and intolerance as they wrongly argue to oppress you by using false arguments and logical fallacies under the guise that it’s “For your own good.”