Discussing Gun Control with George Costanza

Recently Actor Jason Alexander, who is most famous as George Costanza on Seinfeld, like so many celebrities have been doing, tweeted about gun control in the wake of the tragedy in Colorado. He wrote,

“I cannot understand support for legality of the kind of weapon in this massacre. It’s a military weapon. Why should it be in non-mil hands?”

Okay, fine. That’s a discussion worth having. There is an answer to his question, and I would be happy to explain it to Mr. Alexander over a cup of coffee, if he would like. Though, I get the feeling his stance is already solidified and his question is more rhetorical than real. But still, my offer stands…

However, according to George… er, I mean, Alexander, he has been getting quite a bit of responses to his comment. They have been, according to Alexander, “challenging at the least, hostile and vitriolic at the worst.”

In a post, clarifying his position, Alexander wrote a lengthy response to those who have responded with hostility. He writes,

“Clearly, the angry, threatened and threatening, hostile comments are coming from gun owners and gun advocates. Despite these massacres recurring and despite the 100,000 Americans that die every year due to domestic gun violence – these people see no value to even considering some kind of control as to what kinds of weapons are put in civilian hands.”

I have no idea where he got 100,000 deaths. That is just plain, unadulterated garbage. The numbers throughout the last ten years have been hovering around 30,000 deaths per year, with roughly 60% being suicides. Discounting suicides, we are looking at around 12,000 deaths per year. That is a huge leap from 100,000, eh Georgie? He further writes,

“Many of [gun-rights activists] cite patriotism as their reason – true patriots support the Constitution adamantly and wholly. Constitution says citizens have the right to bear arms in order to maintain organized militias… So the patriots are correct, gun ownership is in the constitution – if you’re in a well-regulated militia.”

A) The Second Amendment states an individual right that exists in addition to a militia.

B) That individual right has been affirmed and clarified by the Supreme Court with the Heller decision.

And C) A militia does not need exist under the supervision of government to be legitimate. I would submit that the militias that fought for independence were far from “legitimate” in the eyes of the British crown. In fact, the purpose of a militia is to operate as a sleeping entity, only aroused when tyranny is afoot and common citizens are needed to push back against governmental forces. When this happens, to whom should the common citizen turn to obtain useful weapons? And that is why the common citizen needs, and is granted with, the right to bear arms comparable to military-issued weapons.

He further explains,

“There is no excuse for the propagation of these weapons. They are not guaranteed or protected by our constitution… These weapons are military weapons. They belong in accountable hands, controlled hands and trained hands. They should not be in the hands of private citizens to be used against police, neighborhood intruders or people who don’t agree with you. These are the weapons that maniacs acquire to wreak murder and mayhem on innocents. They are not the same as handguns to help homeowners protect themselves from intruders. They are not the same as hunting rifles or sporting rifles. These weapons are designed for harm and death on big scales.”

I will happily encourage all right-wingers with AR-15s to relinquish their oh-so-scary rifles when anybody, celebrity or otherwise, can point out to me where in the Constitution the provision of private ownership of rifles for the expressed purpose of hunting is. In my office, I have a copy of the Constitution hanging on my wall, and I can find no provisions for hunting rifles. What I have found, however, is a handy little phrase that states, “…shall not be infringed.” I take notice at the fact that it does not say, “…shall only be infringed upon a little bit by ‘common sense’ restrictions.”

Gun-control proponents try and restrict the kinds of bullets in guns, the capacity of magazines and the most effective weapons at defending oneself, his family or his country. It’s as if they’re promoting an idea of, “We have no problem with people owning guns, just not the kind of guns that are actually useful.”

Liberals labor under a myth that if it were not for the so-called “assault weapons”, casualties of rampages would be very few. It’s just not true. Seung Hui-Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, used two handguns with standard magazines. He killed 32 people and injured 17. In 1966, Charles Whitman climbed a bell tower at the University of Texas at Austin and killed 16 people and wounded 32 others. He didn’t use an AR-15, high capacity magazines or hollow-point bullets. His main weapon? A Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, a hunting rifle capable of firing one bullet at a time.

Then, Alexander’s rant takes a turn towards the weird side,

“SO WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM? WHY DO YOU NOT, AT LEAST, AGREE TO SIT WITH REASONABLE PEOPLE FROM BOTH SIDES AND ASK HARD QUESTIONS AND LOOK AT HARD STATISTICS AND POSSIBLY MAKE SOME COMPROMISES FOR THE GREATER GOOD? SO THAT MOTHERS AND FATHERS AND CHILDREN ARE NOT SLAUGHTERED QUITE SO EASILY BY THESE MONSTERS? HOW CAN IT HURT TO STOP DEFENDING THESE THINGS AND AT LEAST CONSIDER HOW WE CAN ALL WORK TO TRY TO PREVENT ANOTHER DAY LIKE YESTERDAY? …I’ll say it plainly – if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to “pry it from my cold, dead hand”, then they are probably planning on using them on people.”

Mothers and fathers and children slaughtered? This is not My Lai, the streets are not running red with the blood of mothers and children. Maniacs kill, and statistics show that they are less successful in doing so in a well-armed population.

“if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them”? “… then they are probably planning on using them on people”? What sort of spotty, speculative logic is this? If someone buys a hunting knife, can we conclude that they mean to become a modern day Jack the Ripper? No, of course not. But, I will admit, Alexander is right about one thing- if someone wants these weapons they intend to use them. He’s right, I, myself have murdered hundreds of paper targets and even a few coffee cans. However, not once have I gone on a rampage. “Probably planning on using them on people”? Please…

I spend a large amount of my time calling out ignorance from the left.  More than merely “getting my way”, I am far more interested in the process of rational discourse. More than the ends, the means, the process that enables our republic to continue, is the most important function. Alexander’s contentions may come from a well-intentioned place, but they are completely emotion-driven and not bound by any realities of our world. If what he says is true, and people have irrationally hurled obscenities and threats, then I fully condemn them. I applaud Mr. Alexander for attempting to have a conversation regarding the issues, but what appears conspicuously absent from his assertions are the marks of rational thought, a cursory understanding of constitutional construction and permissibility and a certain continuity of thought found in logic-based assessments of issues.

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9 Responses to Discussing Gun Control with George Costanza

  1. Steve Burke says:

    The key word her here is rational. Most rational people ( not mindless zealots) would agree that if we are going to allow these military weapons to be sold then at the very least in every State in the Union there should be strict regulations as to who can have them, like no one with a felony record, no one with a history of mental illness, no one with a history of drug abuse, no one with a history of spousal abuse or child abuse.
    I think rational people could discuss this in any State in the Union if the NRA and the gun manufacturers could see their way clear to allowing the conversation to happen
    without calling out their pit bulls.

    • SirGareth says:

      The M1 rifle has been used by the military for most of a century. Its a 30-06 semi-automatic and also a popular big game rifle. The thing that make it different from the AR15 is that the M1 can bring down an elephant with ease whereas the AR15 is simply designed as a light low mass rifle most often used to disable rather than kill. The assault rifle was so named because it was a small less deadly rifle than the ones that preceded it.

      • Christian says:

        Is that a Glock 26 with a 10+2 magazine eexntsion, I think it is!I spent the afternoon Saturday learning how to completely disassemble those and put them back together again. There were three women in the class, all sat together.Many people, including me, think that the Glock is the most reliable, strong, and safe (when handled after proper training) handgun in the world. Statistics, however, show that most women feel more comfortable with a revolver than an automatic like the Glock. I have no idea why. But I do know from experience that some of the trainers mentioned in this and other posts have become so beholden to this idea that if a woman is going to learn to shoot, she has to learn with an automatic, that they have frighted quite a number of formerly enthusiatic and sincerely interested women away from their classes.I wish they would re-think this training strategy and the way they treat well intentioned women in teir classes. Most women do not want to be on a SWAT team, but there are many who would like to develop their self defence skills with a gun they feel comfortable with.

    • SirGareth says:

      Today in order to purchase a gun from a FFL dealer, you must pass a background check.

      My daughter did not purchase her .357 revolver; I gave it to her. She passed my “background check” what is wrong with that?

      Should I call the FBI to investigate her or rely upon my own judgement?

      I think she has a right to defend herself and that’s good enough for me.

    • SirGareth says:

      You don’t appear to be educated on this matter.

      1) The second amendment was to allow Americans “hunting rights”.
      True or False

      2) Without the second amendment Americans have no right to own firearms
      True of False

      3) The “militia” is just an old fashioned word for “the national guard”
      True or False

      4) The right to bear arms is a natural or God granted right. No agent of government can take it away without due process of law
      True or False

      5) Besides personnel protection, the founders enshrined the right of citizens to keep and bear arms as a surety against future government tyranny.
      True or False

      Ill grade your test and provide source for all answers

      20 points for each correct answer; can you pass with 100 points?

      • Erick says:

        Our prospective dagteuhr-in-law was hunting elk for 4 days before she and my son came down for Christmas. It was close to the perfect hunt – saw and pursued lots of animals through the rain forest, heard them all around her and had to stalk, had to pass some up in a clearcut owing to unknown landownership, saw one in range and had to decide not to shoot him. She was intensely excited (though elkless) when she arrived. Santa and the elves had been at work, and she received a Savage 16FSS in .308 when she got here – not to my mind as handsome as a traditional walnut-and-blued-steel rifle, but Santa thought it would be more serviceable in a rain forest. I’ve rarely seen a happier recipient. Even though the sights were not in yet, she wanted to try it out, just shooting at the backstop. “Oh! It’s really powerful!” And when we were getting ready to leave, “This is My rifle.” I foresee much meat for their family.

  2. B Hahn says:

    I am so speechless and amazed by these views that even would make a movie not trustworthy.

    The author wrote this “…shall only be infringed upon a little bit by ‘common sense’ restrictions.”

    So, even the phrase “common sense” has to be redefined into something negative and threatning in order to keep toying with guns. I see trucks loaded with 11 – 12 year old really cool kids in central africa firing their arms into the sky. Are they cool? Would I like to be one of them?

    But of course, in pair with all false and made up citats on the internet supposedly made by fat men wearing 1800 clothing and circus hats expressing hate against the government, president, taxes or any form or anti-anarchy I can see the need for a personal warhead. It must be horrible to live in a country where the own government is the worst enemy. How could I even understand beeing in such a situation, I’m just from sweden?

  3. Javier says:

    General consensus with the rest of the falimy is that the more they try to protect their child by shielding him from the world, the harder time he’ll have when he finally goes out into the world without their protection.At over 5 years of age, I still believe they haven’t let him have a sleepover at his grandparents house. They don’t think he’d handle it well. And they only live two miles away. :-) But that’s another story for another blog post. I should keep it on topic of the original gun post.I’ve never owned a gun myself, but I used .22 rifles and 12 and 20 gauge shotguns a few times in my as a pre-teen and teen. I have fond memories of trap and skeet and target shooting. I want my kids to experience this, and not to be afraid of guns. I understand that there are gun clubs in the area that are very falimy friendly and I look forward to taking the falimy for lessons on gun safety and use. I think it will be a great experience for all. Maybe even take Grandma and Grandpa with us.So I appreciate the gun posts from both you and Glenn and some of the other bloggers. Happy New Year!

  4. John D Smith says:

    If the Principal and the teachers were trained in the proper use of handguns and were carrying that morning, not one child would have had to die. It’s as simple as that.
    As for the second amendment, defending one’s self is God given right, the Bill of Right only protects that right. There is nothing in the constitution that says just because someone hates guns that they have the right to force me to give up mine. People like Alexander spew out the usual gibberish that has no basis in fact and they think that if they scream loudenought to make people listen to them they can win their arguments without any regard for the facts.

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