Words matter

Suffolk debates “Gun violence awareness.”

Another example showing that Mom’s Demand Action is not about saving lives but about banning guns.

A resolution opposing violence and seeking solutions is being hotly debated because MOM’s opposes it unless it is called “gun violence”

It is important not to lose control of the language.  Use of the term ‘gun violence’ presupposes that the solution is ridding the country of guns instead of addressing why a very tiny fraction of gun owners engages in violence.

42 thoughts on “Words matter

    1. First determine the reason that people are willing to kill other than in self defense, and address that problem.

      But as soon as you make the issue about guns, all other factors are ignored.


          1. Williams is using the number of unwed mothers (increasing for all demographics) as a proxy for the welfare state. He provides no evidence to support his assertions about “the true black tragedy.” We’re meant to take his assumptions at face value.

            I consider the household arrangements of everyone else none of my business, and I resent those who try to use the state to impose their idea of morality. I was under the impression that was one of the major “libertarian” positions, but maybe that has changed.
            If you’re not even willing to entertain the notion that violence and criminal behavior in general might have some societal causes (lower violent crime rates among most OECD countries seem to suggest this), are you really interested in addressing the problem, or are you just concerned something might inconvenience you slightly?

            Liked by 2 people

          2. libertarians do not impose their morality on others, but neither do we impose the burden for the costs of irresponsible choices on uninvolved others.

            Weh you subsidize irresponsible choices with taxpayer’s money, you are actively encouraging more irresponsible choices.

            That is what led to the breakup of families and the high crime rate among matriarchal single parent families.


          3. So then let’s talk about costs. Which is more costly, a few dollars out of your paycheck or an entire growing class of people predisposed to crime, be it through violent impulses or the incentives of having to make a living in the way that’s available to them?

            Liked by 2 people

          4. As Williams points out, the violence and family decay among the poor did not become common until after the Great Society.

            Trying to bribe the underclass to placate them is doing the same thing and expecting different results.


          5. I’m not interested in what Williams thinks. It’s boilerplate conservative mantra–that assistance actually hurts people. We’ve all heard it a thousand times and it doesn’t seem to be working particularly well.

            It’s not bribing people to placate them. It’s making sure people with mental illness are able to get treatment. Or kids who were exposed to lead because their landlord decided it cost too much to comply with the law are compensated and receive treatment. It’s making sure school aged children have quality schools to attend and a safe place to go before/after school while their guardians are working. It’s giving people a way to have recreation if they don’t have much spending money. Providing a modicum of comfort and dignity for the underclass that capitalism necessitates is a way to reduce violence and crime. Dismissing it out of hand shows you’re not actually serious about solving any problems. Why the pretense?

            Liked by 2 people

          6. And yet, prior to the Great Society all those ills existed and yet families remained the strength of the poor.

            It took welfare to kick that support out from under them.

            So, you don’t like Williams’ explanation. He documents his assertions, tell us where he is wrong.


          7. “He documents his assertions, tell us where he is wrong.”
            He hasn’t demonstrated where he is right. They are mere assertions.

            But let’s take your examples from your conversation with Paul… If drugs weren’t criminalized, and especially so in black neighborhoods, and well-paying jobs were available for people without technical skills, Drug War violence wouldn’t happen. If women had a strong safety net to rely on, they wouldn’t be “incentivized” to stay with abusive partners.

            Liked by 2 people

          8. I would agree that the drug war unnecessarily increases violence.

            There are good jobs available for people without advanced education, the only requirement is that you show up on time and work hard for a few years on entry level jobs.


          9. Do you have a source for that or is this also mere assertion? This is one of those “truisms” well-off people who’ve never had to do it love to throw around, that actual conditions on the ground don’t seem to bear out.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. “well-off people who’ve never had to do it love to throw around,”

            Well, in my own experience, my first job was as an orderly in a Catholic hospital that was exempt from minimum wage laws, then I worked as a laborer in construction, then a deckhand on a tugboat, then a night lab tech. My first job that wasn’t minimum wage was as a dentist,

            But more importantly, I spent my life treating blue collar patients, by choice. Those are the people I like, and as you might guess, I talked with them a lot about life.

            I don’t know one of them who worked hard and showed up on time who still worked minimum wage after 2 years. Of course, I also knew others who just couldn’t get it together and never advanced.


          11. We’ve all worked construction as young men. My point was, you didn’t get to be a seemingly successful dentist by starting out as the janitor there.

            As to your second point, from what I’ve heard from people who were there in the post-war years, it was indeed the case for many parts of the country that good work was available to those willing and able to do it. That is no longer the case.

            Liked by 1 person

          12. Good jobs readily available?

            What is your evidence?

            1. You were able to get a job some 50 years ago
            2. You have talked to people.

            3. Times have changed.

            4. You talked to people who could afford dentistry.

            Liked by 1 person

          13. “As Williams points out, the violence and family decay among the poor did not become common until after the Great Society.”

            Williams can point out any “alternative fact” that he wants, but history does not care. In fact, wave after wave of the immigrant poor lived lives of extreme family dysfunction in the tenements of our cities from the earliest days of the country. Look it up.

            Liked by 1 person

          1. Who has advocated violence in resisting taxation for social programs?

            Certainly it is bad policy and theft by proxy as well, but I have heard no calls for violent resistance.


          2. “Who has advocated violence in resisting taxation for social programs?”


            Every time you refer to taxation that you oppose not as “bad policy” but as “theft” and “tyranny” and “government thugs” you are advocating violence because violence is a legitimate response to theft, tyranny and thuggery. Somebody here today said . . . “Words matter.” They were right.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. And I have consistently approached the problems through legislative or judicial means.

            Violence become appropriate when you are denied redress through the rule of law or access to the marketplace of ideas.


          4. Still, “words matter.”

            You cannot claim to be for legal remedies while using the rhetoric you indulge in. You may not get “redress” (having your way?) through the law. What then are you going to do about “theft” and “tyranny?”

            Liked by 1 person

  1. “Use of the term ‘gun violence’ presupposes that the solution is ridding the country of guns”…

    2A fears not ever coming to the fore. Paranoia can be a dangerous thing.


  2. Unless you have a better name for the plague of gun violence that is almost unique to our country then your quibbling about the language is essentially hot air. The problem is very real no matter what it is called. And reducing the number of guns – especially handguns – WILL help solve it as it has in every other country that took the problem seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Language matters

      A significantly larger percentage of young Black males are involved in deadly violence than gun owners in general, so we could call it Black violence and be more accurate, but i doubt that would go over well and it still doesn’t really name the problem.

      You could call it Drug War violence, and be a lot closer to right.

      Or matriarchal family violence. That would be much closer to accurate than Gun Violence.

      But simply blaming guns does not address the underlying problem.


      1. The term “gun violence” is descriptive. It is not “blaming guns.”

        There is not just one problem underlying gun violence. There are many. But there IS just one thing that is common to all instances of gun violence – the presence of a gun. That is why other countries with ALL the same underlying problems have far less gun violence – they have reduced the ubiquity of guns that we think is “normal.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Actually, there is another thing more common to instances of violence, and that would be human beings.

          So by your logic, it should be called human violence.

          And absent consequences, violence is ubiquitous to humanity. Guns deter that characteristics.

          Guns are used to deter crimes far more often that commit them.

          Prior to firearms, strength and practice at violence made right.

          ‘God made all men, Col Colt made the equal.’


          1. “‘God made all men, Col Colt made the equal.’”

            Jefferson thinks you are full of it. “ALL men are created equal”, Col Colt just armed them.


          2. Yeah, unaccompanied 110 pound women have always been equal to 200 pound male sociopaths.

            The quote comes from a late 19th century advertisement for purse sized handguns for women.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. “Human violence”

            The word “Human” adds nothing to the word “violence” that we do not already know. The word “gun” does. It differentiates this extremely dangerous form of violence from other types of violence. So, you have failed to provide a reasonable substitute for “gun violence” and I will continue to use that phrase to refer to, uh, you know, gun violence.

            Guns definitely are equalizers. No argument there. The most weak and pitiful gunslinger is more deadly than the most skilled swordsman. But, what is your point? There is no evidence that MORE guns means more safety and less violence. In fact, the presence of more guns makes every town, city, state, country more dangerous than they would otherwise be. In fact, people carrying guns are more prone to violence of all kinds since they have their little friends as backup. It is a PROVEN fact that strong gun controls reduce violent deaths. It is a epidemological fact that you are twice as likely to die of a homicide if there is a gun in your home. And five times as likely to die in a suicide. But yes, they do make you a more dangerous killer. You are right about that.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Currently, defense uses, including deterrence, outnumbers criminal uses of guns by millions of instances.

            When you go to an ATM and don’t get robbed, that is in part because the criminals don’t know you aren’t me.


          5. ATM safety.

            You live in a very, very dark world in your fearful imagination. Other countries where almost nobody has a gun are far more safe than ours at ATMs and everywhere else. I personally have taken money from ATMs in the UK, Iceland, France, Germany, Belgium, Costa Rica and even Italy and was not robbed or afraid of being robbed. Can you believe it?

            I wonder if this fearfulness goes back to the Louisiana culture of your youth where white men felt the need for guns to control bigger and stronger black men? You seem to bring up African-Americans a lot when the subject of gun control is raised.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Currently, defense uses, including deterrence, outnumbers criminal uses of guns by millions of instances.

            Millions? Statistics are so handy, especially when you can make up or cherry-pick your own. These claims of massive numbers of defensive uses of guns are thoroughly unreliable based on very unprofessional methods. This is explained here . . .


            Liked by 1 person

          7. Both of your cites are to the same article by David Hemenway, which is purely speculative, based not on direct interviews but on “experts” opinions about those surveys.

            Even Obama’s (buried) CDC study directly contradicts Hemenway


          8. Putting “expert” in quotes as if he is not is just form of the ad hominem argument. Where is he wrong? He makes very clear points about the flawed methodologies used to arrive at these figures in the millions.

            The CDC – in discussing the public health implications of gun violence – references a range of studies with wildly varying numbers. It does not endorse any of them. The analysis by Kleck of the “hidden” CDC data – which seems to be the basis for your claim – was withdrawn by the author. That is what happens when you run into scathing peer review.

            Common sense – if you have some – says that these figures in the millions are a fantasy. If it were real we would all have seen such a defensive display many times over. More reliable studies based on actual reports of criminal behavior put the number in the thousands – not the millions.

            It is kind of laughable to see these gun lovers claim that defensive use of guns save millions of lives each year IF you stop and think for a moment. Who would be killing you and with what save for your waving your trusty little friend? Or, who is deterred from killing you at the ATM. Uh, that would be somebody with a gun.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. I put ‘experts’ in quotes because Hemenway did no original research, he just asked the opinion of other gun control advocates.

            I don’t think anyone claimed that ‘millions of lives were saved’ the claim was of crimes prevented. And of course it is difficult to determine the actual number. When a plane crashes, we’re pretty good at determining why that happened, but less good at determining why thousands of others did not.

            Still, the lowest number I can find for crimes prevented based on actual research is 760,000.

            Of course, the real experts are the criminals, and they overwhelmingly agree that they avoid victims who might be armed.



          10. Your reason for the ad hominem attack is not sound.
            Hemenway was critiquing flawed methodology not offering research.

            “Still, the lowest number I can find for crimes prevented based on actual research is 760,000.”

            Uh, maybe you are looking in the wrong place? If you had actually read the critique done by Hemenway you would find his reference to the National Crime Victimization Survey done by the Census Bureau (“NVCS”) near the beginning. That study found 65,000 defensive uses of guns per year. Studies from the NVCS data in subsequent years find similar levels and never much more that 100,000.

            As for your quoting of the “hidden” CDC study, you have been had. It does not say what you think it says. It was not a study of defensive uses. It was a study of studies. And included damning critiques of those studies in the millions.


            Finally, and this is the crux of the matter, the overall picture is clear and well-documented. More guns do NOT reduce violence. They increase it.


            Liked by 1 person

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