On Guns and Lies

Sometimes it astonishes me how blindly people will accept something as the truth, no matter how ridiculous it appears on the surface. I don’t mean to single out any particular group, but conservatives seem especially guilty of doing this. They are letting pure emotion override rationality, and it’s awfully disturbing, especially when the truth is literally a ten-second mouse click away.

This morning, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across a post from a former coworker who is staunchly right wing. She has been posting drivel for weeks now, complaining about how the government is going to take away her guns (not true) and comparing Obama to Hitler (an assertion so ridiculous it’s infuriating). Today, she posted a link – as fact – declaring that political commentator James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager and a prominent champion of the Democratic Party, had made a speech in which he insulted his political base, calling Democrats dumb, lazy, and easily manipulated, and labeling them “a herd of cows.”

Now, wait a second. Does anybody honestly believe James Carville – a key figurehead in the Democratic party – would say something like that?

Apparently, they do. And they repost that garbage as fact, without taking the time or effort to see if it’s – oh, you know – actually true. I guess the devil’s in the details, right? This bothers me to no end. It’s leading to a society of followers (NOW who is part of that herd mentality?) too lazy to do a little bit of research, content instead to be spoon-fed lies.

I almost unfriended this person on general principle, but it’s much more fun calling her out and posting rebuttals with links to Snopes.com. I’ll admit, I get off on Snopesing people! (I also get off on turning nouns into verbs). If you’re ever wondering whether something is true or an urban legend, Snopes it. The truth is out there, folks. And it ain’t hard to find. I told this person, “If something smells like bullshit, it probably is.” The scary thing is, she probably didn’t think it smelled like bullshit at all, but whatever.

It’s not just this one person, either. I’ve seen a lot of people fret about having to give up their guns. Do they think the government is going to come into their homes and confiscate their legally-purchased pistols and rifles? How paranoid are they? Bitch all you want about 2nd Amendment rights, Mr. Obama is not proposing we intrude upon those. He wants more extensive background checks and would like a ban on assault weapons, two positions that just reek of common sense. If Thomas Jefferson et. al. could have foreseen the proliferation of AK47s and Glocks, I bet they would have worded things a little differently, anyway. And on a similar note, who says those Constitutional amendments are carved in stone and untouchable, anyway? Times (and mores) change. We didn’t have a problem repealing Prohibition or deciding that women should be allowed to vote, did we?

This is the world I long for. (Courtesy of themoderatevoice.com).
This is the world I long for. (Courtesy of themoderatevoice.com).

And if I hear “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” one more time, I am going to scream. Guns kill people every day. That is an unassailable truth, regardless of whether it takes a person to squeeze the trigger or not. Guns make the job a whole lot easier. Did you know that on the same day as the Newtown killing spree, a man in China walked into an elementary school and attacked twenty-two children? Fortunately, not a single one died. And do you know why those kids were spared? The attacker used a knife. Because gun laws in China make it very difficult to obtain a gun. I know that you can’t completely prevent a person from getting his or her hands on a gun – there’s always going to be a black market for weapons – but you can take steps to make it a lot more difficult. If stricter laws spare the life of just a single child, they are worth it.

(I’m not anti-gun, either. The proof is in my own words, right here. I had a blast shooting at tin cans in the high desert. But I sure as hell wasn’t using an assault weapon to do so).

Oh, and by the way, guess who supported a ban on assault weapons in 1994? Conservative hero Ronald Reagan. So it’s not a Democrats vs. Republicans issue, but a common sense one. Or it should be, anyway.

I just want the paranoia to end, and people to do a little research before they post outright lies as fact. Because an informed citizen is a smart one.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

23 thoughts on “On Guns and Lies

  1. Great post. I know that I can sometimes get very passionate about an issue, but I’d like to think my passion has some basis in reality. I have absolutely no problem with people owning a sensible gun, even though I don’t understand that desire. I will never understand why they feel that they need to own weapons that are built to make war better . . . to kill more people. A good hunter, in my opinion, would be able to humanely take down his kill. It seems to me, and this is based I admit on my complete LACK OF KNOWLEDGE about assault weapons , that the purpose is to make the kill less dependent on skill and aim. If you’ve got a zillion rounds shooting out your bound to hit something, aren’t you? (Yes, I know I’m exaggerating). Nobody will ever convince me that making it harder to get those kinds of weapons is a bad thing. I agree with you, let the paranoia end and common sense prevail.


    1. Exactly! This is what I don’t understand: why a hunter would need an automatic weapon. It pretty much eliminates any skill needed in bringing a creature down. Kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. How can you possibly miss??


  2. Love the post. Right on the money. If everybody thought like you they would welcome the change in the gun laws with open arms. I watched President Obama’s speech on gun change and I was moved by it. He still believes the american public has a right to own guns he just wats to make it more difficult for the lunatics out there to own guns.


    1. Thanks, Theresa. That’s exactly the gist of it: Obama has never once said he wants to take away everybody’s guns or prevent people from purchasing and owning guns. He just wants them to do so responsibly. Shame on him for that, huh?


  3. I don’t say much as far as the politcal realm goes because truth be told, half the stuff that comes out of their mouths are lies anyway.


    I couldn’t agree more with this post. Assault weapons should be banned. Why does one need one anyway? Except to assault.

    Great post, Mark. Thank you!!


      1. I also think and believe that not only should there be a ban on assault weapons but I also believe that the mental heatlh issues in this country should be and need to be addressed. Closing mental health hospitals put alot of dangerous people out on the street. People like the @#^hole who killed all those innocent children. I just can’t believe that a sane person would tell themselves “Yep, think I’ll go to an elementary school today and kill a bunch of little kids and then, I will put my own self out of misery by shooting my brains out.” Seriously!?!?

        It’s going to be a hot topic no matter what the outcome.


      2. Agreed. The Sandy Hook attack certainly demonstrated the need for improved mental health screening, as well. Hopefully it’s opened a dialogue to a lot of changes that need to be made.


  4. “I just want the paranoia to end, and people to do a little research before they post outright lies as fact. Because an informed citizen is a smart one.”

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaamen, Mark!

    Do your research and be informed, and then use your own discernment.

    LOVE the cartoon!!!!!!


    1. It’s never good when emotions enter the picture. People really showed their true selves in the days following the election, and they continue to do so now with such a hot-button issue.

      The added advantage of a good sharp dagger is the ability to slice garlic very thinly. I know you Sicilians are into that. I’ve watched Goodfellas plenty of times!


  5. I agree that there is a problem with a lot of people not bothering to fact check before getting hysterical (my own husband has a tendency to do this), but I think you need to be careful about throwing Conservatives under the bus all in one big lump. I personally believe that while guns do need to be better regulated, it would also be very easy to reach the conclusion of out lawing them all together, based on where we already find ourselves. And I have educated myself on the issue. It’s a matter of perspective.
    From where I sit, it’s a nasty battle contributed to by BOTH Conservatives and Liberals, when it really doesn’t need to be a battle at all… but I don’t believe posts like this that only highlight one side of the issue help matters.


    1. Thank you for your comments, and for having the courage to take a somewhat opposing view but stand behind it with your name. I respect that! For what it’s worth, I wasn’t trying to single out any particular group, but basing my observation on my own personal experience. It is my conservative friends who are up in arms (pun intended) while the liberals are not jumping to wild conclusions. Maybe that just applies to my circle of friends. Sure, there are nasty battles on both sides regarding many issues, but on gun control it seems to be the “other” side that is making the wild claims, at least on my Facebook feed. You are absolutely right, though: it doesn’t have to be a battle at all. It shouldn’t be.

      I’m curious, what do you think the other side of the issue is? I am in favor of people owning guns, but against assault weapons. I’m not calling for an outright ban, and would be disappointed if that happened.


  6. By the way, one more thing… I mean no disrespect, but along the vein of educating yourself before you speak out, the assault weapon ban is a little skewed in that they’re banning weapons based on characteristics that LOOK like assault rifles, not based on how they behave as a weapon. So in essence they’re banning certain guns because they look scary cosmetically, not because they are any more dangerous than say, a single action revolver.
    It’s a play on words, a play on feelings. It’s a plan to make people FEEL more safe, but not actually creating the means to make them more safe. The average American citizen isn’t allowed to own an assault rifle, those are military issued. The term “assault weapon” is purely political.

    All I’m saying here is you should investigate that too, before you assume anything. Practice what you preach, if you will.


    1. Interesting point…I did not know there were weapons that look like assault rifles but behave differently. What purpose do those serve? To project a “macho” image? To intimidate people? I don’t think we need to have weapons like those, either – even if they aren’t as deadly (in theory). Let folks own all the “six-shooters” they want, and leave assault (and assault-style) weapons to the soldiers, where they belong.


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