Fayetteville, AR – -(Ammoland.com)- Adam Weinstein is someone who thinks the facts don’t matter.
That’s poor form for a journalist, but then, as he’s one of the founders of The Trace, an on-line blog funded by Bloomberg that has shown a distaste for accuracy in the past, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.
What specifically drew my attention to him was an article that he wrote for The Washington Post, titled, “The NRA and its allies use jargon to bully gun-control supporters.”
According to him, when gun control advocates get corrected for their misuse of terms like assault rifle, machine gun, and clip, they’ve been “gunsplained: harangued with the pedantry of the more-credible-than-thou firearms owner, admonished that your inferior knowledge of guns and their nomenclature puts an asterisk next to your opinion on gun control.”
His use of a term that he has mangled together out of the equally wretched mansplained is a strike against him already, but it may be that he has not encountered George Orwell’s advice regarding abuse of the English language for political ends. I suggest it for his reading list.
He does, at least, acknowledge that rifles are rarely used in homicides and that it was the Violence Policy Center that recommended using sloppy language about guns in order to get as many banned as possible. And he points out that how a handgun operates, “single action vs. double action, or hammer- vs. striker-fired,” matters in discussions of use of force by the police. In other words, he’s demonstrated that he’s someone who does know better.
And yet Adam Weinstein argues that we who support gun rights are in the wrong here, that “‘assault weapons’ [are] easier to define, and harder to defend, with time. I know that an AR-15 is not a machine gun or an assault rifle, that its rounds are not high-powered, that it accepts magazines, not clips—any law that seeks to ban them should be written with precision.”
And there it is. We’re gunsplainers, and we need to be more accommodating to people who want to violate our rights. But let’s take some parallel cases. I regularly see debates about evolution and climate change in which one side has no idea what the word, theory, means in science and don’t understand the difference between weather and climate.
Weird how many anti-regulation firearms folks insist that you must know firearms nomenclature to join in a gun-policy debate, but ignore or don’t know the patterns in firearm mortality rates pic.twitter.com/UtUlUaKu4V
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) March 8, 2018
And it’s hard to be respectful to people who refuse to learn the subject they’re pontificating on. It’s the same as trying to discuss calculus with someone who doesn’t know what the slope of a line is and has no interest in finding out.
Worse than that, it’s the same as arguing with such a person who also wants to impose laws that were cooked up in that state of ignorance.
My experience in discussions about guns in America is that there are some people who cannot be reached. They oppose gun rights and will not change that. And they often know the facts, but use loose language to frustrate gun owners into silence and to deceive the uninvolved. In a debate, we have to remember that we’re not really trying to convince the declared opponents. The ones we want to reach are in the audience, and I have found many who are willing to listen. The task here is to figure out the difference and then to make an appeal in favor of gun rights to the latter group.
Unfortunately, Adam Weinstein isn’t one. His response when I suggested that facts matter was to block me, making me think that he’s incapable of defending his position. And I’m not surprised, as this is the standard behavior of committed advocates who want to curtail rights. Since he’s unwilling to engage in discourse, whether sloppy or precise, I’m left having to give him a simple no.
No, I won’t give up. No, I won’t comply. And no, I won’t allow his dismissive attitude to force me into silence.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.