Really, sometimes the Grey Lady just makes it all too easy. No, no. Hillary is the Shady Lady; the Grey Lady is The New York Times.
Jameson’s Law of Convincing Argument states that if I wish to convince you of the absolute and infallible correctness of my point of view, I would be well-served not to cite sources that are known for agreeing with me or being on my side of a particular argument.
For example: I recently wrote an article for a magazine about a gun control initiative being launched in the state where that magazine is published. In the article, I quoted President Obama repeating a lie he has told frequently. He stated that, “The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the past [twenty] years that’s kept millions of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. But it’s hard to enforce that law when as many as forty percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.” [Emphasis mine.]
If I had then refuted that lie, which has been repeatedly refuted and debunked, with facts and figures from the NRA, you would have been wise to suspect me of being biased, lazy in my research, and even perhaps dishonest myself. Instead, I quoted the “Fact-Checker” column in the notoriously anti-gun Washington Post, which gave Mr. Obama three Pinocchios out of a possible four for dishonesty.
So, enter the Grey Lady, stage left, ranting wildly about the “myth” of defensive gun use, specifically as it pertains to concealed carry. The Editorial Board of the Times (wisely, no individual wished to attach his or her name to the piece) proceeded to trot out “statistics” purporting to show the relatively few (according to the Times) occasions firearms were used throughout the country for legally justifiable purposes of defense. Then the Grey Lady solemnly informed its readers, most of whom are sheltered and pampered urban and suburban dwellers unlikely to question any dishonest garbage the editorial board dishes as out, that their source for these “statistics” was The Violence Policy Center.
Oh dear, oh dear, Grey Lady, that’s just embarrassing. Anyone with an I.Q. larger than his hat size will hear alarm bells going off. Actually, the editorial board must have realized how embarrassing it was, because a disclaimer was immediately added to the effect that the Violence Policy Center’s figures were, “…necessarily incomplete, because the gun lobby has been so successful in persuading gullible state and national legislators that concealed carry is essential to public safety, thus blocking the extensive data collection that should be mandatory for an obvious and severe public health problem.”
(That, by the way, is an old trick, cynically summed up by the lawyer, Billy Flynn, in the musical Chicago, when he tap dances and sings the song Razzle Dazzle:
“Give ‘em the old flim flam flummox,
Fool and fracture ‘em,
How can they hear the truth above the roar?…
…Long as you keep ‘em way off balance,
How can they spot you’ve got no talents?”
In other words, if your argument is completely bogus, blame it in an outraged tone of voice on your opponent.)
The problem, dear Grey Lady, is that “the extensive data collection that should be mandatory” is in fact carried out and is available to anyone willing to look at an unbiased source. The United States Bureau of Justice, hardly a rabid pro-gun institution, estimates that firearms are used defensively in America 235,700 each year. Other sources, some pro-gun and some neutral, estimate legal defensive firearm use from an approximate low of one million, to a high of two-and-a-half million times a year.
You do see where this is going, right? If the Grey Lady can convince its naïve and uneducated (about guns) readers that the number of legal and justifiable defensive uses of a firearm is a tiny, insignificant amount, then no one can refute the old, emotional “if it saves just one life” gun control argument. Because the reverse of that argument is that if having a gun saves just one life, than there is no reason to ban firearms. And, in fact, as the very low Bureau of Justice figures show, many, many lives are saved by defensive use each year, a great many times more than are taken by criminals.
Then the Grey Lady went on to say, “Clearly, concealed carry does not transform ordinary citizens into superheroes.” That is possibly the only honest thing The Times Editorial Board was able to write in the entire article. Concealed carry does not transform anyone, but it does at least give him a fighting chance not to become another lamentable statistic.