Thursday, December 27, 2012

The small rectangular arena.

Last weekend the publisher of S.W.A.T. Magazine*,  Rich Lucibella, appeared on the MSNBC morning show Up with Chris Hayes, in a panel discussion which wound up featuring no brandishing of illegal props and 72% less flung spittle than other gun control debates on weekend political shows.

I've known Rich for many years now, as have a few of my fellow bloggers, all dating back to when we were on staff at, and I can say that he's on the short list of people I'm not at all worried about parking in front of a hostile camera to represent my team.

*FTC DISCLAIMER: For which I do assorted web scutwork in exchange for money.


Yrro said...

I love how the moderator makes it sounds like the NRA is the one irrationally focusing on school security...

Buzz said...

Is Chris Hayes actually Rachel Maddow?

Tam said...


No, Chris Hayes is Chris Hayes.
Ezra Klein is Rachel Maddow.

Anonymous said...

I like it when I can state the obvious and be politically correct. - Wayne LaPierre needs to have his chin dried off and then be wheeled back up to his room.

Unknown said...

Rich was a rather lone voice among people who believe that laws can prevent and that government can protect in advance of peril.

Might as well try to promote dancing among Baptists.

Buzz said...

I dunno, Tam, it sure looks like Rachel excuses herself for a quick wardrobe change and Valium, then returns to host a show by another name.

Chris clearly lives in the same completely different world than the one I inhabit, wherein we have no basis on which to start a reasoned conversation.

Tam said...


We are seeing the divergent evolution of H. sap. prius, named for its inability to operate off pavement.

aczarnowski said...

TL:DR past Rich's first comment (which at least he got to make without being interrupted).

People consume this stuff by choice? We're doomed.

leBolide said...

LaPierre is a serious train wreck.

Anonymous said...

Judging by the above comments, I guess I'm alone in finding that refreshing. There has been so much bluster and vitriol that it was nice to hear an actual discussion. Thanks very much for posting that, Tam.

JustSomeGuy said...

Like Anonymous 12:28 said, it was interesting to see an actual dialogue here, rather than that other thing we keep seeing. Nobody on that panel was going to change their minds, which is fine, but they were all civilly discussing their viewpoints. Huh. Who’d a thunk?

But I have a question, legitimately, not a thought provoking query:

How do you discuss anything with these people? It’s not just the framework of feelings, though there’s a lot of that. It’s…this worldview that’s so far skewed from my own that I find it hard to believe it can be internally consistent. Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses this idea of societal self-defense and self-defense in advance as if these are actual, effective concepts. They talk about training, and training requirements, but Chris Hayes explicitly states that when he hears about people training with their firearms he finds it “creepy” and “paranoid.” At the end of the show, we even get a classic response to Rich Lucibella’s contention that carrying a gun makes him more circumspect in his dealings with aggression: Ta Nehisi Coates comments that he seems like a reasonable and safe fellow. I’ve heard that in the midst of my own discussions, and it’s hard to have a convincing rejoinder when someone is so terrified of all the unnamed “others.”

I realize this is disjointed, the video is almost 40 minutes, and I don’t want to try to summarize.

Note, I’m not talking about modern liberals or progressives here. I usually know how they get to where they are philosophically. I just think they’re wrong about their assumptions. But on guns, violence and individual defense… Desertrat covers that thought upthread.

So, again, how do you have a discussion, a convincing discussion, with folks who’s view of reality is consistently skewed and who’s philosophy flows from such flawed concepts?


Buzz said...

Prolly true, Tam.
I prefer to be off pavement, whether it's the long gravel drive to my rural home, mountain biking, hunting, hiking, or Jeeping.

Anonymous said...


I don't think that you can, any more than you can discuss the benefits of antibiotics with people who think that illness is the result of demonic possession, or discuss spaceflight with people who believe that the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle.

The anti-gunners cling to absurd beliefs such as:

1. Plastic Glock pistols that can't be picked up on a metal detector or X-ray machine;

2. People, including lunatics and convicted criminals, strolling into gun shows and buying machineguns with no background checks or other controls;

3. Concealed carry permit holders routinely having shootouts in the streets;

4. Your rights being dependent on whether or not somebody else has abused HIS rights;

5. The Constitution is an ancient document that doesn't really apply to our modern lives and, thus, can be ignored. Except for the important parts.

Now, how do you discuss things with people who hold such beliefs???

staghounds said...

DocJim, anti gunners also believe that AR15s are widely available and regularly used to commit mass shootings.

It doesn't do us any more good to say they are irrational and dismiss them than it does them to do the same with us.

Most people who are anti gun drive cars, hold down jobs, and raise children they love.

Just like we do.

JSG, that's where I start. I listen to what the other thinks. I find points where an armed citizen fits in with the world THEY want to live in.

As with anything else, if our "product" is good, it sells itself once well revealed.

Just because the thinking flows from what you consider flawed principles doesn't make it wrong.

For example, gun practice being “creepy” and “paranoid.” Think for a minute, and listen. Ask, not defiantly but to learn, what makes it creepy and paranoid? Is it different from practicing with other tools of daily life?

Yes, it is. What other tool do people do special practice and self training with? Musical instruments are the only ones that come quickly to mind. The other tools of life- cars, pens, hammers- we train with by constant doing.

It would be pretty unusual to meet someone who practiced jump starting his car for two hours every other week end.

Or who had four sets of jumper cables.

Maybe even creepy and paranoid.

Yrro said...


I think that's where gun owners often *sound* insincere to anti-gun people. Because as much as I think effective self defense is a right... I go to USPSA because its fun. As much as I think that we need military weapons for the philosophical purpose of protecting ourselves from government... that's *not* what I'm thinking about when I'm shooting 3-gun. Even general preparedness like carrying a knife or a flashlight is as much because I like being the guy who is prepared as I expect to get into a situation where I couldn't deal without them.

There's a whole intersection of "fun", "necessary", and "self-image" that goes into firearms training and ownership. Now, we focus on the rights because that's the part that really matters when you're talking about social costs and utilitarian decision making. But it's obvious that "because I like them" is as much a part of our own attachment.

The good thing is, that this isn't unique to firearms. I go to driving classes because I like driving a car skillfully... it just happens to help me avoid accidents on the way to work, or drive in the snow. So there's some room for common ground.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

Hey! I got 4 sets of jumper cables, and nobody thinks I'm Creepy or paranoid, (one in each of our three cars, and one in the garage, and... No, I don't wear suspenders and a belt too). BTW, doesn't EVERYONE practice with their kitchen knives on a regular basis, just so they know how to cut that evil carrot?

It Must be me, huh?
Rich in NC

Stuart the Viking said...

I think Yrro has a point. Yes, the right exists because many of the prospective "states" insisted upon a bill of rights before they would sign on to the constitution, and the genesis of the 2A was the idea of restricting the new Federal government's power to form a standing army and thereby encroach on states rights by force. So literally, the 2A really IS about giving the people a means of overthrowing the federal government in case it devolves into tyranny.

But, all that is a long and boring history lecture, and people tend to only hear the "overthrowing the government" part. It is easy to understand why we sometimes seem a bit creepy and paranoid.

Emphasizing how much FUN shooting is, on the other hand, can make the idea of it more accessible. Like shooting some hoops, or a round of golf. If there is an appropriate opening, show people by taking them to the range and letting them experience it first hand.

If we stick to the long boring history lesson, we might as well save ourselves some time and shout "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGLED!!!" and walk away because no matter how solid our history is, we've lost the argument about the time the other guy's eyes glaze over.

Another good point is to remember, when this sort of conversation comes up, you are representing ALL firearms owners. If you remain calm and reasonable, people will see that. If you get agitated and start spouting off rhetoric, you will freak people out and, once again, the argument will be lost before it even begins.


Anonymous said...


I've tried. I've pointed out the laws concerning fully automatic weapons. I've pointed out the statistics on shooting deaths. I've pointed out the statistics on violent crime with gun bans and with concealed carry. I've pointed out the statistics on the miniscule number of crooks who buy their guns at shows.

Yet, the lefties come back with, "Any crook can get a machinegun at a gun show" (Hey, PBS wouldn't lie about that!) and "What do you need an assault weapon for, anyway?"

I don't suggest screaming at people or calling them idiots (though it's very hard to resist), but, honestly, I don't see much more point in talking to these people than in talking to a brick wall. They are invincibly ignorant.

The worst thing is that they trash the Constitution in their efforts to ban guns. "It's an OLD document that has no meaning in our modern lives" and "It was written by people who owned SLAVES!" and (worst of all) "Your rights don't trump public safety!"

These people were born to be slaves. Hell, they seem to outright HUNGER for shackles.

Perhaps you've had more luck than I. If so, let me know how you've approached the problem, because I'm at a loss.

Buzz said...

So, staghounds, you're saying we should "purty it all up," like politicians, to make it more palatable to those that haven't a clue and really could give a shit less about how this country was established and became the greatest and most successful experiment in personal freedom, ever?

JustSomeGuy said...


You’re largely on point with where I’m coming from. I see no value in demonizing or ridiculing a set of sincerely held beliefs as a means of conversion. And I wholeheartedly agree with presenting a good product and allowing it to sell itself.

But, to stick with the training theme, I don’t find professional musicians, athletes, rock climbers, firefighters, soldiers, actors, doctors, chefs, etc. to be creepy. It fits my expectation of human learning that to improve a skill you practice it and seek further training. Jump starting a car is a bit of a false equivalency, as it’s not a skill, it’s an act of applied information. A novice can read a set of instructions and successfully jump start a car with no preparation beyond the presence of the cars and the cables.

My disconnects are twofold:
1. In my view government cannot write a law that changes human impulses. In my view law is punitive, not prohibitive. (I know there are complexities) So in my worldview most people do not murder or rape or torture their fellows, not because it’s against the law but because it’s against their nature. The opposing view seems to assume that the great mass of others is restrained from their base behavior only because of law.
2. I believe that the individual’s rights trump the society’s comfort. So long as the rights of other individuals are not infringed I see no compelling value in restricting the rights of an individual because their behavior discomfits society.

Thanks for the reply and consideration,

BillB said...

Did CH actually make the point that schools were really safe places. So why are we talking about more new gun laws again?

staghounds said...

Buzz, yes.

"Politicians" are chosen because they speak for and with, not AT us.

I'm saying that we aren't trying to win a fistfight, we are trying to persuade and convince our friends and neighbours.

Telling people that they are irrational, or ignorant, or stupid is not the very most effective way to do that. And thinking of them as evil adversaries infects the way we deal with them.

"You haven't a clue and really could give a shit less" is not the way to start out.

And you should learn to speak English, if you did you would have used "couldn't" which is correct.

See how effective sneering is at getting you to listen?

We will never even begin to convince our true enemies. Let THEM be the shrill, accusatorial, adversarial ones.

The HUGE number of non activist, "Well, more gun laws, I guess" people are sensible, honest Americans with genuine concerns. Win the fight by winning them over.

Anonymous said...

You know, I think much of the difference in beliefs comes down to trust. The city critters on the TV think of fellow humans as competitors, or potential thieves, muggers or rapists. If the need help the pay someone for that help.

Those who live in less populated areas or who travel solo in developing countries realise that 99.99% of people want to help even a stranger in trouble, and certainly don't want to hurt aquaintances and friends.

Thus I am happy for my fellow humans to have guns because I see the vast majority of them on my side and against the rare psychopath.

Mike from Oz

staghounds said...

DocJim, I hear you. It's an endless task. My practice is to listen a lot, and ask specifics. What is it that bothers you, what do you want to change? Whose guns do you want to take away? Exactly why?

I have had good luck with people once they stop with slogans and start thinking. Sometimes having to think through an anti gun position, to actually follow through with where it leads, makes them think.

Buzz said...

Well, staghounds, I can take criticism because I know I'm not perfect.
Even in the most reasoned, calm, pleasant debates, I've found the other side of the political spectrum simply resorts to name-calling and withdrawal once they realize they are wrong, but refuse to acknowledge it. I've seen it time and again with the in-laws. (Not my debates: one brother-in-law is conservative, the rest of my wife's family far left) Family events are typically very sterile and superficial, so nobody gets all butt hurt.
My family still shocks my wife after 16 years, since there are rarely boundaries of subject matter and everyone is expected to be able to take every figurative punch thrown.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I'm only basing it off this one episode, but I think I can at least respect Chris Hayes. I probably disagree with him on most topics, but at least - unlike many other hosts - he's hosting a calm and rational* discussion, and when he interrupts a guest it always seems to be either time related or because he's trying to keep things on-topic, not because he's shouting them down because he disagrees.

Of course, the panel was obviously numerically slanted towards the gun-restriction side of things, but it was still a good discussion, and even the anti-freedom guests made some decent points. I'd like to see him run a panel with Mr. Lucibella and just one opponent (or some other balanced grouping). I think it would go well.

One thing I do wish is that Mr. Lucibella had responded to Ta-Nehisi Coates point about how he'd be more likely to use a gun in a dispute and so other people would too with something like: "Well, I can see how you could believe that extrapolating only from your knowledge of yourself, but we've had concealed carry laws in (X) states for (Y) years now, and what we see from actual experience is that it doesn't hold true. What we see is that people who are carrying a firearm are more likely to de-escalate conflicts than people who aren't carrying a firearm."

The "I find myself less likely to escalate a situation" bit was good, and should probably be worked in there somewhere as an example, but I think pointing out what happens on a wider scale when CCW is put into practice would have been better, and it also wouldn't be open to the "Well I think you're a good guy, but what about everybody else? You're probably an exception." line of counterattack.

Still, this was probably the best show of this type I've seen.

* He may be relying on logical fallacies on many points, but he's at least trying to be rational about it.

Anonymous said...

I watched the entire show and came away pleasantly surprised.

Lucibella didn't have a polished delivery, but made effective points. I *liked* that he included the comment about how he *personally* would de-escalate the situtaion. Coates now has heard someone say what their perspective is on conflict avoidance, conflict de-escalation. Giving a listing of stale numbers and studies is boring, and boring facts are boring.

I think he gave another person a chance to hear the "Because Gun" theory of conflicts. Someone else got to hear that Lucibella and other gun owners do not have "The Luxury of Anger" ...

Skip said...

When I was seated on our grand jury last year with 18 other somewhat geezers, at the roundtable intros I proffered that I was a shooting instructor.
A couple of the members asked "Why do you have a gun?" (Not in the building)
I asked "Do you have a fire extinguisher or a smoke alarm or 911 on speed dial or a lock on your door?"
Answer-"I see your point, can you teach us?

Tam said...


"Even in the most reasoned, calm, pleasant debates, I've found the other side of the political spectrum simply resorts to name-calling and withdrawal once they realize they are wrong, but refuse to acknowledge it."

I have to call you on that. That is just the flip side of "Why won't you stupid cousin-humping rednecks vote for us?"

I manage to discuss politics with the Democrat Next Door just fine. I think she's wronger than a monkey riding a poodle, but I'll grant that she's smart enough and well-meaning enough and came by her wrongness honestly, and I'm not going to change her mind on a single issue by shouting or belittling her.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your thoughtful response. Oh, it's so hard to be polite, especially with those who seem willfully ignorant and even hateful, but you're right that logic and a polite dialogue is the way to go.

staghounds said...

Jumper cables, fire extinguisher, pocket knife, candles, gun. Which of these things is not like the other? Why? That is usually a good start.

Buzz said...

Tam, the actual phrase screamed during ear-clamping is, "Conservatives are all mean, nasty people that hate women and minorities."
If you're going to quote my in-laws, please get it right.
They haven't accused me or their conservative brother of cousin-humping, at least not within earshot.

JustSomeGuy said...


Jumper cables, fire extinguisher, pocket knife, candles, gun. Which of these things is not like the other?

That's easy, item(s) used to torture and kill people and the other one is a gun.

Sorry, flippant response. And I admire your patience and calm demeanor on the topic. I even use it, with some folks.

I guess I, like others, am a little weary with being the rational voice in the face of shrill emotional argument. Not that I'm giving up, just commenting.


SordidPanda said...

You can have a rational discussion with people who are swayed by logic and facts.

You cannot have a rational discussion with people who buy into emotional desires and teleological wishful thinking.

There is a distinct portion of the population, represented by those with Joan Peterson syndrome, who will never engage in rational discussion, because they simply are not rational.

Geodkyt said...


The answer is "pocketknife".

Because I actually use it every single day, not just have it around for emergencies, and occaisionally use it for skill sustainment and/or pure fun.

Of course, some of these items need more practice than others, because they are inherently more complex in operation.

1. I don't bother "training" with candles, because I've got that down pat as a non-perishable skillset. Although candles are sometimes fun, for romantic evenings, camping trips, etc.

2. I don't train with jumper cables (although I do inspect them periodically), because the directs are printed on the side, I'll never need to use them in a hurry, and in my circumstances, the odds of a dead battery because "Mongo not able to make jumper cables work" causing me much more than an annoying inconvienience are slim -- I have a cellphone, live in the rural South, AND have AAA. One way or t'other, either I, a friendly local, or a tow truck driver, will get my car jumped before I die. however, jumping cars is not fun, so I do not engage in recreational jump-starting.

3. I DO train (about annually) with fire extinguishers, despite the fact that the instructions are printed on the side, along with simple pictograms, and it's a fairly easy skillset to maintain -- precisely because if I need to use it "for real", I'll be in a bit of a hurry, and at reasonable risk to property. (If I think I'm at risk of my life and limb by fighting the fire, the friggin' kitchen can burn down.) Also, it's a good way to dispose of extinguishers that are out of spec (date or pressure). And, fire! {grin}

4. I DO train fairly regularly with firearms, because it is a complex, highly perishable skillset that will occur when I have no time to sit down and think it through, no time to consult written instructions, and I WILL be faced with the choice of "getting it right the first time" or "die right there". And, it's fun.

Skills, and the risk if skills are not well honed, are different, and so require varying amounts of practice. If my commute involved daily plane trips over the Bering Sea, I would REGULARLY practice donning a survival suit and at least walking through opening a life raft. No one would think me paranoid for doing that, despite the low risk of actuallly being in a surviveable plane crash in the Bering Sea (if it's a nonsurviveable crash, post-crash survival skills are irrelevant, obviously. {grin})

Justthisguy said...

Stag, I am entirely with you on the musical instruments. I used to play the clarinet, and occasionally still play the recorder. Guns are like musical instruments in that you have to work at training yourself to get good at using them. Practice as fast as you can do it right, but no faster. Speed will follow, if you practice enough.

I think a benefit of having been a woodwind musician is the ability to move one (trigger) finger while holding all of the others absolutely still. I go for years between shooting sessions, but never fail to get them all on the paper when I do get to shoot.

SewerDweller said...

There's an elephant in the room that nobody seems to be talking about ( or perhaps I missed it)

You're all acting like these people have pure motives for what they do.

Some do, -and some do not-. Sure some of them are simply poorly informed, emotionally driven people who just want the bad things to -stop happening-. I feel for them, I really do.

Some of these people really do want the Invincible State, Which Will Save Them From Everything... Or the more toxic variant "I can't wait till none of you plebes have guns, and you're all shipped off to the gulags, because -I'll- be in charge."

We make a huge mistake in assuming that these people are 'like us'. In short, reasonable, rational people.

They're not. Not even close. Sure, some of them are nice, even friendly. But not rational. They embrace several key fallacies, and do so with great enthusiasm.

1. Magical Thinking, in that the Gun's evil mind control rays mean that just touching it will infect you with 'The Madness', unless of course, you're a Special Person ( cop security guard, what-have-you.)

2. That One More Law will somehow make all the difference. Instead of, for example, agressively enforcing the laws we already -have-. Laws without enforcement are little squiggly marks on paper. Or even worse, used as shackles for us. David Gregorian is only the most recent example.

The end result is you are 'negotiating' with one of two people.

One who is emotionally driven, non rational, and will demand 'more' until 'the bad things stop'. Human nature, being what it is, the "Bad Things" are unlikely to do so, unless someone with a weapon -makes- them stop.

The other is a statist monster who wants to -rule-, and those pesky weapons in private hands are a hindrance. This one will intentionally egg the first one on, using the emotional one as cover.

Neither of these two catagories can be reasoned with.

Now, you might take away from this "hey, this is exactly what I'm talking about, with the whole 'why don't you morons leave us alone'."

My argument, as such, has three points.

1. The emotional dont -want- to be rational, they want to feel better, and they don't want to argue with them, they want you to stop existing. there's not a lot of point expending energy on those people.

2. The statist thugs want you on your knees, and will say anything to get you there. There's no point in arguing with them, They're not going to abide by any agreement they make, ever.

3. The people we need to focus on are the 'undecideds'. The people who look at the whole mess, and say "well.. sure, this is bad, but I don't know what to do about it."

Sebastian said...

I think a big problem is that some folks are limiting themselves to arguing over the Internets. Arguing over the Internets is best thought of as entertainment, rather than actually trying to change minds.

There are reasonable people out there, and it's generally a good idea to treat everyone reasonably at first, before you have any idea whether they are a mouth foamer or not. Speaking face-to-face with people you know when the topic comes up is far more effective than arguing online, however, and more instructive.

There are really very few people like, say, Joan Peterson out there, who are unwaveringly dedicated to their own ignorance. Most people are willing to have a discussion.

SewerDweller said...

@Sebastian - I'd really like to believe that, but my empirical evidence so far would indicate otherwise. Perhaps I'm travelling in the wrong circles...

leBolide said...

I finally watched the video, and am dismayed that when the Black Panthers were brought up and the host gleefully anecdoted the gun control measures passed in CA in response to those assemblages -- that was a modern, Here In America Example, of the government disarming the citizens in order maintain power over them and prevent an overthrow, just like the British did to the colonists hundreds of years ago.