I’ve mentioned guns and the current gun debate a few times in recent posts. I’ve posted my own general ideas about the topic as I continue to take a look at things like what the NRA has to say about it and what the conservative talking heads bring up time after time. Most of those people discussing the conservative side of things spoke at the recent NRA meeting in Texas. The grand finale was none other than Glenn Beck.
Watching those speeches, I was not very impressed with their arguments. The usual talking points are made… good guy with a gun, Chicago, Bloomberg, Obama, 2nd Amendment, tyranny, liberty, freedom, patriotism, founding fathers. There is a limit to what these talking points are and each one of them weaves those words and phrases into their talk. After a while you begin to realize that they are all the same words simply put together in a different order as if they were all dumped out of a bag for each speaker and there’s YOUR speech. Put the words back into the bag for the next guy, dump them out again and here’s YOUR speech. Feel free to ad-lib a little of your own personality into it and there you go.
I watched the Beck speech and began watching more of Beck in recent videos as well as listening to his radio show. I wanted to know where this guy was coming from. Just before the NRA meeting, Beck came out with a new book titled “Control, Exposing the Truth about Guns.” I ordered it. I’ve read it.
Since I have been paying attention to Beck lately, I already had a pretty good idea of how this book was going to go. Of course, it is a conservative slant which is supposed to present all of the arguments as well as all of the answers when it comes to the gun debate, or rather, whether or not there should be any kinds of legislative measures taken regarding guns in light of more recent shootings. The claim is always that guns are not the problem, people are the problem. Well, sometimes the problem is actually people with guns. Instead of presenting a clearly objective view of the subject, Beck muddies up statistics on gun violence over the years and interprets what the founding fathers meant when writing the Bill of Rights.
In the Beck world, based on some of his advertisers, you need to prepare yourself for Armageddon and the absolute tyrannical government that is about to come take your weapons. Once our weapons are gone we won’t be able to defend ourselves against hordes of violent movie and video game viewers/players, gangs of thugs from Chicago or elsewhere or the Muslim Brotherhood who we all know is behind everything that does and will go wrong. Those potatoes in the bin go bad?… Muslim Brotherhood!
You need to buy gold. You need to buy food insurance. You need to buy seeds. You need to buy “stove in a can” and of course, you need to be armed. You might need to shoot something to cook with your “stove in a can.” I’m trying to figure out why Beck is not advertising some kind of health club or exercise plan. When you are on the run from The Muslim Brotherhood or our own tyrannical government, you better be in damn good physical shape if you have to lug all of that shit around with you. Gold, guns, extra ammo, extra clips, probably a tool kit to keep your guns in good shape, Food insurance (go for the 914 pound version) and a bunch of “stoves in a can.” While you are at it, you can go to his 1791 store and purchase a nifty pair of jeans for $130.00. You want to look good when you are on the run. Also, when you are on the run, who has time to plant and maintain a garden?
Obviously, Beck figures that mongering a little fear while at the same time telling you it is patriotic will put a little coin in HIS $130.00 jeans. Manipulation is the game and he’s making millions playing that game. He’s pretty damned good at it too, which is why he is making money. This guy can turn on the tears and choke himself up every time he utters the word “kid.” He can ramble on for minutes and minutes and when the word kid comes up on the prompter, he very well just might be wired in such a way to have a physical reaction. I don’t know if he actually IS wired that way, no one knows for sure.
Take the last line I just wrote. I suggested that he IS something and then I claimed that no one (including me) knows for sure…
This is the essence of the book “CONTROL.” Statement after statement is made and then answered with not-so-specific results. Here is one example from the book. On page 36, Beck quotes Piers Morgan from January 9, 2013. The question, or statement is that no mass shootings have ever been stopped by someone with a gun. Piers states: In the last 30 years there have been 62 mass shootings. Not a single one has ever been thwarted by a civilian despite America being a heavily armed country.” Beck goes on to explain that what this definition leaves out are all of the times someone was stopped before they could kill anyone or after killing fewer than 4 people. He then goes on to list exactly 6 examples. 6. Just six. 6 compared to 62. The method he uses to illustrate these examples is interesting as well. In example 6, he talks about a shooter going into a mall in Oregon 2 days before the Sandy Hook school shooting. He describes a 21 year old man armed with an AR-15, several loaded magazines and a load bearing vest. The shooter took out two people with the first three shots and then fired a remaining 57 or so shots. An armed 22 year old man drew his handgun but did not fire for fear of hitting a bystander. The 21 year old shooter committed suicide upon seeing the 22 year old point a gun in his direction. Beck goes on to say that there were an estimated 10,000 people in that mall at the time indicating that thousands of lives were saved because someone flashed a gun. As in many of the examples Beck gives, the answer is “We’ll never really know for sure” when summing up the point. The fact of the matter is this: two innocent people lost their lives that day. When Beck points out that (based on his facts) some of the previous gun bans have had “little or no effect” he is also stating that they have been effective. “Little or no” is better than “none or worse.”
The entire book is written as a manipulative tool to pound partial facts into the heads of those who are beyond the gun conversation. Beck asks that you bookmark and highlight passages from the book so that you can speak intelligently to those who would like to actually have a conversation about gun control. The problem with this is that the Beck conversation hits a wall. There is no debate or open-mindedness on the topic. Beck is right and claims to go on to prove his point with example after example of vague or skewed interpretations of distant and current history as well as back-up support from a bunch of other people currently writing books on why there should be no new gun legislation.
In the second part of the book he attacks Hollywood, video games, television and writers like Stephen King. I will agree with a couple of things: some or many of us are influenced by what we read, hear and see. I recall going to a lot of cheesy Summer movies in my youth packed with scantily clad babes, guys with guns and car chases. I know that when I got back into my own car after just seeing one of those movies, I was driving more aggressively. People want to influence and people want to be influenced – or inspired. Maybe inspired is the intent and influenced is the result. Personally, I would like to inspire people to go out and build or create based on something I did or do. Perhaps I take a picture and then explain how I did it, what tools I used, what lens and camera settings I tried. Taking that basic knowledge, perhaps someone else can go out and make their own art or create something much more impressive. Perhaps somewhere down the road that person remembers that I inspired them in a small way.
What Beck does not point out is that for all of the people who spend countless hours playing violent video games or watching violent movies or television, or reading books containing violent scenes, only a fraction – a very very small fraction of those people ever attempt to replicate those scenarios. A video game did not kill anyone. The guy who picked up a gun and went out and shot someone DID. There IS a problem when a gun is in the hands of someone wanting to commit a horrible crime or mass shooting.
I’m mixed about suggesting anyone read this book, “CONTROL.” Beyond the quotes and statistics that seem to be manipulated into whatever Beck wants them to be, there is the other question of why this book exists. I believe it exists because Glenn Beck and Mercury Radio Arts saw yet another opportunity to make a buck. The book is cheap and made that way. It was rushed out in 4 or 5 short months (or less) in order to capitalize on the recent gun control debate. The book pretty much quotes television and news programs that have discussed the issue since Sandy Hook but Beck cherry picks information and presents it in a manner that favors NO new gun legislation or to just “shut you up” when the conversation takes place.
If law abiding gun owners are just that, they will continue to be law abiding with new laws. If these people wish to purchase a gun for sport or protection, there will be legal methods for those people to do just that. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed… as long as they follow the rules and do it responsibly. The conversation needs to continue.