I’m somewhat ambivalent about Piers Morgan. Not much, but a little bit. He is a person with a generally higher level of intellect than a great deal of his contemporaries in television journalism and I’ve enjoyed his interviews much more than the guy he replaced, Larry King, who always looked like he was an eyeblink away from nodding off altogether. Of course, saying that his intellect exceeds that of the rest of the talking heads, may be damning him with faint praise because that is a fraternity of empty suits (think Bob Costas).
It’s more accurate to say that he has a wide level of superficial knowledge and a great capacity for trivia. That does not mean that he understands what he’s talking about or has any more than a casual grasp of the inner logic or nuanced facts of a subject. This is nowhere more true than in his ill-informed outlook on gun control, gun rights, the 2nd Amendment, firearms, and American society.
I just got through skimming his most recent vacuous tirade on guns on the U.K. Daily Mail’s online edition. It is silly, nonsensical and employs the kind of sophomoric sophistry that appeals only to persons whose reasoning skills have corroded beyond the use of something like mental WD-40. That would be someone like another notable resident of Manhattan that I’ve profiled here. Because it is generally worthless and boring beyond comprehension, I’ll only put a few items up for further examination.
“I have fired guns only once in my life, on a stag party to the Czech capital Prague a few years ago when part of the itinerary included a trip to an indoor shooting range. For three hours, our group were let loose on everything from Magnum 45 handguns and Glock pistols, to high-powered ‘sniper’ rifles and pump-action shotguns. It was controlled, legal, safe and undeniably exciting. But it also showed me, quite demonstrably, that guns are killing machines.”
“It showed me… that guns are killing machines”. Bon Dieu! What a revelation? Piers my boy, you didn’t know that guns could kill people before you went to the range? So you made one trip to a firing range and you now possess superior insight on the topic. Maybe the next time I hear a conversation about French wine, I should butt in and share my personal knowledge because I’ve had a glass or two. I’m not saying that not having deep personal experience with a thing, disqualifies one from holding an opinion. I am saying that for Piers to drag that random visit to a firing range into a diatribe, the purpose of which was to fortify a weak and poorly formed argument is a bit lame. ‘Magnum 45 handguns’?
Next he goes on relaying his personal emotional reaction to media reports and images of mass shootings in the U.K. and in America and sums that up with this comment:
“Every parent has a similar story. To even try to conceive of how you would feel if your child was shot multiple times in the head by a Rambo madman at school is just impossible. I honestly don’t know how you would ever carry on with life.”
I don’t know how I’d carry on with life either, but I’m not sure that anguish necessarily leads one to wisdom on a critical policy issue such as the rights of gun owners and the solutions to the phenomenon of mass killings. That being said, some of the survivors of such incidents have displayed a great deal of clear thinking and reason in their approach to solutions. ‘Rambo madman’? Has he ever even seen a Rambo film? I’ll admit to having done so. Rambo is a fictional character, Piers. But even as far as that goes, the character is not a ‘madman’, but rather just another specimen of the old Hollywood formula of good guy gets screwed by shadow government types and goes on a mission to take them down. Why didn’t Mr. Morgan allude to the ‘Jason Bourne’ character of that series of popular films? Oh, I get it, Matt Damon is a Hollywood Idiot dandy.
“The gun-lobby logic dictates that the only way to defend against gun criminals is for everyone else to have a gun, too. Teachers, nurses, clergymen, shop assistants, cinema usherettes – everyone must be armed. To me, this is a warped, twisted logic that bears no statistical analysis and makes no sense. Do you fight drug addiction with more cocaine? Alcoholism with more Jack Daniel’s? Of course not.”
Wow, so much idiocy – where does one start? Has the ‘gun lobby’ or anyone else that defends the Constitutional right to bear arms said that ‘everyone must be armed’? Please back up that assertion Piers, I have yet to see it and I’ve been following this whole debate rather assiduously. “Do you fight drug addiction with more cocaine? Alcoholism with more Jack Daniel’s?” How ludicrous can you get Piers? No, don’t tell me.
His childish question would have merit if Cocaine and Jack Daniels somehow possessed the miraculous attributes of being able to force themselves down the throats of those so addicted. That’s something else I’ve yet to see. Additionally, outside of an old Claude Rains film, I’ve yet to see a handgun or any other sort of firearm, load itself, point at a person and autonomously pull its own trigger. If you’ve witnessed that Piers, I’d like to remind you that ‘schrooms are still illegal here and I’m guessing in Great Britain also.
Before I move on to the rest of his fallacies, I will insert here the inconvenient fact that Heroin addiction is in many clinical settings, treated with another drug, Methadone. Beyond that, he stepped into something with out realizing it apparently. Alcohol and Drug addictions are considered to be mental disorders. Mental disorders call for specialized individual treatment. The actions of a mentally imbalanced person, in no way provides a rationale for the widespread banishment or restriction of items that are commonly available to sane, law abiding and responsible persons.
Piers is transforming the gun debate into some preposterous personal affront and by extension a fictional, widespread Anti-British sentiment:
“This gun debate is an ongoing war of verbal attrition in America – and I’m just the latest target, the advantage to the gun lobbyists being that I’m British, a breed of human being who burned down the White House in 1814 and had to be forcefully deported en masse, as no American will ever be allowed to forget – Special Relationship notwithstanding. It’s no exaggeration to say that America’s unique fondness for guns pretty much got cemented by hatred of us Brits and the War of Independence.”
Piers, Piers, Piers. “I’m British, a breed of human being who burned down the White House in 1814 and had to be forcefully deported en masse,”??? The delusions you entertain inside your disorganized gray matter, are cartoonish. The ‘British’ are not a ‘breed of human being that burned down the White House in 1814′. The British are a nationality of individuals. They were not ‘forcefully deported en masse’. The Redcoats were defeated, yes – and what was left of them self deported, but the rest of the residents of this country who were formerly British subjects of his Royal Magesty King George III, didn’t leave, they just stopped paying him taxes and entertaining his soldiers in their homes. You don’t seem to have a firm grasp on either British or American history, Piers. I’ll excuse you of not knowing what the hell you’re talking about concerning American history, but your own homeland? Pshaw.
It is well documented in contemporary reports of the era of the American Revolution and the reign of King George III, that many leading voices in England including statesmen and nobility, were vehemently in opposition of the tyranny and repression in the King’s effort to suppress and exploit the colonies and were in support of the Independence movement. So, no Piers, there is no inherent American bias or derogatory outlook towards Great Britain merely because we had a scuffle with you lot 236 odd years ago.
Last time I checked, we stinkin’ Americans pulled your Bacon out of the fire in two bloomin’ World Wars, old chap. So stop your ungrateful sniveling, please. I’ve got both sides of WWI and WWII in my bloodline and I’m quite fond of the Germans, English, Irish and the Dutch. I also think the Japanese people and the Italians are pretty darn good peeps. We also have some Russian friends who visit our house on a weekly basis for musical instruction. Welcome to the 21st century, Piers!
“Well, I do know a bit about guns, actually. My brother’s a lieutenant colonel in the British Army and has served tours of duty in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. My sister married a colonel who trained Princes William and Harry at Sandhurst. My uncle was a major in the Green Howards.”
Umm, O.K., once again, I’ll ask what special insight their service affords you with regard to civilian policy on gun control. I mean, I suppose it’s nice to know, but aside from that, are you getting paid by the word, because I fail to see even the dormant seed of a concept here. Fail.
“But where I have a big problem is when the unfortunately ambiguous wording of the 2nd Amendment is twisted to mean that anyone in America can have any firearm they want, however powerful, and in whatever quantity they want. This has led to the absurd scenario where I can’t legally buy six packets of Sudafed in an American supermarket, or a chocolate Kinder egg, or various French cheeses, because they are all deemed a health risk. Yet I can saunter into Walmart – America’s version of Tesco – and help myself to an armful of AR-15 assault rifles and magazines that can carry up to 100 bullets at a time.”
I’d respond that the restrictions on Sudafed, Kinder Chocolate Eggs and French cheeses are superb examples of the ever increasing role of ‘Government as Parent’ in America – legislation based on the lowest denominator of stupidity and criminality. As far as Walmart selling AR-15 rifles, my hat is off to them. AR-15′s and other such firearms are legal and should remain so. Incidentally the term ‘Assault Rifle’ is a pejorative of the Left. No one who sells, owns or legally uses them refers to them as such.
There are a small amount of criminally inclined individuals, somewhere around 3 to 5 percent of the population, when you look specifically at felons, particularly violent ones. The trend in legislation at the Federal and State levels in America is to restrict the rights of 97 percent of the population based on the behavior of 3 percent. That’s not wise governance, that’s laying the foundation for an authoritarian state.
I and my family have personally experienced the heavy hand of this growing inclination to control its citizens. I suffer from periodic bouts of Asthma as does my son. The FDA banned the sale of over the counter inhalers because of a dubious contention that they played some miniscule role in the depletion of the Ozone layer. I no longer have the free choice of purchasing an inexpensive, effective and perfectly suitable product because my government has signed on to some fraudulent Climate Change accord. Those of you that believe that a point in time will come when the government’s appetite for issuing legislative injunctions on your daily freedom will be satiated and they’ll decide we no longer need their ‘protective wisdom’ and benevolent limiting of our choices, are utter fools.
Here’s where he makes a fatally damaging admission of the truth and then as an afterthought, tries to paper over it with flaccid philosophy:
“These measures, which will be resisted every step of the way, won’t stop all gun crime. Nor all mass shootings. There are too many guns out there, and too many criminals and mentally deranged people keen to use them. But the measures will at least make a start. And they will signal an intent to tackle this deadly scourge on American life.”
‘Signaling intent’ instead of seriously dealing with the real aspects of the problem is nothing other than cruel cynicism and insincerity. But I get what you are saying here Piers, without wanting to ‘signal’ your real intent. It is embedded in the phrase ‘but the measures will at least make a start’. If you believe that the ‘measures’ you speak of will not alleviate the problem, then it’s clear that you see them as a stepping stone to further measures that will. And you explicitly tell us that we have too many guns, so what you envision is exploiting any further incidents to bring about the total prohibition of gun ownership.
I know Piers, that you have a scant awareness of American history, but the last time Congress endeavored to legislate out of existence what was decried at the time as a national scourge, was in 1920, when we added the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. I’ll save you the trouble of sussing it out. It was a signal failure. What it did do, was launch the careers of some of the greatest crime figures in American history and create organized crime empires that it has taken us 6 decades to bring under control.
“In conclusion, I can spare those Americans who want me deported a lot of effort by saying this: If you don’t change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don’t have to worry about deporting me. Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, I would, as a concerned parent first – and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three years’ time – seriously consider deporting myself.”
Hey Piers, don’t threaten me with a good time – and watch out for that front door, the springs are set kind of tight. Oh, one more thing. Take that Jack Ball, Bob Costas with you when you leave. We’re done with him, too.