Is Sam Harris the World's Dumbest Atheist? His Latest Rant on Guns Points to Yes
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Harris's fears, like much of his "philosophy," are arbitrary and logically inconsistent. After several column inches of rock-hard gun-boner, wherein he confesses a deep and abiding love for his own weapons, the setup for this ode to American gun-rights madness is to claim that firearms are the only reasonable answer to hypothetical knife-wielding lunatics:
"A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want. It is a world in which a man with a knife can rape and murder a woman in the presence of a dozen witnesses, and none will find the courage to intervene."
Guns level the killing field. Got it? Or were you too busy raping someone at knife-point, you disgusting liberal zealot?! Of course, a world with guns growing on trees would leave us all subject to the whims of the most aggressive, and heavily armed, gun owners. This is a point Harris doesn't quite realize he makes further on in the essay when describing the futility of the Second Amendment to protect the individual citizen (or militia) against a tyrannical federal government in possession of fleets of Predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles.
Harris displays a true talent for contradicting himself. In addition to the above paragraph, he writes that well-trained, "good" people need guns to protect themselves against dangers they may encounter outside of their homes, yet, "[l]ike many gun-control advocates, [he has] serious concerns about letting ordinary citizens walk around armed." But I guess this is the nature of the riddle, the enigma; the dogmatic asshole masquerading as a reasonable arbiter.
In an attempt to calm presumably unwarranted hysteria over mass shootings, Harris offers "some facts about guns":
"Fifty-five million kids went to school on the day that 20 were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Even in the United States, therefore, the chances of a child’s dying in a school shooting are remote. As my friend Steven Pinker demonstrates in his monumental study of human violence, The Better Angels of Our Nature, our perception of danger is easily distorted by rare events."
Ha. HA! HAAAAAAAAA! Excuse my vulgar Chris Matthews-esque guffaws, but anyone familiar with Harris's rise to prominence as a post-9/11 fearmonger, torture apologist, and war-hawk can surely forgive me this slobber-mouthed transgression. HAAAAAA! Jesus Muhammad Nugent! It's as if the man lacks any self-awareness whatsoever.
Americans are far more likely to die at the hands of a--usually--white, gun-totting maniac than they are to be murdered by an Islamic terrorist, so Harris's "calming" statistics only serve to demonstrate his own epic hypocrisy.
"We still have more guns and more gun violence than any other developed country, but the correlation between guns and violence in the United States is far from straightforward. Thirty percent of urban households have at least one firearm. This figure increases to 42 percent in the suburbs and 60 percent in the countryside. As one moves away from cities, therefore, the rate of gun ownership doubles. And yet gun violence is primarily a problem in cities. It is the people of Detroit, Oakland, Memphis, Little Rock, and Stockton who are at the greatest risk of being killed by guns."
The obvious connection between crime-related gun violence, or the asymetrical form of warfare known as "terrorism" (because the Iraq War wasn't terrorism!), and socioeconomic status is totally lost on Harris. No surprise. Harris goes on with a "I'm not saying X, but I am saying X, so what the hell's my point?" form of masturbatory argumentation. Knives can be just as dangerous as guns, as evidenced by a recent slew of attacks in Chinese schools, except they're really not as deadly, and--yet again--guns are the only real defense against knife-wielding maniacs. Then there's some more fake-sagacious obfuscation, like considering the astounding number of people who die of infection each year because hospital employees don't wash their hands well enough, followed by the immediate admission they're not the same problem, nor does contrasting the two phenomenon offer any insight whatsoever. So aside from learning that Sam Harris has two hands, one of which is made of straw, we see that he could benefit from an editor--or maybe just shutting the fuck up, rather than subjecting his readers to pointless circumlocution.