The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stephen Colbert finds a flaw in gun logic...

I nearly fell out of my chair a few nights ago from laughing while watching the Colbert Report. Mr. Colbert has a regularly occuring segement entitled "Better Know a District", in which he interviews members of the U.S House of Represenatives from various districts throughout the Country.

I believe Mr. Colbert's goal is to eventually interview a represenative from all 435 Congressional Districts. Not only will this be difficult because there are 435 districts, but I'm sure many members of Congress don't find Mr. Colbert as amusing as as I do. Though it's obvious that Mr. Colbert's delivery is highly "tongue and cheek", it's my opinion that Mr. Colbert is developing into the nation's premier satirist. Just ask President Bush...

Anyhow, the other night on the "Better Know a District" segement Mr. Colbert had Nebraska's 2nd District Congressman Lee Terry on the "hot seat". The entire exchange between Mr. Colbert and Congressman Terry was halarious (and kudos to Congressman Terry for aggreeing to appear on this segment by the way) but one particular exchange between Colbert and Lee was particularly funny...(by the way click here to see the entire interview)

SC: (Serious look on this face) The NRA gave you an "A" on your voting record, why not an "A+" sir?

LT: (laughing) I don't know?

SC: (Serious) What's the most absurb thing about gun regulations? Gun registry? 72 hour waiting period? Trigger locks? What part of that is most laughable?

LT: (Serious) The people that are complying with those laws ar not the problem. The laws are focused on good people and philosophically I don't think that's appropriate...

SC: (Serious) I agree, good people shouldn't have laws...

LT: Let's focus on crime...

SC: Too many people forget that passing laws doesn't stop crime...

LT: (knodding in agreement) No...

SC: So, stop having laws...we might get a little less crime, because it wouldn't be illegal then! (laughter)

LT: (somewhat laughing) No, know....(on to the next subject)

Geez, let's just say that Congressman Lee "walked into that one". I'm sure the NRA's upper management didn't enjoy Colbert's interview with Congressman Terry. I wonder if Colbert will now show up on the NRA's "blacklist"?

Personally I fully support the 2nd amendment, but I (like many other people) feel that reasonable regulations/laws are necessary and appropriate. Often 2nd Amendment advocates repeat talking points - similar to those articulated by Congressman Terry - which are supplied to them by professional lobbyist without giving too much thought to the meaning of these talking points. (read above)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Congressman Terry (and other like him) should try to formulate cogent and logical postions to why overburdensome gun regulations are not necessary, and potentially violate the 2nd Amendment. Because it's painfully obvious that some of the "tried and ture" talking points are - as Mr. Colbert demostrated - indeed laughable...


  • At 5/25/2006 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yep, politicians are easy pickens for a good comic. Politicians sometimes say stupid things basically because they believe what they are saying.

    Want to hear a truly hilarious one?

    "History teaches us that all the master-races have declined once they consented to arm the peoples they had conquered."

    I'll bet Colbert would have the audience rolling in the isles if he would have had a chance to interviw Adolf Hitler (the source of the above qoute), at least until he disappeared into the nacht und neble, never to be seen again.

    And I am sure, Adolf had every intent to be "reasonable" in his policies. He was just misunderstood.

  • At 5/25/2006 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the point of Mr. Colbert's questions was to have the Congressman explain what exactly constitues "laughable" gun regulations..which the Congressman seemed ill-prepared to do. If I think about it hard enough I'm sure I could come up with a few...

    I don't find Hitler's policies to be reasonable, and using Hitler as an example for not promoting reasonable gun regulations seem, well unreasonable...I for one find all the regulations listed by Mr. Colbert to be reasonable in nature.

    I guess your logic is something like this "tyrants disarm their populace, therefore anyone (or any government) who attempts to regulate guns is intending on becoming a tyrant?"

    I think that would be a stretch.

  • At 5/26/2006 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, I know. The funny little mustache is a dead give away for tyrants.

    Perhaps we should consider the words of Justice Louis Brandise in
    Olmstead v. United State
    2787 U.S. 479 (1928):

    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    I suspect Congressman Terry's position is based on the concern over the hundreds, no thousands, of "well-meaning" laws that have been passed nation wide since the 1960's as so called "reasonable" gun control measures that essentially criminalize behavior that is not otherwise criminal. In the end, real criminals laugh at these laws (almost never prosecuted in conjunction with serious felonies like murder, etc.) and otherwise law abiding people are left to comply or pay the consequences.

    This is like bleeding to death from a thousand tiny cuts into our civil liberties. I suppose this could be funny if properly delivered.

    In reality, the gun control issue, like the gay rights issue previously addressed in this blog, is one of those intentional "hot button" issues designed to polarize factions of the electorate to become "outraged" at the other side of the political debate, contribute money and get up and vote on election day. It really works.

    Both issues perhaps have merit in a serious debate, and probably a concensus of what is "reasonable" could be found. However, I would suggest that neither issue is really as important in the big picture of national politics as the buzz would imply. But the buzz is what it is - just buzz - and people listen to buzz. Extreme positions on both sides help to generate buzz. That is why politicians are not necessairly looking too hard for those points of agreement. Politicians need "hot buttons" to keep their base voters energized.

  • At 6/08/2006 12:51 AM, Blogger Ryan S. said…

    Actually, there is a modicum of truth to Colbert's witty tongue-in-cheek quip. The Roman historian Tacitus says, "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." All of these useless federal gun regulations about the aesthetics of guns and how they look, and whether they have a thumbhole stock are all very useless.

    I like Colbert and find his heckling of the Presdient at the White House Press Association Dinner to be quite amusing. I like how he objected to those in the media who said the White House shake-up was analagous to the administration "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." Colbert strikes back, "If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg."

  • At 1/07/2007 12:37 AM, Anonymous LeonR said…

    Flaw in gun logic?

    Maybe you should check the FBI's website in regards to the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of many firearm laws. Maybe you should look at how many crimes have been solved (hint: zero) by the multi-billion dollar gun registry program. Maybe you should look at how many "terrorists" have used the now california banned .50 cal rifle (hint: zero). A lot, if not the majority, of firearm laws are made with the goal of preventing all citizens from having firearms. It is the "chip away" method. Several politicians have openly stated that total a total is their intent.

  • At 1/07/2007 12:39 AM, Anonymous LeonR said…

    err...sorry typo. I meant:

    "Several politicians have openly stated that a total ban is their intent."


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