My name is Erik, although I comment here under the name “Mollbot.” I used to have my own blog (What Hath I Wrought?), but abandoned it years ago. Phil more than once over the years mentioned to me the possibility of contributing at RNS, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog any more.
However… I recently read a blog post that made me want to respond, and responding in the comments wouldn’t have been… enough. Phil graciously offered me a platform, but I had to provide my own soapbox. Introduction aside, now on to the post:
I discovered the “Depleted Cranium” blog through a link here from Mad Rocket Scientist, I think. The site is primarily about skepticism, pointing out bad science in the news and popular culture. The author styles himself “Dr. Buzzo,” although he makes it clear that he isn’t really a doctor. His real name is Steve Packard, and he made an unsuccessful bid for US Congress in Connecticut’s 3rd District in the most recent national election. He ran as a Republican, although he doesn’t appear to be particularly conservative. I disagree with a number of his views (but then I disagree with a lot of people). I had almost no income this last year that wasn’t set aside for a specific purpose, so I couldn’t support him monetarily. I planned, however, to do so in 2014 since he announced that he would run again.
I no longer plan to give him a red cent.
In this blog post, he begins with a complaint about both sides of the gun control argument using the shooting in Newtown as a political tool to drive their own views. All right, fine. I feel similarly about most “disaster” style stories in the news these days, the news is far more likely to push for a change in policy than just report the facts. I understand his feelings being stronger than mine in this case as he is connected tangentially to several families who lost children there.
In the comments he eventually lines out his own conception of how gun control should operate in the US. It was more than enough to turn this particular right-leaning libertarian (lower case l) away from his East-coast statist… posterior permanently. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more complicated proposal for gun control, based on governmental scrutiny of every single model and variety of firearm and assigning a level of “threat” to each type, then instituting a six-tiered licensing scheme with progressively (yes I used that word with malice) more difficult bars to obtaining a license as the perceived “danger level” of the firearm rises.
Here is the link on the comment in question. He prides himself on honest debate, and has refused to remove controversial comments in the past, so I think it unlikely he will remove the comment.
My objection to such a scheme is based on the difficulty, cost, and intrusiveness of such a proposal, over and above the obvious point that there are between 250 and 300 million firearms in civilian circulation in the United States already. He doesn’t indicate a plan for confiscation if you already own a firearm in a tier for which the government deems you unfit, but that is a flourish I would expect to appear if any such plan made its way anywhere near Washington DC. Indeed, without Federal confiscation his plan is utterly unworkable; for it to be even slightly effective we’d have to start from a clean slate and that simply will not happen.
The unworkability of the plan, though, is immaterial. If that is the sort of solution he proposes, it is clear that his mindset is ultimately statist, no matter how rational his viewpoint when it comes to questions of science. We have far too many of those types in DC already.