CNN talk show host Piers Morgan recently debated Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, about the proper response to the Sandy Hook massacre. A sampling of Morgan's arguments:
You are talking complete and utter nonsense….
What you just said, Mr. Pratt, was an absolute lie….
You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?…
What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. You don't give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America. You don't actually care….
It's complete nonsense….
I know why sales of these weapons have been soaring in the last few days. It's down to idiots like you….
You are a dangerous man espousing dangerous nonsense, and you shame your country.
The exchange, during which Pratt remains admirably calm, pretty accurately reflects the general tenor of the current gun control debate, with raw emotionalism and invective pitted against skepticism and an attempt at rational argument. I am not saying that every supporter of gun control is a raving bully on the order of Piers Morgan, or even that Pratt is right. (You can judge that for yourself.) But proponents of new gun restrictions are counting on emotional appeals for victory, which is why they insist that action must be taken immediately, before the grief and outrage provoked by Adam Lanza's crimes starts to fade.
[Thanks to Michael Geoghegan for the link.]