Dave Weigel wasn't very impressed with Piers Morgan's Alex Jones interview:
Morgan's job is to make an example of the worst possible advocate for gun rights, and he doesn't even pull that off.Is Weigel's characterization of Jones accurate? Is Jones "the worst possible advocate for gun rights"?
I don't think so. I think he's the typical advocate of gun rights. What he did was what gun zealots do every day. The debate on CNN last night was America's gun debate over the last couple of decades in microcosm. It was every legislative gun debate we have. It's every gun debate we ever have online.
The primary tactic Jones used was intimidation -- that the main tactic of gun zealots in every gun debate. From the transcript:
JONES: ... I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms. It doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand?That's just an unsubtle version of the aggression that's been the subtext of the gun debate for years in America: gun-control advocates are soft, weedy, effete little intellectuals; gun fans are rough, tough, real Americans you sure don't want to mess with, if you know what's good for you.
... Piers, don't try what your ancestors did before. Why don't you come to America, I'll take you out shooting.
That gets mixed with a pugnacious use of facts (and pseudo-facts) as weapons. If you advocate gun control and know one statistic, the gun zealot knows twenty -- and won't stop until he's shouted you down by reciting every one. All your facts are irrelevant, if not a distortion of the truth (especially if you compare U.S. crime rates with those of any country that has gun control); the gun zealot's facts are the real facts.
Again, from the transcript:
MORGAN: ... How many gun murders were there in America last year? Do you know?And if you're a gun-control advocate, you personally are the one killing and tyrannizing people. You won't address the real issues, so crime is your fault. Jones supposedly looked like a crazy man last night for blaming crime on anti-depressants, but how different is this from other gun zealots' attempts to shift the blame to America's lack of involuntary institutionalization of the mentally ill (with the implication that gun-control supporters are diverting attention from this, the true cause of crime, as a result of which innocent people die)?
JONES: There were about 11,458, and about 70 percent of those were gang related. Gang bangers shooting each other. You get three and a half to four --
MORGAN: OK. That wasn't --
JONES: How many people died from infections in hospitals? 197,000 ...
MORGAN: Right. How many gun murders were there in Britain? ...
JONES: Oh, wait, UK violent crime, capital of Europe. "London Telegraph." Here let me give you more.
... you've got hoards of people burning down cities and beating old women's brains out every day.
And if you're a gun-control advocate, it's not because you're against guns -- it's because you want all the guns for yourself, while disarming people you hold in contempt, you effete bastard:
JONES: Do you have a body guard?How different is all this from every discussion we've tried to have in America in recent years between the gun community and the rest of us, in every forum? How different is it from every congressional debate, every debate at the level of state or local government, every debate in the media, every debate among individuals online?
JONES: Why do you have body guards?
MORGAN: I don't have a body guard.
JONES: Yes, I've seen you on the news with them.
MORGAN: I don't have a body guard.
JONES: Don't you want to protect your wife from hoodlums or you want to call the police?
MORGAN: Let me ask you this question?
JONES: Why does Dianne Feinstein --
MORGAN: Alex. Alex.
JONES: -- tell "60 Minutes" that she plans --
MORGAN: OK. Alex.
JONES: -- to try and take Mr. And Mrs. America's guns?
Alex Jones ranted and raved and declared his absolute rightness, and the gun-control side's absolute evil, at great length and at the top of his lungs, until he'd effectively reduced Piers Morgan to silence.
That's precisely what the gun crowd has done to the rest of us for years.