Mental Health Check for Gun Buys? Talk About a Straw Man...

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If he only had a brain, he could pass that non-existent mental health evaluation and buy a Glock...

In the wake of the Tucson massacre, there have been, as you might expect, a number of folks who have suggested that maybe Arizona, and the nation, would benefit from stricter gun legislation.

My recent commentary "Day of the Dead," published in this week's New Times, argues that reining in Sand Land's gun nut culture would be a good thing. Perhaps some simple, common sense hurdles placed in deranged killer Jared Lee Loughner's way could have made Loughner's shooting spree less likely, or less lethal.

But, reading the comments left on the opinion piece, you'd think the article was calling for the elimination of all handguns, as well as the gutting of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

While those might be interesting propositions, the only ones discussing them as if they're legitimate are the firearm fanatics themselves.

This is, of course, is a classic straw man fallacy, where the writer sets up a false premise, knocks it down, and then claims to have refuted their opponent's argument.

My colleague Ray Stern uses such straw man arguments in his recent blog item, "Five Reasons Why a Mental Health Evaluation Should NOT be a Prerequisite For Buying a Gun."

Who is proposing such a prerequisite? Stern does not enlighten us here. Instead he goes about arguing why it would be wrong to have such a prerequisite, and he does the same for a pre-gun buy urinalysis, another "straw man."

To be sure, there are some wacky ideas floating around, such as New York Republican Congressman Pete King's 1,000 foot gun-free zone for public officials.

To cop a line from The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, can us regular schmos get that same gun-free buffer as well?

Still, Stern is not discussing any specific proposal that I'm aware of. I contacted the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and spoke with senior attorney Dan Vice. Vice told me the Brady Campaign is not pushing for the elimination of all handguns.

Instead, the Brady Campaign is seeking reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban, or at least the part having to do with high-capacity magazines, like the 31-round clip Loughner used. The 1994 assault weapons ban limited magazines to 10 rounds, but it expired in 2004, and Congress did not renew it.

The Brady Campaign also wants comprehensive background checks for all gun buys, more extensive than the "instant" FBI check purchasers receive at licensed gun dealers. In addition, the organization would like to see the loophole for gun shows and private sellers closed.

As for the "mental health check" Stern posits, that's not a Brady Campaign proposal, Vice told me. However, the release of mental health information could be a part of a more comprehensive background check. In some cases, it already is.

"Some states require gun purchasers to authorize a search of their mental health records," said Vice. "Obviously, just seeing a psychiatrist would be no problem, but if someone was noted to be a danger, a search of their record could reveal that."

Vice explained that Illinois, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state have such a requirement.

Even without a mental health records search, some states with more comprehensive background checks force the applicant to come in contact with authorities, according to Vice. In the case of someone like Loughner, just interacting with them could raise a red flag, more questions might be asked, and a gun permit might end up being denied.

Stern kvetches that going through a process like that in New York, say, could take "weeks" and, "the licensing process adds a lot to the cost of a gun."

Hey, cry me a river.

Life is full of inconveniences, restrictions, and forms. Hell, you even have to fill out a form to rent movies at Blockbuster. It's called civilization. The only way out, really, is living off the grid in a cave somewhere. Or anarchy.

Take cars. There are all sorts of restrictions on operating motor vehicles, many of which limit personal liberty. You have to have a license, insurance, not drive while intoxicated, wear seatbelts.

Automobile makers must comply with a catalogue of federal requirements.

And yet, pretty much anyone who wants a car in this country can buy one. If you want more than one car, it will add to your costs in various ways, the price of the license plates, for instance.

So, um, what's the big deal? Yes, the Second Amendment guarantees your right to bear arms. It does not, however, preclude the states or Congress from implementing certain legal restrictions. The First and Second Amendments are not absolutes. Nor should they be.

As for Stern's worry about the harm to Arizona's "robust gun industry," once again, it's hard for me to get teary-eyed here. Every industry has to deal with ever-shifting federal, state, and local regulations. And the gun industry does not deserve a pass.

Not all gun enthusiasts are against sane gun laws, but there are many out there who demand carte blanche. They want what they want, and they don't seem too troubled when other members of society have to deal with the bloody consequences. This is a petulant, juvenile, state of mind, one the adults in the discussion should reject.


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Federale
Federale

No, you are wrong, the Brady Campaign wants to ban all handguns, and all rifles, and shotguns. It repeatedly states that there is no reason for anyone to own a gun. They just don't want to do it now. As they know honesty is political suicide for their platform.

Stacy
Stacy

Crazy thing about all the discussion with Jan Brewer and her proposed budget cuts to AHCCCS it will drop thousands from receiving mental health care.

Hello, Dimwit Brewer: Do you remember the guy a few Christmas' ago who bludgeoned to death the two little cousins? He was mentally derainged and fell through AZ's mental care system due to cuts. And Jan, having a son with mental issues still wants to make more cuts?

Pitzl Sm
Pitzl Sm

I really do not know how to convey or where to convey on this site about how right on the writer was about the irony of the ability of anyone to walk into the legislative chambers, armed.

I also wanted to make a comment about one of the shooting victims' comment/actions: Fuller told 12 News that he was there "to forgive them and possibly their son," but the couple wasn't home. Snipped.............Why would the shooters' action be his parents fault? IMO, that's BS

1rpb1
1rpb1

Brady Democrat Dictionary:Loophole [loop-hohl] or (ˈluːpˌhəʊl)–noun1) freedom

Usage: Householders are set to defy a law banning “old fashioned” lightbulbs by exploiting a loophole in new legislation. Legislators want toeliminate that "loophole"

Loopholes can be dangerous to a totalitarian government.

NOT every wacko uses this or that gun or magazine or knife.Every single one of these crazies trying to kill others wears shoes

They help them get from place to place to hurt MORE people, andsometimes are used in escapes. Ban shoes.(The TSA and airports will be safer too)

Are you aware there's no hollywood one-stop-shot "smart bullet" with aguidance control system available to homeowners? Do you recall theFlorida incident where police shot a criminal over 30 times yet herefused to fall down and quit shooting back?

Are you an elderly disabled handicapped man who has been held hostagetwice, once by two armed men, another time by 5 armed men? No? ThenI'm a better judge of that than you are, dontcha think?

How many hurricanes, evacuations and aftermaths or other naturaldisasters have you been through to know what I "need"? Not as many as Ihave? Then I'm a better judge of that than you are, dontcha think?

Re: you deciding what I "need" and may have.How many of those OPTIONS in your car do you NEED. oh? you found aloophole? You do want us to decide what YOU "need" too right? Got anyice cream in your freezer? Please justify why you "need" it, I'mdrafting a bill.

What is an “assault weapon?Oh? a home defense weapon like an AK-47?Home Invasion-Intruder Shot with AK-47 – invaded by 4 or 5 invadersJanuary 10, 2011 at 9:14p.m Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to 3405 Farmosa in reference to shots fired, home invasion.

AK -47? You mean that kind of rifle that Brady Campaign says has no defensive use?

Seems like only years ago Dr. Suzanna Hupp was responding before Congress when the Bradys said there was no defensive use for an AR15, and she showed them a guy on his rooftop defending himself with an AR15 during some riot or disaster …

Now the vultures are swooping down to ban certain magazines which allow elderly disabled people do defend themselves against 5 gang members/robbers/home invaders ….

Those bazillion capacity magazines?how many bullets do I need in a magazine to survive against 5 home invaders, keeping in mind I can’t reload fast with only one hand which is arthritic? Especially at a time adrenaline takes control during the invasion causing my hand to shake, and I’m trying to “bob and weave and duck for cover”, as fast as an old man can, (I guess I’ll hit the floor, hope I don’t break a hip)

Please leave my freedoms alone, you loophole you, else justify a need for your ice cream: I'm drafting a bill ...

Alex
Alex

A mental health evaluation should be required for a concealed handgun permit or to purchase a gun. Why would you gun lovers object to that? Isn't public safety you main concern? Or are you afraid you wouldn't pass?

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Asdf
Asdf

"But, reading the comments left on the opinion piece, you'd think the article was calling for the elimination of all handguns, as well as the gutting of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

People create straw men around those aspects of the Constitution they love the most. Just as you are complaining about the gun-advocates dreaming up fanciful claims and slippery-slope arguments to derail common sense, basic responsibility laws for gun ownership, so too your recent laments about holding people accountable for their words are nothing more than hyperbole.

Show some intellectual consistency. Quit lying about what would happen to the First Amendment if people where held to account for the foreseeable consequences for their words, and then you can advocate for common sense restrictions on other admendments. Until then, you're just a self-serving hypocrite.

wherewasi
wherewasi

As the parent of a mentally ill "child" (26 yrs old) I can honestly say that all of the arguments here are null and void. Until you have lived it, you cannot understand it. Arizona is near the bottom of the barrel in terms of states who have "registered" their mentally ill residents with the FBI's "don't sell a gun to this dude(tte) . It makes me really angry that, while my daughter recieves some mental health care (30 minutes of talk therapy and 15 mintues with a prescribing psychiatrist) it amazes me that she is one of the lucky ones who receives SOMETHING. It's not enough, but it keeps her on an even keel.

It is truly absurd that our mentally ill population can obtain a gun and ammo much more easily than they can obtain help for their condition.

I am sad for everyone. Most especially for Christina, but also for all of the other deceaesed injured and for Jared's parents. I know that some are pointing fingers are them and saying "why didn't you do something?" That is SO wrong. I know why you didn't know. I share your sorrow for the lost child you now have to own and accept, or reject.

My heart goes out to you in this time of trouble. I believe you did the best you thought you could do, and I understand how things got out of control.Amy and Randy - God's speed to you. I understand. Even if 99.9% of the rest of the world does not, know that there is at least one other parent who knows what you beleived until last Saturday. It is NOT your fault.

There but for the grace of God go I.

In this case, God is "Magellan" and they are hardly "godly" but at least it is "something", before they collect their profit. Arizona spends less than 46 other states on mental health care. Megellan (an insurance company) reaps big profits on providing minimal care while charging maximum fees.

Am I ANGRY??? You Betchtya!

JT Ready
JT Ready

For those fetid fools who keep trying to equate legal gun ownership and lawful means of self-defense with the right wing or Nazism, please review this website:

http://jpfo.org/

I have taken gun training instructor courses and had conversations with with some of their members before. And lest I remind you, paper targets do not shoot back. But armed citizens do.

Shalomey Homey.

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

Now you know what we have to put up with. You should see the emails my wife gets. She's the Director of the Arizona Chapter of Million Mom March. Truly fantastical tales are told, including a number of dire threats, against anyone trying to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.

BTW - My wife's son was killed by his best friend while they were messing around with a gun his friend obtained from a "private owner" - she's also a member of Parents of Murdered Children (a grief support network).

If anyone wants to get involved and get some sane gun laws passed in this state, let her know at:

http://www.bradycampaign.org/c...

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

You sir are a liar. I have been to the national organizing events for the Brady Campaign. Not one of those people want to ban guns - I asked them directly in a Q&A and they all, to a person, said no, they do not want to ban guns. In fact, many Brady Campaign activists own guns. The fact is that if there were any groups working to ban guns in the U.S., they couldn't. The Supreme Court has already ruled and stated that blanket bans on private gun ownership is unconstitutional. It would take more political muscle than is required to elect a president and an entire new congress of a single party (like the dems did in 2009) to to this. If the Dems had wanted to ban guns, they could have tried then but they didn't. Actions speak louder than your false words, you ignorant slut!

http://www.bradycampaign.org/c...

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

They now have metal detectors at the Capitol.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

How many dead children are worth your right to defend against imaginary intruders. In a country of 300 million, you can find one story to support your side of the argument, meanwhile the deaths of innocents pile up so quickly they no longer make front page news.

Congratulations on find the man bites dog story, does that mean we can't work to prevent dogs from biting men?

1rpb1
1rpb1

I'd suggest a urine test, many of the criminals are on drugs, except that might eliminate eligibility for many politicians too ...

No but seriously, I think drug tests are acceptable too, if someone wants to own a gun or a car or any dangerous object.

Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley

The NRA is famous for this technique. They are constantly setting up boogiemen to knock down. Every cover has a "horror" if this or that happens, they ran throught Clinton, Obama, and every Democratic cabinet member, all who they said was involved in some massive conspiracy to "take our guns away." Wayne and his bunch are nuts.The run antedotes about some person in Kentucky who shot a burgler, but never run any stories about some eight year old who found his uncles gun and shot his brother. The NRA hypocricy is breathtaking.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

What a nice addition to Steve's article about straw men. No one here has equated legal gun ownership with the right wing or Nazism. What a friggin liar!

1rpb1
1rpb1

o, you deny that lights come on all by themselves without someone flipping a trigger? I mean switch?

You deny that guns and "clips" jump out of holsters and attack people?

You probably think inert, inanimate objects can't possess a quality or characteristic of "evil or "bad"

I bet you even subscribe to the following philosophy:

cars kill more peoplecars are dangerouscars are more dangerous if used irresponsibly or maliciously (woman trying to run her cheating husband over etc)

hammers and knives kill less people than carshammers and knives are dangeroushammers and knives are more dangerous if used irresponsibly or maliciously

Fire extinguishers can be dangerous if hit with one (used irresponsibly or maliciously )Fire extinguishers are seldom usedPeople hope they never need a Fire extinguisherIt's better to have one if and/or when one is needed, than not have one

guns kill less people than cars tooguns are dangerousguns are more dangerous if used irresponsibly or maliciouslyPeople hope they never need a gunIt's better to have one if and/or when one is needed, than not have one

all have valid uses as tools, handguns, fire extinguishers, cars. hammers, knives are inert, inanimate objects incapable of possessing a "good" or bad" or "evil" characteristic.... they can be or are dangerous, moreso if used wrong, none are evil, sometimes any of the above could be used for an evil purpose by an evil person, it's not the tool's fault, and when properly used by a good responsible person, jobs are best performed if you have the right tool for the job,

Mistalee
Mistalee

Given your National Socialist Party affiliation, touting your gun instructor courses and love of guns to refute a link between guns and naziism is not the most compelling argument, is it?

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

Ignorant Nazi - You are just full of fun today aren't you!

Commenting on a story about straw man arguments with your own straw man argument - what a hoot!

I've been looking all over the web and can't find any links to any pages where there is a statement linking advocating gun rights to Nazism.

BTW - Nazism is a radical liberal theory - not a conservative one. Remember, liberal means change and conservative means stay the same. Proposing a change of a government from representative democracy to facist dictatorship as was done in Germany is about as far from a conservative course of action as one could get.

Someothername
Someothername

While at the Brady site, look up Colin Goddard.He wasn't the one who jumped, rose up, rose to the occasion to fight Cho at Virginia Tech, (like the 4 heroes did in Tucson) The one who rose to the occasion was unarmed and "would have" been a hero, except he died. Like Dr. Suzanna Hupp's father died trying to stop George Hennard. Colin Goddard in the one who laid down and played possum and didn't get up while Cho was reloading SEVERAL times, killing people all around him. Now he and a family member have lifetime employment promoting the idea we should keep school the same way, so that these events can happen again. To hear the other side, people who lost freinds at Virginia Tech that day, see The Virginia Tech Chapter of SCCC on ABC's Nightline http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

1rpb1
1rpb1

How many more dead children at your so-called "gun free zones" have to die before you realize criminals don't read signs nor care about laws saying they can't own this r that?

Banning guns, and even knives, is workin out real well in Ciudad Juarez right? Where criminals are getting full auto guns, grenade launchers from Venezuela and Brazil manufacturers.

Which "one story to support your side of the argument," do you mean?

You want 4 from today's news? That's not an isolated type incident, it's occurring a lot. My cousin and his wife were executed in their home, they had no weapon equal to the crackhead's that murdered them.

How about a bunch of dead intruders this last few weeks in the news? People no longer fall for the head in the sand propaganda, they are defending their lives now.

Which "imaginary intruders" were you referring to? The two armed men who held guns to my head, or the 5 armed men with 3 shotguns and 2 pistols who robbed the store I was in? Or the crackhead who murdered my cousin and his wife in their bed?

Next you'll want to write a new l;aw that suicide bombers must reduce shrapnel particles to zero, so everyone is safer, and we know criminals all follow the law.

All you do with trying to regulate what law abiding citizens want, is make them play ball against criminals with bats, while denying us law abiding citizens equal equipment to their team.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Long as you include alcohol as one of the "drugs" excluded. Alcohol is the main killer and is a drug just as pot or herion is. Just because the government legalized it does not make it any less of a recreational drug, or any less harmful, than meth or coke.

Someothername
Someothername

Thanks for the info, I don't keep up with what the NRA does. I never joined them, I don't kill defenseless animals nor have any interest in hunting them. I have had 7 different robbers with guns robbing places I was in, and they had us lay on the floor. The robbers that had the 4 teen girls in Austin yogurt shop decided to execute them one by one, like Cho did at Virginia Tech. In Texas they make you take a course to deescalate situations, so I'll lay on a floor, but when the executions start, I'll probably get up.

Asdf
Asdf

I love the wingnuts who are clamoring "I wish one more gun was there - in the hands of a responsible gun owner."

To their surprise, there was such a gun in the hand of such a man and by his own admission he nearly drew down to shoot one of the heroes.

The myth that a gun is the cure for violence, not the cause, rarely survives careful scrutiny. For every one "the gun saved him" story we literally have dozens of "the gun killed them all" event.

In countries with strict gun control we see lower murder rates. This is due to the impassioned aspect of many homocided. Yet, these people who seemingly want to feel something big, black and hard going of in their hands can't be bothered by facts.

1rpb1
1rpb1

Loosecannonsbluesbandresearch Ford cars, they are dangerous, many shifted gears by themselves, My ex-employer's wife was killed by one shifting into gear by itself and crushing her in the garage ... those are called "defective products" and are recalled.... Manufacturers fix products after situations like that

JT Ready
JT Ready

The point is guns are inanimate objects requiring people to pull the triggers. There are nuts and there are good people in every political sphere. Why some people are so retarded in regards to a self-defense tool, a mechanical device, has nothing to do with Nazism or Zionism either way really. What is true, however, is that lawful self-defense is the best option available for all parties involved. If we want to get into a philosophical political debate about it, with National Socialism there would be no Jared Laughners running lose. For a number of reasons.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"Remember, liberal means change and conservative means stay the same"

So a liberal under a liberal government who wanted to retain that government would be a conservative because he wanted to KEEP the government liberal, whereas a conservative under the same liberal government who wanted it to become more conservative would be a liberal because he sought to CHANGE it to a more conservative government.

I'm really not sure that's how it works.

1rpb1
1rpb1

TOWSON, Md., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A man who broke into a home in a Baltimore suburb Friday took his own life after a woman in the house returned his fire and wounded him, police said.

and

http://www.ktul.com/Global/sto...Homeowner Shoots Home InvaderOfficials tell ktul.com that just after 10, a man tried to force his way into the front door of a home. The intruder then went around to the back door and forced his way into the house. The intruder then tried to force his way into bedrooms when the homeowner got a gun and confronted the intruder, shooting him several times. The intruder was taken to the hospital in critical condition

here's an older one80-Year-Old Chicago Man Kills Armed Home Invaderthe homeowner and his wife, also in her 80s, discovered the intruder entering their home through a back door. The homeowner, who had a gun, confronted and killed It's a good thing they had a gun, or they might be dead," said Curtis Thompson, who lives next door to the coupleNeighbors described the elderly couple, who both walk with canes, as pillars of the community in Garfield Park, where home invasions have been all too frequent.

Their neighbor, Shaquite Johnson, told MyFoxChicago that the two are "heroes" for fighting off the attacker — and that the shooting means there is "one less criminal" walking the streets."They don't bother no one, so why would anyone do that to them?" she said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010...

1rpb1
1rpb1

Austin home Intruder in shooting dead, police said

and last week

Suspect shot by resident in Killeen, police saida man had kicked in the apartment’s door. The resident shot the suspect, who then ran outside and through a field, Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said.

1rpb1
1rpb1

I was going to say Do your own homework lazy, but OK

http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/l...TULSA - A home invasion suspect is in critical condition Friday morning, after being shot by the homeowner.

http://www.woai.com/news/local...SAN ANTONIO -- A homeowner shot and killed an intruder on the Northwest Side....the wife grabbed a gun and fired at them.

Hot Springs, Arkansas, Monday a 14-year-old boy shot a "suspected" burglar who was allegedly trying to break into the home with two accomplices. detectives were familiar with the young suspects from past incidents and that one of them had a prior arrest for burglary.

http://www.pressherald.com/new...WARNER, N.H. - A man who died after breaking into a home and terrorizing the elderly homeowner was shot in the head with his own gun, ...The man who terrorized an elderly N.H. homeowner on Sunday remains unidentified.

I can just post several home invaders which shot unarmed homeowners too, you may like those better if that's the situation you prefer reading about.

Now your turn, show me 4 instances this week where elderly ladies defended against armed gunmen with spinning roundhouse kicks instead of a weapon equal to the bad guy's team had.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Yes, actually, I want to hear hard facts. You claim there were four from today -- what are they?

Come on, tell me what they are. Today. Four stories. Now. Put up or shut up.

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

You are absolutely fucking wrong.

Research the Remington 700 series rifles firing error. These guns have killed and maimed 1000s of people and regularly went off by themselves without any human intervention. Remington failed to fix the engineering that their own engineers told them about because they didn't have to.

They had yahoos like you shilling for them in the public eye. Why fix a problem when there's no possible way of any legislation forcing them to or creating a loss of revenue for the gun manufacturer.

Some guns don't go off without someone or something pulling the trigger (could be a cat or dog or small child).

The fact is that guns are dangerous weapons. The point of the matter is that we need to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. Are you a dangerous person? Then not one supporter of the Brady campaign wants to take away your right to possess a firearm. Got a mental disease, felony conviction, etc. - yeah, I got a problem with you having a firearm and I'll support laws to keep your dangerous little hands off these dangerous weapons.

Asdff
Asdff

Some one wrote "don't let them tell you different" when trying to claim that black is white and nazis are liberals.

By "them," he means every legitimate political scientist who has ever written a scholary review of Nazism.

His simplistic definition reflect the limits of his mind, and should not be allowed to pollute yours.

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

That's exactly how it works. You have to remember that what is "conservative" in one state or country is "liberal" or "moderate" in another. All politics are local. The terms we're discussing define a spectrum of ideas that fit to the local situations.

People like you will try to expropriate the terms for their own use in pidgeon holing others so they can demonize them and promote division and hate.

The people in power know that there are very few differences between people and we all have far more in common in our opinions than differences between us. However, that type of thought doesn't get people elected, so politicians, despite knowing that these labels have any real meaning, use them to divide us and set up a "straw men" so they can appear to knock them down and look like the decisive leaders voters want to vote for.

If we all just use logic, and a dictionary, we'll be far better off as a country and as a people, than listening to the rethoric from people who want to divide us in their pursuit of power.

Take for example the issue of abortion. Induced abortion can be traced to ancient times. The Bible even includes a passage whereby God is purported to give the proper procedure for an abortion to see if one's wife were faithful during an absence. For the majority of the history of this country is that abortion has been legal or at least not legislated. Certainly, since 1973 it has been settled law in this country. Therefore it is a liberal position to try to change that law and conservative to want it to remain the same.

People are not liberal or conservative. They have positions on issues that reflect those different wishes but they, themselves are not. They may label themselves with these labels or have these labels thrust upon them but, in the real world, we're all mostly the same.

Don't let them tell you different.

Asdf
Asdf

That's not how it works out. If it were, then once Nazi-ism was in control, then it would have been the conservative idea to keep it in control, and the liberal idea to force it out. Do you think "Loosecannon" would argue that WW2 was championed by the Liberals? Of course not. He's just a loon trying to move all things negative away from his side of the political spectrum and onto that side he hates.

He is, in effect, the ultimate straw-man maker.

Simple minds latch onto simple definitions.

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