Control of Language = Control of Debate; or, Handgun or Defensive Sidearm?

Not many who come to my humble corner of the blogosphere know this — in fact, I don’t know if any do — but in addition to being a gun owner and enthusiast, I am a writer as well. As such, I am keenly aware that much of what argument consists of is the way certain things are referred to, what they’re called; for example, as I’ve said before, there are those who would say my little Ruger 9mm semi-auto pistol is an assault weapon because of its 15-round magazine and the fact that I can reel off shots with it pretty rapidly because of its relatively low recoil. And, of course, we all know what kinds of images the term “assault weapon” conjures up. In other words, you can basically control the debate by controlling what language is used, that is, what terms are used in the debate. I was thinking about this today, as I was at work, making money for my next gun. 😉 I saw this little tidbit on one of my daily reads the other day, from


Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen monoxide:

  • is also known as hydroxl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
  • contributes to the “greenhouse effect.”
  • may cause severe burns.
  • contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
  • accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
  • may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Contamination is reaching epidemic proportions!

Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the midwest, and recently California.

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:

  • as an industrial solvent and coolant.
  • in nuclear power plants.
  • in the production of styrofoam.
  • as a fire retardant.
  • in many forms of cruel animal research.
  • in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
  • as an additive in certain “junk-foods” and other food products.

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!

The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its “importance to the economic health of this nation.” In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.

In 1997, Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student at Eagle Rock Junior High School in Idaho Falls, based his science fair project on a report similar to the one reproduced above. Zohner’s project, titled “How Gullible Are We?”, involved presenting this report about “the dangers of dihyrogen monoxide” to fifty ninth-grade students and asking them what (if anything) should be done about the chemical. Forty-three students favored banning it, six were undecided, and only one correctly recognized that ‘dihydrogen monoxide’ is actually H2O — plain old water.

It’s all in the language, you see. And while this may be an extreme example of language manipulation — a reductio ad absurdum, if you will — its lesson still stands: you can get the people to go along with just about any idea if you use the right language.
Which brings me to the issue of firearms, once again. We all know well the tripe peddled by HCI, the Violence Policy Center, etc., about how, “guns ‘r bad, m’kay?” And, of course, they’re always talking about those eeevil “handguns” (ooooh, a gun that’ll fit in your HAND!) and how they’re good for nothing but death and destruction. Well, we know which way the cost-benefit analysis goes vis-a-vis crimes committed with handguns vs. good things being done with handguns; that is, the benefits of civilian handgun ownership far, FAR outweigh the costs. So, taking into consideration the good things that happen because of civilian handgun ownership (i.e., the approximately 2.5 million-3 million defensive gun uses per year), in place of the term handgun, let us instead plug in the term defensive sidearm. To wit:

Every Defensive Sidearm Is Aimed At You: The Case for Banning Defensive Sidearms — book by Josh Sugarmann, VPC executive director — one of VPC’s myriad hysteria sites

“I hate defensive sidearms. Defensive sidearms are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will shoot each other.” — Daniel Craig, the new James Bond

“If we allow (law-abiding) citizens to carry defensive sidearms in public, blood will flow in the streets.” — NOT an actual quote, but it sums up perfectly the gun prohibitionists’ position on any type of concealed carry

And there are a thousand more examples where those come from; the ones above put in rather stark display the utter lunacy of the gun prohibition movement. But here’s one more, just for good measure:

“It is said that a total ban on defensive sidearms, including .22s, would take away innocent pleasure from thousands of people…Is that more or less pleasure than watching your child grow up?” — Sean Connery, in an ad on the BBC, after the Dunblane massacre

Would that the disarmament lobby in Britain had been so up-front. Had Connery actually used that term, it might have been more clear to the British that what they were giving up was a hell of a lot more than just “innocent pleasure.”

Perhaps if we could get the terms of the debate changed — at least that particular term — we could turn the focus of the debate from the guns to the people doing bad things with them. We do not have an epidemic of handgun violence in this country. We have an epidemic of bad people using defensive sidearms for things they were not intended to be used for. And maybe if we could get the focus on the bad people who commit the crimes, and get the public to wake up to the benefits of defensive sidearm ownership, we might just be able to make some positive steps toward cutting down on violence perpetrated with guns. Thoughts from readers?


2 Responses to “Control of Language = Control of Debate; or, Handgun or Defensive Sidearm?”

  1. ScottG Says:

    To change the terms in the debate you would have to get the national media to go along with it. Not very likely. So-called “elite opinionmakers” already don’t like the idea of the benighted masses thinking for themselves, they’re hardly likely to help people decide “incorrectly.”Nice idea, but not practical at this point in time.

  2. the pistolero Says:

    Nice idea, but not practical at this point in time.Yeah, I agree. I was just ruminating on how we could actually do it if the “elite opinionmakers” were not so elite and have so much influence on the citizens and kept a little more of an open mind to the idea that not ALL violence is bad…

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