The Boston Globe is well known for its liberal viewpoint.  Capitalizing on recent active shooter incidents, they used the most recent Empire State Building shooting as a springboard for a gun control argument in an editorial.

In essence, the Globe took those shootings and built a “straw man”.  In classical debate, the straw man is a logical fallacy or false argument.  Purdue University explains it this way, “Straw Man: This move oversimplifies an opponent’s viewpoint and then attacks that hollow argument.”  You see, when I was in high school, I learned some things about debate.  There wasn’t much else to do back in Western Nebraska, so I “got my geek on.”

The Globe created a straw man argument by stating, “Still, the incident, in which innocent bystanders were also shot, raises questions about whether police were too quick to assume a broader terror plot was underway.”  The implication here is that NYPD screwed up.  I do not know anyone on the Boston Globe’s editorial staff, but since no credentials of use-of-force training were offered, so I am going out on a limb here and assume that the writer doesn’t know a muzzle from a breech.

The other straw man is the gun-rights advocate.  The Globe’s assumption is that since police acted poorly (not established as fact), it follows that armed citizens would act in a similar manner by getting “into the mix.”  This is known as a non sequitur, Latin for “It does not follow.”  Just because LEOs run toward a shooter to neutralize the threat, it does not follow that citizens who arm themselves for protection will react the same way.  One is armed to protect others; the other is armed to protect him or herself.

There is one hypothetically armed citizen that the Globe fails to consider… Steven Ercolino, the victim.  There was a long history between the shooter (Jeffrey Johnson) and victim.  Both had filed restraining orders against each other.  Police had been called many times.  What made the difference?  Two things:  restraining orders are not printed on Kevlar and only Johnson was armed.  The restraining order was just as ineffective as having a law against murder.  Had the victim been armed, Mr. Ercolino might have died anyway (a pistol is not a magic talisman) but he would have had at least a fighting chance.

Another theme I noticed in the Glove’s op-ed is very familiar.  Someone (who presumes to know better than the unwashed masses) decides that people are incompetent to make decisions for their selves.  The people cannot be trusted with such power.  Accordingly, some of their freedoms must be taken away.  It’s for their own good after all.

There is a problem with this viewpoint; one has to rewrite our history, our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution to buy into it.  The reason is that rights come from the Creator; power flows from the people to the state – not the other way around.  These self-evident truths exist whether or not government or the fourth estate likes them.

Ultimately, Boston Globe’s straw man argument makes even less sense than Oz’s Scarecrow.  At least Scarecrow made no pretensions of having superior intellect…

I would not be just a nuffin’

My head all full of stuffin’

My heart all full of pain

I would dance and be merry

Life would be a ding-a-derry

If I only had a brain

Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Since then, he has been involved in fleet modernization and military research analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.

Learn more about this article here:

http://articles.boston.com/2012-08-31/editorials/33503371_1_gun-violence-police-officers-gun-lobby

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/659/03/