I’m not sure why but in the last two days I got as many e-mails commenting on a cartoon I drew five years ago: I call it my “Sept.11 cartoon” because the sobriquet “9/11″ referring to the terrorist attacks that day had not yet come to be firmly established. For those who haven’t seen or don’t remember it, here it is:
I know that this cartoon has been copied to all manner of web-sites, mostly gun-rights sites, and likely some other sites I may not approve of. I have no idea where these two recent correspondents saw the cartoon.
Now, I can take a challenge to my opinions so long as they’re expressed in a civil manner. The first e-mail was civil, and went like this:
You said on your website “Bill of Rights Enforcement note: The Sept. 11 mass-murder could not have occurred had airline crew and passengers been able to exercise their civil right to bear arms, as emphasized in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
But to point a gun at someone who was willing to die would have proven useless. To fire a gun in an airplane would have killed everyone on board.
I understand there are a thousand ways we wish we could have prevented those attacks, but having nothing that could be used as a weapon would have prevented this attack as well. Everyone wants to change the past for a better future.
I’m sorry you have to feel this way about all Arabs for the rest of your life. Don’t let hate consume you like it had consumed them. How will we ever understand?
I responded in a similarly civil manner, correcting his misconceptions about what a stray bullet will do in a pressurized airline cabin (nothing much, really — explosive decompression from a bullet fired through a window only happens in James Bond movies), and explaining that I don’t hate Arabs, or Muslims, I just hate murderers. I pointed out my opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions (many countries harbor murderers and we don’t invade, overthrow governments and occupy those places indefinitely just to nab the badguys).
This corresponded and I exchanged a few more debate points until the argument had run its course and I didn’t hear from him again.
In stark contrast to this, the following day I got the following from another critic:
If you think guns on planes is a good idea think about how good of an idea it is to have gangs with guns on the streets. Think of how many people would be shot on planes. Also if any of the chickenshit cowboy americans in your little picture had shot their guns off, the plane would de-pressurize and crash anyways you fuckin idiot. If more guns save lives and keep people safe why does america have the HIGHEST GUN RELATED CRIME IN THE WORLD? In Canada it is much less, but you know what we have more of? Fist fights between real men who aren’t so scared to get hurt they want to press a button and end anything scary. People who carry guns are afraid of getting hurt because they’re pussies, a gun doesn’t make you tough, it just means you spent $200 to escape any situation you’re scared of instead of facing it head on like humans have for thousands of years. I would love to hear what you have to say about this, unless you actually read this and realized what a scared little cowboy you are.
And here is how I responded:
You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about, and get your idea of how the world works from movies. Talk to aircraft engineers. They’ll tell you that a stray bullet, or even six stray bullets in random directions, will NOT cause a pressurized aircraft cabin to rapidly depressurize. It just doesn’t work that way, Poindexter.
And the United States does not have the highest gun-related crime rate in the world. If you read the fine-print in statistics usually quoted by your gun-grabbing masters, they restrict comparisons to “the industrialized world.” And the reason for this is that several “Third World” countries have higher gun-crime rates than the United States, as does the formerly “Second World” Russian Federation, despite the much more draconian gun laws in those countries. Gun crimes have been rising in Britain and Australia at the same time gun laws are becoming more strict. Violent crimes of all types have fallen in those American states where gun restrictions have been relaxed.
You seem to want to return to a world where the biggest, strongest tough-guy in town lords it over everyone else, or where an elite class of families who can afford to invest thousands of hours learning the sword can lord it over entire nations. That was the state of the world before guns made everyone equal, you elitist snot.
You would rather see your mother, your sister, your wife, or your daughter raped and strangled to death with her own pantyhose, than see her with a gun in her hand and able to defend herself against a man twice her size and strength.
Fuck you and the constipated weasel you rode in on.
I haven’t heard back from this guy since.
The moral to this story is, if you want to express a disagreement with me, fine, but be civil. If you come at me with belligerence and insults, I will answer in kind.