Peterson Syndrome example

We often complain about the Brady Campaign and other anti-gun people wanting more laws for the criminals to ignore. This sometimes takes the form of them expressing a need for another law to prevent criminals from breaking an existing law. When properly presented this subterfuge can be quite effective on those unfamiliar with the deception.

To pull this off, or perhaps even make it believable to the presenter, the plea for making the illegal “illegaller” some “time and space” is usually put between the existing illegal act and the new behavior they would like to make illegal.

It turns out this isn’t always the case.

I was reading the Brady Campaign report Exporting Gun Violence and ran into a sentence that really grabbed me. This sentence is, for all intents and purposes, self-contradictory:

ATF can only stop illegal conduct, and as long as it remains legal to sell unlimited quantities of military-style weapons or sell guns without background checks, the illegal flow of guns will continue.

I can’t read that sentence without an immediate jarring sensation. It’s like being slapped on the head or something. It does not compute and I immediately have to reread it to try and figure it out—and it can’t be figured out. I would almost give them a pass if this had been something said in a verbal debate where your brain isn’t working at full capacity and words sometimes don’t come out quite right. But this was in a lengthy report that was written by “Jonathan Lowy, Daniel Vice, Robyn Steinlauf, Amanda Koulousias, Sarah McLemore and Jordan Zlotoff, with assistance from Mary Boyle.”

If they were engaged in deliberate deception they would have put time and space between the contradictory elements of that sentence. I can only conclude it was not deliberate deception. Their brains have to be wired in some manner that is completely alien to me. They must have some strange mental problem in order to put something like that in a written report.

14 thoughts on “Peterson Syndrome example

  1. Maybe this is what they meant:

    ATF can only stop illegal conduct, and as long as it remains legal for the ATF to sell unlimited quantities of military-style weapons or sell guns without background checks, the illegal flow of guns will continue.

    Oh, wait. Probably not.

  2. My guess is they’re trying to say something like this: because unlimited amounts of guns are able to be purchased legally, the diversion of those guns in to channels where they are illegal remains much easier. Of course, the ATFE stops plenty of legal conduct – so that’s wrong. I tried rewriting the sentence into Standard English, without scary words, and failed.

    It might be charitable to assume English is not the native tongue of the authors; perhaps giving them pointers to area ESL programs would help? Alternatively, they might have been drunk, so a list of AA programs in the area may be of benefit. Hard to tell.

  3. Before we get to this argument, both sides have to except the notion that it is the job of law enforcement to “prevent” crimes through some form of prior restraint, and THEN we have to accept that the BATFE is a national (and international) police force and not a tax collection agency.

    But since I reject both of those premises, I won’t bother trying to parse the words of gibbering idiots at Brady Campaign.

  4. Let’s parse Lyle’s use of “except” and “accept” just for the heck of it… (Nah, let’s not. I’m sure he’s trying to be his usual tricky self.)

    The Brady’s put in an extra “illegal” which would be the last one. It should have been left out, then the sentence makes sense.

  5. This is somewhat like the square root of a negative number, in that it can be described and formulated, but is unable to exist without inventing special “things” to make it work.

  6. They must have some strange mental problem

    It’s called idiocy. I’m not saying that as an insult. I’m saying it as a matter of fact. While IQ tests are beyond flawed, they do serve as a measuring stick of some sort, and I would dearly love to IQ test politicians and prohibitionists. Pretty dang sure the average IQ of both has gotta be under 90.

  7. Also, I noticed more than a few times with Joan Peterson she wouldn’t grasp simple ideas, even ones not pro-gun or even about guns. She is an idiot. I understand her much better now, she can’t comprehend the arguments or facts that prove her wrong, and since she is afraid of a world she can’t understand she seeks to control it by the magic wand of government power, and she can’t comprehend why that won’t work, and since she has an ego she can’t accept her proper station in life. God bless stupid people, in their place. The principle problem with the world is that the stupid folks insist on being in charge. If they were smart they would let even smarter people run things.

  8. Ubu,

    Lyle’s use of except is correct. It is being used in the exclusionary as the ATFs role is not actually in crime prevention. The job of the BATFE is to enforce taxes. That is why they’re responsible for tobacco stamps, NFA stamps, etc and were principally under the department of the Treasury. As the concept of using the ATF in the role of simple Law Enforcement is wrong, why would we accept it? I recommend Websters dictionary, it’s quite effective when used to ensure proper word use and choice.

    I’ve given up on the Joan and their ilk. I only pay attention now to point out their idiocy when they shove foot into mouth. After Joan’s statement that criminals need guns because of their job it was obvious, “The dumb is strong with this one.” Regularly I see total process failures like that, and like John it damn near kills me every time because mentally it’s like hitting a brick wall while cruising at 80 MPH.

  9. Jo, Ry, as I believe I’ve commented here before; the problem isn’t that they are knowingly lying. The problem is that they believe their own bullshit.

    They believe their own bullshit so strongly, that when it is shown to them to be provably, completely false; instead of correcting themselves, they believe their own bullshit even stronger.

    In these cases, it’s a psychological disorder that goes beyond confirmation bias, even beyond religious faith. Accepting any fact that would harm their elaborate logical fallacy of a belief system is simply impossible for them. Their entire personal image is invested in the lie, they HAVE to see only that which supports their lie, or their entire world literally collapses.

    This is also why they are so violent in defending their lie.

  10. Makes perfect sense to me.

    ATF can only stop illegal conduct, and as long as it remains legal (to buy guns, which we hate, and make us wet ourselves in terror) The (legal, Whaaaaaaaaah! Sob!) flow of guns will continue.

    You just have to look for the subtext.

  11. I think Hans has it right, the idea behind their statement is that ALL guns must be made illegal so that none can flow (except for those our government hands over to our enemies and such…can’t let a good crisis go to waste).

    I’m still waiting for the anti-gun idiots to denounce AG Holder and “The One” (for his continued support for him) for the Fast and Furious operation. It was a criminal enterprise whose sole goal was to create a “need” to regulate law-abiding citizens with more gun control laws. The HYPOCRISY of these petty tyrants of gun control is so nauseating.

  12. It doesn’t really seem all that hard to understand. They’re saying that since it’s legal to buy unlimited quantities of military-style weapons and to sell guns without background checks, some guns will wind up in the hands of people who intend to illegally transport them to Mexico.

    Of course I disagree that this is a major source of guns for the Mexican drug cartels, and even if did agree I don’t think the solution is more gun control here. But interpreted with even a tiny amount of charity, the statement itself is perfectly clear.

  13. “This is somewhat like the square root of a negative number, in that it can be described and formulated, but is unable to exist without inventing special “things” to make it work.”

    No, this is nothing like the square root of a negative number. The idea of so-called “imaginary” numbers came about in an attempt to solve cubic equations: by allowing for the existence of such beasts, and carrying the calculation through, you come out with real-number solutions, because the imaginary numbers cancel themselves out.

    Centuries later, however, as mathematicians accepted imaginary numbers on their own merits, these “beasts” were found to have a certain power and elegance that real numbers simply don’t have. Indeed, many proofs involving real numbers become simpler in the complex-number domain; many real-number mysteries become obvious corollaries to complex-number theorems; algebraic equations are more easily solved; entire geometries are absorbed into the complex plane (and variations thereof).

    It is very difficult to describe the beauty and elegance generated by allowing for the existence of something, that, when squared, becomes negative one, in such a tiny space.

    In the case of the quoted statement, however, it’s more like Angle Trisection, or Russell’s Paradox, or Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, or Turing’s Halting Problem…except that, when these theorems were discovered, rather than accepting these results, and abandoning their original attempts to put mathematics on a firm foundation, they ignored the results, and continue to try to find solutions that have been proven impossible to find.

    As Ubu pointed out, if you delete the last “illegal”, the statement makes more sense. The reason why the authors put that second “illegal” in there, however–and why they didn’t cut it out later–is because, to these authors, every gun should be illegal, and if they aren’t illegal, well, they should be! And we shouldn’t be surprised by this mindset…after all, how many quotes have been taken from Joan Peterson’s blog, where this exact sentiment has been expressed, over and over again?

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