Blank Minds Mutter: The Death of Deliberation

("Deliberation" by Bert Kiewiet. From:

(“Deliberation” by Bert Kiewiet. From:

The United States Congress has been described as the “greatest deliberative body in the world”.  What does that mean?  To be deliberative, our representatives must follow certain procedures:

    1. Participants all have complete and accurate data.
    2. All views held by the public are considered.
    3. Participants sincerely weigh all arguments.
    4. Positions are taken based on evidence, not on who is doing the advocating.

Sadly, in a recent series of speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives, the advocates of strict gun control violated every one of these principles.  In essence, they held a series of speeches where only strict gun control was advocated.  As they spoke, they held up pictures of victims whose lives were tragically taken by criminal or insane use of firearms.  Their appeal, based strictly on emotion, was devoid of supporting evidence.

In short, they acted nothing like a deliberative body.  In fact, these soap opera antics were an outgrowth of the sit-in staged on the House floor just several months ago.

As we discuss the Second Amendment, this needs to be clear:  I have never met a gun control opponent who was not sympathetic to innocent victims of criminal gun violence.  Sympathy is not the exclusive possession of anti-gun legislators.  However, Second Amendment advocates argue that, based on the evidence, we are much better off with legitimate firearms than without them.

For example, anti-gunners will never tell you that the city of Chicago, which has had the most draconian gun laws in the nation, also has by far the highest murder rate (and climbing).  In contrast, Plano, Texas, with the highest gun ownership per capita, has the lowest murder rate in the United States and a far lower murder rate than most of the gun-prohibiting countries of the world.

Congressional emoters wax indignant any time a gun is used to commit a crime.   However, they ignore over one million times a year when lawful firearms have prevented crimes.  What if pro-gun legislators held up pictures of one million happy faces of the folks who were not victims because a firearm was available?

Similarly, they prattle on about the use of guns in suicide.  Of course, they never discuss whether people intent on killing themselves would still do so in the absence of a firearm.  The answer is readily found in statistics from Japan, where guns are rare and the suicide rate is about twice that of the United States.

But wait a minute. I’m being deliberative. I’m weighing one argument against another. Isn’t that what Congress is supposed to be doing?

Now, about the title of this article. Unfortunately, the word “Blank” characterizes the mentality of the rabid gun control members of Congress.  They are blanks because, despite a lot of bombast, they end up saying essentially nothing. Those of us in the shooting fraternity also recognize “blank” as a name for a cartridge without a bullet. It makes a lot of noise without hitting the target.

The other word that may require explanation is “Mutter”.  When a person mutters, we can’t hear distinctly what they’re saying, such as: “We’ll talk gun control (but we mean gun confiscation)”.  After all, our legislators enjoy dedicated security protection—the Capital Police.  If they want concealed weapons permits, all they have to do is ask.  They are the elites.  The idea that we lesser mortals might have to shift for ourselves never seriously crosses their minds.

Finally, we should always remember what some office holders choose to forget.  Our forefathers took up arms to gain freedom for themselves and their posterity.  The weapons they acquired were not approved of by their government.  Then they passed the Second Amendment to establish the armed citizen as a bulwark against tyranny.  If we forget that, we could become like the unfortunate subjects of Europe—caged rabbits, waiting to be slaughtered by lawbreakers, without recourse to any meaningful defense.  That would betray our national legacy.

As Americans, we have to strive for mastery of arms, not their avoidance.  Only with mastery does a person obtain safety, gain protection, and lose fear.  Tell your Congressmen and women to deliberate on that.



Wallace Schwam, MD is a retired internist with interests in geriatrics and pharmacology who trained at Duke University. He rated expert in marksmanship in the Army and continues to enjoy hunting and tactical training with handgun, rifle and shotgun. 

All DRGO articles by Wallace Schwam, MD