A conversation about godlessness killing more people than guns

Reading time ~12 minutes

i'm the problem, apparently

This meme appeared on a friend’s wall on facebook. Discussion follows:

qkslvrwolf You remember the term force multiplier? Also, this is doubly stupid. The most godless societies on the planet have the lowest murder rates. There is literally not one part of this that isn’t stupid. Like · Reply · Yesterday at 7:43am Friend It rang true to me. You can substitute something else for “Godless” and it may make more sense to you Sean. The main point is that people with the intent to kill someone will find a way. And guns aren’t the problem. They don’t shoot themselves. Like · Reply · 14 hrs qkslvrwolf replied · 2 Replies · 10 hrs qkslvrwolf As for “people with the intent to kill someone will find a way”, you realize that guns kill as many people as cars, but A) 95% of the country owns car (http://photos.state.gov/.../everyone_in_america_own_a_car...), but only 32% own guns (…See More Like · Reply · 10 hrs qkslvrwolf (you see what I’m doing here, by the way? I’m actually finding out what happens in the real world, rather than just imagining what I want to be true) Like · Reply · 10 hrs qkslvrwolf “That’s where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say “I did look it up, and that’s not true.” That’s ‘cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works.” - Stephen Colbert Like · Reply · 10 hrs Friend I didn’t make the poster, so I can’t speak for the originator, by my take was that mass murder (not just mass murder, but specifically) is evil. I would also assert that mass murders are less common than either gun violence or car accidents. Like · Reply · 10 hrs qkslvrwolf replied · 3 Replies · 9 hrs qkslvrwolf Please tell me how this would’ve happened without the semi-auto handgun, which is purpose built for killing people: http://www.cbsnews.com/.../virginia-police-shooting-live.../ Virginia television station WDBJ employees killed in shooting during live… CBSNEWS.COM Like · Reply · Remove Preview · 8 hrs Robert Rodriguez http://www.commdiginews.com/.../rebuttals-to-anti-gun.../ Rebuttals to anti-gun rhetoric: Debunking the most common seven lies COMMDIGINEWS.COM|BY ERIC GOLUB Like · Reply · 8 hrs Hide 38 Replies qkslvrwolf Since I had the first citations up, maybe you could address those and prove you read them, rather than asking me to do all the reading? Like · 7 hrs Robert Rodriguez I have read them brother. All of them. Like · 6 hrs Robert Rodriguez The rebuttal is my proof that I’ve read your citations. Like · 6 hrs qkslvrwolf Dropping a random link isn’t proof, in this case, since you’re not actually saying anything. Like · 6 hrs Robert Rodriguez It’s not random. It addresses all of your prior citations. It is completely valid in your debate. It holds relevance on the subject matter. The only reason I’d rather not use my own words is because I’m using your same tactics and maybe I am in agreement with the writers eloquence. Like · 6 hrs qkslvrwolf No, if you were using my tactics you would make an argument and support it with citations to data, not just drop an opinion piece by some random schlub named golub. Like · 5 hrs Robert Rodriguez Yes. I’ve made my debate. I’ve rebutted your argument and all your links which you call citations and data that are erroneous. Now your making inappropriate comments using name calling at people you do not know (schlub). Now that’s very mature. Go back and read the last couple paragraphs of the article. Then reply. Like · 1 hr Robert Rodriguez Go ask your grandparents and parents how they feel about giving the government control of your right to bear arms and defend yourself and family. Like · 1 hr Robert Rodriguez Why don’t you ask this mother how she feels about gun control. http://abcnews.go.com/.../okla-woman-shoots.../story... Teen Mom Kills Intruder After 911 Call ABCNEWS.GO.COM|BY ABC NEWS Like · 1 · 1 hr Robert Rodriguez “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to …See More Like · 1 hr Robert Rodriguez “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759 Like · 1 hr Robert Rodriguez “To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.” - George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adooption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788 Like · 1 hr Robert Rodriguez Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it’s not an individual right or that it’s too much of a public safety hazard, don’t see the danger in the big picture. They’re courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution theydon’t like. Alan M. Dershowitz Like · 1 hr qkslvrwolf How hard is it to actually address, directly, anything I’ve said? Since Friend declined to, how about you actually join me in the intellectual exercise of actually making a hypthesis and testing it, instead of mindlessly repeating the platitudes fed t…See More Like · 1 hr qkslvrwolf You haven’t rebutted anything. You apparently don’t even know what rebut means. If you want to “rebut” something, you have to say “this statement, ‘thing that you said’, is wrong because x. You didn’t. You just said, “here, her’s a thing I read that the nra sent me. I win! Nyah nyah nyah!” It’s like you’re six. Like · 57 mins qkslvrwolf Except I doubt you read that well. Like · 57 mins qkslvrwolf We’re not talking about GUN CONTROL, you dumbass. We’re talking about the statement “the problems isn’t guns, it’s a godless society”. Christ on a cracker how hard is it to stay on topic? Like · 56 mins qkslvrwolf Oh, look, I found the web page you’re copying and pasting from. How original. Ignorant asshat. http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/gun-quotations-founding... Gun Quotations of the Founding Fathers | Buckeye Firearms… BUCKEYEFIREARMS.ORG Like · Remove Preview · 50 mins qkslvrwolf And you can’t even find people that know how to get their shit right in the first place. There must be some sort of natural law that gun nuts can’t understand context. It’s like not being able to fathom that an onion tastes different if it’s in a stew than it does if it you eat it raw. Like · 47 mins qkslvrwolf http://www.mixermuse.com/.../politics/guns-and-false-quotes/ Guns and False Quotes | Musings Guns and False Quotes Leave a reply “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws… MIXERMUSE.COM Like · Remove Preview · 47 mins Friend You changed the topic to gun control hours ago Sean. And I was busy at work earlier but don’t want to get involved now because it’s a) far beyond MY expertise, and I can only offer my opinion. Which is thus: I do believe that some gun control is a good…See More Like · 1 · 36 mins Friend Not guns. It was kinda ironic/surprising to think of it that way. At least for me. But I do believe in the right to bear arms. I think that if firearms were all in the hands of the militia, the criminals, and the military/police, in other words the government, there is more room for abuse of power, like in tyrannies. Like · 1 · 32 mins · Edited qkslvrwolf Please quote where you think I changed it to gun control. I’d like you to find what statement you think I made that was about gun control. I asked you to state a hypothesis. Like · 32 mins Robert Rodriguez I apologize qkslvrwolf. You reminded me of the Scripture that references to individuals like you. Proverbs 26 Wise Sayings About Fools 26 Just as snow should not fall in summer, nor rain at harvest time, so people should not honor a fool. 2 Don’t worry when someone curses you for no reason. Nothing bad will happen. Such words are like birds that fly past and never stop. 3 You have to whip a horse, you have to put a bridle on a mule, and you have to beat a fool. 4-5 There is no good way to answer fools when they say something stupid. If you answer them, then you, too, will look like a fool. If you don’t answer them, they will think they are smart. 6 Never let a fool carry your message. If you do, it will be like cutting off your own feet. You are only asking for trouble. 7 A fool trying to say something wise is like a crippled person trying to walk. 8 Showing honor to a fool is as bad as tying a rock in a sling. 9 A fool trying to say something wise is like a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand. 10 Hiring a fool or a stranger who is just passing by is dangerous—you don’t know who might get hurt. 11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit, a fool does the same foolish things again and again. 12 People who think they are wise when they are not are worse than fools.” Like · 27 mins Friend The funniest thing to me, about this entire argument, is how derailed and antagonistic it got. Funny-sad. I mean, why ask someone to “prove” they read something you posted? That is insulting. I don’t think anyone needs to dictate how someone else must respond back. This isn’t a formal debate. There are good points on both sides, but so much citation that I don’t know what’s being argued anymore. Like · 25 mins qkslvrwolf NO! That’s not true! You can do MUCH MORE than “offer your opinion! You can actual take a guess about what is happening in the real, and then you can go find out if it IS happening in the real world! I’m not opining on anything. I’m trying to get…See More Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths,… INJURYPREVENTION.BMJ.COM Like · Remove Preview · 24 mins Robert Rodriguez I shall refrain from arguing with a fool. I’d rather debate not argue. Clearly since you made it personal and choose to be immature “like the six year old” you mentioned. I’ll be the wise one and take the high road. Like · 23 mins · Edited qkslvrwolf “People are the danger, not the weapons used”. Again. Untested hypothesis. We can break that down and fact check it . If you would like to actually, y’know, reason about things rather than faith them. Like · 23 mins qkslvrwolf have you ever heard of world war 1? Just curious. Like · 22 mins qkslvrwolf Besides, again, context. Wars and despots really don’t have anything to do with murders at these scales. They’re two completely separate issues. Like · 22 mins qkslvrwolf Oh, yeah, i forgot to make the following prediction, thanks for reminding me. Here’s the 2 possible outcomes of this little facebook chat: 1) Robert flees like the intellectual coward he is from an opinion that makes him uncomfortable, because it doe…See More Like · 17 mins qkslvrwolf This is all the logical result of them not shutting off treason daily… I mean fox news on base. I KNEW I should’ve written congress instead of the base commander to get that shit shut off. Like · 16 mins qkslvrwolf I’d say you’re probably “braver” when you’re fondling your weapon, but it still wouldn’t be true; that’s physical “courage”, not moral or intellectual courage. Like · 13 mins qkslvrwolf Friend, re: “s how derailed and antagonistic it got.” That’s what happens when people don’t know how to have an intellectually honest conversation. If there are “good points” on “both sides”, then MAKE THEM. Just having an opinion does not make a “good point”. There are not “two sides” in this discussion. And yes, there are well known requirements for having an actual USEFUL conversation. Unfortunately, they are poorly known in non academic, non liberal-arts circles, because most people think two people screaming at each other on TV actually represents a debate. It doesn’t. if you want to have a productive conversation, there are a few good ways to do it. Pretty much everything else is worthless, other than to expose circle-jerking loudmouths (hint hint, robert!) Like · 9 mins qkslvrwolf The reason it’s happening so fast is because certain people aren’t actually reading and responding to the actual data. If they were, the cycle would be slower. Like · 8 mins qkslvrwolf Oh, wow, I’d also missed the Jesus’/barney happy hour quote. {rolls eys}. Coward. Like · 8 mins qkslvrwolf “Not guns. It was kinda ironic/surprising to think of it that way. At least for me. But I do believe in the right to bear arms. I think that if firearms were all in the hands of the militia, the criminals, and the military/police, in other words the government, there is more room for abuse of power, like in tyrannies” This leads to a few questions: 1) Do you still get paid by the government? Do you really think everyone you worked with is equitable with criminals and militia? That’s a) insulting to a lot of good people and b) sounds pretty seditious to me. 2) untested hypothesis 3) incorrect context. http://www.english.illinois.edu/.../debaron/essays/guns.pdf Like · 4 mins qkslvrwolf Hey, Robert, maybe if you tried reading more than one novel (and yes, I’m referring to the bible), you’d have a mind open enough to try and actually talk about things. Friend Pretty sure this discussion is over. I’m disappointed by the insults and name calling 😐 Like · 1 hr

qksvlrwolf I”m disappointed by the utter lack of content and reason presented. Like · 1 hr

Robert Rodriguez Hey qksvlrwolf. Learn this word. Humility. And this one. Respect. You are very poor in these areas. I’ll pray for you brother. Jesus loves you and so do I. Like · 25 mins

qksvlrwolf Respect is earned, and humbleness is apparent to equals.

I dearly hope you have a chance to learn. Like · 23 mins

qksvlrwolf Odin would play you, Loki would mock you. Zeus would sleep with your wife. Buddha would enlighten you. I have no clues about Mohammad. Like · 21 mins

qksvlrwolf But the Flying Spaghetti Monster would touch you with his noodly appendage, and maybe help you learn reason.

Analysis via comment later.

2015-08-27 20:45:19 -- qkslvrwolf
1) Most conservatives I know, including the people that I convinced to moderate their positions significantly over the course of a year's worth of conversations ("I voted for Obama because you of") did NOT engage me in respectful conversation until I had made it clear that I was willing to fight them verbally or otherwise, and get belligerent, if they didn't act with respect. I have only ever seen rare examples of having a positive effect on conservatives (rather than having them cut off the conversation with "well, we'll just have to disagree" or "I'm not gonna talk with you anymore, you're wrong") without first getting into a fight with them. As for the audience, I think there's some truth to "people love a fight". Sure, it's the lowest common denominator, but that's one way to actually keep the people who need fresh information engaged. 2) True. It's very hard to not allow people to make wrong statements, not get off topic, and not link spam. but absolutely worth working on. Perhaps simple "I disagree with that, but it's off topic, so anohter time". 3) Two parts to this. First, guns are PART of the belief system of these folks, and questioning them is 100% identical to insulting them. So I'm not sure how you can question them, which is necessary, without insulting them. This is an area where I think contempt is useful. Yes, it makes people defensive, but it also makes them work harder to defend themselves. Where they defend themselves, they have to work a little bit hard to make an argument...and that can be a crack, no matter how narrow. Second part, I think it can be useful to insult their belief system, and then point out the ways in which merely holding and expressing their beliefs, they're insulting other peoples. Since part of her belief system is that I am, by nature, a horrible person, that's worth calling out, yes?

2015-08-28 08:35:26 -- Kyle
One issue about debate is that you are rarely, or more likely never, going to change the mind of the other party in the debate. The only minds left worth engagement are in the audience. That's where framing comes in. Rather than engage your opponent directly, you choose the topic on which you want to speak. Never step into your opponent's frame. If they state that "godless people cause mass murder," you must reframe the debate into something defendable. Of course reasonable people know that that statement is ridiculous, but simply refuting the statement by saying "godless people are not mass murderers" does nothing but validate the terms "godless people" and "mass murderers." (Think about the statement "I am not a crook" ....take a second.... did you not just think "Nixon = crook?") In other words, psychology is a bitch. Instead, you might approach the issue by hailing the values of individual agency, or the ability to think for oneself, rather than the blind following of a god's dictates. Hell, you might even invoke Adam Smith through the lens of Ayn Rand, stating that the selfish struggle of each individual accumulates to produce good for all mankind. It seems off topic, but you'll get conservatives hard by invoking their heroes. Then you can blow their minds with the little nugget that Ayn Rand herself was an ardent atheist. So all of that to say that I agree that personal confrontations with nincompoops is generally a waste of energy; worst case it alienate/disengages/pisses off the audience members that would otherwise be on your side. Develop a strong frame; support it by hard facts if you can (fully developed statements with attached references to sources); and conclude with an easily understood, "intuitively true" catchphrase or encompassing statement. Happy debating!

2015-08-28 08:53:43 -- qkslvrwolf
From my rhetorical friend: think this is a conversation you and I have been having for over 10 years now--- and you still haven't managed to convince me that belligerence and insulting your opponent is anything other than alienating at its best. But, I'll address things one at a time: 1. I disagree. I understand your idea that making a spectacle of the facebook fight (like how we ogle a car crash) is a good thing, but I disagree on the effectiveness of the method. Some people might read it just to see the outcome, but that's not being effective; that's just making a spectacle of the conversation. There are more productive ways to do that... like remaining rational and calm and making the *other* guy look like a jackass. Plenty of people are going to read it and think "I don't want to align myself with that type of behavior" or stop reading all together because it grates on them. Amplification: it's a rhetorical tactic and a good one, but there are better ways to do it... including elevating your language instead of taking low enough to start calling people "coward" or "stupid." 2. It's not just the linkspam I have a problem with. It's the saying "see my citations" without leading your opponent through what you'd like him/her to see. You can't just throw links up there. You have to explain them.... otherwise, they don't have a place and/or a point. Saying something like, "What you just said made me think of something I read where the author said --------. This is important because --------. If you're interested in reading more about it, here's a link ------. This source is important because. ---------. You might want to read a few of their other reports on ---------." 3. You have just as difficult of a time separating individual belief systems from religion and from political policy as the conservatives you are arguing with. I get that you took offense to "godless," but I'm not sure spinning it around to statements like "Hey, Robert, maybe if you tried reading more than one novel (and yes, I’m referring to the bible), you’d have a mind open enough to try and actually talk about things." is at all helpful. Just like godless was offensive to you, referring to Christians as idiots is offensive to a lot of opponents, alienating them from even approaching the rest of your argument. Instead, why not try assisting your opponent in separating matters of faith from matters of politics and policies? That's the crux of what offended you about the post in the first place, isn't it? The underlying issues with guns, but also the use of the word "godless"? What I'm trying to say: you need to elevate your discourse and your disagreement. Name-calling, insulting, belligerence, etc, do not, in my opinion (an opinion that's not ill-informed), do anything at all for your argument or your overall cause. Added to that, think about how you feel when someone makes sweeping generalizations about atheists or agnostics. Why are you doing the same thing to anyone who believes in God? It's not productive. I'm not even talking about it being insulting (and personally insulting to me); I'm talking about it being poor argumentation tactics. Argument should be systematic for maximum effectiveness.... and I think you need to rework your system a little bit.... not that you're all wrong or on the wrong track entirely, but you need some discipline in your approach. What I'd like you to read: Corbett and Connors. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student It's a really useful practical guide for argumentation with solid explanations as to why their advice works and how it has worked before. It provides some great example essays that show their theories in practice. I've taught courses with this text and been taught by the text... never get tired of it. Bizzel and Herzberg The Rhetorical Tradition This one is more history of rhetoric than anything else. It shows excerpts from major rhetorical figures and political activists. It's a good look at rhetoric in practice as well as rhetorical histories. I wouldn't recommend tackling it alone. Lakoff and Wehling The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic Lakoff is the name in contemporary argument and well worth a read. This one tackles some of the same issues you are struggling with here... how do you respond to belligerence and how do you make yourself heard by conservatives. I'd can't recommend this enough--- or Don't Think Like an Elephant which touches on some of the same issues. Aristotle On Rhetoric Sure, it's old, but there is a reason it's still good and still used. It's enormously helpful in articulating why we need rhetoric as a discipline, why it works, and how you can make it work.

2015-08-28 08:57:30 -- qkslvrwolf
I will try and get those books to read. For both of you: do you have specific examples of a personal conversation that you can provide where you managed the things you're talking about, and gotten evidence of it's efficacy? If you don't now, but you happen to remember this later, I'd like to read (and anonymize, and post) it for reference.

2015-08-28 09:10:53 -- Prairie Wolf
As to the citations etc above, I couldn't read the links. As to the assertions: 1. Agree the post was provocative to an atheist. So called believers feel they have that right. Profess a belief, ok. Don't be angry when someone has a different point of view and wants to discuss it. 2. The 2nd amendment was most likely NOT about individual gun rights, as it's come to be. At best, is was about a truly organized group of people, a militia, for mutual defense. However, it was just as likely a sop to the slave owners of the South as "militias" were the run away slave capturing groups and piece keepers since in many locations, slaves out numbered the owners. 3. The degeneration in to name calling could have been done better. It is possible to be forceful and contratative without personal insults. I have no problem with insulting the ideas. And the 2nd amendment lover above needed to be set straight. As is true of many conservatives, he is 2 dimensional in his thinking. It takes work to really think as opposed to being led. And it wasn't the topic. 4. Back to the original post: the problem IS guns and the unfettered possession of same in this country. The 2nd amendment, does not mean unfettered. You could own your gun and have to keep at the local arGmory, that would be in keeping with intent.

2015-08-28 14:07:24 -- qkslvrwolf
Yeah, I'm hoping to keep this conversation to stick mainly with the conversation approaches, what folks think didn't work, what did work, etc. So in this case, I don't believe we should worry about the actual links above and the godless and the 2nd amendment (Although, as a note for the future, I'll have to remember to actually take the extra time to capture the links.) Regardless of whether you think that this conversation reached a level, what's the correct response to people who are wilfully ignoring what you write and attempting to derail the conversation? Is there a way to address them directly? How might you do that?

2015-08-27 20:33:20 -- qkslvrwolf
Friend I'm a private person <edited>, and don't appreciate what you did posting. It was a very asshole move. qkslvrwolf 9:06am qkslvrwolf </edited><edited>, and an atheist: aka, a 'godless person'. So you just threw a meme up on your wall that spoke to you, or whatever you said, that called me the reason for mass murders. That's a pretty asshole thing to do. qkslvrwolf 9:07am qkslvrwolf I was being polite, and then your buddy jumped in with a "here, I know everything about you, I'm not going to engage you in conversation, I'm just gonna be a prick". And you let him. On your wall. That was a pretty asshole thing to do. And I figured, if you were gonna let him be disrespectful to me, than I got to be disrespectful to him. Fair's fair! qkslvrwolf 9:08am qkslvrwolf I removed the post from facebook. I put it on my website with names removed. Friend 9:08am Friend I appreciate that, thank you. qkslvrwolf 9:09am qkslvrwolf However, before you go believing that your words have no meaning, and that you're totally innocent of all impropriety, you really need to step back and check your assumptions. It is NOT ok to call millions of your fellow citizens the reason for mass murder and equate us to fucking nazis. Friend 9:09am Friend as for the disrespect, you were calling named really early on. First stupid, and then other things. I thought he was staying out of that so not sure what you mean. qkslvrwolf 9:09am qkslvrwolf Respect follows respect. I didn't call anyone names until after Robert poted. Friend 9:10am Friend i wasn't intending that at all. qkslvrwolf 9:10am qkslvrwolf Your intent doesn't matter. That is the actual effect. Friend 9:10am Friend Godless doesn't mean all non-Christians either. qkslvrwolf 9:10am qkslvrwolf "I didn't MEAN to insult the black person by calling them a nigger. Why are they so PC anyway" I would show you wear I started calling names, but you deleted the post. I did call your STATEMENT stupid, but YOU aren't your statement. And being unable to separate the two makes it REALLY hard to have a productive conversation. Friend 9:12am Friend I think that I took it as saying society is falling to shit because people are worse, I mean I have read some really horrible things about parents killing their children. Decapitation is the one that comes to mind. And one interesting conclusion in one of the many articles posted was that mental illness is a contributing factor. qkslvrwolf 9:12am qkslvrwolf In the US, rates of murder and domestic violance are down at less than 50% of their historic rates. Friend 9:13am Friend My friend responded to you when I was at work, so I saw most but not all. It looked like you wanted to argue about how to argue, and insulted his intelligence/reading capacity straight away. qkslvrwolf 9:13am qkslvrwolf So "society" is actually getting better by measurable standards. Because he didn't respect the conversation by just dropping a link ans saying "QED", which makes it VERY likely he didn't even read anything, which is also disrespectful, to jump in without even bother to gather the context. Friend 9:14am Friend It was saying that nazis and mass murderers were godless not everyor else. I'm sorry that it came across that way. Really regretting posting it in the first place. qkslvrwolf 9:14am qkslvrwolf He literally said "you're not worth my time, but I'm gonna drive by and insult you, then expect your thanks" I. AM. GODLESS> The nazi's, actually, were not. Neither were most of the other people you posted. The Nazi's regularly held christian prayers at their rallies. Friend 9:15am Friend I am aware of that. You are also not crazy. I didn't get a good feel for what you were proposing either. No second amendment? qkslvrwolf 9:16am qkslvrwolf Well, then please restrict your posting to crazy people, and not godless people. We're human and good people too. It's a seriously nasty form of prejudice. I never said that! Lol. And that's not actually insulting anyone! That's a policy discussion! Friend 9:17am Friend Much like radical Islam, nazis were not following God. qkslvrwolf 9:17am qkslvrwolf No second amendment isn't the same as the problem isnt guns, it's gun owners They thought they were. How come you get to make that decision for them? Anyway, I gotta get to work if my blog reposts to facebook, let me know and I'll remove from facebook. Friend 9:19am Friend I can't even answer that right now. I can't think of all the words that describe nazis and other race-based supremacists. I'll get back to you. I didn't delete the post by the way. Friend 9:29am Friend <statement redacted at friend's request>. But I also believe that we are capable of darkness too, so maybe it's just inherent in humanity. No comparison intended between atheists or agnostics and Nazis. I didn't even realize I was insulting you. Apologies. Friend 9:30am Friend To me, my post was saying the same thing: problem isn't guns, it's the people who use them. Their heart, their mind are not in the right place. I realize the conclusion sounds different than that. I mostly just agreed the atrocities committed are not of God, despite what crazy beliefs were behind them. And thought it was interesting that some of the most heinous in last 100 years didn't involve modern weaponry at all</statement></edited>

2015-08-27 20:34:54 -- qkslvrwolf
Then I sent the following email to a friend who is, literally, a rhetorical profesional: just point out the 3 worst mistakes I made. And maybe the 3 best jobs I did.

2015-08-27 20:35:37 -- qkslvrwolf
Her reply: *sigh* 3 best things: 1. Provided content for your opposition to read (though that needs work, see below) 2. Endeavored to engage in discourse 3. Asked me what you could do better ;-) 3 biggest mistakes: 1. Belligerence: name- calling, use of the word "stupid," sarcasm, rudeness, etc. (And I don't care if they did it, too.) 2. Link-spamming: it doesn't work. They won't read it. And it's not a citation unless you are pulling material, quoting from it, explaining it, and then explaining what the point of it is. Otherwise, you're overloading someone with links that they'll never read and forcibly making the argument stagnate as opposed to progressing. 3. Do *not* under any circumstances insult someone's belief system. I don't care if you think it's ridiculous, wrong, or out-dated. All you are doing in a situation like this is alienating a huge part of the audience you are trying to reach.