An Examination of the Effectiveness of the Stooge-Style Eye-Poke as a Debating Device

by LF

I always find it quite entertaining to encounter anti-gunners who are obviously on the edge. If you find yourself debating one it pays to have something on tap that could crack 'em like an egg.

A few years back I ran into a local politico who loved to yammer on endlessly about "AK-47s which can kill our kids from hundreds of yards away." I kindly pointed out that due to the poorly-designed sights and crudely-crafted ammunition commonly available for those rifles, even a competent marksman (not to mention an addled crackhead) would find it hard to nail a target as small and fast-moving as the average grade-schooler would present at even, say, 75 yards.

The lady immediately dropped her fairly calm policy-wonk mask and launched into an extremely-detailed, marathon hissy about how all gun-owners are despicable monsters who should be locked up -- BaddaBing, the truth at last! While red and shaky by the end, she unfortunately did not end up popping a critical vessel. It was a great laugh all the same.

I actually picked up on this tactic from an old friend who used to be an occasional guest on local radio. During nasty debates over various and sundry, he'd wait until a commercial break, lean over to his opponent, and whisper something like, "So, your momma didn't breast-feed you enough, or what?" and then feign surprise when the bonehead started hyperventilating just as the engineer started the countdown for the next segment.

Many of the gun-banners are so maniacally certain that they are on the side of the angels that a simple, utterly childish eye-poke can occasionally completely unhinge them. The best way to employ this tool is "live", when you can pounce on the resulting momentary brain-lock and close in for the kill. It is less useful in print situations, where a response will more than likely be composed after the initial anger passes, but can still be handy for laying the groundwork for a future encounter. Pick out something that promises to tweak off your target, and include some reference to it in all of your relevant correspondence to the press. Then, when you eventually get the chance to square off against the weasel, you can drop in a tangential reference to your past insults which will sound completely innocent to anyone else, but should yield approximately the same result as a direct attack.

I've frankly grown tired with pro-gun types who still indulge in the ridiculous fantasy that calm persuasion can still save our butts (see my bit Calm Reasoning Went Out With the Eisenhower Administration AKA "Undoubtedly Cutting Ike Too Much Slack" for a fuller discussion). If the '98 elections go as badly as the Republicans deserve, things could get real hot real quick. Hell, with scum like Orrin Hatch running things, it might be better to end the ongoing death by a thousand cuts by voting for the Democrats directly.

So why not have as much fun as possible while we can?

Up the spout