Austin Hill

In the 1940’s and 50’s, famed Author George Orwell surmised that both the English language and civilized society were in decline.

After a press conference held last week by Emeryville, California Police Chief Ken James, it’s easy to see a decline in both language and critical thinking skills in our country. And as Orwell thought, indeed civilized society may very well be in jeopardy.

It happened on February 14th. Taking to the microphones and cameras in his suburban San Francisco community, Chief James stood at a podium with the requisite group of serious-looking, professionally dressed, pouty-faced people standing behind him (it appears that Emeryville Mayor Kurt Brinkman was one of them). In part, the Chief said “one issue that always boggles my mind is that the idea that a gun is a defensive weapon. That is a myth. A gun is not a defensive weapon.”

From there, Mr. James went on to say that “a gun is an offensive weapon used to intimidate and show power. Police officers don’t carry a gun as a defensive weapon to defend themselves or their other officers. They carry a gun to be able to do their job in a safe and effective manner and face any oppositions we may come upon. If it was a defensive measure, why did we lose 55 officers nationwide last year to gun violence? And unfortunately, in just the two months of this year so far, we have lost two officers to gun violence in the state of California alone.”

So, how shall we begin to analyze the logical fallacies here? Let’s start with this: a gun is an inanimate object. A gun doesn’t think; it doesn’t feel; it has no intentions or aspirations; and despite what the Emeryville Chief of Police says, a gun does not have “offensive” or “defensive” tendencies.

In this regard, guns and footballs share something in common. Neither a gun nor a football is “offensive” or “defensive” in its essence. Yet each of them can be utilized by a human being for either offensive or defensive purposes. In short, whether a gun or a football is used for offensive or defensive purposes depends on who possesses it.

Having established this, consider these words again: “a gun is an offensive weapon used to intimidate and show power. Police officers don’t carry a gun as a defensive weapon to defend themselves or their other officers. They carry a gun to be able to do their job in a safe and effective manner and face any oppositions we may come upon.”

Really, Mr. James? I won’t bother doing “grammar police” work here (“oppositions” is not a word, and placeing “we” and “they” as the subject of the same sentence is problematic as well).


Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.