It’s an interesting line of argument, and very illuminative, but the problem with it is it doesn’t resolve clearly, because the counterfactuals are so complicated and difficult to nail down. So let’s walk it through:

Left: “X people are killed by guns every year!”

Right: “But Y people are saved by guns every year!”

Left: “But maybe some of those people could have been saved another way!”

Right: (does some math) “Okay then Z people are saved by guns every year!”

Left: “But we could also save them from getting rid of all the guns!”

Right: “But then only the badguys will have guns!”

Left: “No they won’t!”


At that point in the line of argument, we’re into a counterfactual trap. Neither side agrees on the counterfactuals, so each chooses a counterfactual that supports their predisposed opinion, and it just goes round in circles. Laying that out is just a recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome.

What I did instead, later in this series, was to lay out a clear case that the “no more guns” counterfactual is literally impossible, so everyone should just quit talking about it:

Conscientious objector to the culture war. I think a lot. mirror: writer at: beggar at:

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