In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned
Debate Rounds (4)
Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.
1. Aff accepts & gives constructive case
2. Neg gives constructive & rebuttals, affirmative rebuttals
3. Both give rebuttals/defense
Currently, gun violence kills 33,636 people per year in the United States, according to CNN (1). The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world (1), and the highest rate of mass shootings (1). Other countries, such as Australia, have seen a decrease in gun deaths after adopting strict gun control laws.
Gun control worked in Australia. After the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, they enacted a strict gun control policy that included a prohibition on private ownership of firearms without a genuine reason, which could not be personal protection (2). This prohibits most personal ownership of handguns, except for a small number of people who compete in sports with pistols (2). This policy reduced gun deaths in Australia by 60% (3). If you assume based on historical precedents that a similar thing will happen in America, 60% of 33,636 is 20,182. A 60% change is way too big to occur by chance, so even if the effect on the United States is not as proportionally significant, the probability is overwhelming that passing a similar policy will create a net reduction in gun deaths in America.
For the purpose of this debate, gun deaths shall be divided into three categories: homicides, suicides, and accidents.
Nearly 70% of homicides in the United States involve firearms (1). Having a gun makes it much easier to kill someone, especially if somebody wants to kill multiple people. Without guns, there would still be violence with knives, but knife wounds are much less likely to be fatal, and it is harder to target multiple people with knives than with guns. Also, guns are more likely to kill bystanders than other weapons.
Suicide is much easier with a gun. About two-thirds of US gun deaths are suicides. When someone is feeling suicidal, shooting oneself with a gun is much easier, faces less inhibition, and requires less planning than many other forms of suicide (such as jumping off a bridge). Also, guns are quite effective for committing suicide - shooting oneself in the head is more likely to succeed in causing death than stabbing or poisoning oneself. Banning handguns will not prevent all suicides, but it will make suicide less common.
Gun accidents are another cause of gun death, one that is particularly dangerous to children. Gun accidents have taken the lives of hundreds of children, and American children are nine times as likely to die in gun accidents than children in any other part of the world (4). This is another reason why the widespread ownership and permissiveness of gun ownership in the USA is bad.
My value is that of justice, defined simply as giving each their due; consequently, arbitrary actions are always unjust in relation to the subject because arbitrary action cannot be giving one something that they are due. This is true because arbitrary is defined as “based on random choice rather than any reason or system”. Thus, my standard for today’s round is minimising arbitrary action. This is the best standard because it links back directly to justice, as it gives each their due without clouding the relationship to justice. Moreover, minimizing arbitrary action is a preferable standard because it is weighable; the results of arbitrary action, or lack thereof, are noticeable impacts that can be evaluated in-round.
Therefore I have my sole contention: the affirmative is arbitrary in nature, devoid of some deeper ‘truth’ - any evidence that they claim to hold as important can be interpreted as the exact opposite of what they claim. They meander through the void, saying that they see light when all they do is remember or simulate its existence. They feign truth in an attempt to disguise their knowledge that we can’t ever grasp truth.
Jean Baudrillard Former Professor of Philosophy of Culture and Media Criticism at the European Graduate School, general badass, in Simulacra and Simulation, page 13:
Is any given bombing in Italy the work of leftist extremists, or extreme-right provocation, or a centrist mise-en-scène to discredit all extreme terrorists and to shore up its own failing power, or again, is it a police-inspired scenario and a form of blackmail to public security? All of this is simultaneously true, and the search for proof, indeed the objectivity of the facts does not put an end to this vertigo of interpretation. That is, we are in a logic of simulation, which no longer has anything to do with a logic of facts and an order of reason. Simulation is characterized by a precession of the model, of all the models based on the merest fact - the models come first, their circulation, orbital like that of the bomb, constitutes the genuine magnetic field of the event. The facts no longer have a specific trajectory, they are born at the intersection of models, a single fact can be engendered by all the models at once. This anticipation, this precession, this short circuit, this confusion of the fact with its model (no more divergence of meaning, no more dialectical polarity, no more negative electricity, implosion of antagonistic poles), is what allows each time for all possible interpretations, even the most contradictory - all true, in the sense that their truth is to be exchanged, in the image of the models from which they derive, in a generalized cycle.
Further, Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulation, page 4:
To dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has. To simulate is to feign to have what one doesn't have. One implies a presence, the other an absence. But it is more complicated than that because simulating is not pretending: "Whoever fakes an illness can simply stay in bed and make everyone believe he is ill. Whoever simulates an illness produces in himself some of the symptoms" (Littré). Therefore, pretending, or dissimulating, leaves the principle of reality intact: the difference is always clear, it is simply masked, whereas simulation threatens the difference between the "true" and the "false," the "real" and the "imaginary." Is the simulator sick or not, given that he produces "true" symptoms? Objectively one cannot treat him as being either ill or not ill. Psychology and medicine stop at this point, forestalled by the illness's henceforth undiscoverable truth. For if any symptom can be "produced," and can no longer be taken as a fact of nature, then every illness can be considered as simulatable and simulated, and medicine loses its meaning since it only knows how to treat "real" illnesses according to their objective causes. Psychosomatics evolves in a dubious manner at the borders of the principle of illness. As to psychoanalysis, it transfers the symptom of the organic order to the unconscious order: the latter is new and taken for "real" more real than the other - but why would simulation be at the gates of the unconscious? Why couldn't the "work" of the unconscious be "produced" in the same way as any old symptom of classical medicine? Dreams already are.
Eviatar Zerubavel, 1994, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, in The Social Lens
<All brackets and ellipses are within the text, not added by me]
But how could there not be arbitrariness? Nature presents [things] … without firmly established divisions. Everything shades off into everything else by imperceptible nuances. And if, on this ocean of objects surrounding us, there should appear a few that seem to break through the surface and to dominate the rest like the crest of a reef, they merely owe this advantage to … conventions … that have nothing to do with the physical arrangement of beings.
I have thus far drawn a deliberately one-sided picture of reality as an array of insular entities neatly separated from one another by great divides. Such discontinuity, however, is not as inevitable as we normally take it to be. It is a pronouncedly mental scalpel that helps us carve discrete mental slices out of reality: “You get the illusion that [entities] are just there and are being named as they exist. But they can be … organized quite differently depending on how the knife moves … It is important to see this knife for what it is and not to be fooled into thinking that [entities] are the way they are just because the knife happened to cut it up that way. It is important to concentrate on the knife itself. The scalpel, of course, is a social scalpel. It is society that underlies the way we generate meaningful mental entities.
Reality is not made up of insular chunks unambiguously separated from one another by sharp divides, but, rather, of vague, blurred-edge essences that often “spill over” into one another. It normally presents itself not in black and white, but, rather, in subtle shades of gray, with mental twilighty zones as well as intermediate essences connecting entities. Segmenting it into discrete islands of meaning usually rests on some social convention, and most boundaries are, therefore, mere social artifacts. As such, they often vary from one society to another as well as across historical periods within each society. Moreover, the precise location-not to mention the very existence-of such mental partitions is often disputed within any given society.
There is more than one way to carve discrete chunks out of a given continuum, and different cultures indeed mold out of the same reality quite different archipelagos of meaning. While all cultures, for example, distinguish the edible from the inedible or the young from the old, they usually differ from one another in where they draw the lines between them. The distinction between the sexually accessible and inaccessible is likewise universal (all cultures, for example, have an incest taboo), yet the specific delineation of those who are considered off limits often varies from one culture to another. Surrounding oneself with a bubble of “personal space,” too, is a universal practice, yet in marked contract to other species, humans exhibit substantial subspecific cultural variations in where they draw its boundaries. (Along similar lines, the precise delineation of one’s “personal” circle of intimates also varies from one culture to another.) By the same token, not everyone who is considered “black” in America would necessarily be classified as such in the West Indies or Brazil.
Let’s look at the story so far:
There exist no ways to justify what we think to be true. The simulation is at play when we look at the discourse happening in this debate - we are not there and cannot be there when something happens, so we rely on sources, who blur the lines between the true and the false.
The delineation that we find between the true and the false are inherently wrong for two reasons:
There exist no lines to pick from that are naturally occurring
It is just our social lens that dictates what we think to be true - there is no inherent meaning.
Therefore, the affirmative’s plan or advocacy is inherently arbitrary because it relies on the meaningless - they attempt to seek meaning in the void and meaning in what can only be seen as that which is without. The affirmative holds the change of the status quo in their hands - and the affirmative’s advocacy and changed world comes down to a dice roll of how they interpret their ‘objective’ facts, when these facts are able to be interpreted as the exact opposite of what they claim. Do not endorse arbitrary action … do not endorse finding meaning in the meaningless … do not meander through the void, claiming that you have a map of what can never be mapped.
My case should stand as rebuttals.
On the issue of values, I shall contend that my value of preserving life is greater than NEG"s value of minimizing arbitrary action. If you are dead, it does not matter whether you avoid arbitrary action or you get the value of justice, because you are not able to experience anything. NEG has not given any reason to prefer their value over mine, so I will provide reasons to prefer preservation of life over avoidance of arbitrary action.
1.Preservation of life is a necessary condition for existence (and in fact for having this debate.) If our ancestors did not eat, avoid predators, and take other actions to preserve their own lives we would never have been born. The value of minimizing arbitrary action is in fact dependent on preservation of life because we cannot minimize arbitrary action unless we are alive.
2.Preservation of life is a more weighable standard than avoidance of arbitrary action. We can quantify the number of lives we saved (as I did in my 1AC), but it is impossible to quantify the amount of arbitrary action we prevent, seeing as arbitrary action is qualitative rather than quantitative.
3.The Negative has not provided any clear impacts to illustrate why arbitrary action is bad. They say that it is bad for justice, which is defined as giving each their due. This is a vague definition, since does not explain what someone"s "due" is, and does not show how any concrete harm happens because of people not getting their due. Yet I demonstrate how very real harm happens when private individuals are allowed to own handguns. Death is a real harm that ought to be avoided " not having one"s due is rather meaningless in comparison. People who are dead don"t get their due anyway.
If you accept my definition of the criteria for this round, you will be automatically voting for me because they conceded my entire case and provided no offense that is acceptable under the criteria that I have specified above. If not, I will address their case and prove why I am winning on their criteria as well as my own.
I am not arbitrary " I have provided clear evidence for why banning handguns in the USA would be a good thing, and they have not answered any of these arguments. It is a standard principle of debate that when an argument is dropped, it is assumed to be true, and they dropped all of my arguments, so the case has moved from being potentially true to being empirically certain, for the purposes of this debate round. There is an extensive amount of argumentation in favor of gun ownership easily accessible to the NEG that they could have used to prove that my argument is arbitrary, but they chose not to use it and because my whole case was dropped it is too late to bring it up now. They claim that being arbitrary is unjust, but you know what is unjust? People being shot to death when their lives could have been prevented had we not made an arbitrary decision to avoid making any decision that might be arbitrary.
The NEG tries to deny the existence of truth, but they contradict themselves by saying this because the statement that truth does not exist is itself a truth claim. This statement cannot be true, because if it is true then truth does not exist so it is therefore not true. If a statement is not true, it must be false. If this statement is false, then there is truth and I still have grounds to debate gun control. Cross-apply this argument to NEG"s entire case " they claim certain statements to be true, but they also say that truth does not exist, so if you look at the case from their point of view all of their arguments must be false because they deny truth. This is a reason to disregard the entire 1NC. Since they say that nothing is true they give you no reason to vote for them, since at best their arguments are simultaneously true and untrue, and at worst they are all simply false.
Also, NEG misinterprets Baudrillard by claiming that his philosophy describes a world that has no truth or reality where human life does not matter. Instead he describes "hyperreality", which is somewhere in between the real and the imaginary. His emphasis on an external world where the meaning of everything has become lost in endless signs and simulations implies that we should not seek meaning from the external world. If external signs such as wealth and capital create a world devoid of meaning, we should seek to preserve our own existence because in a world where everything outside of us could be unreal, our own existence is the only thing that we can be certain of. Not being shot is a good first step to preserving one"s own existence, so even if you accept Baudrillard as true there is still reason to vote for us.
I do not deny that arbitrariness exists. This leaves us with two possibilities: Either everything is arbitrary, or some things are not arbitrary.
If everything is arbitrary, then we cannot solve for arbitrariness, and it will continue to be just as much of a problem regardless of who you vote for in this debate. However, the existence of universal arbitrariness would create a world in which it is impossible to judge a debate, so it is not a valid criterion for this round.
If only some things are arbitrary, we have proven through our statistics and our historical precedent of Australia that we are not arbitrary. This means that our case does not link to any of the arguments about how arbitrariness is bad, and they have no offense against us.
Zerubavel"s statements about blurred edges are true for most things, but not human life. Either you are alive or you are dead. There is no in-between. Because we are saving lives by abolishing private ownership of handguns, his arguments about how lines are blurred do not apply.
To address NEG"s conclusion:
They say that I am arbitrary because I try to find meaning in facts that I draw from sources that I think are objective " but it is actually to avoid arbitrariness that I cited my sources in the 1AC. I at least reduce arbitrariness by doing this, so the claim that citing sources causes arbitrariness is simply not true.
I acknowledge that sources are not perfect, but they are better than nothing. By citing evidence we are making the best of what limited knowledge we have available to us in this world.
They say that my sources could mean the exact opposite of what I think they mean, but they do not explain how that could happen. They do not give any hypothetical scenario where banning handguns leads to 20,000 more deaths, which is what they would have had to do to prove this argument.
They say we should not pick between the true and false. If you reject that argument you will be voting for the Affirmative because you will then be rejecting the entire 1NC. If you accept that argument you will still be voting for the Affirmative because voting for the Negative would be a claim that they are true and I am false, which contradicts their whole advocacy.
Even the claim that arbitrariness is bad is itself no more true or untrue in the world of the Negative. They have given you no reasons to vote for them, while I have proven that the policy I am advocating would save 20,000 lives.
They claim to reject logic, yet they use logic to support their arguments. They reject truth, yet make claims as to what is true or not true. I fully uphold my burden and due to the arguments they dropped I have already proven the resolution to be true. They lose on their own value, as justice is in itself a truth value and they cannot advocate for justice by denying truth. For these reasons you will be voting for the Affirmative.
Arbitrary action is not morally permissible - justice and all of its benefits are incompatible with arbitrary action (justice is giving each their due - this causes human life to exist because each is due their own life). The negative's burden is to just disprove the affirmative in today's debate. If I lose my 1NC and you lose your 1AC, you need to vote neg because the affirmative's worldview is a diceroll of how they interperet - status quo is the neg's world and does not need further justification when a change is invalid.
The affirmative lives in the world in which their sources exist as their own polar opposites. Extend Baudrillard and his example of the Italian bomber - all of these, the left wing bomber, right wing, centrist, are correct and false at the same time, made in the simulation. Extend my idea that we can't vote for arbitrary action, and to have a diceroll coming down as the ultimate voter in this debate is the very definition of arbitrary.
Extend Zerubavel since my opponent concedes what Zerubavel claims. He says that arbitrary action is inevitable, I agree ... thus we need to preserve the status quo to prevent EVEN MORE arbitrary action. Inaction does not mean that it is a type of inaction - Zizek 06 writes more on this that inaction is the only way to actually preserve ourselves (if you wish this card just ask).
They say this is a question of policy ... Well, Moti Mizrahi 09 writes that there is a fundamental difference between 'ought' and 'should' - where 'should' is a question of policy, 'ought' a question of moral ideology. My morality of justice is the broader classification of their justice of human life. They say we need net benefits ... that's utilitarianism (in a broad sense), and this justifies giving away individual human life for the net benefit. So, slavery is justified in the affirmative's value, so we can't affirm his value.
Everything comes down to this: the affirmative's worldview is arbitrary in nature (this cannot be changed, they concede Zerubavel). While the negative may be arbitrary as well, you can't give in to a change in the status quo when the status quo is just as valid as the affirmative. If my opponent wishes, we may have a diceroll, where the judge rolls a die and votes for me if the result is even and for him if it is odd - for that is exactly what the affirmative's advocacy has become ... we might as well give a role of the ballot of arbitrary action within the affirmative's case!
They concede that their failure to provide counterexamples means that my argument is no longer arbitrary. Extend that if it really was possible that my plan could have the opposite effect of what I said it would, they would have provided counterexamples or statistics showing places where gun control has been ineffective or creating a plausible scenario where gun control leads to more death. They concede that using reliable sources reduces arbitrariness, so their claims about my case being no better than a dice roll would only apply if I had provided no evidence.
You cannot simultaneously reject both the 1AC and the 1NC because they did not refute any of the 1AC, and the only way that you would not accept the 1AC as being true is if you believe that the 1AC is arbitrary, which is the thesis of the 1NC. If you reject the 1NC you must accept the 1AC as being true for the purpose of this debate. However, they have conceded that the 1NC is false. They completely dropped my argument about how their denial of the existence of truth invalidates the entire 1NC. For this reason you should disregard the entire 1NC and evaluate the debate on the basis of the 1AC alone, in which case the only logical conclusion is to vote for the Affirmative.
I agree that arbitrary action exists - but not all action is arbitrary. Their alternative is inaction, and I counter that by saying that inaction is bad. Inaction caused Imperial China to stagnate culturally and technologically, leading to China losing its place as the world's greatest power and eventually succumbing to European influence. President George W. Bush's inaction on an intelligence report warning of an imminent terrorist threat was one of the factors that led to 9/11. Inaction on climate change could result in the end of human civilization. If you accept their claims about inaction being good, then you would have to embrace inaction by not voting on this debate. The very act of voting on the debate proves that you reject inaction and you should not vote for a team that advocates it.
On the issue of values and whether this is a question of policy:
The word "ought" does not always refer to a policy action, but my assertion that this is a question of policy is supported by the word "banned" being in the resolution, and the fact that the resolution clearly proposes a change of policy. Only governments and other policy-making organizations have the power to ban things, so this should be an issue of policy.
In their definition of justice, they say that "justice is giving each their due - this causes human life to exist because each is due their own life." Because they have conceded that my plan saves 20,182 lives per year, there will be more justice in a world with the plan than without it, because there are 20,182 more people who will get the most important thing they are due - their own lives.
On the issue of values, they concede my points about why preservation of life is a higher value than avoidance of arbitrary action. They only attack the use of net benefits and utilitarianism. They say that utilitarianism justifies sacrificing lives for the greater good - but that is not relevant for this debate because they have not claimed that anyone would die as a result of banning guns. They claim that utilitarianism justifies slavery - but that is not true. Slavery causes extreme misery for everyone who is enslaved. It leads to death and hurts the economy. Utilitarianism makes everyone's happiness equally valuable, and slavery reduces the happiness of everyone except the small percentage of people in a society who own slaves. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, personally debated in favor of the abolition of slavery (1).
As for their conclusion, if you accept the worldview of the Negative you are actually increasing the amount of arbitrariness in the world. What could be more arbitrary than rejecting an affirmative case based on nothing but the claim that everything is arbitrary? Debate judges do not have the power to actually ban handguns in real life, but they can vote on this debate, which is a real action. The only real action you would take is to determine who you think won the debate, and since the Negative admits they are arbitrary and I provide evidence that I am not arbitrary, it would be more arbitrary to vote for them. The Negative's argument implies they believe that all Affirmatives in policy debates are arbitrary, so if you vote for the Negative, you would be rejecting my case just because I am the affirmative - which is the very definition of arbitrary! So even if you accept their framework that minimizing arbitrariness is the highest value, you will still be voting for the affirmative because the only real action you will be taking when you vote is to vote on a debate round - not to actually ban handguns. By voting for me, you reduce arbitrariness, so I win both on my framework and on theirs.
Vote with a die on your hand, not the issues that come to mind - vote from a die and vote just as arbitrarily as the affirmative's case is constructed.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by YYW 10 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO has three extant harms: homicide, suicide and gun accidents each of which are supported by hard evidence. All of which would be less likely, says PRO, if gun ownership were banned. There is an issue between the disparity between "handgun ownership" specifically, and "gun ownership" in the more general sense with the harms pro cited, which undermines said arguments' relative strength. CON runs a K that is as weak as it is irrelevant, in that it does not substantively address the resolution; CON more or less talks past it, and does not even offer a reason why the resolution cannot be debated. CON's cards are weak, and generally, the entire case literally does nothing in the way of helping CON in any respect. PRO actually addressed the resolution, and therefore more substantively progressed towards advancing his BOP, and therefore wins. There is no world in which CON could have won, for the aforesaid reasons, and conduct to PRO because of CON's non-responsive arguments.
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