[ by Charles Cameron — on straight shooting, but more about logic than guns ]
If you tie me down across some railroad tracks (no, that’s not me) and I can feel a train coming and you say you’ll cut me loose if and only if I vote for or against “gun control” I’ll hastily but reluctantly admit to being for it.
The haste, you’ll understand, comes from my not wishing to be cut in three or four by the onrushing train, while the reluctance comes from my sense that my political opinions, such as they are, are usually more indicative of my generally kindly nature than of any rigorous analysis of likely first, second, third and nth order impacts of whatever it is we’re discussing.
But okay, my sympathies are with gun control — while my awareness of my own ignorance prompts me not to put much stock in those sympathies.
But then I come across this article in Forbes, which disturbs me enough to prompt me into a new idea, a novel use for my SPECS or DoubleQuotes format.
I’ll use that format to present you with two paragraphs from that article, one of them slightly abridged, which follow one another directly. And my question for you, as you read them, is how can the authors get from the top paragraph, with all its questions and cautious qualifications, to the one immediately below it, with its claim of unquestioning certainty.
I’d say that the paragraph that immediately follows the first one doesn’t follow from it at all, logically speaking — I’d say there’s a non sequitur in there. And for me, that’s a novel use of the two quotes format — to suggest that someone is taking an impermissible leap.
Because as far as I can see, the only way to get from the first paragraph to the second is via a leap of hope — a determination, present from the beginning, to arrive at a fixed conclusion, in this case, that firing guns is addictive.
As I’ve said, I have some sympathy with gun control legislation — but I don’t much like it when sympathies masquerade as science, even when I share them.
So what do we call that kind of leap?
Leaping to a hasty conclusion? Jumping the gun, perhaps? Jumping the shark?