Conflation Junction: Tenn. Columnist Thinks Criminals and Madmen Obey Laws

See, the thing that makes crazy people, well... crazy, is that they don't do things like normal people. Laws, rules, even simple human kindness is meaningless to such unbalanced people. The same can be said of criminals. See the thing that makes them criminals is that they don't obey laws. But the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Rich Locker seems to think making a law will magically make a wacko suddenly heed reason. On top of that, to illustrate his allusion he conflates the criminal actions of a man in Alabama to laws in Tennessee in order to justify his anti-gun sentiment for Tennesseans. Will these disingenuous Old Media types never learn a love of logic?

The tragic and criminal actions of the nut in Alabama that killed 10 people in a wild traveling rampage served as Locker's platform to advocate for a Tennessee law that would make illegal the carrying load guns in a vehicle. He seems to insinuate that such a law would have prevented the sicko in Alabama from driving around killing people. Locker neglects to reveal how some words on a piece of paper, though, could prevent a madman from transporting a loaded gun in a car.

The opening paragraph is a perfect example of this conflation in order to draw out an emotional reaction in the reader.

Less than 24 hours after a man armed with two assault rifles, a shotgun and a handgun killed 10 people and then himself in Alabama, a Tennessee legislative committee on Wednesday approved a bill allowing handgun-carry licensees to carry loaded rifles and shotguns in their vehicles.

What does the Alabama incident have to do with the Tennessee law? Well, nothing really, but his conflating one with the other is a way for writer Locker to tinge the debate with negative connotations against the new Tennessee proposal.

But, the real nub of the matter is one of expectations. Could one expect that a law that says you may not carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in a car would necessarily stop all crazy people intent on mass murder from carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun in their car? Does Rich Locker imagine that a lunatic will load up for murder only to call the whole thing off once he gets to his car because a law says he can't carry a loaded rifle in the auto?

Really? Is he that absurd? That simple minded?

I wonder if Rich Locker ever rolled through a stop sign without having come to a complete stop? After all, the LAW says that one MUST come to a complete stop. Did the written law prevent him from that violation?

Still, while perhaps not being the sharpest tool in the shed, one does assume that Rich Locker can be expected to observe most of society's proscriptions and the state’s laws without too much worry. Presumably, Mr. Locker is not a criminal or lunatic.

But, even as we might expect Mr. Locker to be a fairly law abiding citizen we cannot expect as much from the insane and the criminal. Laws for them are only applicable when punishment is being prescribed. And, that being the case, it is clear that those same laws failed to prevent.

In other words, the laws that Mr. Locker seems to be advocating for will only restrict the rights of the law abiding yet will still not stop criminal actions.

And in all this Rich Locker is breaking another rule: that of good journalism. Sadly, instead of reporting, Rich Locker of the Memphis Commercial Appeal is advocating.