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Response to TipTok (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 5, 2015, 08:06 AM

63. That's a good example of the classic strawman and the subtle dissembling shift from

the criminally deviant action to the pathological mental state. Surely it's logical to assume the behavior is preceded by a state of mind, so the problem -must- be a mental disorder. This is a very common rhetorical ploy but it's poor logic and it doesn't square very well with what's actually known,

I don't think anyone on DU would argue against the strongly deviant nature of a shooting in a kindergarten class. I certainly wouldn't. That sort of air-tighteness is part of building a workable strawman argument. But like many such arguments your narrow strawman doesn't describe the majority of mass-shootings.

I recommend you take a little time and look at what's known, just from newspapers about mass shootings and mass-shooters at this site: http://shootingtracker.com/wiki/Mass_Shootings_in_2015 Anyone who does that will see that mass shootings don't usually happen in kindergartens, and it isn't true that these are acts of just the mentally ill, or as posed in other places on DU spoiled young white beta male losers who can't psychologically handle their lives.

When terrible things happen around us, we need explanations that resolve the seeming inexplicable. We especially need explanations that provide reassurance that the risk is knowable and avoidable. It helps a lot if the explanation makes the risk distant in time or space or otherwise unlikely to be present in our daily life. That in turn allows us to place blame on a category of danger, and perhaps on failures of other who should be trusted protectors, and on social deviants who profit from the machinery that makes these events possible. Which is to say we argue it as distantly away from good persons like ourselves as possible.

As a society, we don't much understand mental disorders, but our culture has given us tag-lines to fall back on...those tag-lines include things such as the inherent unpredictability and inherent dangerousness of 'mentally ill'. The tag-lines aren't so true but they provide us handholds that connect us to answers in our uncertain world.

Those tag-lines often begin with its 'obviously', or 'by definition' and then follow with the person has some sort of mental problem. We ought to understand that argumentation that begins that way is promoting the notion that the rhetoric that follows isn't supposed to be challenged. Those arguments beg us to accept what is on inspection an empty explanation as a blanket universal explanation. Any argument posed as something that shouldn't be questioned, probably should be.

When bad things happen, we need the reassurances that we know what the danger is, so that we can feel it's possible to protect ourselves from it. Vulnerability due to uncertainty is a bad thing. If we can be convinced that the danger distant and remote from us, after dealing with the shock for a day or two we can go back to normality. If it can't we are encouraged about our strength, our community, and how we will overcome the terrible thing and in a week or so, we can get back to normality.

The application of your strawman reasoning and its subtle dissembling with its appealing too obvious explanation is the sort of thing what must be challenged if society is ever to arrive at evidence based rather than culturally biased solutions that hold up for more than a day or two and which are applicable to a lot more of the terrible reality than attacks on kindergartens.


Moreover, it's a sort of reasoning that must be challenged if we are to protect persons with mental health problems from the discrimination that follows from widely disseminated and culturally supported assumptions of the unpredictability and dangerousness of persons with mental disorders.

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backscatter712 Oct 2015 OP
TipTok Oct 2015 #1
paulkienitz Oct 2015 #47
LineLineReply That's a good example of the classic strawman and the subtle dissembling shift from
HereSince1628 Oct 2015 #63
hunter Oct 2015 #72
MADem Oct 2015 #100
pipoman Oct 2015 #2
Crunchy Frog Oct 2015 #5
pipoman Oct 2015 #10
Crunchy Frog Oct 2015 #14
pipoman Oct 2015 #19
Crunchy Frog Oct 2015 #23
pipoman Oct 2015 #26
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pipoman Oct 2015 #32
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