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Thread: The Worst Advice Column Ever Written?

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    The Worst Advice Column Ever Written?

    The Worst Advice Column Ever Written?
    By CHARLES C. W. COOKE
    June 14, 2019 12:32 PM

    From Live Well Nebraska comes the most amusingly hysterical and extraordinarily ignorant advice column I have read in a long while. It consists of a question, posed by a man writing as “Dumbfounded Father,” and a response, offered by “syndicated columnist” Amy Dickinson. At no point in the exchange does either person range within a country mile of reality.

    “Dumbfounded Father” begins his question as such:

    Dear Amy: This week, I discovered that my intelligent, hard-working, responsible 24-year-old daughter (who lives with me) is a gun owner!
    What, exactly, is the purpose of this description of his daughter? Is the implication that an “intelligent, hardworking, and responsible” person should not own a gun? Would the purchase be more understandable if it had been made by a stupid, lazy, and reckless person? Is it that women should not own guns (long live the patriarchy!)? Or should gun-owners be older, perhaps. He doesn’t say.

    It gets worse from there:

    And it’s not a normal gun, either — it is a 40-caliber semi-automatic, and she has hollow-point bullets to go with it.
    It is difficult to think of a more “normal gun” than a 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol. If there is such a thing as a “normal gun” in American life, it is this one. Likewise, there is nothing especially scary about “hollow-point bullets,” more on which later.

    He continues:

    Amy, this is the kind of weapon a criminal would possess! She says it is for emergencies. There have only been two home invasions in our neighborhood in the last 11 years.
    A 40-caliber semi-automatic is in no way “the kind of weapon a criminal would possess.” Hell, what does that even mean? Millions of Americans possess 40-caliber semi-automatic pistols. Tens of millions possess near-identical handguns in 9mm, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP, among others. There’s nothing remotely “criminal” about those guns, or about the people who own them.

    As for his “she says it is for emergencies” part. If that’s what she says, then why not believe her? She’s an adult, isn’t she?

    Oh:

    I’ve given her three choices: She can either give her weapon to me, sell it or move out in three weeks.
    “Give the weapon to me” is an odd thing to write after “this is the kind of weapon a criminal would possess” — as, for that matter is, “sell it” (to whom: a criminal?). But the “move out in three weeks part” takes the cake, given that he follows it up with:

    I love my daughter and would be so sad for her to move into a place that she would hardly be able to afford
    The position thus far, then, is: “My daughter has bought a gun for emergencies. This is irrational because we live in a safe area that has hosted only — only! — two home invasions in the past decade. In consequence, I will force her to live in a place that is more dangerous.”

    Brilliant.

    Dumbfounded’s question then goes fully off the rails:

    but now I have to lock my bedroom door at night because I don’t know what she’s going to do.
    Has there ever been a better illustration of the weird belief that the mere act of owning a firearm turns even “intelligent, hard-working, responsible” people into murderous psychopaths? The questioner is is talking about his own daughter. He doesn’t know what she’s “going to do”? He has to “lock his bedroom door at night”? Good Lord, man.

    Now she says that I don’t trust her, and is barely speaking to me. How can I convince her to stop endangering us?
    Well, yeah.

    Amy’s response, which could have been calm and rational and tethered to reality, is arguably even worse. She writes:

    Dear Dumbfounded: According to my research, possessing hollow-point bullets is illegal in 11 states; is it legal in your state to own this sort of exploding ammunition?
    It is remarkable enough that a sentence that begins “according to my research” finishes with the characterization of hollow-point bullets as “exploding ammunition.” Hollow-point bullets are not “exploding ammunition.” They are normal bullets designed to expand on impact — which does more damage to the target and provides extra stopping power, but also makes them less likely to pass through walls or otherwise cause collateral damage.

    As for the “is it legal in your state to own this sort of exploding ammunition” question . . . does Amy also believe that Dumbfounded’s daughter is exhibiting criminal tendencies? It’s hard to see any other implication. If it is not legal to own hollow-points in Dumbfounded’s state, his daughter must have (a) left her state; (b) bought the ammunition in another state, and (c) returned to her state in violation of the law. Does that sound likely? Or is it more likely that she was told by the guy in the gun store that hollow-points are recommended for home defense?

    (Writing at Live Well Nebraska, Amy gets a lot of questions from out of state, does she?)

    Amy then continues with some random statistics she Googled, a reiteration of Dumbfounded’s initial question, and some choice insinuation:

    In a report published in 2015, researchers at the University of Chicago found that 31 percent of households reported having a firearm in 2014, down from about 48 percent in 1980.

    According to this study, there are more guns, but concentrated in fewer households. Why must your household be one of them?

    Where did your daughter get this weapon and ammunition? Has she received any safety training or certification? (Accidental gun death is a substantial risk of owning a gun.) Is she perhaps engaged in another activity outside of your household that exposes her to increased risks and makes her believe she needs to have a weapon?
    And then, rather than asking, “Do you really think that your daughter intends to hurt you, you lunatic?” she accepts Dumbfounded’s premise and tries to alarm him even further:

    I have news for you: A locked bedroom door is no match for this weaponry; as I write this, just five days ago a father in South Carolina tragically shot and killed his own 23-year-old daughter through a closed door — when he mistook her for an intruder.

    That is a sad story. But it remains the case that the likelihood of Dumbfounded’s daughter hunting him down through his locked bedroom door — intentionally, or otherwise — is close to nil. By contrast, there are between tens of thousands (on the extreme low end of the estimates) and millions (on the high end) of defensive gun uses each year. For some reason, that didn’t show up in Amy’s research.

    But then it wouldn’t, would it? In her conclusion, Amy gives the game away:

    I agree with your ultimatum; I also weep that there is yet another (likely unsafe) gun owner in this country.

    Or, put another way: Your daughter shouldn’t have a gun, and that she does makes me weep; now that she has a gun, she will cease to be “responsible” and become “likely unsafe”, or even “criminal”; and you should kick her out of your house as a result.

    Lovely stuff, guys.
    This is apparently a real advice column and "Amy" did answer this way (it's not a Bab Bee spin-off). I almost have to believe that "Amy" just makes stuff up if her mailbag doesn't have anything juicy in it.

    If true, what's the guy's logic here? Okay, it's his house so he can forbid guns if he pleases but why is he in fear for his life and why the 3 week deadline?

    If he fears that his "intelligent, hard-working, and responsible" daughter is going to kill him in his sleep some night, why wait 3 weeks? Change the locks and get a restraining order. What kept her from killing him before she had the gun? Surely the place is loaded with knives, baseball bats, hammers, etc.

    Baffling.


    Live Well Nebraska
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    So much idiocy in one column is breathtaking.

    However, I feel like the father is probably pretty open about his feelings on the subject of guns, and if she is living under his roof she should have discussed it with him before bringing a firearm into his home. If he refused, which he obviously would have, then she should have either not purchased the weapon or found another place to live. That’s just basic respect.

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    From Hondo:

    So much idiocy in one column is breathtaking.

    However, I feel like the father is probably pretty open about his feelings on the subject of guns, and if she is living under his roof she should have discussed it with him before bringing a firearm into his home. If he refused, which he obviously would have, then she should have either not purchased the weapon or found another place to live. That’s just basic respect.
    I get that part. The part I don't get is why he wasn't in fear for his life before she disclosed the gun ownership issue.

    I mean, if he believes she is so violent or deranged (despite his glowing description of her), wouldn't he have been locking his bedroom door and/or booting her out long before this?

    I wouldn't live with somebody I thought was capable of murder.

    So, his question is really ridiculous. He doesn't need "advice" to enforce his own rules in his own house. If he does need advice on his violent and evil daughter, that would be from the police or a mental health professional, not a Dear Abby type.

    He's lying/exaggerating about something here: his daughter's character, his own real fear level, or his level of clarity in explaining "the rules" when he agreed to let her live there.

    Aside: I know that if my neighbors had experienced two home invasions in ten years, I'd think I lived in a pretty dangerous area. Home invasions are uncommon compared to burglaries or muggings. That neighborhood must be really dicey and obviously Dad is incapable of mounting any resistance.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    From Hondo:



    I get that part. The part I don't get is why he wasn't in fear for his life before she disclosed the gun ownership issue.

    I mean, if he believes she is so violent or deranged (despite his glowing description of her), wouldn't he have been locking his bedroom door and/or booting her out long before this?

    I wouldn't live with somebody I thought was capable of murder.

    So, his question is really ridiculous. He doesn't need "advice" to enforce his own rules in his own house. If he does need advice on his violent and evil daughter, that would be from the police or a mental health professional, not a Dear Abby type.

    He's lying/exaggerating about something here: his daughter's character, his own real fear level, or his level of clarity in explaining "the rules" when he agreed to let her live there.

    Aside: I know that if my neighbors had experienced two home invasions in ten years, I'd think I lived in a pretty dangerous area. Home invasions are uncommon compared to burglaries or muggings. That neighborhood must be really dicey and obviously Dad is incapable of mounting any resistance.
    The guy is obviously a moron. It’s pointless to try and figure out why a moron does what he does because morons don’t think like real people. So there’s no bank in it.

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    From Hondo:

    The guy is obviously a moron. It’s pointless to try and figure out why a moron does what he does because morons don’t think like real people. So there’s no bank in it.
    This guy does Bok.

    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    From Hondo:



    This guy does Bok.


    My mom believes that I am a communist because I loved the show “The Americans.” True story.

    Now I could try to figure out why exactly she thinks that way, try to reason with her and explain that it’s a TV show and liking it doesn’t say anything at all about me politically. But that is pointless when you think about the actual premise. It’s just far easier for me to tell her “You’re a retard” and move on. I got important shit to do, I don’t have time for all that.

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    Too many things are unclear in that Dear Amy piece. It gives the impression of Henny Penny giving advice to Chicken Little.

    I've got one or two young relatives (through my wife's side) who have announced (to no one in particular) that they would never visit anyone who had a gun in the house. I'm not sure if it was more because guns are dangerous, or that the owners were probably conservative. I don't know whether to consider it a threat or a promise.

    It's not worth arguing.

    I hope they've traded in all the sharp objects in their homes for useless equivalents. I'd love to be there when they carve the Thanksgiving tofurkey with a plastic knife they swiped from Wendy's. (But I've had a Thanksgiving tofurkey once, and that's enough.)

    My young relations might be surprised at how many people do have guns in the house, among them my 97-year-old step-mother, who keeps it loaded and accessible. It's my late father's old 22 rifle, in fact, which I used a fair amount as a child.

    I myself haven't shot a gun since then, but it's one of the things I want to take up in my dotage. My wife is interested in learning to shoot, but apprehensive about owning a gun. She's not flighty enough to imagine the gun will hop out of the nightstand and kill us both, but she wasn't particularly amused when I nicknamed one of the cats Nat Turner.

    It's just an unnecessary worry, in her book. And we do live in an extremely safe area. We certainly have NOT had "only two" home invasions in the last decade. I figure she has a higher tolerance for tofurkey than I do.
    Last edited by Newman; Saturday, June 15th, 2019 at 11:31 PM.
    "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

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    My favorite show in the past 20 years. I'm sure your Mom is a lovely a person and deranged.

    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    My favorite show in the past 20 years. I'm sure your Mom is a lovely a person and deranged.


    Well, she did stab me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    Too many things are unclear in that Dear Amy piece. It gives the impression of Henny Penny giving advice to Chicken Little.

    I've got one or two young relatives (through my wife's side) who have announced (to no one in particular) that they would never visit anyone who had a gun in the house. I'm not sure if it was more because guns are dangerous, or that the owners were probably conservative. I don't know whether to consider it a threat or a promise.

    It's not worth arguing.

    I hope they've traded in all the sharp objects in their homes for useless equivalents. I'd love to be there when they carve the Thanksgiving tofurkey with a plastic knife they swiped from Wendy's. (But I've had a Thanksgiving tofurkey once, and that's enough.)

    My young relations might be surprised at how many people do have guns in the house, among them my 97-year-old step-mother, who keeps it loaded and accessible. It's my late father's old 22 rifle, in fact, which I used a fair amount as a child.

    I myself haven't shot a gun since then, but it's one of the things I want to take up in my dotage. My wife is interested in learning to shoot, but apprehensive about owning a gun. She's not flighty enough to imagine the gun will hop out of the nightstand and kill us both, but she wasn't particularly amused when I nicknamed one of the cats Nat Turner.

    It's just an unnecessary worry, in her book. And we do live in an extremely safe area. We certainly have NOT had "only two" home invasions in the last decade. I figure she has a higher tolerance for tofurkey than I do.
    Get your wife into a female shooting course. There are many and they are better for women than doing it yourself (well, no offense but you can't) or a standard male instructor class.

    She'll get up to speed quick. Neither you nor she needs to attain 'trick-shooting'. Learn the Four Rules of shooting, pick initial firearms at low calibers with cheap ammo, find a reasonable range, and blow $30 or $40 bucks a month on it (absent range fees) for a while.

    It's what a lot of couples would spend on dinners or something.

    There's no "worry" owning a gun you don't carry. It's not gonna leap out of your holster or closet and suddenly take out the 'Friendly Friends Friend-Like Preschool'. It won't suddenly pot that weird BIL at Thanksgiving. Your dog will not suddenly discover a new interest in sniping.

    If you have the under 21 crowd over and they are innocent of gun safety, just buy a safe with a keypad that bolts to your nightstand. They won't steal that.

    If you've been away from it or your wife is interested but fearful, get a .22. Forget all that posturing you see on forums. Get a decent .22 and do that. You don't need 'stopping power', you guys need enjoyable practice. Plinking is a great way to get comfortable.

    No recoil, minimal noise, cheap ammo, and terrific fun.

    I can almost guarantee that she will be more accurate at short distances than you initially. Women generally don't have the visual spatial acuity that guys have but we do listen hard to instruction, are less frustrated with misses, and pay attention.

    In a real home invasion scenario, that's exactly what it takes.

    You're at distances of probably 15 feet or less (anybody aside from urban police can do this), any potential resistance is usually successful whether the hit is a miss or a non-lethal wound, and she's got the woman card.

    In many states, simply being in 'fear of death' inside a house is all it takes.

    The vast majority of people wounded live to tell the tale and appear in court. Now, in my state - no convicted criminal nor his family can come back at us. This is the true beauty of 'Make My Day'. Neither do we have any duty to retreat. We can't pot them if stealing a car (like Texas) but we find it works pretty well. Our streets aren't running with blood - unlike many urban areas.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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