The Victim-Hood Fallacy

Many are Listening to children whose only experience in School Security and Safety is hiding under a desk!

Children have become the experts on everything from gun control to Donald Trump’s presidency because they were victims.

A logical fallacy that has reached epidemic proportion in national discourse since the Parkland shooting is the victim-expert, appeal to emotion fallacy.  It is a fallacy of logic promulgated by emotion rather than logic.  There are several variations of the victim-expert fallacy used in arguments propounded by the press:

” I am an expert because I have personally experienced it.”

“You can’t speak knowledgably on the matter because you have not experienced it.”

and “You can’t know what it was like because you never lost or sacrificed because of it.”

The fallacious nature of this argument is in a flawed logic.  The news is pushing the narrative that the 14-17 year old survivors of the Parkland shooting are the final word on the actions that need to be taken to make schools safe. This argument, considered logically, would carry to a conclusion that a passenger who lived through an airline crash knows better than an experienced pilot, who has never crashed, about how to avoid a crash.

In the current issue of the Parkland shooting it is even more emotional.  We are accepting that 14-17 year-old children know more about how to stop school shootings than the many security experts who have studied all attacks and possible remedies for many years.

This fallacy is also commonly used in social service environments: I.e. a psychotherapist cannot help an addict because he/she has never felt the power of addiction.  It is based on an emotional response to a problem of logic.  Imagine if we had attempted to address our vulnerabilities from 9/11/2001 by banning box cutters?  Most everyone would admit that a response like that would defy logic, and that the creation of the TSA and their mission to detect dangerous items and confiscate them before passengers can board a plane, is obviously more effective.

Another issue we are currently experiencing is that political trolls are finding the shooting victims easy pickings, getting many to take on political agendas against guns, or the other party, as unassailable spokespeople.  “How can you question the cries of a poor 15-year old, who had to face death before his time and now screams at us that the problem is gun control?”  This tactic is not only logically fallacious, but it causes additional stress and suffering on those already affected.

Yet, we are going for it.  Legislation to ban guns from ownership by law abiding citizens is taking priority over the more logical and time-tested fix of hardening the schools so that shooters and other dangerous outsiders cannot gain access to a safe environment we could create for our children.  The proper security upgrades to our schools, could not only protect our children from mass murderers, but could help in the proliferation of drugs and other dangerous substances in our schools.

 

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