Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) made headlines by linking his opposition to gun control — specifically a ban to high-capacity magazines — with our society’s moral degradation. Gohmert's logic of, gay-marriage-today-means-bestiality-tomorrow, is much like his 10-round-magazines-limit-today-means-no-guns-tomorrow line of thinking.
Speaking during a Tea Party Unity conference call launched by none other than vociferous anti-gay Rick Scarborough, Gohmert had an answer for Democrats who had expressed certainty he could at least agree to reduce the number of rounds in a magazine on the issue of gun control:
"Well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What's wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit; it's kind of like marriage when you say it's not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?
"There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it's the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it's just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal."
Gohmert is calling his audience to resist change. Adam Lanza fired 155 shots in five minutes with ten 30-round magazines that were legally bought. For Gohmert, regulations on ammunition that would require you to recharge your gun after ten shots, meaning Lanza would have had to reload fifteen times instead of just five times, is the beginning of the end of the Second Amendment that grants citizens the right to bear arms.
He has similar logic when it comes to gay marriage, although he didn’t explicitly mention homosexual relationships, preferring to talk about “three men and one women, or four women and one man, or…love for an animal.” Accept change that may perhaps begin to sound rational and you are asking for a conversation tomorrow about something even further away from your beliefs. Linkage fear, or the fear of accepting the first change when noticing the second, third or fourth changes are more radical and are inextricably linked, is a powerful argumentative tool that gives strength to certain political positions, whether liberal or conservative.
Gohmert’s rhetoric has this distinction, and it defines how he talks as a politician. He has come up with a theory about a “terror baby” plot, famously yelling at Anderson Cooper because the latter asked what research backed up his claims. He has linked a bill seeking to punish hate crimes committed against a person because of race, gender, age, or sexual orientation to Nazism and the legalization of necrophilia, pedophilia, and bestiality. Therefore the answer to his provocative comments should not simply result in headlines about how “crazy” his comments can be. Gohmert is fighting to preserve the political power of certain beliefs and attitudes toward gun control and marriage, and he knows fear will buy him more time and solidify conservative positions. The conversation is about how to correctly inform people about the necessary changes on gun control and marriage equality, explaining the social benefits that accrue from sensible gun policy and respecting the love between two human beings.
Gohmert is trying to obscure information by painting a black and white picture, and it's up to the other side to color it with more education and information.