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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Critical Thinking: You are doing it wrong! From Facebook to Mr. Harris' blog- "The Critical Thinker"

I didn't know that a little research on one Facebook share would lead to so much useless material.  This entry is not as elegant as some others, and after writing it I am pretty much leaving it as is because I think this really illustrates the main point- you have to look hard for credible material, and there is a lot of material out there.  It looks like news, sometimes it reads like news, you might think it is news... but look closer.

Moment of "disclaimer"

First I want to make clear that in using material found on social media or from other blogs, some may find my writing to seem, confrontational, competitive etc in a personal way- this is not my goal at all. My goal is to author thoughtful analysis of various topics and moreover- to demonstrate to others how to do this.

Now having said all that, and considering the title of this entry- some may call me out as being completely two-faced.  All I have to say is 1. The title is just in the spirit of memeary (can someone tell me how to spell made up words), and 2. I said being confrontational or offensive was not the goal, but this doesn't preclude it from being an outcome.

My avoidance of censoring and editing material is driven by a spirit that is frustrated with the difficulty in finding well referenced material online- untraceable statements etc..  So let's get to this....

Yes, it was frustrating

I follow this page on Facebook called Home town Rolla Missouri USA.  I don't know much of anything about the person or people who run it.  I wouldn't say their background is irrelevant, it is just not necessary for me to know more at this time.  My impression is that they are quite patriotic and are proud to express it.  

I follow the page because after looking at the page I found an interesting mix of things on a daily basis.  Lately it has been a lot of pro-gun stuff.  If I haven't said it already I get annoyed by gun control debate- not because it is out there, but both sides fail to argue a good case over and over.  It is a conversation so full of passion and so short on reason- it is painful to listen to.  Let me start with a screenshot of Facebook...

"Monday" would be January 14, 2013
This idea that Walmart has stopped selling ammo is something I was introduced to by the HTRMU page.  But I have not found a lot of information on it at all and I have found nothing credible.  The original link they shared and the one I responded with are:


The first one says

(CNSNEWS.COM) WalMart reportedly has stopped selling ammunition ahead of the Obama administration’s anticipated gun control recommendations to Congress — and uncertainty over what new laws may be coming.
According to the Investment Watch blog, WalMart Corporation will no longer place new ammunition orders pending “the upcoming decision on the Second Amendment.”
A customer stood with a WalMart employee as a call was made to the corporate office. 
And the second in-part (from the same source, and my response)

“That information is inaccurate,” said Ashley Hardie, a spokeswoman located at Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
WND then asked whether the retail chain is cutting back on orders of ammunition.
“No,” Hardie said. “We’re continuing to serve our customers as we have in the past.”
She said Walmart’s ammunition sales policy has not changed, even amid talk of gun-control legislation in Washington, D.C.
 Now I am pretty sure WND is just a tabloid.  But please if you are going to post something that you find credible, and potentially try to offer as material in support of your position- why not check it against multiple sources?  Or in this case against the same source!  The reason I am using WND at all here is to preserve an example that disparities can be this egregious!  Another reason: there is nothing else out there on this.  Here is the Google result of "walmat ammo" at this time

I tried more believe me.  How bout "walmart ammunition" how bout checking the "News for walmart ammo" up there- did this too.  Nothing much to speak of.  As a matter of full disclosure... I will offer up one real article

My take on this quickly... who cares?  A politician can ask people to do whatever they want.  People or companies do not have to do what a politician would "like them to do."  So I am moving on.

That one thing at the top: Gun Ban Update:... hosted by SouthMilwaukeeNOW

Let's cut to it.  This is a blog entry by someone named Kristan T. Harris.  The title of his blog is The Critical Thinker.  Here is the link-  Gun Ban Update: Wal-Mart Forbids New Ammunition Orders. Biden pushes 19 executive orders for Gun Ban

Without editorializing too much I will simply say I am rather disappointed.  But it is a good time to exercise some real critical thinking and analyze at least parts of this thing...  Here are some pieces of it and quick responses...
Customers are being denied ammunition orders all over the United States, Walmart has forbidden store managers from re-ordering ammunition inventory until further notice...
Really where is your evidence for this?  Denied... all over the country... should be all over the news!
If true, it’s particularly ironic that Walmart is preventing Americans from purchasing ammunition at the same time that the federal government is buying up bullets in vast quantities 
As best I can tell it is not true- penning about the irony of something purely hypothetical to you is the real irony.  In addition you not doing the job of research you have charged yourself with and this diminishes your credibility.

Reports from customers attempting to purchase ammunition in Walmart stores suggest that major retailers could already be strangling the supply of ammo in response to government pressure following the Sandy Hook massacre.
A message posted on the DailySheeple website reads, 
“I’ve read various postings on message boards claiming local Wal-Mart managers told customers they are no longer permitted to reorder ammo inventory. I can confirm this is true.
I went to Wal-Mart today in our town to buy ammo. The case was almost empty. I asked the store manager when new supplies will arrive.
He said, “Corporate headquarters notified all local managers that we can not order any more ammo until further notice.”
Do Wal-Mart executives know that Piers Morgan doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart, but millions of middle class American families are the source of their wealth? What happens to Wal-Mart’s earnings if Middle Class America boycotts Wal-Mart for caving in to Obama?
Reports from customers... suggest [the yet to be determined to be true action of a retailer is affecting supply and demand].  Where are all these customers?  The example given just offers a report of hearsay- "[the store manager said] corporate headquarters [said]" something something.  Who cares.  Mr. Harris also writes
We asked Walmart if they had enacted this policy but received no response at time of press.
Then why spend all the effort to forge a bunch of hypotheticals and other points (some with references) into a story that is in-part titled "Walmart forbids new ammunition orders?"

Again I am criticizing what I interpret as Mr. Harris' method not him personally.  I don't know him,  but I hope he reads this post and makes better cases for his positions in the future.  I think anyone with as much energy as he apparently has is unique and this energy should not be wasted.

A painful spiral of nothing

If you look at that DailySheeple link it leads to a page titled Report: Walmart Forbids Store Managers From Ordering More Ammunition, and offers the same non-evidence.  The page is dated January 13, 2013 and includes a link to another dailysheeple page titled CNN- Obama (Wants) to BAN Guns which is dated November 21, 2012.  The best part is this latter page, dated November 21, 2012 has link to a YouTube video titled CNN- Obama To BAN Guns SPREAD THIS FOLKS, PLZ! and this is a CNN report by Lou Dobbs uploaded February 10, 2009 and in the video dated 01/28/09 at 0,08.  This is in 2009 right at inauguration time in the last election!

After all this it is important to remember

Keep in mind the initial curiosity that lead to this fishing-expedition, and that a conclusion about something was not made before thoroughly researching it.  The original post about Walmart could have been true even though it was from WND there could have been more out there- and there were, but none that supported it.  I think it is crucial to recognize that in trying to learn more no predetermination was made.  One cannot let personal preferences or feelings about an issue cloud the quest for the facts.  Who knows maybe Walmart has banned new orders of ammunition and there is just no evidence yet. 

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