I like to keep this blog politic and religion free. Most people have their views and talking about those types of issues generally just leads to either preaching to people who think just like you and encourage you in one-dimensional thinking or shouting back and forth with people who don’t agree with you which also encourages you to into a polarized position.
(That would be the generic you, of course.)
And neither one solves anything. It’s very rare that being a rabid, foaming at the mouth advocate for one side or the other of any issue will accomplish anything other than create tension and animosity and an inability to find a solution.
(Random aside. This reminds me of a negotiation exercise we did in school. It involved two people bidding for specialty eggs from a third. Turns out one wanted the shell and one wanted the yolk and if they’d worked together they could’ve found a solution that let them both get what they wanted and let the seller get the price he needed. But, you know, it didn’t happen that way. Because everyone approached the situation as adversaries, so of course no one was going to share their real needs.)
Without wading too far into the morass which is this debate, I thought I’d share a few good articles I’ve seen in the past few days:
Chuck Wendig “I Think We Can Have That Gun Conversation, Now”
I’ll also say for the record that, having lived in smaller towns at various points in my life, I know a number of people who own guns. But they own them to hunt. Not to go out and blow up gophers into bits you can’t even find, but to hunt deer or pheasant that they then take home to feed themselves.
In the small town where I grew up I’d say most everyone (other than my family) had a deer or two in the freezer that helped them survive living in that small town with a minimal economy.
And those were responsible gun owners like in Chuck’s article. People with a healthy respect for guns and how they should be handled and used.
I’ll also say that I’ve known at least one person in my life with severe enough anger issues that they would not be alive today if they had owned a gun or if there had been a gun readily available in their home. This is not a person who would in a normal, rational moment harm themselves or others. But this is someone who in an extreme emotional situation was capable of both harming themselves and others.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’d suspect that most of us have crossed paths with at least one person like that. Someone who hasn’t been institutionalized, who doesn’t have a criminal record, but does have the capacity for harm in moments of extreme stress.
I know some of the arguments made in the last week have revolved around the fact that the last two shooters didn’t purchase the guns they used. But to me it’s an availability issue. The fact that a suburban housewife had three guns in her house for her son to use the way he did should be a red flag that perhaps this whole “right to bear arms” thing is a bit out of whack.
I also think about the football player who killed his girlfriend recently. If he hadn’t had a gun available in his home maybe he wouldn’t have put ten bullets into the mother of his child. (And if you don’t want to use him, then use all the other domestic violence incidents in the last year involving guns. I don’t track them, but I could probably find you a good dozen or so that I just happen to have seen in passing.)
I don’t have answers to this question. I just thought I’d share a few good links to people who are talking about it and suggest that maybe this issue isn’t black/white or yes/no and that until we realize that we aren’t going to make much progress in getting to a better place than we are now.
(And I’m not tagging this post at all. I have no desire for this blog to be a place where this issue is discussed. It was just something on my mind and I wanted to share those links. If anyone who regularly follows this blog wants to chime in or if anyone has other links on the issue they want to share (on either side of the issue), feel free to do so in the comments. But I do reserve the right to delete any comments made on this post or to remove any links that I think are antagonistic or offensive in some way. There are plenty of places on the web to yell at other people. I’d prefer this not be one of them.)