Gun Culture

The issue of the day is public security, gun control, the second amendment. To be respectful of the various interests, we might recognize the various names, approaches and biases for what they imply. The liberals want “sensible gun control.” The conservatives want “public security.” The NRA wants a broad and absolute interpretation of the Second Amendment.

A surge in gun sales testifies that a segment of the population is quite worried that the liberals, Obama is Conspirator in Chief, are going to take all our guns, register every impolite comment anyone ever makes and force us to move to Sweden. They have made a ludicrous advertisement that wishes that every kid could have Secret Services. Perhaps they take that ad seriously, but it looks like a mockery of itself.

It should surprise no one that JP and I are both in favor of “sensible gun control laws.” There is every reason to think that such policy changes, combined with increase in effective enforcement and psychological medical care can make some difference.

What us liberals do is think, “What should life be like? And how can the public get there?”

What conservatives think, I guess, is, “What are the sacred principles? And who shall we fear is attacking them?”

But that all seems obvious to me. What I believe we need is to stop the arms race. I do not want to live in a world where every pair of pants conceals a gun for protection. For every so many guns, there are so many accidents. For every gun, there is a temptation to use it some time. What I want is a culture that doesn’t think first of guns to influence the outcome. Sure, I live in la-la land, but I’ve made it alive this many years; so far the odds are in my favor.

Many aspects of our society work this way: we value certain things, and then we codify them into laws. That has not worked regarding guns. Laws have been weakened by National Rifle Association lobbyists. Clandestine amendments and political maneuvering have turned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms into a band of eunuchs. The Assault Weapons ban was ineffective because it had more loopholes than Swiss cheese. In short, the laws have not reflected our values, but have eroded them. And in the meantime, we’ve seen an escalation of people not only killing people, but they have used guns, to invoke Ronald Reagan. I say we need to manipulate the laws, in order to restore the culture and values that we want. Let’s not turn America into a war zone with gun toting teachers. Let’s see guns as a symptom. Right now, they are a disease.

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About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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One Response to Gun Culture

  1. JP says:

    Well said. Jon Stewart had a great piece tonight on guns and the ATF. Was too sad to be funny, and none of the history he gave have I seen on the NBC news. The public needs to be better educated about how we got to where we are.
    Expanding on your one sentence descriptions of how liberals and conservatives think, it has long seemed to me that the core difference is that liberals believe we are all in this together. And given that, why would we want to shoot each other or need guns? We are on the same side. Conservatives, on the other hand, see every man for himself, and see their neighbor, if not as the enemy, as someone they need to be wary of and to protect themselves from. So they want their guns. It’s a false sense of security, and given the worldview you can understand why they hold on to their guns. It’s sort of ironic that they see the government as the enemy, yet claim their right to own guns because of the second amendment, a law created by their government.

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