Thoughts running through…

Thoughts running through my head this morning, as I read various impassioned posts on Facebook:

1. I acknowledge that some people (hunters, farmers, etc.) may have a justifiable need for a weapon. I'm okay with that.

2. I agree that target shooting can be fun. I've only done it at a country fair with a fake gun, but I have no problem with target ranges and people developing that skill in a controlled environment.

3. Some crimes are crimes of opportunity; if there isn't a weapon easily to hand, the moment passes. It seems worthwhile, given that, to have fewer weapons easily to hand.

4. Almost anything can be a weapon, but a gun is likely to have a more deadly effect than a knife. Yes, a bomb is likely more deadly than a gun, but it's notably more difficult to create and use. On a daily basis, America's deaths from guns so outnumber our deaths from bombs that the comparison is just ludicrous.

5. People suffering from mental illness are under-served in America. No doubt. But I'm not at all sure that this type of homicidal impulse would even be visible to any psychologist in the general course of events. Refocusing this discussion on mental illness feels like it's addressing the wrong problem. (A real problem, but not the proximate cause of massacres.)

6. Part of the fault must lie with our culture of violence and hyper-masculinity. Almost all of the mass murderers in American history have been male. As a parent raising a son, when he is upset, depressed, enraged, I want him to instinctively reach for his words, rather than for a weapon. I don't know whether Kevin and I will be able to counter all of the messages he's going to get from our society, all the songs and tv shows and locker room conversations that will tell him that the correct response to sadness is violence.

7. At the same time, I play video games, and I go see adventure movies. I just saw The Hobbit last night, and it was full of killing orcs. I don't think watching it did anything to desensitize me to real, human pain and violence. Blaming media isn't the answer either.

There are more thoughts, but they're still muddled. These, for the moment, are clear.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts running through…”

  1. I cannot authenticate this but some years ago a China scholor told me that in Imperial China when a person committed a mass murder his family would be punished for failing to protect society from him. I wonder if that would work.

  2. a) As a first step, I sadly don’t think we could get an amendment to outlaw guns entirely, although it is what I would like

    b) I do think a concerted effort should be made to outlaw carrying concealed and to outlaw assault weapons. Neither has any real justifiable purpose. If you really feel safer in your home with a pistol or you really like to hunt, fine. The first doesn’t require carrying concealed and the 2nd doesn’t require anything but a rifle which can’t really be carried concealed.

    3) What I would passionately like is a true countrywide survey that really hits a large percentage of the entire population and asks about 5 questions regarding gun control, to identify what kind of gun control would be supported. I’d like demographics to be collected. I’d like the survey to be secure enough that you could feel assured no one voted twice. I’d like to know if the vast majority would really support gun control, as opposed to just those who vote or lobby. I want to know if my private suspicion is right that it is almost entirely white males who feel the right is sancrosanct and will refuse to bend.

    4) I want all the people who have pushed for and made social gains to band together on this. I want women and non-caucasians and gay rights people to all band together. We have the numbers to change this – to at least make the first step. If we try. People are willing to be personally motivated to promote gay marriage. Let’s realize that the current gun policy in the US affects all of us, potentially endangers all of us – our children, our parents, our friends and ourselves. And then let’s work on a solution.

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