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Monday, August 3, 2015

Becoming Part Of Some Solution

How will gun owners and those who choose not to own guns ever reach agreement about protecting people from mass shootings? Is there a middle ground on this issue? If so, I haven't heard it reasonably articulated. If you have, please educate me and others. I'd like to begin becoming part of some solution.

Neither my wife nor I have ever owned a gun. And I'm grateful we were aligned on this issue raising our daughter. But more than a few people close to my wife and I are gun owners. As a result, I've been part of many conversations about gun ownership. And though most of those conversations have been fairly civil, I don't recall a single one where the opposite sides came to a place that led me to feel less vulnerable. Is it unreasonable for me to expect that? If no compromise is reachable at this very local level, how do I hold onto any hope that compromise at the State or National level is possible? How do you?

Though I'm discouraged and worried, I'm not planning to give up - too much at stake.


  1. Not sure I can be concise on this one, but I'm going to try.

    I am not sure the owning or not owning of guns is the only issue to be considered here, and in isolation, this argument leads to an impossible 'solution' and extreme frustration.

    Many people can own a gun and never hurt anyone. Others may never lay their hands on a gun, but will inflict pain and suffering anyway.

    There is the argument of helping the mentally ill:

    I teach a young man who is not allowed back into the public schools because of his violent tendencies. He is irrational when anger hits, he is mentally ill, he has threatened suicide and his family's lives, and yet, he is a beautiful teenage boy. He needs help and in my opinion, it is not coming fast enough...but that's another post! For the purposes here, I bring this up because in his house, I've little doubt that a gun would be deadly. It would be irresponsible for his parents to own a gun that could possibly enter this child's hands.

    There is the argument of the value of life:

    Until we can agree on the value of each human life, we will not agree on the idea of owning or not owning a gun. I would never own a gun because I would not think it is a right of mine to take the life of another. Not all would agree with this general principle. Is it possible for everyone to see eye-to-eye on this idea? Perhaps not in a society that so easily puts one person into a state of higher value than another. But as long as we cannot equally value one another, we cannot see eye to eye on gun ownership without threat.

    There is a argument of responsibility:
    Who is responsible enough to own a weapon that can so easily kill? Only those trained in using it for purposes of keeping the peace? What are other items or privileges that have limits and restrictions based on ability to be responsible? How can exploring these help us with understanding the issues surrounding gun ownership?

    As I am pretty sure you figured, this reader will never own a gun. No reason to...way too much love in my heart for my fellow man...and when we can get to where people get the mental help they need, when we can value each and every person as we value ourselves, and when we can be responsible with the things we own, we might see that owning or not owning a gun will be a point that needs no discussion.


    1. d; If every response to my blog were as well considered as this one I would be sincerely thrilled. You are spot on that my positing gun ownership as a central issue in the larger arena of gun violence is a bit reductive. Unfortunately, I'm not yet (ever?) ready to make my posts much longer than they have traditionally been so, by design, some of my posts - particular those about complex issues like gun violence - end up being reductive even when I resist it. And, as you probably surmised, I purposefully mix up my day-to-day tone - from serious to frivolous and back. I decided at the outset I needed to take this approach because my own propensity for heavy introspection and somber topics could easily scare people away; my goal has always been to promote conversation; you have assisted me in making that happen. Thanks.