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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gun Control

A musket, popular when the constitution was written
I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about gun control. Maybe it's because my life has never been ruined by gun violence. Maybe it's because I live in a  state with very few gun laws (except those pertaining to hunters) and very little gun violence. Most gun-related death here in Vermont (knock on wood) is the result of  a hunting accident. I don't know if we're lucky or smart. I just know that living in this sort of environment has provided me the luxury of not needing to have a strong opinion. It's not a luxury that everybody has. Even so, as I peruse Facebook (okay, yeah. I spend too much time on Facebook). I don't see much in the way of anti-gun propaganda, but I see tons and tons of pro-gun stuff. It seems a bit unbalanced (an appropriate word in many ways;-). There are so many angry people reacting strongly to a situation that isn't really even a 'thing'.

Okay, a bit of advice here: If you want to make an argument against gun control, you may want to avoid the following: Threats of violence, joking about shooting people for being on your lawn, comparing guns to cars or pencils or any other inane and irrelevant comparison that screams "I SO don't get it!"; over-the-top rage, expressions of bunker-mentality, anti-government and conspiracy references, hyperbole to make a point (eg, "Obama's gun ban" doesn't actually exist, so referencing it angrily and repeatedly makes you sound, um...let's go with 'uninformed') or really anything that may imply you are mad as hell and have no impulse control. I'm just sayin'. There's nothing that says "guns are a bad idea" quite like an angry, reactive person holding a gun (or threatening to hold one).

I believe in the second amendment, I believe in the spirit of the second amendment too. But we have to remember that when the constitution was written, the weapons at our disposal were very different. Our culture was very different. Let me be clear here that I haven't researched the numbers and this is all just opinion, but we have do something. I mean, this is sort of ridiculous if you think about it; we react to everything that is potentially dangerous to the point of redundancy, but we can't touch an item that is actually intended to cause bodily harm without a whole bunch of folks having a total meltdown. Are we really so immature and ridiculous that we can't have a productive and rational discussion about potential solutions? I don't think ANYBODY is suggesting disarming citizens, and it's not something I would support either. But do average citizens need to have access to weapons designed to do maximum damage in a combat situation? I don't think so. In fact, I can't think of a rational argument (remember I said rational) to support such a scenario, but I can think of several reasons 'why not' (as can the families and friends of victims of the many mass slaughters that have occurred in this country in the last several years). Yes, you can kill someone with a car, or a pencil, or hell, even dental floss if you are so inclined. But you can't mow down a room full of innocent people in under a minute.

I don't have a lot of respect for people who like to come across all "bad-ass" because they have guns. It doesn't take a great deal of either 'bad' or 'ass' to own a firearm and threaten someone with it. I do respect people who can solve their problems rationally, guns or no. I respect people who think before they react, who try to see both sides of an argument and who have enough common sense to work through issues and help find solutions. I respect people who can form their own opinions and don't need a well-funded special interest group to feed their opinion to them, even if they happen to be members of the aforementioned group.

We have a lot to think about in this country right now. We have a very real problem with violence. I don't believe that guns are the cause, but they are certainly a means of facilitation. Their misuse is a symptom of a much larger problem that needs to be addressed and some emergency action needs to take place on several fronts, guns included. We can't do anything though, if we aren't even willing to have an open discussion.


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