My Current Feeling on Guns and the Pro-Gun Lobby

I’ve written about this topic plenty of times before. The depressing thing is that mass shootings keep happening so frequently that I keep on having more things to say about it.

I’m not a fan of guns. TRC has a BB-gun, and that’s about the extent of the arsenal my household is ever going to acquire. I have friends who have guns. Some of them have an awful lot of guns. I know plenty of people who love shooting, merrily post Facebook videos of themselves shooting, and constantly defend their right to guns after each and every mass shooting occurs.

I get it, folks. You like guns. You’re certainly entitled to like them. But as I keep seeing these terrible events unfold, I’m steadily losing my ability to understand why people continue to believe their love of guns somehow trumps the right of people to go about their every day lives without fear of being shot to death by a random stranger.

You know what I like? Board games. I love me a good board game, and I will happily play one pretty much any day of the week. I have two closets full of board games. Enough board games that my wife probably thinks I’m crazy. I’m a board game fanatic. But if I started to see that board games were killing other people on a mass scale, would I be willing to give them up so that would stop?

You bet.

I know it’s a stupid analogy. Board games don’t kill people. But what I’m saying is that there comes a time to stop defending a right to do something you enjoy, if it’s in the greater national good. I’m not saying hunters need to give up their guns. But this national sense of need for pistols, automatic weapons, and other killing machines? Things designed for the simple, express purpose of ending human lives? Why do we need those things? And why do people defend their need of them?

Yes, there are going to be comments defending and rationalizing. This post will rub many of you the wrong way. And five or six mass shootings ago, I might have still cared. Now? Not so much. I’ve read all the defenses already. I’ve heard plenty about the 2nd Amendment. I’ve had people tell me that the only defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. I’ve heard the claim that our nation already has too many guns, and there’s nothing we can do at this point. Each mass shooting, the same tired excuses get dragged out of the gun closet, paraded around for a week or two, and then put away until the next mass shooting.

I’ve had it with them. Clearly those excuses aren’t doing anything to stop these mass shootings. How about we try something different for a change? The gun lobby has had its say, and it has been found wanting. It’s time to let the other side give it a shot. There’s a wide gap between “nothing we can do” and where we are now. You want to know why? Because we haven’t tried to do anything.

That’s the thing that infuriates me the most about this. We’ve had children gunned down at schools, and as a nation, we’ve done jack squat about it. Mass shootings happen almost monthly, and the general consensus is there’s no way to stop them. And we reached this conclusion by simply doing nothing.

What sort of an attitude is that? It’s like staring up at the moon at the beginning of the space race and shrugging our collective shoulders. “There’s no way to get there. Nothing can be done.” And so we give up and don’t even make an attempt?

People, if there were no way to avoid this, then every country would be facing the same crisis. We’d have regular mass shootings across the globe. But we don’t. So why don’t we swallow our pride as a nation, look to some of our peers, and see how they’ve handled these problems? Let’s try some solutions before we just throw in the towel.

And with that, I’ve pissed off enough of my friends for one day. Catch you tomorrow, when I’m hopefully in a less fed-up mood.

2 thoughts on “My Current Feeling on Guns and the Pro-Gun Lobby”

  1. Bryce: emotion gets the best of us, all of us…as seen in so many posts on either side of this issue. Problem is, we’re not talking about the right issue. Gun control is a myth. Before going any further, let me say that I don’t own a gun, and that I have shot maybe four or five times in my life…at defenseless clay pigeons and paper targets. So I’m not a gun advocate at all, but rather an advocate for the progression of humanity. We have a violence issue that is part of our culture. Contributing and supporting the culture are a lot of factors: violence on media. Poor education. Weak outreach programs for the mentally ill. Disintegration of family values and religion. Economic gaps. All of these contribute to violence as being seen byt he perpetrators as the only choice. Access to guns only exacerbates the problem, and no country has more guns than the US. But trying to control their dissemination has failed miserably. And I say this totally accepting that there are some common sense laws and regulations that should be put in place. But those laws and regulations owuld have had little to no effect on the over 300,000 deaths by gun in the US in the last 10 years. Until we approach the problem with solid behavioral and social science, we’ll continue to pound out frustrated posts. And here is some solid behavioral science for you: Where there is a majority of relgious people living together in a pluralistic community, there is less violence. When there is one dominant and oppressive relgion, or no religion, violence escalates. I’ll give you a person example: I helped coach a team of refugees here in Utah when Mike was 15. We spent a lot of time with them, helping them deal with anger issues having seen family members massacred in the Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Bosnia—under the hands of an oppressive theocracy. These were prime candidates to become violent. And some did. Soccer integrated them into a pluralistic community. They acclimated and went to school, got jobs, had a support system. And we encouraged all of them to go to church. Most were Muslim. Worship provided them with a moral compass, regardless of the religion. Living in a diverse community taught them tolerance. We reached out to them, and included them. Personally, I was motivated by the mass shooting here in Utah…a Bosnian refugee who was traumatized by war, and didn’t feel connected, opened fire in Trolley Square. I often wondered if it could have been prevented if someone like me reached out to him early on, included him, encouraged him to worship, provided somebody to talk to. We can post about the need to do something about gun violence until we are blue in the face, but until we are out in our communities, volunteering our time with the most at-risk youth…then we are really just another part of a complex problem.

    Love this bit by Clayton Christensen. I interviewed one of his converts, a Chinese man who says finding Christianity as contained in the Mormon Church, saved his life. Belief in God, no matter what religion, makes a difference.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Steve. I suppose I would be calmer about all this if something was actually being done. Anything. But other than people talking a whole lot about what a complicated and nuanced problem this is, I see very little concrete action being taken.

    When the ship is sinking, analyzing the size of the hole and the complexity of the problem doesn’t really get anything done. And with each new mass shooting, it’s only further proving the point that all that talking is getting us nowhere.

    I want to see some actual attempts at solutions put in place. Behavioral and social science are fine and dandy, but as far as I’m concerned, this is an emergency. If we can have solutions informed by those sciences, grand. But I’ll take anything to get the ball rolling at this point.

    The sad truth is that there’s going to be another one of these in a month or two. And then another. And another. No one’s arguing there won’t be. Everyone sees the train coming, but no one wants to try getting off the tracks.

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