Let’s talk. No, I mean really talk. We have a problem with guns and I think it’s time we got things out in the open and took some sensible measures to address it.
I’ll start. I’ll lay out some ideas for discussion and then give details why I think that way so that you understand where I am coming from.
Then it’s your turn. I hope you will participate because…well…I love you and I want us all to get back to being normal again. Can we give that a try?
Here are my thoughts on a 7 step program to recovery.
- Look at the patchwork of laws that exist across the country, rationalize those down to a smaller set of sensible, workable, laws. Then enforce those laws completely.
- We need to study the causes of the gun violence and use that information based on actual science to inform the work of #1
- We need to take a good, hard, look at what is covered under the second amendment. Anything not covered – see #1
- We need to make access to medical care a right for all citizens. I think this also needs to be part of #1
- We need to get guns out of schools.
- We need to start talking to each other instead of shouting from the sidelines.
- We need to say a big “Thank You!” to the kids from Parkland who have shown amazing strength both following the events and the personal attacks hurled at them afterward. They are kids – Stop it!
OK…take a breath. I’m sure you have a lot of questions and I will try to answer them here. Then, if you need more, well see #6. I’m happy to discuss, but I will not respond to being yelled at, called names, etc.
Let’s go one by one.
#1 – Rationalize laws
I’m not a gun expert, nor a lawyer. But one thing I am certain about is that adding more laws on top of existing laws isn’t likely to solve the issue.
Most laws on the books are already:
- Confusing and contradictory
- Inconsistently enforced
I understand why the pro-gun people say that after a mass shooting is a bad time to talk about it because when people are hurting is a terrible time to write new laws.
But it is the perfect time to talk about it and get the ball rolling on some meaningful change. But, that change has to start with understanding the problem first and that takes time.
Which leads me nicely on to…
#2 Study the causes of gun violence in America
We need to take a good hard look at the root causes of gun violence and then see what we can do about it. This needs to be actual science. You know, the proper peer-reviewed type of work that we used to do before people started believing their Twitter feed and stopped thinking for themselves.
We can’t expect to fix a problem if we don’t know what is the underlying issue.
Once we have those facts we can start to take a good hard look at ourselves and start making meaningful changes.
#3 Look at what is covered under the second amendment
I’m OK with people owning guns. Really. But I do think that we need to take a look at some of the types of guns and their capabilities.
If the second amendment really was to enable the people to resist the government then we should be loading up with tanks and rocket launchers, because your rifle isn’t going to do much against a fully armed Apache helicopter.
I don’t think personal tank ownership is a good idea though because, well, where would we put them all? And who would move them when street cleaning rules are in effect?
Based on the above I personally don’t believe that “weapons of war” should be covered, and that extends to assault rifle type guns. I see very few situations where people need to have a high powered, semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round magazine. So, let’s go through a few use cases
- Home defense
A good friend of mine is very pro-gun, ex-military and highly trained. His view is that the best gun for home defense is a pump action shotgun. His reasoning was simple.
- They look evil
- The sound of one of those being cocked is enough to send most sensible people running for the hills
- People that are under stress and scared are terrible shots. A shotgun doesn’t need to be aimed accurately – just point and shoot and you’re going to get them with some of it
- If you need a 30 round magazine for hunting then perhaps you might be better spending time to develop your skills.
- Target shooting
- My experience of these things is that they are generally more about accuracy, and that takes time. So is it really a big inconvenience to have to reload slowly? It might actually help.
- They look bad-ass and are fun
- Yes, they do. And I bet they are a ton of fun to fire. Maybe there’s a place where you can go to rent them, fire off some rounds, and then leave them locked up in that place?
- But, we have to recognize that these things are open to abuse. The safety of kids in schools and people in theaters trumps your fun I’m afraid.
- Zombie hoards
- If you really are worried about that then perhaps you have a reason to own an assault rifle. Or perhaps that leads on to…
#4 Making access to quality medical care a right for all citizens.
If owning a gun is a right then surely this is just as much of a right. In part, because it might provide some much-needed help to those people suffering from mental illness that might otherwise do harm with guns, either to themselves or other people.
If you think that medical care should only be available to the rich then you and I have nothing more to discuss.
And don’t kid yourself that “those people” have adequate medical coverage already through social programs. If they did, people wouldn’t spend vast amounts of their income on medical care, and it would not be the #1 source of bankruptcies in America today.
#5 Get guns out of schools
We often hear that “the thing that will stop a bad person with a gun, is a good person with a gun”. Frankly, as we have seen in Parkland, that isn’t the case. And arming the teachers is a terrible idea for the following reasons:
- We can’t seem to adequately provide school supplies and training for the job teachers already do. How are we supposed to fund the training and equipment for this?
- School security is not the job they had in mind when they choose that career path.
- What do you think is going to happen if a SWAT team shows up to an active shooter situation and sees a bunch of people running around with guns in their hands? It’s just going to add to the confusion.
Put yourself in their shoes. If your company came to you and said “Hey Mr. Lawyer/Dr./Chef. I know you’re pretty busy anyway but would you mind adding building security to your list of tasks? It won’t take much, but if there’s an active shooter situation – would you mind grabbing your gun and shooting it out with them? Thanks awfully.”
I know some of with visions of grandeur might think that’s pretty cool. But I also bet that at least 50% of those would wet their pants in a real situation.
Bringing more guns into schools is (IMHO) going to increase the number of killings in school, not decrease it. Sure, it might stop a mass shooting but I worry we will instead replace that with a steady stream of 1 or 2 deaths across the country that adds up to more deaths overall.
#6 We need to start talking to each other instead of shouting from the sidelines
The Internet is a wonderful, and scary, thing. It tends to amplify whatever we are doing so if we are shouting at each other, it just leads to more shouting.
It also creates filter bubbles that reinforce existing views to the point where people think anyone with a different point of view is just an idiot – and that is on both sides.
So, let’s debate things openly. Preferably in person! Yes, I know that is scary for the keyboard warriors but I think if we all sat down with a nice cup of joe I bet we would find that we are closer than we think.
We all love our children. We all want a peaceful and safe world to live in. Let’s start there and then we can debate the best way to achieve that.
Speaking of children…
#7 We need to say a big “Thank You!” to the kids from Parkland.
The kids in Parkland have been through a horror that none of us should ever have to experience. They have taken that and, in just a few days, turned it into a movement that has moved the needle further than ever before. They are to be applauded, supported and thanked. Frankly, they have shown us what is possible. Whether you like it or not, they have taken a stand for what they believe in and that, my friends, is the most American thing you can do.
And, for those who have drunk the cool aid that they are “crisis actors”. Please go and do some actual fact-checking from a reputable source before you share that post in your news feed.
Well, that was a lot. Thanks for sticking with me.
Yes, I’m willing to concede I might not have it all right. But I’m open to debating it and even learning a thing or two. So feel free to leave a comment.
Want to meet for a coffee to discuss it? I’m OK with that too – let’s figure out where and when. I’m willing to learn and open my mind to new ideas…are you?