Essay: The Gun Debate Itself Makes Children and Society Less Safe


PDA






CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 12:53 AM
Mass shootings are among the most horrifying forms of terrorism employed by the mental and emotional underbelly of society. Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, the gun control debate, a competition for America's hearts and minds rivaled only by the battle over abortion, was reignited with a new passion. This debate is both dangerous and counterproductive.

America and her children are caught between two extremes, on one side dwells academics, lobbyists, and self proclaimed men and women of peace who demonize civilian gun ownership and wage a highly effective propaganda war against the hated National Rifle Association and its members, as well as the arms the organization defends and promotes. On the other side dwells the civilian gun owner, and the organizations that represent him, organizations that have created a situation that allows the average person access to a wide array of useful, but powerful firearms that can be very damaging - physically and emotionally - when used against innocents. The dangerous situation in this country is created not by any one of these groups, but by the fact that neither is winning.

America remains divided more or less in half on the issue of gun rights, a situation that mirrors our partisan split. While the anti gun forces in this country demonize gun owners and convince large swaths of the population that they will never need a gun and that no one else should have one either, the pro gun forces continue to loosen restrictions on firearms at the state level and block Federal level legislation. The anti gun forces cannot convince a majority of people to hand in their weapons and the pro gun legions cannot convince a majority of people to be armed to the degree that is necessary to survive in the gun-saturated society they helped to create. Total disarmament, including disarmament of the criminal element accompanied by an overall reduction in crime, would decrease mass shooting incidents to a large degree, as would high levels of concealed and open gun carrying and armed officials in high risk facilities such as schools and theaters. Since neither can be achieved, the gun debate creates a situation wherein half the population believes in being well armed and the other half believes in being an easy target. Unfortunately, it is the disarmament-leaning half that controls most public institutions, leaving them vulnerable by shunning all attempts to tap the vast defensive resource that is the armed, trained, and sane American gun owner. All it takes is one madman from the armed half (though madmen are not the norm in either half) to finally lose his grip on humanity and walk into one of the other half's entirely imagined, entirely unarmed mock-utopias to bloodily remind us all of the dangerous reality of America.

In a nation where 20 dead elementary school children barely shifted the polls on gun rights in either direction, one must accept that both sides of the issue are deeply entrenched. The solution then, is not to fight out the gun control debate one more time, which never leads to a resolution as both sides see it as a matter of moral principle, making compromise near impossible, but to circumvent the debate and improve public safety by making policies we can all agree on. Policies such as improving care for the mentally ill, improving the system through which parents seek care for their mentally ill children, reducing the side effects and increasing the efficacy of drugs which treat mental illness, improving police response times to shooting incidents, and physically hardening schools against attacks. Whether or not the solution to the overall problem is more or less guns is something that we will never agree on as a nation, so it must be made individually. If you choose to arm yourself, be a responsible gun owner, and by all means be well equipped, if you choose to shun firearms, learn other forms of self defense and make plans for violent encounters that may save your life and the lives of others. As a nation we must table the gun issue to address violence, as individual citizens we must make our decisions regarding firearms and act accordingly if we hope to survive in this divided land.

Thoughts?

If you enjoyed reading about "Essay: The Gun Debate Itself Makes Children and Society Less Safe" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 01:03 AM
Edit to remove what is now shameless shelf promotion.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 24, 2013, 01:08 AM
What is the source of this clearly biased and ill-conceived piece?

CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 01:08 AM
What is the source of this clearly biased and ill-conceived piece?
That would be me...

and thanks.

Skribs
January 24, 2013, 01:16 AM
As to the quality of the essay, I think it's splendid. I'm going to comment on the content, not as suggestions for editing, but as comments to your position.

You seem to sway both ways in your article, but I'm taking that as playing devil's advocate (something I like to do, and I think leads to better answers).

Total disarmament would increase public safety substantially, as would high levels of concealed and open gun carrying and armed officials in high risk facilities such as schools and theaters. Since neither can be achieved, the gun debate creates a situation wherein half the population believes in being well armed and the other half believes in being an easy target.

I do not believe total disarmament would substantially increase public safety. If you look at the Faces of THR thread, you can see I'm not that big a guy (although I've put on weight since those pics...not muscle either). I'm 5'6, 165, and not a good runner. I don't want to be unarmed against an unarmed 6'0 200 pound mugger. I would much rather be armed against that mugger, even if he's armed. I also do not believe that, sans guns, mass murders would not exist. Arson, bombs, gas, even knives can be used by almost anyone.

As to your solution, (which I agree with, 100%, by the way), the anti's aren't going to like it. They don't want to just disarm themselves...they want to disarm everyone. Disarming themselves serves no purpose.

Overall, I like your premise. What I've been saying is that both parties should find what they agree is the problem and work towards that. The problem is, as you've pretty much said, 95% of the reaction to Sandy Hook is "we need to talk about guns" and only 5% seems to be about violence. How much could we accomplish if we stopped the gun debate and increased the focus on stopping violence by 20-fold?

CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 01:18 AM
As to the quality of the essay, I think it's splendid. I'm going to comment on the content, not as suggestions for editing, but as comments to your position.

You seem to sway both ways in your article, but I'm taking that as playing devil's advocate (something I like to do, and I think leads to better answers).



I do not believe total disarmament would substantially increase public safety. If you look at the Faces of THR thread, you can see I'm not that big a guy (although I've put on weight since those pics...not muscle either). I'm 5'6, 165, and not a good runner. I don't want to be unarmed against an unarmed 6'0 200 pound mugger. I would much rather be armed against that mugger, even if he's armed. I also do not believe that, sans guns, mass murders would not exist. Arson, bombs, gas, even knives can be used by almost anyone.

As to your solution, (which I agree with, 100%, by the way), the anti's aren't going to like it. They don't want to just disarm themselves...they want to disarm everyone. Disarming themselves serves no purpose.

Overall, I like your premise. What I've been saying is that both parties should find what they agree is the problem and work towards that. The problem is, as you've pretty much said, 95% of the reaction to Sandy Hook is "we need to talk about guns" and only 5% seems to be about violence. How much could we accomplish if we stopped the gun debate and increased the focus on stopping violence by 20-fold?
Yah, the total disarmament thing was a mental debate for me, but I feel that if we really disarmed everyone, including the criminals, through some vast campaign, society would be safer overall... That is however totally impossible and will always be such so I'll keep my firearms, and my concealed carry permit, thank you very much.

CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 01:21 AM
Yah, the total disarmament thing was a mental debate for me, but I feel that if we really disarmed everyone, including the criminals, through some vast campaign, society would be safer overall... That is however totally impossible and will always be such so I'll keep my firearms, and my concealed carry permit, thank you very much.
I tweaked it a little. The essay is meant to be persuasive to both sides, so I have to throw the anti-gun position a bit of a bone. Even if there's no meat on it... :)

Skribs
January 24, 2013, 01:28 AM
Well, you've got 734 posts here so you know the general opinion of THR as to whether a completely unarmed society would be safer. I'm not going to argue with you, but I do disagree with your point.

I know how you often have to do that in essays. One of my favorite projects in school was when we had to pick a contraversial topic, and then defend the opposite position. It really made me think. I did such a good job that people thought I misinterpreted the assignment ;)

I understand that you don't want to ramble, but one possible solution that I don't see listed, that I would suggest, is fixing our revolving-door prison system to keep violent offenders from easily becoming repeat-offenders. Another point would be that focusing on guns instead of violence in general pidgeonholes lawmakers (my favorite recent example is the NY law that a physician must report if he thinks his patient will illegally use a gun...which means he isn't required by law to report if his patient will use a machete or release a deadly virus).

CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 01:32 AM
Well, you've got 734 posts here so you know the general opinion of THR as to whether a completely unarmed society would be safer. I'm not going to argue with you, but I do disagree with your point.

I know how you often have to do that in essays. One of my favorite projects in school was when we had to pick a contraversial topic, and then defend the opposite position. It really made me think. I did such a good job that people thought I misinterpreted the assignment ;)

I understand that you don't want to ramble, but one possible solution that I don't see listed, that I would suggest, is fixing our revolving-door prison system to keep violent offenders from easily becoming repeat-offenders. Another point would be that focusing on guns instead of violence in general pidgeonholes lawmakers (my favorite recent example is the NY law that a physician must report if he thinks his patient will illegally use a gun...which means he isn't required by law to report if his patient will use a machete or release a deadly virus).
I tweaked it again as I don't think I'm articulating my point as well as I want to. My point was meant to be that disarmament would reduce the kind of mass casualty shooting incidents we are seeing now but disarmament is impossible therefore other solutions must be sought.

I do not, however, wish for something as silly as a world without guns. We had that, it was called human history from the rise of man through the middle ages and it was no rose garden.

CmdrSlander
January 24, 2013, 01:42 AM
I tweaked it again as I don't think I'm articulating my point as well as I want to. My point was meant to be that disarmament would reduce the kind of mass casualty shooting incidents we are seeing now but disarmament is impossible therefore other solutions must be sought.

I do not, however, wish for something as silly as a world without guns. We had that, it was called human history from the rise of man through the middle ages and it was no rose garden.
I say this because I feel it is intellectually dishonest to say the various gun control schemes, perfectly implemented, would not reduce gun violence (studies have shown overall violence is unaffected). The problem is that any gun control scheme sweeping enough to make a difference (and by make a difference I mean, specifically addressing gun violence, which is in and of itself a bit of a non-sequitir since other forms of violence simply fill in where the gun violence was) would be unenforceable, unconstitutional, and likely spark a Civil War.

Jorg Nysgerrig
January 24, 2013, 02:00 AM
Here's my main point of contention with this premise. If the argument for gun rights is so strong, if the evidence in favor of widespread gun ownership is so conclusive, and if the other side doesn't have a leg to stand on, why shy away from the debate?

This is the same ridiculous stance that many pro-gun people turn to insisting we can't talk about the guns and instead point at any number of other things as the reason for society's ills. If other things are truly the cause and guns aren't the cuplrit they are made out to be, shouldn't we exonerate firearms rather than simply attempting to shift the blame in what always looks like a weak diversionary tactic?

If the proliferation of "assault weapons" doesn't contribute to mass shootings, let's demonstrate that fact with evidence.
If more guns equals less crime, let's back that up with real research and refute claims to the contrary.
If universal background checks won't work, let's discuss the reasons for that.
If magazine limits are so awful, let's explain why.
If the Second Amendment isn't archaic and shouldn't be repealed as such, let's make the case for its continued existence.

Refusing to engage in the dialogue implies that we have no response to the claims made by the gun-control crowd, whether we like it or not. Perception is everything.

The debate will go on whether or not we participate. Do we represent ourselves or do we step back and let them represent us?

This board is full of people who claim that the gun-control lobby is based on purely on emotion, cooked statistics, and power-grabbing politicians who seek to disarm the masses. If that is the case, we should be able to put forth a more articulate and compelling argument than, "What part of 'shall not be infringed' don't you understand?" or "Hey, look over there at movies and video games! Nothing to see here on the gun side!"?

If we simply throw up our hands, walk away, and let everyone make their own decision, as this essay suggests, we'll be right back at this point the next time there's a mass shooting.

My other problem is the assumption that there are just two sides to this. On the contrary, I think there are two very small, very vocal groups making a lot of noise and a whole bunch of people in the middle that don't feel that strongly either way. When pressed to choose a side, without the chance to hear both sides of the argument, they will likely go with the only side they heard.

Skribs
January 24, 2013, 02:22 AM
I say this because I feel it is intellectually dishonest to say the various gun control schemes, perfectly implemented, would not reduce gun violence (studies have shown overall violence is unaffected).

Okay, when you say it like this, I get it. But you're right, they would not affect violence in general, just gun violence. Therefore, you have all those nasty side-effects (i.e. Civil War), but no benefit.

Skribs
January 24, 2013, 02:25 AM
Jorg, I don't think that he's saying we shouldn't participate in the dialog and let the anti's go on a rampage. I think he's saying we should say to the anti-gun group: let's stop this nonsense, and look at solving what we can BOTH agree are problems.

Say you are writing a group paper. You like guns and cats. Your partner likes cooking and cats. Do you spend your entire study session arguing whether to write about guns or cooking? Or do you just write about cats? I think Salamander is saying instead of spending so much time debating guns vs. no-guns, let's look at the issues we agree on - school physical security and mental health.

beatledog7
January 24, 2013, 07:58 AM
Most gun owners I know could focus on common ground, but most antis I know could not. It's the difference thinking about an issue and feeling about it.

Al Thompson
January 24, 2013, 08:17 AM
Nice writing, but I think your basic premise is fatally flawed. You are mirroring too much.

learn other forms of self defense and make plans for violent encounters that may save your life and the lives of others

That line tells me that you see that reaction as logical. IME, the vast majority of anti-gunners are bliss ninnies. Their plan for dealing with any emergency is to call 911. One bliss ninny I know let his house burn down* to the foundation as he wasn't prepared to put out a fire in his attic. That thought or course of action never even crossed his mind.

* Fire department was already involved with another fire.

Skribs
January 24, 2013, 11:07 AM
Beatle, you are correct, however that is what it will take to get us to stop trying to protect our rights...when they stop trying to take them. Granted, I think we should repeal the laws we have on the books, but at the same time, if the goal is to stop violence, why focus on what you know probably won't go through.

I haven't taken many business courses, but there are cost-effective ways of looking at problems. The anti-gun agenda is not cost effective. First of all, even if we didn't stand in their way, and they got the majority of what they ask for, it wouldn't stop crime. Government time wasted, no result. But, the fact we do stand in their way means they spend a lot more time (and taxpayer money) defending their position, and then they get substantially less of what they ask for. And still no result. I don't see gun control as a cost-effective means of stopping violence, even if it would.

beatledog7
January 24, 2013, 04:31 PM
Not cost effective, to be sure, and not effective in any other way either. Regarding an issue on which one reached his conclusion without using his mind, another cannot change that mind. Nor can you get past the "this is how I feel, so don't confuse me with facts" position to which so many antis cling.

Short of being attacked while defenseless (which itself doesn't always work), the most effective cure for an anti is a trip to the range.

Skribs
January 24, 2013, 04:34 PM
the most effective cure for an anti is a trip to the range.

Which also doesn't always work.

beatledog7
January 24, 2013, 08:58 PM
True. But in my experience it has the best chance of working.

If you enjoyed reading about "Essay: The Gun Debate Itself Makes Children and Society Less Safe" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!