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Dinner Debates: Discussing appropriate gun regulations
January 24, 2013
This past weekend my family came to visit me. We spent the entirety of Saturday without any sort of debate—an incredible feat really. You see, I’m the black sheep in my very conservative family. To keep the peace, I try to avoid any topic of conversation that steers toward politics and religion. It just doesn’t go well for me.
At lunch Sunday, I made the mistake of saying that I hadn’t started my second piece for the Lycourier yet. I told them I was running out of opinions to discuss.
My dad, a newspaper man himself, suggested I write a piece on gun control, seeing as it’s a hot-button issue right now.
Photo credit: flickr user disrupseanGun sales have skyrocketed across the nation over the past month.
This Cabella’s in Texas is a popular gun distributor. As soon as the words left his mouth, my brother jumped in, talking about a Facebook graphic he had just seen that compared Obama to Hitler. He said it was scary how similar they were.
What a revolutionary comparison, I thought. I have never heard this ever before. No one has ever posted such wise, thought provoking information on a social networking site where everyone complains about things they know nothing about. This is the first time ever such a post has graced the internet.
The source of the post: my own mother.
Still, in my best efforts to keep the peace, I meekly told my brother that the comparison was a ridiculous one, and I didn’t foresee Obama killing millions of people any time soon.
Then my dad rebutted with “The anti-Christ is going to be well-liked.”
Great. So from my one comment, we’ve gone from gun control to Obama as the next Hitler to the anti-Christ. In less than two minutes. Pretty impressive, if I say so myself.
In an effort to steer the conversation away from an entirely different can of worms, I told my father that Obama is certainly not the most well-liked man in the world right now, and has a lot of opposition. That slowed him down. One bullet, dodged.
So we go back to the originally proposed subject of gun control. My brother, who has never touched a gun a day in his life, is going to go out and buy one before the crooked government stops allowing citizens to purchase firearms. Never mind my remark that he wouldn’t even know how to use it. This is “Amurica”.
At this point, I’m just done trying, because I know nothing I say, however accurate or constructive, is going to be well-received. But this exchange got me thinking. What do I really think about gun control? I briefly touched on this in my column on the Sandy Hook shooting, but I haven’t really fully explored it.
My dad told me that all the public schools in my county have hired either armed guards or extra police officers to patrol their grounds since Sandy Hook. Armed guards around children. Personally, I find this appalling. Raising America’s kids in a culture of violence does nothing but breed more violence. Instead of trying to fight guns with bigger guns, why can’t we fight massacres with thoughtful discussion?
Having kids around the big men with guns is only going to increase their predisposition for violence, and desensitize them rather than showing them that using this weaponry is something that should be avoided if at all possible. Why on earth do we want our children growing up in this environment?
Let’s say that worst comes to worst, and an armed attacker comes to school. Children get caught in the crossfire. How is this a good solution?
I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but I’ve already written about my theory in combatting these problems with a revamp of how we as a society view and deal with mental illnesses. (And if you look elsewhere on this page, you’ll find my thoughts on how America deals with mental illness). Wouldn’t finding the problem at its source and treating it be better than waiting until the last stages of tragedy to unfold with a final back-up plan of fighting fire with fire?
And as far as civilian gun use, I’m not saying that responsible gun owners who think they need their guns for whatever reason shouldn’t be able to get a hold of one. This is a free country, and everyone is entitled to certain rights. But what is the problem with having stricter sanctions on how and where someone can get a firearm? Wouldn’t you rather have to go through a thorough background check process that ensures that a weapon doesn’t pass into the wrong hands than be able to walk out of the store a bit sooner with a gun but risk your child’s safety?
To me, it seems like common sense, but maybe there’s something I’m missing. After all, nearly all of my family thinks that stricter gun control laws are a crippling blow to America. But let’s keep the rash accusations comparing Obama to historical villains at a minimum.