12.18.2012

I Had Questions, You Had Answers

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My questions about guns - which I posted on Twitter and Facebook yesterday morning - engendered a lot of discussion.  Here's what I wrote in response.

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Thanks to all who chimed in.  Your comments, as well as your passionate tones and your willingness to disagree without being disagreeable, are greatly appreciated and I am deeply humbled by how little I know, how much I have gained, and how much I have to learn, from all of you.  Gracias.

I seriously wasn't being sarcastic (although all can be excused for thinking such, since I am often that), nor was I expressing cynicism towards the NRA or the government (although, again, it is often warranted), nor was I making the point that what really matters is not a gun lobby or government regulations but personal and societal morality (although I do believe in the supremacy of morals over law in positively influencing society).

I do think that the burden of proof is on both the gun lobby and the gun control advocates to make their respective cases.  And, partly because I am busy and partly because I am lazy, I just don't know their respective cases well enough.  So I am turning to you, my friends, the most enlightened and informed group of people in the world.  (Or at least the parts of the world that I know!)

I think that the argument, "Tragedy X could've been prevented if only the victims had been packing," is pretty far-fetched.  But I want to hear more, because I simply don't know this argument well enough to dismiss it.  Thanks for those who added info here.

I similarly think that the argument, "How many tragedies do we have to have before we get serious about gun control," is similarly weak.  Perhaps more gun control is a better thing, all else equal.  But I'm not so sure it leads to fewer or less bloody tragedies.  But again, I'm open to hearing the argument.  Thanks for those who added info here.

Again, both sides bear the burden of proof for their respective positions.  I'm tired of hearing the gun lobby fall back on the 2nd amendment, as if that absolves the need for a coherent argument.  And I'm tired of hearing gun control advocates say "guns kill people, gun control can help prevent that, therefore anyone not for more gun control is stupid," as if that absolves the need to figure out how exactly gun control can actually help solve the problem.

I appreciate everyone taking the time to chime in.  I learned a lot.  Hopefully new information enlightens us all instead of digging us deeper into our positions.  And hopefully disagreement makes us thankful we're in a pluralistic society in which we have a lot to learn from one another, rather than making us more annoyed that "the other side" just doesn't "get it."




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