In this new gun rights debate, triggered by 12 incidents of mass murder in 2012 we have seen, rather than the two polarized sides starting to come together we are seeing an entrenching of position. On the pro-gun side – the problem is everything except the guns, on the gun regulation side – the problem is nothing except the guns. Both positions are dead wrong – though each could provide an element of a comprehensive solution.
The pro-gun side of the conversation came out, after a week of reflection with an argument that declared that moving towards a police state, arming every school and teacher would solve the problem…reflective in their long standing view that we are in a dystopian society…flawed, crumbling and full of bad guys to the point that only armed response is the solution.
On the pro-regulation side the argument was stated from day one…it is only guns that are the problem, not mental healthcare issues [they are too complex], not desensitization by movies, TV or video games, not bullying, workplace stress or domestic violence — or gang violence. Their solution was just access to guns by those who want to do harm.
Looking at both sides – yes, guns are the common denominator in the violence but no, they are not the cause…they are the very last domino in a long line. But with modern weapons that have high capacity magazines that will deliver nearly 100 rounds of 223 ammo travelling 3200 feet per second with a muzzle pressure of 1500 foot pound of force all with two magazine changes or less, that last domino is an extremely potent, convenient, efficient killing machine.
So we have to look at the rest of the dominoes…and also look at the gun owners themselves. From that we get an extremely complex problem that doesn’t have a simple solution, from either side.
I have covered the rest of the dominoes repeatedly, and they are very well documented…mental health issues are a factor in the violence as are bullying, stress in the workplace and home. Movies, TV and video games have a provable desensitizing effect [a couple of studies can be found here and here ] Ignoring studies that prove those links by the pro-regulation folks is as disingenuous and damaging to their position as ignoring the mountain of studies that show guns can be a problem by the pro-gun folks.
If my message has not been clear enough over the past 60 days…let me boil it down. THE ANSWER LIES IN THE MIDDLE. It is neither of the two polarized, opposing position. And to get to a solution that serves a purpose beyond political posturing or confirmation of their previous position, both sides are going to have to co-operate and compromise.
As much as the NRA statement was a tone deaf, self serving response, so was the publishing of legal gun permit holder’s names and addresses in Westchester County, NY. It was a lazy, irresponsible action that attempted to paint ALL gun owners [that 99% who are not criminal and never will be] with a single, very biased brush. Nether act served a purpose of moving the conversation forward; both were self serving to their positions.
Further to that point blogs, websites and media that are only willing to publish biased information, avoiding looking at solutions that distract from a preconceived “solution” damage their cause – nobody in that very large middle are willing to only listen to one side…one side that only offers pat, oft-repeated solutions that have fatal flaws.
To those two sides…Christmas is over. If you didn’t get your biased, polarized solution for Christmas…it ain’t happening. It’s time to pony up to the table and get ready to do some very hard, complicated work to find a solution.