Saturday, September 21, 2013

Guns are a safety issue for some, but not always against real potential attackers

In response to what is approaching an epidemic of mass shootings in our country, I made a fairly simple statement on Twitter (my Tweets get posted to my FB page) statement about how we must get past our love/worship of guns in order to pass some sane legislation to make it more difficult for unstable people to get weapons.
Universal background checks, waiting periods, penalites for people who go around the process, and no military grade weapons (automatic) sold on the open market at all...These steps (already in place in some measure in some places) surely would make it a little more difficult for unstable people to become domestic terrorists and would allow the hunters of the world and those who feel they need hand guns or shotguns for protection to not feel violated by their government...I wouldn't ask for anything more (I personally would be comfortable with much stricter gun control, but could be satisfied with this more moderate approach).

In response to my concern about the many lives lost to recent mass gun attacks, a relative became very defensive, insulting, angry, etc. I realized that in his regional and economic circumstances, the world can seem unsafe, and conservative (almost fundamentalist) religion and firearms (which he has never used other that to shoot inanimate targets...he doens't even hunt) are what he makes him feel a bit more secure in a changing and complex world.

After some back and forth (I admit that at first I got caught up in the tit for tat exchange), I finally offered what I hoped was a conciliatory statement (bascially calling for a "cease fire," as it were). I offer it as a means of preventing heated exchanges that are unlikely to lead to change and can harm relationships.

Here is what I said:

"One's own Facebook page is for expressing one's own opinion...your sharing your values on your page is your right and so far (I believe) I have never attacked your beliefs on your FB page (and I hope I never do). Disagreement is fine, but blowing up on someone's FB page isn't likely to change their views or leave anyone feeling good about the exchange.
On the other hand, personal story telling is important, and if you need to share your experience, your page or mine is a safe place to do that, just know that my world is a little to the left of yours and responses may not be compatibe with your worldview.

I'm still not certain how wanting safeguards against violence is threatening to your way of life (I don't believe you would want to shoot up a mall or a park, and would probably through yourself in harm's way to stop someone who did), so the personalizaiton [of the issue] still puzzles me; but in the end, we elect our representatives, we contact our representatives, and society moves one direction or another (usually back and forth over time).

Arguing with me won't further your cause(s), but sharing your views on your page, to your reps, in letters to the editor, etc. might help shape some public opinion one way or the other, and at very least will let you feel "heard." I just don't think other people's FB pages are the place for that (unless invited to do so). It too easily becomes argumentative with hurt feelings to follow.

I will continue to share my values in my venues. Everyone does. That's the place for them. If you agree with them, you can "like" them or "share" them, if not, ignore them. Now, if i\I come for you on your page, I've crossed a line and you can respond with both barrels (to use a metaphor consistent with the conversation). Otherwise, we can just assume that we disagree about certain social issues.

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