The Parkland Shooting Gun Control Debate
There is something about the Parkland shooting gun control debate that I find fascinating. I think every American is horrified by what happened, but they react very differently. Half the country wants to buy a gun to protect themselves from gun violence. Political debates in America are highly polarized, so that group then opposes anything having to do with gun control. The other half wants all guns outlawed, but they tone down their position to just supporting “common sense gun control.” And then they oppose anything that doesn’t involve some level of increased gun regulation.
In my opinion, the pro-gun position is flawed because it is highly unlikely any gun owner would ever actually be able to her weapon to protect herself. It’s not a war where you go into it knowing the other side is trying to kill you; it happens out of nowhere. Unless you are walking around with a rifle in your hands like soldiers do, then you aren’t likely to be able to defend yourself or anyone else. Yes, you could carry concealed but the vast majority of people don’t for the simple reason that it is uncomfortable to walk around all day with a firearm strapped to your waist. And that explains why it is so very rare a “good guy with a gun” ever stops a bad guy intent on killing people.
As for the anti-gun position, it is equally flawed, I think. More government and more regulation are not the solutions to every problem that exists in the world. Murder is already illegal and the punishment is death in some states, but that obviously doesn’t stop mass murders from killing people. Even if we outlawed guns completely, we all know that would as ineffective as outlawing drugs. We would put even more people in prison. But guns would still be widely available, just like drugs, and criminals would still have no problem getting access to them. I know the anti-gun people say they aren’t trying to take away anyone’s guns; they just want to regulate gun ownership more. But anyone from Massachusetts, like me, knows you can effectively outlaw guns by restricting the heck out of them. The anti-gun crowd isn’t fooling anyone.
There is something productive both sides should be able to agree on, and that is the issue of bullying. The school shootings we all want to stop are often the end result of a long history of bullying. Children who are victims of bullying often react by either killing themselves or their classmates. So you would think if anyone were really interested in doing something about school shootings, they would start with the issue of bullying. But that’s not how we do it in America. We oversimplify the problem, pick sides and square off. And when we fight it out, pretty much anything goes. Ostracizing the people who disagree with us is part of the norm, even trying to have them fired from their jobs and boycotting any business that supports their point of view. To put it another way, we try to bully each other into submission.
So that is what I find fascinating about the Parkland shooting gun control debate. After all the speeches are over and all the protestors have gone home, we may have more gun control or we may not. But one’s thing is virtually certain, it will probably happen again.