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Something’s Gotta Give: Time To Disarm the Gun Debate

Something’s Gotta Give: Time To Disarm the Gun Debate

Robert C. Koehler

The “gun debate” is the national schism that seemingly cannot be bridged. Those on one side see the loosely regulated presence of 300 million firearms in this country as a threat to everyone’s safety and gasp in ongoing disbelief when the gun lobby smirks that the solution to every mass killing is . . . more guns for the good guys. Arm the teachers!


The obvious conclusion is that the NRA is the incredibly effective public relations arm of the gun industry. It spends hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing politicians in sufficient quantity to keep America free of gun laws, in defiance of the will of the majority of Americans.

when i read the first sentence, i was ready to squeal, ‘it’s not about “public relations” it’s all about congressional relations!’ but the next sentence makes that clear. why?" we might ask in “our” democracy does congress vote “in defiance of the will of the majority of Americans”? we live in a land where non-living, for profit entities, corporations, wield the decisive power to move congress. even the supreme nine allows money as speech. the nra registers as a nonprofit organization yet spends, (contributes), tens of millions to influence legislators at every level, federal, state and municipal in order to influence legislation. shouldn’t it be obvious to all that american democracy no longer, if it ever did, responds to the will of the people? democracy has deteriorated into an exclusive club of oligarchs. only their votes, ($$$!) count. our role is to serve as an audience. we can cheer or we can boo, but our voice, our marches our protests are but exercises in futility, “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

“I believe,” koehler avows, "the only resolution to the ‘gun debate’ is an agreement that we set about creating a social order with that belief at its foundation.

We will still face danger, but the time has come to realize, and collectively acknowledge, that facing danger nonviolently — with courage and presence of mind, but unarmed — is not only possible but highly effective."

yes! if we truly desire a social order that cherishes life and peace, we must challenge the status quo and create a social order that works.

not convinced? for any who still believe that we can change the system within, i offer the following link on how to communicate with your congressional critters. however, be advised that your pleas can be heard if your request includes a check for a few million dollars.

to express your outrage over the actions of our misleaders:

Comments: 202-456-1111
FAX: 202-456-2461



Yes. When our culture teaches over and over that empowerment of the “good guys” comes through the use of deadly weapons to protect and defend the innocent, the good, and indeed life itself, then many of our people are going to continue to believe and feel this deeply. Even a movie like Black Panther, which can be highly praised for its presentation of self-governing, self-respecting dark skinned Africans who, in the critical absence of European colonization, and the deep self-awareness of tremendous resources within (to me, the movie’s incredible vibranium metal can be seen as a metaphor for the miraculous powers within the unconquered and free-to-develop human spirit–even though this metaphor is imperfectly presented in the movie, as the focus on this metal also lends support to the materialist view that technological progress is a panacea for all social needs), have been free to create a thriving society–even this movie, in keeping with Hollywood’s way of showing good triumph over evil, presents weapons and violence as the major means of stopping evil. It also aligns with Hollywood’s way of acting as though good guys killing bad never really has any deep effect on those good guys–that to take a life, including the life of a “bad guy,” is something that can be dealt with simply by clearly recognizing: that was a bad guy, who put themself in the deadly situation, a situation in which it was kill-or-be-killed, so the killing was justified, and now we can let go of any further concern about that. In reality, killing–no matter the circumstances and no matter how “bad” the one killed was–takes a profound toll on the survivors, on the one who did the killing, no matter how justified that killing was. Ask a conscientious objector. Indeed, ask a veteran.

What way out? I agree that an essential part of the work is for us to learn both the true impact of violence, and the true power of nonviolence, on the individual, social, and historical-developmental levels. We must unlearn the false promise of violence as the most readily and ultimately effective response to violence. We must address all the fears people feel–not just about a crazy person with a gun, but about being slowly snuffed out by a culture whose catastrophic divisions in class, gender, race, and nation encourage millions to feel so powerless that their only means of existential assertion falls to the possession of a deadly weapon.

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There has been many studies on the brain and how it works, psychology of the brain and triggers.

We are living in a world where fear is instilled in us, jobs have been shipped overseas and families have been broken up, society is being torn apart by actions who are greedy sycophant who don’t give a damn about “we the people” or societies as these worldwide billionaires now have the power to pay off politicians and run the world.

Where is the breaking point for an individual who owns a gun and is sane one moment and another kick in the teeth and they do something irrational and get their gun to deal with the rejections they have felt.


I don’t believe that the issue is people needing firearms for self defense vs no more guns.
How about starting with a properly regulated gun industry that performs its duties accountably and transparently? And when it doesn’t, the players are heavily fined/jailed till it never pays to ignore the will of the people.
Dirty tricks of language constantly undermine this important discussion.

Here in Canada an extensive study was done on Violence and in particular that which led to a lethal outcome. Provinces like Manitoba, as example, have higher rates of the same then do other areas.

It was found that the most important factor was wealth inequality and in particular when poor neighborhoods bordered wealthier ones. There was also an element of Racism involved as wealthier neighborhhods tended to be “whiter” and the poor neighborhoods had more First Nations people or peoples of color. Where these people of color had a higher standard of living relative to other Neighborhoods across Canada , such crimes dropped.

The book the Spirit level spoke to this.

To truly address this , wealth inequality needs to be addressed and I really do not see that happening under Capitalism and the Dog eat dog world that the system promotes. Instead we see things like it becoming ILLEGAL to feed the poor and In California ILLEGAL for the homeless to sleep in cars or RVs.

Too many hate the poor when they should be hating poverty.


Well said. Equally, if not more so, too many hate random individual violence when they should be hating organized state violence, which provides the template.


The big problem that this article implies is that the solution by the gun huggers is part of the reason that gun ownership needs to be severely controlled. It’s one thing to insist on a solution that may be pointless but poses no danger, like shining lights on a fire while pouring water on it. But when you do something like pour gasoline on a fire as a solution to the fire, then you go beyond reasonable. You hit the absolute crazy level of stupidity. Even the majority of gun owners as shown by polls think that gun ownership needs to be restricted more than it is.

It would be a good idea to prohibit firearms that can be fired repeatedly solely by pulling the trigger. There should be something - pulling the bolt, cocking the hammer - that precedes the next fire.

Waiting periods should be extended to take as long as it takes to do a thorough job of checking on the buyer’s history. And there should be more stringent reporting and more stringent disqualifications of gun ownership.

There needs to be proof that the buyer knows how to care for and has the psychological ability to be trustworthy with the weapon. That would require a real, not a three day, course in use of a gun and training with it. It would also require psychological evaluation with consequences for psychologists who certify too many people who turn out to be homicidal.

It needs proof of liability insurance.

As Scalia himself said that all rights have limits.

Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day
Which was against the rule.
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school

The teacher wondering what to do
Reached down and grabbed her gun.
She put a bullet in the lamb
And spoiled all the fun.

Mary had a great big glock
She borrowed from her dad.
She carried it to school one day,
Which turned out very bad.

She found out how to make it shoot
But not to make it quit
So when

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