|Sandy Hook first responders.|
Courtesy: New York Times
|Courtesy: Free Patriot (.org)|
Right Wing Fear
As I frequent the left and right corners of the internet, I regularly see that they are filled with two types of fear. One is fear of government. This is the fear that says that the government is coming to take our guns and that we'd better be ready to defend ourselves. A fear that says that (in a revolutionary sense) that we must always be prepared to go to war with the US military. For me, this fear is probably the most disturbing.
In the department of things that don't help, I've seen some pretty stupid ideas on the state level, like this story about potential yearly in-home inspections in Washington state. What I haven't seen is a credible source that shows that the federal government is trying to take a gun away from anyone that already owns a legal weapon. It is this minor detail which goes largely unnoticed by this crowd. Many of these folks also have some very interesting thoughts on the current president - some which appear to be rooted in hate - and this proposal only fuels their passion against this president and his policies. The concern over government overreach is valid, but the hyperbole and thinly veiled references to violence are unnecessary and alarmist.
|Courtesy: The Christian Left (.org)|
Politically energized by the tragedy at Newtown and using that to further the mission of gun-safety, they too are not without their use of imagery to drive their point home. Many of the folks I've observed to be in favor of the assault weapons ban do not see the value of keeping weapons because some of them do not own weapons themselves and don't see the practical use. Others associate guns with negative thoughts like violence and crime. While those aren't completely unfounded thoughts to have, there are an overwhelming number of people that keep guns for legitimate reasons. People hunt, collect, shoot for recreation and amongst other things choose to keep firearms for personal protection. These types of people are not crazy. There's nothing wrong with that, and their rights should be protected.
The question of exactly how do we address the issue of mass shootings in America today is not easy. If you have been paying any attention to the media, you know that when it comes to guns in America, two things must be true:
- Guns are the problem.
- Guns are not the problem.
How can that be? How can we be the greatest, most American-y nation in the world, and suffer from such violence in our cities and now our public places? Whether it's true or not, it sure does feel like there are mass shootings just about every other week. No longer just the sad pattern of far off gang or inner city violence, but the kind of shootings that are taking place in what were traditionally considered to be safe places in society: schools, places of worship, shopping malls, movie theaters...leaving many to wonder aren't there any safe places for us to go anymore? Is there anything we can do to curb this type of violence?
In this four-part series we will look at three issues:
- Constitutional Rights
- 1994 Assault Weapons Ban
As this issue unfolds in the media and amongst ourselves, we should ask ourselves what is really going on in our society. Is it video games and movies that are responsible for this? Is it guns? Is it hopeless to wonder or ask? Are our rights to own something more important than safety in society? As we look further into the issue I look forward to your thoughts and concerns about how this impacts your family, your life, and your view of what should be.