In life, it’s comforting to know that some things are predictable. Your favorite TV show coming on every week at a certain time…snowstorms shutting down the Northeast part of the US every January…and headline-making tragedies causing people to shout that THIS CONFIRMS EXACTLY WHAT THEY’VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG. Even if other people are shouting that it confirms EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE.
Every. Single. Time.
The issue of the day: gun control. First of all, I don’t intend to articulate and defend a position here; honestly, while I have leanings on the topic, I see no point in trying to push one view when plenty of other people (on both sides) are much more informed, eloquent, and therefore equipped for a debate, than I am. Instead, I would like to make a request:
Stop demonising everybody who disagrees with you.
As I see it, each side has a specific caricature of the other, and it boils down to this:
- Gun-control advocates are idiots.
- Gun-rights advocates are monsters.
They say love is blind, and I happen to know and love people who hold both views; perhaps, then, I’m simply blind to the idiocy of some friends and the monstrousness of others…?
Nope, that’s not it. The truth is, most of the gun-rights advocates I know are genuinely concerned for the safety and welfare of the public. They are intelligent and well-informed, and their research backs up what they believe. Similarly, most of the gun-control advocates I know are capable, literate people who have found research to support the solutions they propose.
Naturally, there are exceptions. I’ve encountered (whilst scrolling passively through Internet comment sections) people who truly seem to believe that guns act independently while the murderers wielding them are completely guiltless. (This is idiotic). I’ve encountered, too, people who find the potential loss of gun rights more tragic than the loss of innocent lives. (This is monstrous). But amongst the sane, these beliefs simply don’t exist, and to post memes and pithy comments that portray one’s oppponents as such shallow nincompoops is to create further barriers in an issue that desperately requires action.
I would love to see some civil, well-reasoned debate on this topic. (Be assured that I’ll enjoy watching from the sidelines). If you choose to engage, however, please try to remember: the person who disagrees with you is, in fact, a PERSON. And, while people are deeply divided on many issues facing our world, I’d venture to say that, in this one area, we all really do want the same thing.