Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Framing gun control

I've heard a lot on the news today about the shooting at Virginia Tech. Here are some of my thoughts.

I've heard that John McCain is saying that Americans have the right to own guns, but that we should make sure that the bad people don't get them. What kind of drivel is this?! The Bad People is a reference to anyone different from us, or more importantly in the view of this frame different from ME. If I'm white, I should be aware and skittish around Black, Hisanic, Asian, etc. Reminds me of the movie Bowling for Columbine, which examined the gun culture in America. If I'm Christian, I should be afraid of non-Christians. If I'm not Christian, I should be afraid of Christian Fundamentalists.

This is called deterrence through fear. We are pushed away from our sense of security by igniting the fight or flight instinct. It's easy, cheap and quick. It gets ratings, and it ignites passions beyond logic. It's up to us as individuals to learn how to live with those passions and fears, and let them burn themselves out without causing any harm.

One news program had guests that were either pro- or anti- gun control, and one guest had the perspective that in a situation such as that faced by the students and teachers in that school who were cowering behind doors, desks and book cases, that some of them were likely thinking "I wish I had a gun". I really wonder about the effectivness of that kind of wish, because it seems to be somewhat of a death wish. Wouldn't it be better to be thinking "I wish that the person losing control of their passions did not have a gun?"

It's in the US Constitution that we have the right to keep and bear arms. The context of the 2nd Amendment has been up for debate since it passed Congress, and each person has their own interpretation of what it means. To me, just because I have the right to own something that can kill others, I'd rather not exercise that right. I don't own a gun because I don't feel like I need one.

I don't think the issue is whether we have the right to own firearms. That's not up for questioning, unless we want to take it out of the Constitution. And that would open a major can of worms. I think a better way is focusing our attention on the manufacturing of firearms. Why do we have so many companies making weapons of war? And it's not just in the United States, but all over the world.

1 comment:

Chad Lupkes said...

I'm not going to call for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment. But I am going to ask for an immediate increase in the taxes charged on the sales of firearms in Washington State.

I think a 100% tax rate on guns might be a good start.