The Backstory: a rational first step for gun control

I once heard a judge tell both parties in a lawsuit that it was his job to make sure no one walked out of the room happy. That was his way of saying that to be completely fair, neither side would be able to consider itself a winner. As I get into the gun issue ¬†with the It’s About Time column, I hope to take the same approach as the judge. There are no winners with gun violence, just losers. It has to stop. It also has to be done intelligently and not with some knee-jerk reaction as usually happens when moronic politicians are put in charge of our lives.

I like to make analogies to children because I’ve spent the majority of my adult life being a single parent, now a single grandparent. To the new agers who think children should be treated as adults with the same rights, phooey. You’re idiots. Children are little bundles of mush waiting to be formed and molded into decent adults. Sadly, several generations of parents were too self-involved to do a proper job of that. My boomer generation is guilty of starting the ball rolling in that direction.

hml124tsParents let children do things with limits, because children don’t know any better and will do stupid things that hurt others or themselves. It’s unfortunate, but far too many of today’s adults act the same way. The whole gun issue is a prime example. The NRA is strident in its position, but it is correct that people and not the guns themselves are the problem. Fortunately JFK realized that or the Cold War might have turned out very differently. On the other hand, the NRA has to come to terms with the idea that bad children are going to cause a problem for the good children.

Is it fair to outlaw and ban something because a few individuals break the rules of society? No, it isn’t. That’s why we still drive cars even though more people are killed on the highway than with all the guns put together. Somewhere along the line we understood that it wasn’t the cars, it was the drivers. I may have to retract on that soon, however, since the government keeps pushing for more stringent safety features on cars without one single look at driver behavior or new license rules.

Some will say that’s not a fair analogy because cars were not designed to kill people. Well, the way some people drive I’m not so sure about that, but okay, point taken. We can continue the discussion with kitchen knives. They are plenty lethal and some were in fact deliberately designed to maim and kill – fortunately chickens not people. We need knives for cooking and business, so we can’t ban them and we have learned to teach our young how dangerous they are. So why not the same with guns?

At that point I turn far away from the minutiae of the gun debate to ask about the bigger picture. We know the “how” and the “what” of mass shootings, we know very little about the “why.” We can stumble around in the dark for a while and grope for answers relating to mental health, drugs and so on, or we can pull back further further for an even bigger picture. Is this about a society in decline? Maybe, but it all started with one word: overpopulation. Maybe that’s two words, I’m sure I’ll get a note about it, but the more I dig into all of this that is one thing that keeps popping up over and over and over.

I’m going to let everything sit at this point for now. Let’s all start thinking on a bigger scale than our sadly underqualified politicans are doing. Let’s see if maybe we can eat the elephant one bite at a time and get to the bottom of this. Then we can make better informed decisions about the choices that are going to be put in front of us. Or, like a scolding parent, the government may take all our choices away and we might never know why.

We need to turn the Hubble Telescope earthward and take a good long, honest look at our society and how we got to where we are today. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that our lives may depend on it.

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