After the tragedy last week of a school in Florida being attacked by a 19 year old gunman and the resulting 17 deaths there has been much talk, debate and rhetoric on this issue of gun control.
Not much gets people stirred up like discussing 2nd Amendment rights. One of the most frustrating thing is nothing ever seems to get done. Both the far left and the far right spew the same rhetoric about why their beliefs are better than the other. You can see it on Facebook every day. It’s exhausting to me, and quite frustrating. Because spewing rhetoric rarely solves anything.
I would love to hear from people who are like me. Squarely in the middle. I am not against guns. I’ve fired guns before. I do have personal feelings on gun reform but I am not opposed to people legally carrying weapons when they have been vetted. I have questions, things I don’t agree with that are currently in place (or not in place). I don’t understand why guns aren’t more regulated. I don’t want guns taken away from anyone. But I find it hard to believe that most states do not require a background check at gun shows. This doesn’t make sense to me. It does make sense, though, to make this part of the sensible gun reform conversation. Why has this not been done already?
I think MOST Americans, even NRA members, agree on SENSIBLE gun reform. Not taking guns away. But reforming the way weapons are acquired. It’s a complicated issue. I get that. But picking a side isn’t going to solve anything. I don’t want to pick a side. I’m tired of side picking. As Brene Brown so eloquently wrote on her own blog, “I’m calling bullshit”.
Here are some examples of side-picking, or rhetoric, that I have seen or read this past week, from both sides of the argument:
- Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
- Background checks are a waste of time.
- The Florida school shooter was ….x, y, z (alt-right, racist, Trump supporter)
- If women took up arms to defend reproductive rights we’d have banned weapons….
- New gun laws just stop the good guys from shooting the bad guys.
- Bashing GOP
- Bashing Democrats
- Bashing NRA (although, I personally am not a fan! But this does nothing to solve the problem)
- Blaming each party for not making legislative changes happen
- Blaming Obama and Democrats for not making legislative change. (Read facts and do the research on this. Fox News does not count as a reliable source).
- Comparing Gun deaths to abortion deaths (this one REALLY gets me because you are comparing apples to oranges and you are inserting your belief system about being pro-life. Double Whammy! To me this deflects from the real issue and its a low blow).
- Comparing Obama to Hitler because Hitler was pro-gun control. (yes, this is a meme)
- Comparing Trump to Hitler
I could go on and on ya’ll. As you can see, there are equal rhetoric on both sides and you may feel strongly about one of the above. But feeling strongly about something DOES NOT CHANGE ANYTHING.
Reading. Research. Open-mindedness. Laying down your belief system for one minute to explore the other side. Know who you are and what you believe and be prepared for an honest discussion, know what you are willing to bring to the table when the discussions get hard. Those are things that spawn change. Because true knowledge is power. Not memes, no matter how convincing they are. False information makes us feel good but it does nothing.
I certainly don’t have all the answers but here is what I’m doing.
I am reading facts.
I am reading scientific research done on guns and society.
I am researching gun laws in my state.
I am joining a advocacy group ( Moms Demand Action) that “…demands action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms.” (www.momsdemandaction.org).
I don’t understand why we like to argue our “point” because it’s our “right”, yet nothing is getting resolved in decreasing school shootings. This is the most frustrating part for me and why I felt then need to write this post. I needed to get it out. And if one person reads it and starts doing research instead of posting a meme about why you think you are right, then this post has meaning beyond just my thoughts and feelings.
If you are in the middle, like me, then it’s time to speak up. Especially if you are an NRA member who approves of sensible gun reform. It’s time to take action. It’s as simple as starting a conversation with someone who believes differently than you and asking them WHY. And responding with respect and open-mindedness. People have lost the art of conversation. All I’m asking is we make it a priority to start talking again. I’m speaking to myself here also.
It starts with me. It starts with you. It truly does.