Thursday, January 24, 2013

more about gun violence

there's a lot of public debate, in the states, anyway, about what to do about gun violence.

the debate centers mostly on the question of whether there should be fewer or more guns available.

...which is all wrong.

ALL wrong.

because the key word in the phrase "gun violence" is not "gun"; it's "violence".

the problem is a culture of violence. guns are not the problem. guns are tools.

a culture in which violence is accepted and applauded is the problem. a culture in which our sports and other entertainment media feature violence is the problem. a culture in which violent acts or threats of violence are near the top of our list of stress responses instead of our last resort, that's the problem.

the problem will not go away by legislation or by angry mobs or, oddly, by more violence. the problem only gets reduced when we stop to think: is there a better way to do this? do i want to support the culture of violence? how can i opt out?

is hunting about meat or the gutpile? when children play cops and robbers, is it a game about crisis and mastery, or is it about shooting? is life about mastery of ourselves or domination of others?

if you are about violence and enjoy violence and accept violence it does not matter one bit if you have lots of guns around or not. violence will get done even with less efficient tools.

likewise if you are not about violence, it wouldn't matter one bit if you kept a working artillery piece on your front lawn and used it to announce cocktail hour every day.

the tools are what you make them. the attitude is yours to choose.

next time you get into the gun violence debate, make sure you are arguing about the right thing.

choose less violence.

once we have done that, the argument over guns becomes useless.


GDad said...

Interesting perspective. I need to ruminate.

Jane C said...

Rarely has there been a mass stabbing. If you are interested in more food for thought, Leon Neyfakh wrote an interesting article, Jan 20th Boston Globe in the Ideas section. ( He points out that gun deaths from suicide outrank gun deaths from murder. So much comes down to how we care for each other!


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