Monday, July 23, 2012

A conversation worth having about gun policy

When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, it did not take long for people to begin publicly questioning our drilling policies and regulations. When the Sago Mine exploded killing 13, everyone jumped to addresses the failures in safety mechanisms at the mine. But when dozens of people are killed or injured in a horrific shooting in a Colorado theater, or even a congresswoman from Arizona and others gunned down at a public events, everyone wants to stifle the conversation about what is responsible gun policy in this country.

Even when I tried to ask the question among friends, I had a finger wagged in my face accusing me of "politicizing" the tragedy.

But isn't this a discussion worth having?

The crux of my argument does not lie in some talking point about banning all guns for the safety of society. It lies in the idea that most of the people screaming into the night about the Second Amendment are rarely the people who, I think, would be willing to deal with the real fact that they are advocating that they should be able to kill another human being.

Buying a gun and declaring that you will carry it with you at all times is not just a line being drawn in the sand of constitutional fights. It is declaration that you, the gun owner and carrier, are willing to kill another person when push comes to shove.

And if you do not think that killing another human being would not alter you to the core, then we truly have a disconnect in the on-going debate about gun control.

I feel the debate being had in this country would be completely different if the people in the pro-gun position of this argument could honestly answer the question "Are you OK with the fact that you might kill another human?"

Even the people we train to professionally kill other people are having a tough time dealing with that responsibility. This is not a weakness or a flaw. It's just a human trait.

Asking these questions and hoping we can fix a problem staring us in the face is not disrespectful to those who died in Colorado. It makes their tragedy a moment that could possibly shape us into a better country and move forward while honoring them.


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