Good Lord, my views are changing. True, it’s an evolution, but it’s not been as slow a change as I thought it would be, if I ever saw myself changing at all. Which I hadn’t. At the least, it’s been preponderant—and it is not over.
I’ll stop beating around the bush. The truth is, I’m becoming more supportive of gun rights. I know, I know: it scares me, too. But I’m also supportive of gun control–I’m adding that post-posting because initially no one said anything and I think this is a big deal. Then I realized: people are afraid of this topic, especially with the recent rash of violence.
Well, I’m not afraid of it anymore. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I’ve decided: I’m FOR owning guns. I’m also for doing so responsibly. Bring ON gun control. I’m not scared of that either.
But why my change?
Maybe it’s because certain members of my family have been known to make very compelling (and by this I mean well reasoned) arguments consistently, almost relentlessly. Maybe it’s because I’ve started reading more crime fiction (yes, some of this can be blamed on Steig Larsson).
But I think the main factor in my thinking has more to do with economic class strata. And I had never thought about it that way until this year.
The first thing that happened was a fundamental argument at home over whether or not we should have guns in the house. That was followed by another broader family issue of why bows were okay, but not guns.
Then, I had occasion to take a class back in DC out of Georgetown U on the philosophy framing up the Constitution. We got into Locke, Hobbes, and Cromwell—Oliver Cromwell.
That led to an interesting discussion on the British House of Lords, the American Senate, the British House of Commons and the American House of Representatives.
See where I’m going?
The powers that be, mired in their continued strife to counter balance one another, have a stricture that makes American legislative progress very, very slow. The slow pace allows for oodles of influence. In American, heck maybe all cultures, this creates space and time for undue influence from those who have space and time to lobby. The people with that space and time are afforded it by one simple fact: that they can AFFORD it.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Then, there’s the intriguing, albeit it short, paragraph of description and chapters of implication in Steig Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest where he argues that while “not everyone can afford security,” anyone at any time can find herself in need of it.
I’ve thought about that a lot. Most people don’t have elaborate security systems protecting their homes, safe guarding their children. Most of us walk around vaguely aware something bad can happen, but with nothing better to defend self and family than our wits. So, in America, people interested in personal security do what they can afford: they buy guns. Or inherit them. Or share them.
The crux of the philosophical debate in my family has always been: why do you need that level of security? If you want self defense, take a martial arts class, for heaven’s sake.
But, again, it boils down to what an individual person believes. That’s where Locke and Hobbes come in.
If one believes in Locke’s “clean slate” theory, that most people are good, they just get jaded by experience, then it might be easier to accept, as my family long has, that a person doesn’t need a personal protection system. We have a social contract that mandates certain levels of acceptable behavior. Most people subscribe to this. A police force and a judicial system are there for those who don’t.
That makes logical sense to me. And, as I’ve never been seriously injured or attacked by another person on American or any other soils, my experience verifies there’s some truth to this.
Then there’s Hobbes who argued that people are animals who bite and fight and scratch for whatever they can get out of this life. As a result, the American Constitution—and other western systems—include protective measures to guard against the corruptible nature of humanity. I suspect that the oft-debated 2nd Amendment stems from this politically-philosophic notion that, possibly, as a last resort, the American republic should have the ability to bear arms against the tyranny of the majority—something the Founding Fathers seemed to fear based on the more recent history (in their era) of General Cromwell and the British Crown.
For me, it’s been a lot to think about. (As my thinking simultaneously occurs with my talking, I’ve recently been ranting on Facebook about buying into bought elections and people not thinking for themselves, but more on that later). Weighing the great gun question in my home, I strive to balance it with some sort of consistency: no quick changes, nothing rash. Steady, preponderant and heavy consideration for the pros and cons shall guide my hand.
The debate has waged on for two years. But I feel my view softening, weakening to the point of accepting hard weaponry, at some level.
Does this bother anyone else?
1) Wednesday, June 4: a shooter in Moncton, Canada: http://bit.ly/1nnhoKg
2) Thursday, June 5: a shooter in Seattle, WA: http://cnn.it/1mgQ25m
3) Friday, June 6: a shooter in Atlanta, GA: http://yhoo.it/1kfnXdh
4) Friday, June 6: the beginning of 30 people shot in Chicago, IL:http://nbcnews.to/1kUUsUa…