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Old February 19, 2013, 07:48 PM   #25
Join Date: July 7, 2008
Location: Upper midwest
Posts: 3,871
Great response, Pax. (I especially like "rainbow unicorn-fart denials." )

Seriously -- you did hit on many of the factors that operate here. Well done.

I think, though, that there's one thing that can't be stressed enough: everyone, no matter their politics, is attracted to simple, one-step solutions to complex problems.

There's no getting around the fact that 21st-century America has a very violent culture. Violence (military and otherwise) is glorified as a way to solve problems. Many, many people like playing violent video games, and many more like watching violence on TV -- the message in much of this "entertainment" is that the good guy wins, and he wins by means of violence. While overall rates of violent crime in the U.S. have gone down since the early 90's, they're still a lot higher than in many other developed countries, and far higher than any thinking person would like them to be.

I'm not suggesting any cause-and-effect relationships here; all I'm doing is pointing out that our culture is one in which violence is highly valued and widely practiced.

There is no one, simple answer to why this is so -- but that doesn't stop people from wanting one. There are lots of well-meaning folks who genuinely believe that the problem is "gun violence," and that any gun control measures are "at least a good start" at getting rid of the problem. One can sometimes reason with such people, and I do think that's a worthwhile effort. (Not to mention taking them to a gun range. ). Politicians capitalize on this desire for one-step solutions -- many are cynical in doing so, others are not.

Most people on our side of the gun-control divide are no different; it's just that they prefer other simplistic solutions. We'd like to believe that all violent criminals are mentally ill... or that psychotropic drugs are to blame for the whole mess... or that "the" solution is more guns in the hands of so-called "good guys." Everyone is a "good guy," though, until they're not -- it's another wild oversimplification to believe that people are naturally divided into "criminals" and "law-abiding citizens."

It's a complex set of problems, with roots in our history, in our definitions of manhood, in social and economic conditions... and in the fact that violence and the fear of violence are very marketable commodities.

All that said... I have to admit that I've changed my mind somewhat in the last couple of months about the idea that the powers-that-be want to disarm the population just on general principles, as one more way to ensure that the powerful stay in power. I used to think that was a bit silly and more than a bit paranoid -- at the moment, I'm not so sure.

Originally Posted by pax
This one gets dressed up in various ways and explained in more palatable terms, but it boils down to making sure that "those people" don't get guns.
It's pretty clear that in the eyes of the 1%, we are all "those people."
"Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."
(Milan Kundera, Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1980)

Last edited by Vanya; February 19, 2013 at 08:32 PM. Reason: better words.
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