The Great Gun Debate

We are here once more. In the wake of an unimaginable tragedy and every side is saying we need to fix things. We need to change. We need to stop letting our children be slaughtered. But at the same time, no matter what side of the argument someone is on, we’ve all done the same thing; dug in our heels and refused to compromise.

 

The Case For More Protection

On one side, we have advocates calling for increasing security at schools, metal detectors, cameras that share live feed directly with the local law enforcement and even armed guards and armed teachers. I’ve heard people argue that we protect our court houses, our government agencies, even our entertainment. You can’t get into a concert anymore without going through a metal detector and having a pat down. So why don’t we protect our children? Then I hear people argue “Who is going to pay for this? Who is going to train/regulate/be accountable for teachers owning weapons? What if your child is a casualty caught in the cross fire between a teacher with a gun and an armed gunman?”

 

The Case For Gun Control

This one is a huge divider. On one side I hear my friends talking about banning all guns, closing loopholes and making background checks harder. Maybe increasing waiting periods, maybe getting rid of gun show sales. I have honestly heard people calling for a ban on all guns. Period. On the other side of this, my gun loving friends are angry and insist that it’s their right to have a gun. “Don’t you dare take away my weapons, it’s my right.” There seems to be this underlying fear that if we ban some guns, the big bad government will ban all guns. I’ve run into a tin foil hat mentality that seems to think that Big Government is out to take all of the guns. I live in a house that has guns. Lots of them. I’m from the Midwest. We hunt, we shoot for target practice, we occasionally find a skunk on the property that’s acting weird and needs to be put down. And we keep them near the door for protection. We live in a rural area policed by the county sheriff who is, at minimum, a 30 minute wait time if you call 911. It’s the middle of nowhere, and we like it, but you never know who is going to show up. So yes, the thought of losing all of our weapons because of school shootings is a scary thought.

 

The Case For Better Mental Health

This argument is a tricky one because on the one hand, you have people demanding that we as a society pay more attention to our neighbors. Be on the look out for people who are depressed or suicidal. But it feels like it’s becoming a witch hunt. We can’t arrest people for being depressed, you can’t go and put someone on a watch list or a weapons ban just because they’re going through a hard time.

 

Finding Middle Ground

I don’t know what the answer is. My guess is that it’s a combination of all sides compromising a little and meeting in the middle. We have to do that. There must be some compromise. Unfortunately, everyone that I’ve talked to is on one side of the fence or the other. The longer we stand behind our fences screaming at the opposition, our kids are sneaking around behind our backs killing each other and themselves. We need to set aside our differences, stop trying to protect only ourselves and look at the situation as a collective. Until that happens, it’s not going to get better.

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