Another school shooting.
And inevitably the posturing of those grimly determined to make it about something else. Gun rights. The deaths are pushed to one side, because it’s the guns that must be protected, because they (so the excuse-making goes) are what stand between our freedom and a tyrannical government, and that any price is worth paying to preserve the means by which such freedom might be maintained, whether that freedom actually manifests as imagined or not.
At this point one thing should be obvious: for the Second Amendment Absolutist, no reasoned argument can be sufficient to change their position, because it is not about what is right, only about what they believe and feel. If it were possible to completely demonstrate and prove that the Second Amendment as written and conceived by the Constitutional convention of 1789 did not give carte blanche to gun rights, it would not matter. These folks want what they want and will not be persuaded, even by logical argument, demonstrable social science, or historical truth. You can make any argument you want, they will not concede that they must surrender what they are convinced is their deity-granted right to go armed.
This is very much akin to the stance of the absolutist anti-abortion advocate. No matter what might be demonstrated or argued in terms of biology or civil rights or medical necessity or any other argument one might deploy, they want what they want and will not be swayed. They are not looking to win the debate, they are looking to have their way, regardless.
So I say stop arguing. Those of us not locked into an ahistorical mode of thinking should do what we think best for the situation now.
The other day I saw a post listing all the things “we defend with guns” as if it all added up to a sound argument against those wishing to enact laws to curtail availability of certain types of firearms. It begged the question, of course—why should we have to defend all those things with guns? It was phrased as if guns were the only solution, which is on its face nonsense.
I hate to break it to them, but this is not freedom, so what is it they’re trying to defend? Because if you have to live your life prepared constantly to kill another human being just to keep your stuff, you are not free. That is a cage. The bars may be invisible, but they’re there.
Seems obvious to me that in this instance Freedom has been confused with Power. Oh, they are related, but real freedom is living without fear. For yourself and especially for your children. And if you’re insisting that you have to be always ready to draw down on someone, you are living in fear. All the time.
It’s reasonable then to ask—do you want the rest of us to live in fear all the time, too? Because that’s the most effective way to keep us from sitting down at the table and coming up with something better.
The irony, of course, is that there are people less dogmatically dedicated to these positions who simply want control, and have learned how to use your fear to gain it and keep it. Some of them represent the very thing you claim to need your guns to defend us all against, but you see them as allies and advocates. The longer you can only see solutions as single objects, the longer they can play you and harm the rest of us. Because this is harming all of us, the idea that we can find no better solutions because it might mean giving something up. Something, by the way, which no longer has the utility you claim for it. If it ever did.
But I’m done arguing. Argument will not gain traction against the single-minded zealot who will bend and twist everything to suit a desired outcome, regardless of the damage it causes. It’s time to move on. Moving on, of course, means going back to some basic principles and re-examining the assumptions encoded within them, changing direction in more than just the surface of matters, and that is perhaps a bit scary for even those not locked into a one-mode-fits-all narrative.
In the past, major change came about as a consequence of major breakage. That entails other kinds of misery before repairs and solutions can come into play. I would like to think we are smarter than we used to be. On the other hand, maybe the sheer momentum of heading for the break point is just too much. I don’t know. But I do know trying to argue with those leading us to the precipice has gained us too little to date.
Just some thoughts in the aftermath of another instance of insanity.