The Great Divide over Gun Sense
Triggers that Silence Us
I’m not one who prefers to talk about guns, I’d prefer, quite frankly, that they didn’t exist. They offend my sensibilities to a certain degree, yet another part of me is willing to concede that, for many, guns provide a solution to and security against the ailments of society.
This week, gunsense once again became an issue when the US government repealed legislation governing Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule. The Rule affected individuals having “appointed payees’ who managed their benefits – and alluded to a connection between financial management and mental impairment conducive to gun violence. Laws preventing the severely mentally ill from buying firearms do remain.
Here’s a factual article on the repeal:
Perhaps there is a connection between the mental capacity for managing one’s financial affairs and being trusted with a firearm, but I believe this should be decided on an individual basis for each SS recipient. Perhaps onus should be placed on appointees to be cognizant of dangers and recommend accordingly.
There are substantial arguments in support of limiting access of firearms when circumstances warrant. I am, unashamedly, a proponent of limitations.
There are also degrees of documented mental illness. Where to draw the line?
Earlier today a discussion came up about people who were being treated for depression as unwarranted targets of gun laws. Yet, there is evidence that psychotropic pharmaceuticals prescribed to depressives can sometimes produce suicidal tendencies in patients taking them.
Mayo Clinic has warnings on their website as to increased suicide risk in some patients being treated for depression. Such drugs carry the strictest warning with the FDA black box required label.
There are documented cases of people taking such medications and harming themselves or the public as a result.
There are, admittedly, also documented cases of gun owners stepping in to protect a neighbor or a friend .
Guns save lives. Guns take lives.
You’ll argue one or the other depending which “side” you’re on.
I believe both are true.
I believe that the majority of gun owners are responsible and concerned with safety issues, both in proper storage of the gun and with its use.
I believe that it’s in everyone’s interest, however, to restrict gun ownership when documented mental illness could imply risk to self or to the community at large. It’s a deterrent.
I believe there are others like me, perhaps in inner cities, who would prefer not to have to own a gun but find it necessary to their survival to do so. I have great compassion for these people. No one should live in fear.
Apparently, to some degree, we all do.
But – this isn’t what I really want to talk about.
Gun proponents will argue that gun ownership should be unrestricted as guns keep us safe from crime. In some cases, this is most assuredly true.
Yet, a weapon in the wrong hands keeps no one safe.
See recent changes that further erode efforts to keep guns out of the wrong hands. DOJ ruling over NICS fugitive index
But are guns really the issue at all?
I think not.
A popular defense is that guns don’t kill people – people do. There’s truth in this. I’m not fond of this argument…as perhaps without guns fewer victims of violence would perish.
But that’s not what I want to talk about either.
Tony Robbins has a theory about violence in general. That it fills an inherent and basic human need for certainty, uncertainty, and most importantly SIGNIFICANCE. I believe this to be true.
It’s not the responsible gun owner who kills.
It’s the marginalized, lost, forgotten souls that are economically and perhaps educationally challenged via the simple unfortunate lottery of being born into poverty. This is especially evident in affluent countries where the contrast of entitlement is so pronounced.
Poverty strips human beings of certainty and significance. Basic human emotional needs. Violence fills this void. When an individual holds a gun against another, that individual feels certain of being in charge, of being significant, with the added bonus of also feeling uncertain of the outcome(excitement/empowerment). Any singular activity that fulfills three human needs can become almost addictive to one that has no other avenue of expressing or actualizing these deeply embedded fundamentals to personal worth .
People in poverty that are most likely to fulfill these needs with a gun are also those least likely to purchase it through traditional legal channels. This is a position taken by those who support less gun regulation rather than more, and it is indeed a noteworthy one. The people who want to purchase guns for ill intent will do so under the radar.
So what’s really at issue here?
Is this a gun problem?
Or a poverty/economics issue?
I believe it’s the latter.
If we want to reduce gun violence in the US, we must strive to obliterate poverty. We must ensure everyone has what they need to survive and to thrive.
A Home. Medicine. Education. Equality. Dignity. Hope.
In a perfect world, these rights would be as fiercely protected as the 2nd amendment.
But, as with everything, it’s complicated.
To have a home, a job is necessary – an escalating issue in many areas of the country as a result of unemployment due to advancing technology and dying industries. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a socio/techno/environmental one.
It’s a problem, one we must face together if we are to survive as a nation and as a planet.
The price of education is restrictive for many. Retraining out of redundant industries into new greener initiatives for sustainable industry should be a priority as workers are displaced. Planning would help.
Young people should also be encouraged and supported in advancing their education. This has been a progressive initiative in the last administration and goals were showing progress. It’s important we acknowledge this and continue to carry the torch for our future generations.
Education brings opportunity – in jobs – in creature comforts – in dignity – in hope.
Medicine and Health Care – also a contentious issue as the American Health Care Act is rolled out. Citizens should have the security of knowing that when sick they’ll be treated, that the premiums paid won’t erode their quality of living, and that catastrophic illness will not leave them homeless and destitute while insurance companies enjoy billion dollar profits.
The old saying that you don’t have anything unless you have your health is fundamental. Preventing and treating disease should be a priority.
So now we’ve covered them:
A Home. Medicine. Education. Equality. Dignity. Hope.
I don’t think gun control would be such a contentious issue if only our society fostered quality of life for everyone rather than a select few.
I haven’t had a really strong stance on Basic Income until pondering the divide on this gun issue coupled with statistics of violent crime and demographics of same. Then I factor in increasing unemployment from dying industries and the potential for an upsurge in crime stats that have been steadily declining.
Bottom line – poverty creates violence.
Education prevents poverty.
In an interim while job demographics shift to new greener industry where employment will be stabilized, why not Basic Income?
Why not Basic Income for families struggling to put their kids through school?
Why not make Basic Income contingent upon study for bettering one’s contribution to society?
Why not Basic Income for all living beings? Without conditions?
People could put their dreams into action, studying, volunteering, helping each other fulfill legacies of hope rather than hate.
How to pay for it? Here’s one idea:
Why not empower ALL of society – arm the poverty stricken with knowledge and tools to build great lives instead of perpetuating a damaging perception that they need to arm themselves with guns for power or for protection.
I’m not suggesting socialism. This country was built upon capitalism. But why not weave strategies like Basic Income into the fabric of incentive for achievement of the American dream… for all?
My contention is that no one would be battling over gun laws if poverty could be abolished. Most people wouldn’t feel the need for protection from their struggling neighbors if economic disparity wasn’t a factor in motivating and sustaining crime.
Violent crime would decrease, fear would calm, guns would seem unnecessary as protection. Perhaps guns could become like ancient artifacts… historical collections to remind us of our fight for equality, and of both the intrinsic and societal value of generosity of spirit in uplifting those less fortunate than ourselves.
Money spent to arm ourselves, individually and as a country, could be better spent in lifting up the other such that we can all rise together. Basic Income for the underprivileged is a sensible solution and use of taxpayer dollars in all corners of the earth.
That’s my vision. That’s the world I’d prefer and be proud to live in.
It’s why, as a member of the RESISTANCE, I fight. On all issues.
Neither with fist, nor weapon, but with a powerful hope for a country and for a world where we recognize and honor that we are all in this together, happily and joyfully sharing the experience of walking a path littered with challenge but rich in spirit… and in the undeniable presence of faith and of hope.
We are one.
We are all connected, as are the issues that create the need to take up arms against each other. Let’s lay down the arms, and choreograph a dance that showcases our shared humanity.