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The Gun Debate Goes On

The gun debate goes on. LaPierre, my favorite man with a gun, is saying victims of gun violence should not have a voice in the debate, and those who listen to them are trying to advance themselves politically. With Trump logic, he concludes everyone and everything is at fault when it comes to gun violence except the gun makers. The gun industry is protecting the Second Amendment by making sure everybody has access to a gun. They want you to know guns will keep you safe in your home and can keep you safe at the mall. The NRA is opportunistic in using gun victims to justify guns, using school safety as a platform to launch Fort High School. Gun policy is an important first step down a hard road of looking at ourselves and what we have made: a culture of violence. The victims of this violence are a community and many of them own guns. If attacked, such as America was attacked on 9/ll, we reacted by choosing sides, declare war and building Forts with walls. We could have declared, tear down those walls, Mr. Gorbachev, and opened up a meaningful dialogue. Dialogue implies some inner resilience and capacity for self-evaluation. Democracy functions best with a dialogue. That dialogue has historically been polarized into a two-party system, with protections for the opposition. States like Russia, under Putin, are empowered by making the rest of us fear the enemy more than we care about our own. We victimize our neighbors by labeling them as “outsider,” and walling ourselves off, almost certain some alien invasion has taken over town hall. Film noir (21st century Fox) casts shadow plays of killers in the closet and we pay for a thrill. Fear is a motivator. It also reduces the options for a human response.

Is the U.S. Senate really such a good example of democratic dialogue? When policy discussions are denied a fair hearing, enacted along party lines by the leader of the party, and debate is blocked by special interests who own their politicians, our democracy breaks in a way Russian trollers certainly understand as one of a thousand wounds inflicted on ourselves. We need these young voices as much as we need the voices of survivors of war, to speak of the hidden costs to those in the fight.

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