One nation under guns an essay on an american epidemic

One nation under guns; an essay on an American epidemic. - Free Online Library

Either way, these shootings keep on happening, and when we keep doing the same thing over and over again, the result is about as predictable as whether or not a journalist will cite the definition of insanity to describe the whole mess. So let me say this: Conservatives are fearful of an overly aggressive approach to gun control, and I think I understand that fear to a certain extent, especially in the context of our historically poorly calibrated reactions to things.

And as a progressive who believes in stricter gun control, I have to be sensitive to those concerns, because they have a genuine basis. As blues, if we do want to put in place policies that can mitigate the harm being done, our approach to this issue needs to respect those concerns as well. So let me start with a question that seems foundational to everything else. How can we put policies in place that are likely to address the issue head-on, without curtailing liberties for no proven reason, unless we know how policy actually affects gun violence?

We know very little about gun theft or gun training, about gun storage or gun shop practices, about the effect of guns on college campuses or guns at work. The list goes on and on. Much of this is due to the legacy of the Dickey Amendment, which banned the CDC from using research money to advocate for gun control. But this major challenge remains. As we advocate for more aggressive gun control measures, we must bring to the conversation a humility about our ability to predict the effectiveness of those measures.

And we must also allow room for the concerns of those on the other side of the conversation, regarding the potential overstep of gun control measures where the gains in safety may not be in proportion to the curtailment of liberty. Or, one might suggest that each is equal, and that life without liberty is no life at all. It seems as though in this particular debate the blues take the former approach, while the reds take the latter.

I think it would be helpful for blues to recognize that reds see threats to liberty as just as serious as we—and likely they—see threats to life. With a more honest and open approach, we may find that the two sides are closer than they imagine, and we may finally see some movement on an issue that has become one of the most pressing of our time.

By creating opportunities for meaningful discussions, Better Angels works to dial down the heated rhetoric that gets in the way of real conversations and accurate understanding of our differences. There has been much controversy incited by the role of the Electoral College in our presidential elections, especially in recent years as. I lean conservative, though I have no personal skin in the game when it comes to guns. I also know that statistically any gun I own is more likely to lead to an accident than to an incident of self-defense.

Still, I understand why most of my conservative and some of my liberal friends own guns. Thanks, Justin. I definitely felt like I missed out on calling for putting a lot more money towards gun violence research. Entire books have been written on this topic so I will in any way attempt to give a comprehensive comment on the article by Randy Lioz except to say that the proposed theory that we need more analytical data to determine the effect of gun control on gun violence is not likely to, in my opinion, create any sensible middle-ground amongst adherents on either side of this divide.

Part of the challenge is that complex problems may be roughly categorized into problems that have convergent solutions or divergent solutions. In a convergent solution model, the problem can be broken down into many small unique parts and ultimately assembled into a single workable answer. The classic example of this is the Apollo program that put a human on the moon and brought him back safely. Extraordinarily challenging and devilishly complex, nonetheless it could be broken down into a series of problems and as each was solved could be assembled into a solution.

Divergent problems, on the other hand, veer off wildly at the very philosophical core and no amount of research and data brings these positions back together. There are clearly very different approaches to this challenge and advocates of different models can all create data that seems to validate their approach and yet that data is unlikely to be persuasive to someone invested in a different model. This is the difficulty of using data and information to try to influence the gun control debate.

To Second Amendment supporters, this data will, I suggest, have little effect. At the divergent core of the gun control issue is the Second Amendment and the function and role of those 27 words. It is my belief and understanding that when the Founders authored this Amendments they did not contemplate the need of the Second Amendment based on hunting rights, protection from criminals, target shooting, sport or any other variety of activities where firearms are used.

Most Second Amendment adherents I know are good people, true and sincere, and have genuine deep sympathy and compassion for victims of gun violence. They desire little more than a quiet and safe society where individuals are free to exercise their rights unmolested from any undue influence. And yet, they fear the overwhelming power of the sovereign government in sole possession of firearms as a greater threat to the longevity of the nationstate than the deranged acts, no matter how horrific or heinous, of an isolated few.

In my participation in Better Angels I was recently a panelist in the online debate I was thoroughly impressed with the intelligence, thoughtfulness and clarity with which participants from red and blue perspectives spoke and the willingness to sincerely strive to understand alternative points of view. It is refreshing to see someone raise the liberty interests guaranteed the Constitution generally, and in the Second Amendment in particular, as the starting point to a good discussion of gun violence. That said, in the 21st century, there has to be a better way to protect the guarantees of liberty in the First Amendment than by recognizing an absolute right to arm ourselves against our government.

Thank you Randy and David for sharing your knowledge on this issue. I know we can not keep guns out of the hands of every unlawful violent person. I read as many books as l can find on self defense and what it is like to be in a self defense situation yet I do not know what I will do if I am involved in one.

Between the lines: Where it hits hardest

My only solution is to keep training and reading and hope I never find out what it is like to be in a situation where I have to use my gun. This world should not be a place where we have to worry about protecting ourselves, yet it is for me.

How do U.S. gun laws compare to other countries?

I hope we can all find peace in our own way. Being able to offer our comments helps us find peace and I hope we can keep it up.

I really appreciate the tone and thoughtfulness of the discussion here! These comments have definitely made me think more about some of the intents expressed, not just in the second amendment, but in the rest of our founding documents. Your analysis holds up for guns.

But, on other issues, the advocates of life and liberty are flipped. For example the great flip in the s where Dems became the party of civil rights, which had always been a Republican issue. People make the arguments which suite their biases and reinforce the tribe. I have been thinking about your suggestion that our answers are a reflection of our tribe rather than reason or logic.

I think that answer is too simplistic, at least on the national level. To use reason or logic against a party stance is to risk being excluded, and not having any power to act. I see that attitude having filtered down into the general populace. Better Angels reflects this kind of either-or thinking.


The purpose of Better Angels is to get reds and blues to listen to each other. Pages include considerable notes in pen or highlighter, but the text is not obscured. Choose between standard or expedited shipping to make sure that your textbooks arrive in time for class.

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The state of gun violence in the US, explained in 18 charts