Fresh question in a tired debate

One of the joys and treasures of our daily routine is the meal time discussions. We regularly solve world problems, cross-educate and cross-examine each other, as well as catch up on hot news from our respective circles of activity. This week we’ve been hashing out Lance Armstrong’s doping confession, gun control, Manti Te’o’s girlfriend (… crazy, right?), the flu outbreak today vs. 1918, a cousin’s upcoming wedding and more stories from the college student’s recent trip to Indonesia.

The gun control debate feels old and weary. It seems hopeless. There are two very entrenched camps. With a little imagination, I can understand how a person’s background and life experience might place them in either camp. My formative years were spent in northern European countries during a period of predominantly socialist governments. No guesswork needed to know where I stand. Understanding how a person might arrive at a position is a long way from knowing what it would take to shift their position. Everyone is seeking data to reinforce their position. Dig in deeper. The public debate forums are noisy retreads. All I hear is blah, blah, blah anymore.

That is until today at the dinner table. The discussion veered into a comparison between restrictions on nuclear weapons and restrictions on assault weapons.  The 18-year old at the table questioned why the same people who don’t trust the likes of Iran and North Korea to possess nuclear weapons would want to trust anyone on the street in the US to possess assault weapons? Isn’t it the same concept?

From her vantage point this is how it looks: our country argues that nuclear weapons serve no purpose other than to kill people and therefore countries that cannot be trusted, should not have access to nuclear weapons. They are dangerous to our national security. By the same token, assault weapons serve no purpose other than to kill people. The sale of these weapons is permitted and it appears that they have been sold to dangerous and untrustworthy people. Isn’t this a threat to our security? Each time there is an incident like Sandy Hook, there is outrage but no action. How can this be?

This was a fresh and interesting line of questioning to me. Is that because I’m just invigorated by what seems like a fresh perspective on my existing position?


About lynnmorstead

Writing about the small things that shape our lives
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One Response to Fresh question in a tired debate

  1. Rhonda says:

    I will be provocative. Assault weapons are not a threat to our NATIONAL security. Nuclear weapons are, especially in the hands of those who hate us. One only has to look at the damage a nuclear weapon can cause to know that only a few people are killed by assault weapons each year vs.the number of potential deaths caused by a nuclear weapon. In fact, many, many, many more people are killed each year in Chicago with handguns alone than all the assult weapon murders each year. Our President does not want to address the black on black handgun deaths in his own hometown, rather he will do “whatever it takes to stop the death of one more child” by assault weapons. Good for him. I am glad to see him stand for something. Will he next turn his attention to the 30,000 deaths each year by automobile? Do we want to take away the right to drive vehicles, to background check vehicle drivers, limit the horsepower of this lethal weapon in order to reduce the number of deaths by automobile? It is a valid argument if one will do “whatever it takes to stop the death of one more child”. I am truly saddened when a crazy person, if we can call them that these days, takes a legal weapon into a school and murders innocents — children and adults alike. However, children and adults alike are murdered by indifference every year through distracted driving. Yes, I say murdered, because when someone drives distracted and kills others, they have chosen selfishly to be more interested in whatever it is they are doing behind the wheel to the rights and lives of others. And for that, they are very guilty. Let’s put assult weapons and the lethal automobile on the same footing. There are more suicide deaths by gun each year than there are murders, and far more by common handgun than by assault weapon. And more automobile deaths than murders. Am I in favor of 600-round assult weapons? No, but do not make the mistake of thinking that the murders of 30 can be compared with the handgun homocides of 500 in Chicago alone worth this degree of restriction of freedom. It is a slippery slope. And by the way, if in fact Adam Lanza was indeed crazy, then he is not guilty of murder because a crazy person cannot decide to commit murder — go figure. This is an an interesting philosophical dinner table debate, but not the most important issue facing this country at this time. There are terrorists out there killing our citizens and diplomats abroad because of who we are. We need to figure out how to stop that, and indeed, perhaps it will take a nuclear weapon on our part or the part of others with a nuclear weapon.

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