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?