Joel: Question 1 Reply 2

posted in: Politics | 0

I am humbled by my friend’s admission that I am right, or nearly right, about everything. If only he had stopped there, at that admission, he would have continued to be right.

I believe he disagrees with my assessment of our individualistic society, that we tend to shy away from tackling communal problems lest we seem judgmental. He suggests, instead, that as a society we tend to accept “pretty much anything” going so far as to suggest the line between the murders and the acceptance of so-called alternative lifestyles is rather thin. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood my friend, here, or rather he misunderstands my point and social responsibilities. We have a stigma of mental illness, both from those who suffer from it and those who see it in others. We are less likely to call attention to it, or to seek help for it, because of the disability aspect of it. This is where we have to understand the role of the term and concept of disability. So-called alternative lifestyles are often hidden, or at least practiced in a community. Disabilities are seen and as such will make many uncomfortable.

The visceral reaction we have to those with disabilities is the same we have to those who publicly suffer mental illness. It simply makes us uncomfortable. They are different, not the same, unlike us. They are less than human in some ways. These feelings are normative of the human. They are something we can see throughout the history of cultures via the science of anthropology (see some of Mary Douglas’s work in this field). This is not an issue of anything goes, but the natural reaction impounded by our individualistic society to those who are noticeably different than us. I could mention that like the so-called alternative lifestyles mentioned by my good friend, Luther thought mental illness a sin and even suggested drowning those who were, for fear of the devil inhabiting more souls. We are a superstitious lot, regardless of the temporal locale.

In regards to reporting, I have to agree with Elgin. In regards to the violence portrayed in movies, I find that I tend to agree with Elgin again, although I would have to ask him to define what he thinks government control is. For me, movies are a cultural experience — experience from and experienced by and causing an experience. To somehow stop them is wrong and ultimately damaging to our culture. Yet, like we have done with the more pornographic movies, we should enable the Government to force an attachment of some sort of more secure warnings to the more violent movies.

Elgin soon goes from a reasonable discussion to falling of the edge of reality. No one is legitimately talking about taking away guns. Even the Senator from the Great State of California did not propose such a plan. To use such language is at best unoriginal gossip and at worst, well, I’ll leave that unsaid. One of the reasons gun sales are at an all time high is because of the culture of fear promulgated by such incautious words Elgin as demonstrated. Added to this is the constant refrain of confiscation, something that is not likely to happen due to laws in this country. If confiscation ever does happen, it will mean an end to the Republic general, at which time, confiscation of weapons will happen anyway, with or without records of gun ownership. In regards to the anecdotal evidence suggested by my friend, I would like to see records kept private. There is no need to publicize what I have in my home to my neighbors. This is not a gun control issue, but a social responsibility issue, to which the newspaper should be questioned. My friend and his friends should choose their words more wisely, else we find that fear follows the life-cycle of rabbits.

One point about Chicago. It does have a remarkably high murder rate. Further, since 2010, the so-called strict gun laws have no bearing in reality. While gun shops are illegal in the city, guns are not. This is not gun control; this is a business decision. To continue to strive for effective talking points, I would suggest a more robust use of the facts. Let us not forget the fact that something like 40% of gun sales are not made in a gun shop of any sort.

He disagrees with my limitation of rounds in a clip route. Fine. I have no issue moving the number up slightly, but let us consider how the problem is approached. At no time did I say anything about removing the ownership of weapons or clips, only the limitation of rounds in the clip so as to make it more difficult to reload during public gun massacres. Such an imposition would not delay target practice, only make it a bit more tenuous. Surely, such a thing is not impossible. Unless, of course, you are expecting to find yourself engaged in a shoot out where you need quick access to clips holding large numbers of rounds?

There is no singular answer; however, if we take one of the looming tools of destruction off the table, we are limiting the conversation. Yes, it is about people, but it is about guns as well. The tools of destruction matter.