How we approach change and how we personally relate to issues can make all the difference between whether we get upset and fight to defend the status quo and our values or whether we listen and consider that maybe we can have our cake and eat it too! Like most progressives, when presented with hard-line conservative positions, I just shake my head and become resigned. Gun control is one of those issues. I simply cannot understand how unrestricted and laissez-faire attitudes toward guns make a lot of sense. Marc Carman agrees and wants to shift from being about gun CONTROL to being about responsible gun OWNERSHIP — a subtle but important distinction that I can support. Take a look at his proposal:
If we think about all the school shootings and other crazy atrocities over the past couple of decades, it is pretty obvious that there is more going on than just access to firearms although that isn’t to be minimized. Many write these off to mental health problems which no doubt are true, but there is also a kind of cultural malaise that is reflected in the fact that we tolerate extremists on either end of the political spectrum and have forgotten or lost a core narrative about what it means to be a human being, about citizenship, about personal responsibility, about community. We’ve fallen into the belief and practice of thinking that our personal points of view are true and have no space for other views. When we are challenged, we feel attacked or abused and entitled to fight back. We stop listening to anyone who disagrees with us. We blame others for whatever grievances we have. We’re becoming a society of angry and resentful victims.
When educators, pastors and occasionally civic leaders call for sanity and try to appeal to our character and sense of moral decency they are often shouted down as idealistic or naïve. We seem to have fallen into a cynical drift and become resigned to the idea that free speech means political correctness and people with different views can’t have a civil discourse without resorting to name calling and propaganda to win points in the polls. We’ve even seen this in how some have responded to the Pope’s leadership in attempting to wake up the world to the ethical and moral implications of what we’re doing to nature and to ourselves — “how dare he trespass onto subjects that are none of his business” as if taking a stand is an affront to their political agendas.
Are we so ignorant or afraid that we’re unwilling to take a stand FOR what we believe without being AGAINST what others believe? This ex-policeman is a conservative and has a very different notion of and relationship with guns than I do. But, I can respect and even support his ideas even if his proposed policies are different than mine. Perhaps someday he will reciprocate by accepting mine. Together we might create a world in which we value differences and diversity as the raw material for our collective survival and even for a future that can include everyone — a future that works for everyone.