Thoughts on violence.
--This nation is split right now. There is little in the way of a "conversation about guns and violence." It is two sides, squaring off. It's not pretty, and it's not really effective.
--Under the New Public Service model of governance, we are supposed to engage in a dialogue until we decide what to do, without regard to completing our goal, or achieving a real consensus.
--Those of us interested in maintaining the right to keep and to bear arms are acting calmer than those who blame firearms for the violence in which they are used.
This isn't because we're less upset.
--Panaceas don't work. Belief that ONE SINGLE POLICY will stop the violence is pretty naive. Thus, even though I believe that there are things that we can and probably should do to reduce the violence, I don't present them and then nod self-assuredly and declare "that's what will finally fix the problem."
--I've said before and I will say again that this nation has a serious problem in identifying and managing our mentally ill. We don't even deal with the emergent ones.
--If I truly believed that we could put the genie back in the bottle, and eliminate all firearms from this planet in an attempt to rid the planet of gun violence, I might well consider it, even though I agree with Marko's excellent essay, here. But it's not possible, so why entertain the mental exercise? If we're going to do that, why not settle invisibility versus flight for a superpower?
--If guns are the problem, why is my life not steeped in violence? Even though I literally am dispatched to every call involving violence in my jurisdiction for half of every other day, I have seen very little in the way of gun violence in the last 12 years of service. I've never been shot at. I've never shot at anyone. I've never arrested anyone for intentionally shooting at another person (true story!). I've only a handful of times arrested people for pointing guns at others. This is in Texas, where private ownership of firearms is almost unrestricted: No limit to number of guns, no registration of guns, no waiting period, no state restriction on private sales, no state restriction on ammunition* or magazines. If you get it federally registered, you can even own an automatic weapon.
--Some folks will see that above comment and say, "well, he works in a small town, so that's different." Well, which is it? Either we're back-woods hicks who are armed to the teeth and seething in violence, or I'm working for Mayberry, and we all get along so great, no one would ever be so unkind as to shoot someone else. It must not be the guns, though, because EVERY home here seems to have a collection of firearms.
--Firearms were virtually uncontrolled before 1934, then more so in 1968, and more so in 1986. Yet school shootings have increased almost exponentially since just the late 1990s. Why? Yes, there are more guns. Yes, more people live in urban environments. But those aren't the answer. The problem of mass shootings has grown far faster than the rate of gun ownership. Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, when I saw him speak, opined that the problem grew in direct proportion to the proliferation of first-person shooter video games. Hm. I don't think that blaming the games themselves is the answer. But I'll for damn sure agree that there's an inured effect upon the players to distance themselves from the perceived consequences of their actions.
I see evidence of dissociative behavior among youth that I didn't see much before. Youngsters engaged in online debate move quickly to direct each other to kill themselves. We've got individuals scattered among us who genuinely don't see other people as real. We've always had such sociopaths (for such they are), but it seems like we've started distilling them, and creating a higher likelihood that we'll have to deal with them.
--I am real. And so are you.
--The world will never be Nerf'd. We cannot stop violence, much. But maybe we can attenuate it. Maybe we can actually get a handle on what we can do to help reduce the chance that future sick persons will decide to destroy others. I'm going to try. Please try in your way, too.
--Let me know what you think. I'm interested.
*Except armor-piercing handgun ammunition.
Labels: Adulthood, brooding, civil liberties, culture, Discuss Between Yourselves, fears, Fooling Ourselves, guns, in the news, lifestyle, One Nation, social conflict, The Fall Of Western Civilization