Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Walkin' in a Splintered Gun-derland pt. 3: The Palinode

    I've expressed my opinion on firearms in America several times now, and now I would like to go back and overturn some previous opinions. I made it clear when I started this blog that I was not above admitting when I was wrong, in light of new information. I am indeed going back on some opinions I've expressed on gun control in the past. I believe in the American ideals of freedom on a personal level and on a national level, and to ban guns would be a ideological infringement that constitutes treating the symptom and not the disease. I hold personal responsibility in exceedingly high esteem in all aspects of my life, and guns can undeniably be used responsibly and therefore should never be banned. In essence, it should not be the guns that come under scrutiny, but how they are used.
    Guns must be kept legal because they are harmless in the hands of responsible adults. Likewise, drugs, prostitution, gambling, and any manner of vices should be viewed the same way, and I know that many people who are pro-guns may disagree. Prostitution is a prime example of something like guns, that when approached responsibly, can be utilized safely to the satisfaction of all parties involved. If used recklessly, guns can kill people, many people, very quickly. Prostitution, if used recklessly, can severly damage people physically, emotionally and psychologically. From the cold, logical standpoint of "which is worst in it's worse case scenario," prostitution seems to have even more of a right to be legal than guns. But this isn't about which "has more of a right to be legal." This is about the oppression that exists in taking the decision of whether or not to act responsible out of the hands of American citizens. The government should not be telling it's citizens "we do not trust any of you with this gun, or with this prostitute, or with these narcotics, or your with own gambling money" without giving each citizen the chance to show they can exercise responsibility.
    A vice is by definition, something that goes against a moral code. Morality is concerned with good and evil, right and wrong. Some things are very clear. Harming another person is evil, and helping another person is good. However, there is an ocean of issues that cannot be so clearly defined. These grey areas are notoriously difficult to legislate, due to conflicting opinions. That word, opinion, is the keystone of why the issues are so difficult to govern. We cannot and should not, as a nation that loves it's freedom above all, pass laws based on opinions in any way. I abhor prostitution, from the predatory pimps, to the greedy clients, and workers with their clear lack of self-respect or standards for themselves. I loathe guns, also, as something I find completely obsolete inside our country. The ease of which they can be obtained is appalling and the devastating degree of some tragedies we have experienced were possible due to guns. However, bans are an indirect, lazy and ineffective solution. It's my right to think something is evil, it's their right to think it is perfectly acceptable, and if we can't come to an agreement based on something substantial, then neither of us has a right to force change on the other.
    The solution lies in a nationwide effort from each and every one of us to be responsible, teach responsibility, educate the ignorant about the dangers of irresponsibility. We also must be insightful enough to recognize when our fellow humans are a danger those around them and courageous take preventative measures so we aren't forced to take retaliatory measures. The only action I see the government needing to take, is the role of watchdog. When there is  potential for someone to harm to others, it is perfectly reasonable and prudent to have an authoritative body in place to restrict access for malicious, unstable, or irresponsible people. To the tree-hugging hippy liberals, telling others they cannot do something because you think it is wrong is called fascism, and for a nation that places such a high value on freedom, fascism is not compatible. To the right-wing nutjobs, this is not about guns, or even about protection, it is about personal and interpersonal responsibility, and you must decide if you are pro-gun because you really like guns, or if you support the idea that it's not about what you are using, but about how it is being used, and the full implications of that. Use and abuse are two completely different things, and unfortunately for our freedom, many people try to blur or ignore this distinction. I've been guilty of it myself, but my personal ideas of right and wrong do not give me, or anyone else, the privilege to restrict another responsible adult from doing what she or he thinks is right, if all we have to base it on is opinions.

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