Thursday, December 20

An Aside: Assaulting Conventional Thinking

The 1,200 mile part of the 1,200 mile move is over. We're not permanently settled, but we're across the chasm and on the other side. We're Coloradans no longer. We're back to being Kentuckians.

Of course it's been raining and windy today. I had considered an early morning ride. We woke to wind and rain though.

For those of you in the arid West "rain" is when water falls from the sky in non-snow form. Kentuckians know rain as that stuff that never seems to go away in winter and which generates large quantities of mud.

Of course bicycling schemes have been roiling around in my head. Of course they have.

What I'd like to chime in on is the school shooting in Newport, Connecticut. I know this is supposed to be a cycling/transportation blog, but its my primary writing outlet these days so I guess I will use it as such.

There's been lots of talk in the media on pro- and anti-gun control. I can't help but have an opinion, despite my staunch political independence.

On one hand I believe because the 2ndAmendment grants us the right to bear arms and implies that we should have the power to defend ourselves against threats both domestic, foreign and local, and to protect our persons against harm. Because of this implication I have to disagree with people who protest the right of an American citizen to possess assault weapons. If a potentially oppressive government can possess assault weapons then its citizens need to have the ability to dissuade the government from using such weapons on said citizens. Single shot hunting rifles are no match for fully automatic modern rifles.

On the other hand, I'm not comfortable with the idea of every citizen packing heat in public all the time. And here's where I'll tie this all into a transportation context: too many people are not responsible or sensible enough to be trusted with firearms. Too many people make too many bad decisions. Look at how the average person drives a car, which is potentially a massive deadly weapon. Few of us regard driving a motor vehicle with the seriousness it deserves.

A few months ago when the video circled of the elderly gentleman repelling the thieves in a crowded establishment all I could think was that until he started shooting there were no bullets flying around in the crowded room. He escalated a tense situation into a potentially deadly one. Thankfully the thieves didn't shoot back into the crowded room. Thankfully the old coot didn't hit anyone himself. I didn't think he was a hero for doing what he did. My life or health isn't worth saving some money or stuff.

Mass shootings. That's a different situation. Take the Aurora theater shooting. In a darkened theater I just don't see how it would be beneficial for multiple people to be shooting into the crowded darkness. And once law enforcement shows up how do they know who is the good guys and who are bad? If you were shooting at a gunman and a cop ran in, who would he shoot? With all the training law enforcement personnel go through would you still be confident if you were firing on the bad guys that a cop wouldn't take you out just to be safe?

Should we ban assault rifles? No. Citizens must be equally armed against the government. Should the average citizen own an arsenal of assault weapons? No. But they should have the right to do so.

Remember, guns don't kill people, people do. Instead of focusing on the guns, of which there are far too many to dispose of at this point, we need to focus on the human problem, the societal sickness that is fostering these mass shootings. Mental health, social issues, economic issues...that is where the focus needs to be.

9/11 was a symptom of greater dysfunction. These shootings are also a symptom, and not the sickness itself. There are underlying issues which cannot be mitigated by simply banning guns. Guns are not the problem.

I guess I should offer a solution since I'm so keen to point out the problems, huh? Well, I don't really have solutions. Not my field of expertise. But what I would suggest is that we somehow need to abolish the party politics that have gridlocked our national discourses. We need to eradicate the corporate influences in the media and in the government on all levels. Until we do those things we will never begin to solve our social and cultural problems and begin to heal ourselves from the sickness that's killing us. Killing the corporate cancer should be paramount.

Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things soon. I don't want this blog to die out. I've just been too overwhelmed of late to focus on writing. I think maybe it's slowly coming back to me.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your comments. Life is more than cycling. Glad to read the big part of the move is finished. Merry Christmas to you and yours.