One thing I generally try to do, though I’m not always successful, is to try and at least understand where my opposition is coming from. On the subject of guns, I understand that most gun control activists really do believe that gun control will reduce violence somehow. I even understand the mechanisms they think it will put into effect to make that happen.
I just get more than a little annoyed that the opposition never tries to return the favor.
Looking at the news this morning, I came across this story from The Guardian. Now, it’s The Guardian, which I don’t expect to provide quality journalism, much less opinion, but in a story bashing President Trump’s response to the coronavirus, there’s a paragraph that absolutely infuriated me.
“The coronavirus scenario I can’t stop thinking about is the one where we simply get used to all the dying,” the New York Times columnist Charlie Warzel wrote earlier this month. Just as America has grown resigned to school shootings and preventable gun violence, he suggests, it looks as if it is becoming numb to Covid-19 deaths. Just as the US has prioritised the rallying call of “freedom” over common sense gun control, it looks set to prioritise “freedom” over public health. Looking at images from the crowded pool parties in Missouri over the weekend, looking at Trump’s calls for schools to reopen “ASAP”, it seems as if that is exactly what’s happening. But here’s the thing the US might soon find out about its highly individualistic freedom fetish: it doesn’t travel well.
Holy crap, that’s rich.
You see, this entire paragraph–this entire mode of “thinking,” actually–is predicated on the idea that gun control is a definitive good. You see, the opposition to gun control is only about “freedom,” complete with scare quotes, and nothing at all about the idea that gun control does. Not. Work.
That argument is completely ignored, glossed over so that they don’t have to address the substantive arguments against it. This way, anti-gun zealots don’t have to address the fact that criminals obtain guns on the black market or that guns are used more often to defend human life than to take it by an order of magnitude.
Instead, they just hear what they want to hear.
When someone pro-gun shares a meme that answers the question of how many have to die before they support gun control with “Everyone,” it’s because they don’t see gun control as accomplishing anything. It’s not that they’re uncaring of human life, it’s that they know many of those people are going to die regardless, but many others will die because of gun control.
Yet those arguments are never heard, never listened to by so many anti-gun op-ed writers who instead prefer to debate the straw versions of us that screech in their heads. If they actually listened to our arguments, addressed the substantive nature of our claims, they might find they’re not on morally stable soil as they like to believe.