Archives for posts with tag: gun control

My neck and back hurt. I did my physical therapy “magic moves”, with limited benefit. I catch myself “pulling on” my neck, even knowing that is not helpful. Background stress drives physical pain, much the same way physical pain makes me more vulnerable to background stress. Yep. It’s a cycle. How best to break that cycle? Choose the most appropriate practice(s) and do that(those) thing(s). “Simple!” (It isn’t.)

Trigger Warner for Snowflakes: discussion of gun control.

I’ll go home early today. I’m fortunate to have a job, a role, and a boss, with room for empathy and compassion. A lot of folks are suffering emotionally this week. Maybe everyone. Another school shooting. Another round of back and forth bullshit over gun ownership vs violence, and the regulations we may need to reduce the latter as a consequence of the former. I have my own thoughts on that. You’ve got yours. Honestly, I’m not opposed to civilian ownership of firearms generally…but… I also think that there are individuals that likely ought not fucking have firearms within easy reach! (Um…duh.) My thoughts? Maybe overly simple…

  1. To own a firearm, I think a person should be required to have specific training on the use and safety practices of each individual type of firearm they wish to own. No exemptions. Pass a fucking test. (There don’t seem to be many objections to the requirement to pass a test to drive a vehicle… just saying.)
  2. To own a firearm, I think a person should be required to be licensed for that firearm in their state – and I think the training requirement and knowledge test isn’t enough; get a mental health “physical”, and demonstrate that you are rationally and emotionally fit to have that weapon. (People routinely have to pass a physical exam to get a commercial driver’s license, or a psychological screening to work in some environments – how is this any different?)
  3. To own a firearm, I think a person should have to carry specific insurance against the chance that their firearm is misused, used in a crime, or accidentally injures someone. (Again, own a car? You’ve got insurance. Own a home? You’ve got insurance. Own a business? I bet you’ve also got insurance.)
  4. One last detail – I don’t think “open carry” is appropriate everywhere, and should be explicitly prohibited for civilians. I think “concealed carry” should be heavily restricted. If your firearm is a “home defense” weapon, keep it at home. If it is a hunting or sporting firearm, keep it secured until you go hunting, or lock it up at the gun club where you do your target shooting.

I’m just saying, I see a huge difference between responsible gun ownership and every ass clown with an agenda having “a right” to have a gun. I don’t understand why any potentially responsible gun owner would object to 1. getting training and passing a test, 2. passing a mental health screening to ensure emotional fitness and ability to assess risks, 3. having insurance to protect themselves financially against any potential bad outcome associated with their firearm, or 4. not carrying their firearm in places where firearms ought not be. What am I missing?

Oh. I know. I know what I’m missing; it’s a misleading question. What I am “missing” is that there are quite a few angry or emotionally wounded individuals who know they are, who want a gun knowing they are potentially at risk of using it inappropriately – or even explicitly intending to – who do not want their “rights” restricted. There are a lot of other folks who just don’t even want to have to deal with the question “should I really have a gun?”, because they have doubts. My next question is – why would we ever let those people make the decisions regarding access to firearms, for everyone?

Too often I read the news, and someone says “obtained the gun legally”, followed somewhere by “could not have predicted…”, when, actually, it’s often far too predictable, because that eventual killer started out as angry, violent at home (or known to have expressed violent ideations on some forum or another), and struggling with their overall emotional wellness. Yes, we fucking could have known – someone probably did know. Maybe someone even reported the individual to law enforcement because they did know, and were concerned, and tried to do the right thing? How horrific is that? To have the solution within such easy reach… and just let it happen all over again?

Maybe get the fuck up out of women’s reproductive decision-making for one fucking legislative season and work on something that really does need (and have) a solution?

Wow. It feels good to get that off my chest. Thanks for reading. Please write and phone your legislators. Ask them to stop being dishonest assholes about this issue and develop some realistic, responsible gun ownership laws. This is not a partisan issue; I promise you none of the slaughtered children were Republicans or Democrats.

Couldn’t we all do better? A bit? Give that some thought. Are you really the person you most want to be? Every day?

I am feeling frustrated with humanity, generally, and it pivots on competing memes, the willful stupidity of human beings defending pet ideologies, and the unavoidable truth that every damned one of us has some pretty fucking hateful moments, and lugs around some pretty vile baggage. I’m mostly quite done with every damned body pointing at the other guy with criticism about hate, seemingly unaware that they, themselves, have some similarly hateful moments.

Fuck, people, look in the god damned mirror.

I’m not making this point unaware that I am, myself, quite human. On the contrary, I am frustrated and puzzled by some basic confounds in my own thinking. I am concerned about implicit biases I am likely wandering around with, that may inform my decision-making in a fairly stupid way. I worry that things I think I “know” are not well-grounded in fact, to the point that I am regularly seeking proof that I am wrong. (Because, frankly, finding out I am wrong is the only shot at correcting poor quality reasoning – I don’t give fuck-all for being right, and it isn’t helpful to “know” that I am, when it comes up.)

What’s specifically giving me metaphysical indigestion this morning is the head-on conflict between posts/memes/commentary suggesting that “gun control is not the answer –  be kind to lonely kids!” is The One True Way, and the other batch retorting “don’t suggest anyone else is responsible for violence except the sociopaths committing it – you could be encouraging vulnerable kids to become entangled with sociopaths!” because setting good boundaries is The One True Way. Fucking hell – are we all really that stupid? Is it not 100% entirely obvious that this is a false dichotomy? That the jigsaw puzzle of American violence is a tad more nuanced than that? Fuck your overly simplistic idiocy. So done with that kind of simple-minded horse-shit.

It matters how we treat people. It matters what we accept, as a culture, with regard to how people treat each other. It matters when we frame the discussion in terms of the value of one group of lives or another, or the worth of one individual or another. It matters how we talk about – and how we prosecute – violence. Yes, when we let domestic violence crimes go unnoticed, undiscussed, and unprosecuted, we build a culture in which some children grow up thinking their anger (an emotion, nothing more) has more value than the actual lives of others. We created that scenario as a culture, as a society. We deepen it when we devalue women, people of color, and other vulnerable populations. When we foster rape culture, and suggest in our institutions and laws, that how women dress or behave is somehow righteous justification for another human being’s lack of self-control over their use of sexual behaviors, we defend violence over “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. We are at fault for the culture that exists.

Does that mean we are also accountable, individually, for the individual acts of violence of other individuals? Nope. We are each responsible for our own actions… including those actions that foster a culture of violence. So. Yeah. It’s not us vs. them. It’s not as simple as a single choice between two clear options. It’s about actually fucking being aware of the consequences of our actions, and of our institutions and laws, and we are responsible for the society we create. We built this. Stop acting fucking surprised. Fucking fix it.

Fuck, I am so angry about this. Just do better, damn. How fucking hard is that?

What are you going to do to make this a better country to live in for everyone who lives in it? (Yes, including people who are incarcerated, people who are poor, people who are undocumented – have you read some of what they are put through? Every.Damned.Day. “Inhumane” doesn’t begin to describe it, and that’s really not okay.)

I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to do better. Just that. Something. Each day, today too, I am going to put my will and my actions toward being a somewhat better human being than I was yesterday. And again tomorrow. Then again the day after that. I will spend a lifetime working towards being the woman I most want to be, building the world I most want to live in. Tearing down the bullshit and baggage I learned growing up, or later on, or built myself. No excuses. I can do better.

It’s time to begin again.

[note: my “liberal” politics are showing, please feel free to skip this post about “gun control”]

There’s no fiction in 50 lost lives in Orlando. Hell yes, it’s tragic. Now, in the aftermath, we’re subjected to reruns of tired ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ rhetoric, somehow entirely overlooking that all practical measures proposed to address gun violence would apply to people, their behavior, and their access to firearms. Can we at least admit – whether we personally own a firearm or not – that some people are not as safe with a firearm as others? Please?

I am frustrated by the reflexive defense of gun ownership (in general) by people whose ownership is not being attacked. Is the defensiveness shown by so many purportedly responsible gun owners [when regulation changes come up in conversation] due to insecurity regarding their personal safety, or is it due to undiscussed concerns that they may not be as safe with a gun as they insist they are? (I know it was my own awareness that I was a living breathing risk factor for gun violence that caused me to give up owning a firearm, myself – it didn’t seem like a difficult choice to me.)

Personally, I don’t have any problem with, or concern about, responsible adult citizens owning a firearm for home defense, for target shooting, for hunting… although I do insist that we all be quite frank about the implied violence of firearm use. Firearms are tools, sure – for killing. That is their purpose. So…um… do we really want just any/everyone to be easily able to obtain a firearm – a tool for killing? Seriously? Even, say, people convicted of hate crimes? Domestic violence? Assault? Robbery? Rape? Hell – do we even want people with unmanaged mental health issues who haven’t yet been violent owning firearms, if they appear to have a high potential for violence in some noteworthy and obvious way demonstrated by ongoing observed behavior? Don’t we want to mitigate the risk of more hate or rage fueled shootings by restricting gun ownership to responsible people, and also to people actually emotionally fit to own a firearm? If those are things we want, then yeah, regulation of some kind is a given. Why is it so hard to stomach basic skills testing and licensing requirements? We do that with cars, and it doesn’t seem to have taken any cars off the road. Why is it so hard to contemplate some kind of simple ‘fitness test’ to rule out the obviously at risk of violence? Sure, sure, it may be difficult to craft a test that identifies people at risk well, without screening out people who are not at risk of mis-using a firearm – that makes it challenging, not impossible. Is it unreasonable to ask that people diagnosed with PTSD eschew firearm ownership until their care provider is confident they are not at risk of becoming unexpectedly violent? What is that so uncomfortable? (It seems entirely reasonable to me; I’ve seen what lies within the walls of the nightmare city, and I have waded through some deep corners of chaos and damage.)

Is the big fear [for people who already own guns] that someone will come along and attempt to place some apparently responsible gun owner into a cubby labeled ‘not all that god damned safe with a firearm actually’ and take their guns away ‘for no reason’? It seems unlikely. I understand being uneasy about it, though; human beings don’t have a great track record for acting reasonably, moderately, and with great care. Silencing the conversation about gun safety hasn’t been a great strategy for change either, though, has it? We’d do well to have the conversation, to listen more than we talk, to really hear each other’s concerns – from all sides, from all perspectives. It’s a complicated issue, but also an issue that seems to have quite a few potential solutions to consider that are less extreme than ‘take all the guns’.

Yes, I do understand that no additional regulation of firearms would be needed if we ‘addressed the causes of violence’… and… Well, given the ongoing contention regarding LGBTQ rights, the hostility toward women in everyday society, the commonness of domestic violence, and the difficulty with effectively diagnosing and treating the mentally ill, it doesn’t seem we’re quite ‘there’ yet with regard to managing the causes of violence – hell, we don’t even reliably treat people we love well, as a society. I’m totally down with addressing the causes of violence – let’s do that! So… how will we do that? I’m hoping the gun owners must have some thoughts on that, since they are so vocal about preferring to address the causes of violence as a solution to gun violence, rather than regulatory measures that might affect them, also.

I’m angry about this. I’m bitching. Words. More words. Impotent words. Words that get heads nodding when read by a like-minded reader. Words that rouse frustration and ire, or distance, from readers who disagree with my thoughts on the topic. No meeting of the minds is likely – no one really listening, I suspect, just reacting to phrases and buzzwords consistent with bias and programming. That’s really ‘the problem’, isn’t it? Argument doesn’t often result in people listening to the other guy deeply and gaining understanding or perspective, that’s left to conversation. When we feel attacked, we stop listening. When we defend ourselves, we are not listening either. To exchange ideas, we’ll probably need to let go of all that, and just talk, which implies really listening, too. Are you ready for that? To ask questions and listen to the answers? To take time to make sense of a perspective that isn’t your own? To accept someone else’s perspective as equally valid – equally valued – and seek solutions that respect mutually exclusive positions? I didn’t suggest it would be easy, I’m simply saying it isn’t outside the realm of possibilities – there are verbs involved.

Anyway. Keep your guns. Let’s figure out how to also allow everyone else to keep their lives. There are verbs involved. 🙂