Some thoughts on gun control vs. massacre control and how to get the national conversation back on track following the church massacre in Texas on Sunday, November 5, 2017.
“In the wake of,” is a term that I avoid using.
I try to keep my mouth shut “in the wake of” anything because I don’t believe that “in the wake of” is the proper time to discuss policy. We all feel deeply when a loss such as this strikes us collectively, and it is best to let those emotions wash over. There will be time for taking an unemotional look at what we can do to prevent this from recurring. But I do want to say a few things today about how a rational conversation between two seemingly opposed factions might go once we’re ready to have it, and on the topic of massacre-prevention in general, because the time has most certainly come.
A gun control conversation should be one part of a larger conversation about massacre control. Eric Weinstein suggested a few more discussion points for that broader conversation today on Twitter: “mental health, lethality leveraging, [social] pressure, countermeasures, cultural conflict, etc.” Here are Eric’s words:
For the portion of it that *must* be about gun-control, we should give gun owners the right of first refusal to lead fact-based discussion.
— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) November 6, 2017
Regarding gun ownership specifically, there are valid points to be made on each side of the debate, but we need a focus to determine what measures will lead to suitable outcomes. Our solution must at least 1) not exacerbate massacre, 2) not reduce an individual’s means to personal protection and sovereignty beyond what is necessary to ensure #1.
I think if we could begin discussion of a solution that met those criteria—since, after all, we all simultaneously value our freedom and want to prevent more death—we’d be on the right track. But, like other knotty issues, people on both sides will remain stalwart, stubborn, and maybe even unwilling to talk, until we can frame the problem correctly. In short, I agree with Eric’s suggested approach: the focus of our collective efforts must be on preventing further massacres, not controlling access to firearms.
Digging-heels-in politically on the lesser issues, and refusing overtures to the larger conversation should be seen with ultimate suspicion and responded to with no more than a pat on the head. This is not the time to foist a particular agenda. This is the time to work together towards a solution to end mass-killing.