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Isn’t ‘20 Children and 6 Adults’ Enough?

What will it take for reasonable conversation about changes to our gun culture? Patch columnist Heather Borden Herve asks if the number of Newtown’s dead is finally reason to say, “Enough.”

I’m tired of the rhetoric, from all sides. I’m tired of the pro-gun statistic fight against the anti-gun statistic fight.

There comes a point where ‘this’ quote citation to defend constitutional originalism and ‘that’ quote citation to defend constitutional interpretation is basically like arms buildup. I’ll see your statistic and absolute proof that the Founding Fathers wanted us to keep our guns, and I’ll raise you my statistic and historically empirical evidence that they never could have imagined semi-automatic, rapid-firing reloading guns in the hands of citizens!

Quite honestly, I can’t decide if I’ve intentionally used that ‘arms buildup’ pun or not. Because I just don’t know what makes it through the rhetorical barrage anymore.

On each side, we find our numbers and quotes to defend our position and we’ll continue having the same argument unless we say, “Enough.”

Can we consider the possibility that a document that is almost 226 years old might need us to legitimately reconsider the context of 2013 when figuring out how to move forward? Can we consider that the unfathomable slaughter of 20 children and 6 adults in a school, a place once considered a safe haven, is a price too high to pay to ignore that?

Because while we may debate the certainty of what the framers of the Constitution really did want when it comes to the Second Amendment, what I think we can all agree on with absolute certainty is that the individuals who wrote it did respect thoughtful consideration, reasonable debate, and discussion without absolutist decree. If they were content with failure to change, we never would have had found ourselves independent of England’s rule to begin with.

The closest thing I’ve found to even begin to approach reasonable discussion about the gun rights debate is an article in The Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg — a link to which was posted in one of the 110-plus comments of a Wilton Patch article I wrote last week about a local group that met with state legislators to talk about the issue. (I’m sure the reader who made the comment and link will be surprised that I’m citing it here, as he and I stand, by and large, on opposite sides of the debate.)

The Atlantic piece asserts that there are steps which could be taken to reduce access to guns and ammunition “for the criminially minded, for the dangerously mentally ill and for the suicidal, and that measures could be taken that sensibly restrict access to weapons and ammunition that “have no reasonable civilian purpose, and their sale could be restricted without violating the Second Amendment rights of individual gun owners.” However, he concludes, these efforts would be noble but “too late” to have any meaningful impact on the rate of gun violence.

He writes that it’s too late because of the number of guns — 280 to 300 million — in private hands in this country.

While I disagree with much of what the Atlantic writer asserts — from an emotional standpoint — I have to give the writer credit for speaking to experienced people around the country on both sides’ frontlines of the gun discussion: victims of gun violence, researchers, law enforcement officers, gun enthusiasts, and lobbyists and activists.

It’s a step toward acknowledgement of what each side believes; it concedes that each side has some ground, at the very least; and it starts to establish a foundation for how pro and con advocates might be able to stop ramming each other and start listening, if not conceding, to each other, “You’ve got a point.”

I acknowledge that I tend to come at this issue from my own, emotional perspective. Even this opinion column has to take a side, by definition, if not just by its headline. But the emotional arguments of gun-control crusaders that get belittled by the gun-rights activists are just as outsized as the fear-mongering assertions made by those same extreme gun-rightists meant to stop anti-gun advocates in their tracks.

But I suspect there are plenty of people in the middle who would like to figure out a way to move toward this rational discussion about how some changes can be made.

Haven’t we had enough of the killings to try? I guess not when some people think we don’t have enough guns, as if the solution to gun violence is more guns. Or that it’s too late to do anything about it because there are too many guns out there already, so why try anything at all?

We can keep headed the wrong way down the road, where more deaths are sure to happen, and just continue going the wrong way because we’ll eventually get to where we need to go. The world is round so all we have to do is circle the globe, we’ll get there eventually. But by then, there won’t be enough of us left on either side who say, “Enough.”

The Atlantic piece ends with Goldberg writing about gun-control advocate Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign, who asked, “’In a fundamental way, isn’t this a question about the kind of society we want to live in?’ Do we want to live in one ‘in which the answer to violence is more violence, where the answer to guns is more guns?’” Goldberg adds that in a nation with 300 million guns, it’s an irrelevant question.

That’s exactly why my initial question — “Isn’t ‘20 Children and 6 Adults’ Enough?” — needs to be seen as anything but irrelevant. It’s become the most relevant question of all.

Ryen January 22, 2013 at 04:07 PM
You ask, Richard, and I deliver: It is a well-documented fact that fascism (as we know it in the West) arose in early 19th century Italy and derived it inspiration and impetus from extreme left-wing and extreme right-wing under-pinnings. This is not rocket science, Richard. Please see: Sternhell, Zeev, Mario Sznajder and Maia Ashéri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Princeton University Press, 1994) p. 161. ^ a b Borsella, Cristogianni and Adolph Caso. Fascist Italy: A Concise Historical Narrative (Wellesley, Massachusetts: Branden Books, 2007) p. 76.
Ryen January 22, 2013 at 04:13 PM
A typical re-wording by Ken! Thanks for more proof! I said "I" would be--I did not refer to any group of people--ha ha. Thanks for proving the stereotypes and political correctness and propaganda you foster, Ken! (KD=AT=JP=all the same person :) But it is better than that: not only did you re-word my actual language--like you do hundreds of times a week on this site--but you also proved that you do not understand my comment. Because you do not understand history and culture of the West. If you can compare and contrast a moderate Greek household slave and a moderate Civil War household slave and a low-income, urban fast-food worker with a family today--please blow me away and do it? I will wait. One thing you should not do is constantly try to twist other people's words and try to put your inane, ignorant words in their mouth--just not civil discourse, Ken. Speak for yourself, buddy? Agreed? LOL ;) Do not speak for me... LOL
Ryen January 22, 2013 at 04:16 PM
You still added NOTHING to the original debate except "parroting" other's comments and cutting and pasting some meaningless statistics with regard to the root cause of the shooting. You just cannot fight your way out of even THAT paper bag...er, wet paper bag..... :) Enjoy! You are not an honorable opponent in debate KD=AT=JP=etc. Just read your attacks.... LOL
Jimmy Pursey January 22, 2013 at 07:37 PM
There you are, Ryen. I see you've also bogged this thread down with your petty bickering, paranoia-fueled lies, and pseudo-intellectualism.
Ryen March 28, 2013 at 10:30 PM
NEWS FLASH: Headline: "Dogs Maul Toddler While Family is at Home" Storyline from the web: "A toddler who slipped outside through a doggie door was mauled to death by her family's seven dogs in the backyard while the attack went unnoticed by the child's mother and other relatives inside their home, a southeast Georgia sheriff said Thursday. Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith: "The child's grandmother told us she was lying in bed when she heard the pit bulls/pit bull mixes barking...she looked outside her window to see them dragging the girl. Smith said she began yelling, "They're killing Monica!" It was too late....Monica Renee Laminack, who would have turned 2 on June 1, was dead by the time an ambulance arrived Wednesday evening. Animal control officers used drugs to euthanize the dogs at the home on a rural road in tiny Ellabell, about 30 miles west of Savannah. Deputies found the girl's shoes, diaper and shredded clothing scattered across the fenced-in yard.... "They had dragged the child all over the yard. ... They tore her clothes all up," Smith said.... The toddler lived in a modest, two-story house tucked away from the main road." *END OF NEWS STORY* Where is the outrage? THIRTY FIVE (35) innocanet children die from dog bites and dog attacks EVERY YEAR! No one cares about that? Every year, year in and year out. Yet we are worried about a false solution to a gun incident--these laws and bans would not change Sandy Hook in the least! THINK about it!

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