Friday, August 28, 2015

"I alone" or "We together"?

August 27, 2015

For me the gun debate distills to the content of conversations I have had with people who are militant about their right to carry guns - "I'm not giving up my right to protect myself and my family!" they say. In other words, "The world is a dangerous place and I'm alone in it."

Some readers will agree with this perspective. My argument is that I am unwilling to adopt this mentality. It accepts the dangerousness of the world as permanent and intractable. I do not accept this argument because it feels so dismal. Rather than trusting in guns to protect me, I want, as an effect of not having guns, to be compelled to appeal to the polity and the culture to make the world safe, so I can be safe without guns.

Guns may in fact make their bearers feel safer (I doubt they are safer) but clearly there would be fewer deaths by guns if guns were harder to acquire.

Guns have destroyed civilizations and driven many species to extinction or nearly so. They are obviously the most dangerous invention of humanity, in aggregate effect even more dangerous than the atom bomb. The question we need to answer is "Are we, over all, safer fending for ourselves, or by investing our personal safety in our common safety?"

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