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So, I've lost my first Facebook friend in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting. I've known my (no longer) friend, whom I'll call Mr. Gun-totin', for many years. He has long been a gun rights advocate, and frequently posts on Facebook with pictures of weapons and quotes about liberty and so forth. He has also commented on several occasions about the "tyranny" of the government and his belief that there would be a day when the government would finally come take all our guns. The argument began when I posted the Malcolm Trumbull tweet back to Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Gun-totin' first wanted to argue the difference of automatic vs. semi-automatic weapons, which, aside from completely missing the point, was initially Rupert Murdoch's error so I responded that he should take it up with Mr. Murdoch. I also noted that Murdoch's birth country, Australia, has had zero mass shootings since instituting strict gun control regulations. He posted an NRA video from several years ago that quoted statistics about a rise in Australian crime that were unsourced and out of context. When I pointed that out, with a link that refuted his assertions, he finally posted, "Pass your laws and see how many obey it in America. Make people like me felons, and force us into a violent confrontation over it. I wont thank you for it."

Well, I responded.

As a result of this thread, you unfriended me. This doesn't surprise me. You seem to think you're a real patriot because you would defy any new laws with an aim toward gun safety. I've seen you mention in the past that you have guns because you fear the tyranny of the government, as if you and your assault rifle owning friends would go all Red Dawn when the government decides to take all our guns away, or some scenario which is actually never going to happen (and even if it did, and it was you against the government and all its armaments, you already wouldn't stand a chance). The reason it will never happen is because the government and the armed forces of this nation are comprised of people like you and me, who have all kinds of varying and opposing beliefs. Most of these individuals simply wouldn't participate in such an action. Barack Obama or "the government" could no more likely take action to ban all guns, or take all guns away, than it could to round up all the undocumented immigrants or declare that ice cream was illegal. So to have this discussion we actually have to have it based in reality and not in some wild-eyed conspiracy scenario where the more than 300,000,000 weapons already out there in private hands could somehow both be made illegal and the target of an impossible government plan to seize and destroy them all. If that's still your big fear after twenty children have been slaughtered by a mentally unstable 20 year-old with an assault rifle (with a high capacity clip that has no purpose other than to kill more people), then you have issues and we really don't need to be friends. If you think less laws and more guns is the answer, then you simply haven't been paying attention, because we have less laws and more guns since the Senate failed to renew the assault weapons ban, and the result has been more dead kids. And again, in that case we don't need to be friends, because my fear is that someone in my neighborhood not too unlike you will have had a really bad day or have taken the wrong meds and decide today's the day they become infamous.

At one time, after the days of the Wild West, we got to a point in America where it was undesirable for citizens to carry firearms in public. That was the point: A civil society, a safe society, is one where people DON'T feel the need to carry a gun everywhere; if we've gone beyond that point, as you might argue, then we've already lost. Personally, I think a real patriot would want a society where gun ownership and the safety of our children could be addressed alongside one another, with an acknowledgement that doing nothing about our gun laws -- which is what you appear to advocate -- hasn't worked. It seems to me that while you should have a right to own guns, everyone else should have the right NOT to, and also the right to live in a society where they can send their children to school and not have to worry about a person showing up with an assault rifle and a 100 round magazine; or to walk down the street and not worry that a gun fight could break out like it was Dodge City in the 19th century. But if your interpretation of the words, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," is actually, "the right of the people to keep and bear every kind of weapon and ammunition imaginable, with no constraints whatsoever, shall not be infringed," then you're showing a dangerous inflexibility to a common sense approach to gun safety in a civil society. If the argument is boiled down to the need to have sensible limits on gun ownership vs. no restrictions ever, of any kind, then you're being unreasonable and America as a society needs to have the discussion without people like you involved.

No serious person is talking about abolishing the Second Amendment, or taking away guns, or outlawing the ownership of guns in America. That's a phantom argument that gun rights advocates like to throw out at the beginning of just about every discussion about guns to make their own extreme position seem more reasonable. What proponents of gun safety want is simply to be able to start the discussion in this country without the opposing side going immediately to "THE GOVERNMENT'S COMING TO TAKE OUR GUNS!!! INTERNMENT CAMPS!!! WOLVERINES!!!" So, if you're ever ready to have a rational discussion on where the Second Amendment fits in a civilized 21st century society, send me a message, or hit that 'friend' button -- I'll be open to the discussion. If not, then I'll be having it with other concerned citizens of this country, who want to find a solution that is realistic, has balance, and gets us back on the path to a society where the safety of children is more important than someone's right to own a weapon primarily designed to massacre people.

If any of this resonates with you, please consider liking my Facebook page - Disarm The NRA
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Comment Preferences

  •  painful stuff (8+ / 0-)

    going through the same thing with one of my 5 sons- that is a gun enthusiast and assault rifle owner.

    he is very docile by nature, more of a libertarian than anything.

    i haven't spoken with him since all of this- i am extremely anti-gun- more from experience than armchair rhetoric.

    i'm sure his lack of contact is due to this tragedy. no doubt.

    sucks
    but i think it's gonna be fairly common

    •  lots of libertarians (6+ / 0-)

      who are also gun enthusiasts.

      This friend and I actually became friends via libertarianism. I eventually left that ideology many years ago (as in, once I stopped thinking like a self-possessed juvenile), but he has held fast.

      Unfortunately, as I watched the nature of his Facebook posts become more extreme, I kind of felt like this day was coming. I always tried to reach out and have civil discussions, but when it came to guns, he would have none of it. And I'm just tired of that attitude. Things have got to change.

  •  Fear is the opposite of freedom (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, dwahzon, adrianrf

    Your comment is how I feel:

    everyone else should have the right NOT to, and also the right to live in a society where they can send their children to school and not have to worry about a person showing up with an assault rifle and a 100 round magazine; or to walk down the street and not worry that a gun fight could break out like it was Dodge City in the 19th century.
    If everybody feels it necessary to carry guns at all times, we have fear, not freedom.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:48:25 PM PST

  •  "libertarian" does not equal "rational" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    207wickedgood

    nor does "atheist", etc.
    When I think of people I know who suffer from HGAE (Hopeless gun acquisition envy) and people have CCBA (conceal-carry blurting admission syndrome).  They're personal/political profiles are all over the map.  The first half dozen or so who jump to mind aren't all white and aren't all male.  I know alot of white rednecks (I grew up in WV with a fair share of realtives with military service).  Those folks don't seem any lore susceptible to HGAE and CCBA (although I won't go so far as to say they are less so).
    The last couple times I needed a gun, I borrowed one.  If I awaken to a Zombie Apocalypse tomorrow,  I know a few houses here in the neighborhood where I can take what I need from some NRA patsies.

  •  Even in the "old West" there were rules. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lonesomerobot, 207wickedgood

    There were very strict gun control laws. There were a lot of different reasons for the proliferation of guns. Hunting for food, vast wild lands, protection from dangerous wild animals, and yes danger from criminals.

    Even the Wild West was not the Wild West we have built up in our mythology.

    chicagowelcomeshometheheroes.org. Chicago Parade for Post 9/11 vets on Saturday, Dec 15th.

    by lexalou on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:15:42 PM PST

    •  true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lexalou

      I was thinking of the early frontier towns where the settlements grew to a point before there was a law enforcement presence... after the law arrived, you couldn't carry guns around town. Maybe it was illegal before, but it wasn't until the law turned up that it was enforced.

      •  True, but a lot of those early law enforcers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lonesomerobot

        were criminal and/or corrupt themselves.  Or the system in place was so crude and rudimentary that it was not very effective. I guess we have evolved in some ways.

        chicagowelcomeshometheheroes.org. Chicago Parade for Post 9/11 vets on Saturday, Dec 15th.

        by lexalou on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:02:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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