I’ve decided to address the recent push for gun control. I’m not drafting this post in any way, it is strictly from brain to computer screen.
A tragedy has occurred. Children were killed by a young man. He used a gun. The result is a call for more gun control from politicians, angry citizens, and Hollywood celebrities. But I have to ask, what is gun control? Is gun control a series of laws? Does it mean to repeal the 2nd Amendment? Is it strictly regarding certain types of firearms, such as assault rifle platforms? Let’s not get caught up in the emotion and lose sight of rationality.
I don’t know the numbers, and it doesn’t matter because statistics are used to manipulate opinion everywhere. Put a % behind a number, sound confident enough, and people take it as authoritative. I have no authority on this topic, I’m simply exercising my ability to have and voice an opinion. I have to believe that there are far more guns owned in this country than that are used to commit murder or other crimes. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I am. If all of those guns don’t get used in crimes then why should they all pay the price for those that are?
We are all familiar with the argument that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. This makes sense! The people who use guns to commit crimes are proving that they have disregard for the law. Why would gun control laws prevent them from getting guns? The only way to hope to prevent criminals from getting guns would be to remove all guns from the country altogether. No firearms for anyone, or else they will end up in the hands of criminals. I think it is unrealistic to expect that all people would give up their guns, and I think it unreasonable to request it, and unjust to consider. Guns are only as dangerous as the people holding them.
It isn’t the tool that should be blamed for these massacres. A creative person could walk through any grocery, department, or hardware store and find all sorts of tools to use for harming people. The tools aren’t the issue, but politicians and Hollywood don’t understand that, or aren’t willing to acknowledge it because it doesn’t fit with their agendas. I want to know what those agendas really are. Why don’t they want people having guns? The tools aren’t the issue, the people are. And what about the people? They are the product of society.
Take a few minutes and watch this TED talk by social psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Why do people do bad things? They learn it. When? Where? From who? (or maybe whom). Socialization is a term used to describe how people learn to relate to both people and their environment. It is influenced by culture. Socialization primarily comes from family, school, and religious institutions. Some of the most successful programs for preventing re-offending by juvenile’s who commit crime work to resocialize the youth. A bad socialization process leads to bad behavior. What is bad behavior, after all, other than behavior that doesn’t meet the norms of the society where it occurs, the norms that should have been taught during socialization. Zimbardo challenges the claim that the bad people are just bad “apples” in the bunch. He questions the barrel the apples are stored in, and then the makers of the those barrels.
The solution to preventing massacres isn’t going to be found in gun control, new laws (after all, don’t we already have laws against stealing and murder?), or stricter criminal punishments. The solution is found in socialization. We need stronger families with parents who take responsibility for their children and stop being selfish. As socialization fails to teach the sanctity of life, and increases teaching the dehumanization of people – making people consumable items – we’ll continue to see depraved acts. The perpetrators will be labeled as mentally ill, whether or not there is a foundation for such a claim, because in our social focus we need to have in-groups and out-groups, us and them, and we don’t want to associate ourselves with them, the depraved murderers. They’ll be labeled as mentally ill, or psychotic, and the issues will never be addressed. Good people can do bad things without being organically ill.
Please don’t give in to the media hype and political agendas. The only real solution is to improve socialization. We need to see other people as other people. The quickest way to do this is to turn to God.