rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
I have a friend from college, [livejournal.com profile] vovat, who's a pretty opinionated guy. But here's the thing: he likes to DISCUSS issues. He doesn't just pound his own opinion into his readers, he likes to listen to counterarguments and debate them rationally and thoughtfully. I don't always agree with him, but I know that when I don't I can safely tell him so and he'll respond with respect and often a really interesting argument.

Gosh that's rare on the Internet. And it's apparently nonexistent in modern-day politics (which is ironic-- doesn't the word "politics" technically mean "dealing rationally with other people"?). And too often I find myself stuck in the middle of parties shouting at each other and watching them get farther and farther from a solution instead of closer to one.

GUNS are a particularly thorny issue for me. See, I used to be pretty anti-gun, and then I met the man who would be my husband, who is a literally certified gun nut. (SMITH, I mean. He's LITERALLY a CERTIFIED gunSMITH). Talking to him, I came to see his point of view. It's a valid hobby. He's safe and responsible. I'm not like "But why do people even NEED guns?" any more. No gun banning for me. But I'm still a peacenik, and I still see problems with the current gun climate. So I'm not on either SIDE, and apparently that's not possible on the Internet.

So every time there's a shooting, the SIDES start screaming at each other, and I feel depressed because I'm stuck in the middle.

In July Nathan posted about gun issues, and I commented on it, and it was REFRESHING. It was SO refreshing because he HAS that safe space to argue on his blog, and when yet another shooting happened in August and the Internet started yelling at each other again, I went back to find this post, and my comment, just to get back in that safe space. I added a new comment:
"Hey, people on both sides are yelling on social media again and it just reminded me of commenting on this post. Because on social media there’s no point saying anything, it’s always on the defensive, either defending gun owners to GunsREvil folks or defending security-tightening to the SlipperySlope folks. And I remembered writing this comment, and what struck me about the memory was that I actually wrote MY thoughts on the subject. I wasn’t defending any position in relation to anybody else, and trying to tread lightly, I just called it like I saw it and felt totally safe to do so."

So people are yelling on the Internet again, and again I thought of my comment on this post, what a relief it was to SPEAK MY MIND instead of feeling like I needed to argue against two extremes. So anyway, this is the comment in question:

"As a hippie peacenik married to a gun nut, I feel I’ve got a pretty good view of “both” sides of the issue, and the fact that there ARE two extreme sides is probably the most frustrating thing about it. Well, that the sides are extreme, that is. Because if anyone should suggest a moderate compromising solution, ie a GOOD solution, it gets immediately shut down. Every time I’ve got to renew the guy’s NRA membership I just groan, ugh, THEM? They need more of your money to keep spreading their agenda of panic? (Then there’s the lesser-known Gun Owners of America, which J claims is even MORE extreme in their politics. I’m not even sure I want to know. Actually, I think THEY may be the ones responsible for the “MORE GUNS MEANS LESS CRIME” rhetoric). If only they would STOP panicking long enough to accept that regulation is not the same as banning, but they just start screaming “SLIPPERY SLOPE! SLIPPERY SLOPE!” I think people should be required to test for licenses the way they are in order to drive a car, but if you suggest that the NRA starts comparing it to, like, Mutant Registration, or for the less-geeky among them the registration of minorities by tyrannies. BUT HOW IS HAVING A DRIVER’S LICENSE LIKE THAT. You have to earn the right to handle a potentially deadly machine, and then you have proof that you’ve earned that right. It’s not the same as being registered just for BEING.

But then every time there’s a mass shooting I have to listen to people crying that this is why we shouldn’t have guns! No guns! Guns kill people! And I’m like, “People, there’s an arsenal in my basement. I struggle with mental illness. AND GUESS WHAT, I’ve never been tempted to go on a shooting spree.” HATE kills people. HATE is the problem. HATE is the thing we REALLY need less of. But that’s hard to quantify, so we demonize the weapons instead. Which in turn makes the Enneatype 6s in the NRA panic further about their security blankets* being taken away from them, making them even less likely to listen to reason. :P

I’m so sick of it. Literally, this unresolvable quarrelling turns my stomach.

*J likens it to wearing a seat belt, himself."


And that's what I have to say on the matter. Now whenever I find myself lost in the shouting matches again, I can come right back to this post, secure that I DO have my own opinion and it's not anybody else's. We don't have to keep perpetuating the cycle of people just getting more extreme to counteract the people they disagree with. That's not the way we solve problems.

Yes!!!

Date: 2015-10-02 02:28 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] angela gayan galik (from livejournal.com)
Very well expressed!!! I also stand by my statement from a prior shooting episode (which don't get me wrong, I believe there is really something very wrong w our national culture that this keeps happening -- but it is not the existence of guns -- I think it is hate AND fear AND unresolved guilt and hurt and shame -- you know, soul issues) but anyway --

Who wins when everyone is fully absorbed in taking sides and screaming at each other? Not either of those sides, that's for sure. Corporations and big money politicians who quietly pass terrible legislation that strips resources from the poor while everyone is yelling themselves hoarse over guns and reinforcing our collective identity as a hopelessly bipartisan country that can never see eye to eye with itself.

DISTRACTION.

Re: Yes!!!

Date: 2015-10-02 11:08 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rockinlibrarian.livejournal.com
I like your way of thinking. It's yet another Not-One-Of-The-"Two-Sides" standpoint. I wonder how many of those non-binary possibilities are OUT there that people just don't hear about because everyone feels like they have to take SIDES all the time. I guess people don't want solutions as much as they want their own way and no other. :P And everyone loses!

RE: Re: Yes!!!

Date: 2015-10-03 01:48 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] angela gayan galik (from livejournal.com)
I like the way YOU think, you non binary soul, you. One might even say we are kindred spirits. :-D

Yes - everyone loses - it is sad. I wish that instead we could ask, what is this heartbreaking pattern a SYMPTOM of in our collective culture? But that would involve much more difficult work of taking responsibility for how we care for the members of our human family and structural change flowing from that ... As they say ... "Ain't nobody got time for that."

Re: Yes!!!

Date: 2015-10-03 07:12 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] vovat.livejournal.com
Along the lines of binary thinking, I find the argument that banning guns would mean only criminals have them to be overly simplistic. So everyone is either a law-abiding citizen or a criminal, with no overlap or gray area? What about people who legally own guns and make mistakes with them? What about criminals who might not know how to obtain guns illegally? I mean, I get the point of the argument, but I don't think things are that neat.

Date: 2015-10-03 07:08 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] vovat.livejournal.com
To be fair, I'm much more open about alternate opinions on some issues than others. I've known enough responsible people who own guns that I'm not automatically going to go down the "ban 'em all" route, even if I personally don't like them. It does seem like there are a lot of subjects on which you and your husband disagree. I'm not sure I could be in a relationship like that, but maybe that just means you're a stronger person.

Date: 2015-10-04 02:01 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rockinlibrarian.livejournal.com

Politics really doesn't affect everyday life so much, which is one of the things that drives me nuts about the "taking sides" thing. These are all just PEOPLE, you know? Everyone has their own stories and backgrounds that make them believe the things they do, and it makes perfect sense from their own standpoint, and more often than not they're good people honestly trying to do the right thing. If we listened to each other more and tried to understand each other, we could find better solutions for everything. I don't know if I'm a "stronger" person as much as I'm just good at seeing the good in people and not writing them off for the bad.


If society should fall into a post-apocalyptic struggle for survival, I'm afraid our world views would finally pull Jason and I apart, because he'd want to set up a homestead and defend it from scavengers, and I'd want to form a collective and share everything. But until then, our real everyday conflicts revolve more around vegetables and vocal volume.

Date: 2015-10-05 04:53 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] angela gayan galik (from livejournal.com)
Like :)

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