rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
I have a friend from college, [ 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.
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