Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some thoughts on gun issues

I posted the following as a comment to my brother's comment about gun control. He's a boarder patrol agent. Basically he commented about how allowing guns (in the right hands) can save lives. He also argued that if you take guns away from most people only criminals will have them. As most of you know I love to shoot guns. I've shot all sorts of guns from pistols to an AR15. I think it's fun and a good way to enjoy some time with your friends. That being said, here's my comment to him.

"Alright, I've been hearing a lot about how gun control won't fix the problem. You know I like shooting guns and do believe that we should be able to own guns. Now, I think that there needs to be some level of gun control/additional checking before gun purchases are made but I'm not exactly sure what that is. Secondly, simply saying criminals won't follow the law isn't a suitable answer either because there's no completion of the thought. If criminals won't follow the law, why are they criminals in the first place? What do we need to do to eliminate their supposed need for the gun to commit said dubious act?

I believe that to truly eliminate (or greatly reduce gun violence) we need to address the root cause, gun control alone won't work. We have to address the reasons for the criminality. Those include, poverty, inequality, drug addiction, sale of drugs, unemployment, being a convicted felon and so on. All of these causes have significant interaction effects. You can't separate sale of drugs from drug addiction and drug usage is higher in impoverished areas. So, this indicates to me that we need to address the root cause issue behind poverty and drugs. The extralegal crimes related to drugs include things like murder over turf wars and the sort of activities you're involved with as a boarder patrol agent, smuggling, etc... We as a society have direct control over what is a legal and illegal drug. We have control over this - it's a matter of do what we consider the right thing to do about drugs.

The other obvious area we need to address is mental health, which has a different root cause than the others. Many people can't afford the mental health they need because we as a society don't value mental health very well and many insurance companies think it's a waste of time.

In my mind I think that if we want to address the true root cause behind gun violence we need to address poverty, drugs, and mental health. Unless you or anyone else for that matter, is willing to seriously consider fixing many of these issues, then gun control is one of the few options we have to address it. It's a failed option from the start because it's a band aid. In my opinion all gun advocates need to pull together and push for reform on those social issues I outlined to keep guns ownership legal as you think it should be. Otherwise we are doomed to repeat this sort of cycle."

Yes, this is something of a rant, but I think we need to really consider what we value as a culture and how we decide to address an issue like gun control. The events at Sandy Hook and other locations in the past 2 years around the world are horrible.