–Gun control activists need to learn a little sympathy

February 23, 2018

Some facts.

There are 126 million households in the United States. In 35 percent of those households — some 44 million — there is a gun. There is an average of 2.8 people per household, according to the Census Bureau. This means that something like 120 million people in this country live with at least one gun in their homes.

In 2013, 107,000 crimes in the United States were committed with a gun. There are 330 million people in the United States. If we assume every one of those crimes was the work of a different individual, then .03 percent of all those who live with a gun in the United States used that gun in the commission of a crime.

That’s not 3 percent. That’s not one-third of a percent. That’s three-hundredths of a percent.

There are approximately 120,000 schools in the United States. If we use the term “school shooting” in the most capacious way, there have been 145 incidents since 2010. That means .12 percent of all schools in the United States have suffered the horror of a school shooting.

If you are the sort of person who believes guns are evil objects no one should want to possess, or that semi-automatic weapons are especially monstrous devices no one should be allowed to own, these numbers won’t matter all that much to you, or at all. In your mind, the very fact that guns are used in crimes, especially in mass shootings, invalidates any arguments on their behalf.

Now, you might be stirred to appreciate the challenges to a family in a rural area 25 or 50 miles from the nearest police station who could not rely on the local constabulary to protect them from a marauder.

And you might appreciate that people under direct threat — someone under a fatwa, say, or a celebrity with a violent stalker — might need special protection from a private bodyguard carrying a weapon.

But you are almost certain to ask, “Why does anyone need these things when they can do such harm?” You scoff at the tired line that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. You have likely assigned moral meaning to the ownership of a gun. And you have judged those who own one to be suffering from a moral flaw, and those who own many to be fetishistic monsters.

Here’s the thing, my gun-restricting friends (and I have many). Those 35 percent of American households are geographically distributed in such a way that you’ll never secure your objective if you cannot engage the people who own guns in a conversation that begins with the proposition that you are better than they are.

Because they don’t think you are better than they are. They think they are just fine.

If they’re hunters, they do not believe hunting is evil. They think hunting is a noble sport, a proud tradition and a way of living off the land.

If they’re gun owners out of a sense of a need for protection, they believe what they are doing is providing security for themselves, their families and their property. They think they are being self-reliant, and the virtue of self-reliance is one of the most deeply ingrained American notions. Just ask Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And if they want guns just to want guns, they believe that is no different from wanting a Louboutin or a Birkin bag. They’re not demanding you stop wearing your fancy shoes, why should you control what it is they wish to purchase?

What you have to understand is that while you believe you have all the moral force on your side, you cannot make a gun owner believe that he is the Parkland shooter. Because he isn’t. And let’s face it — somewhere, deep in your heart, you think he is.

So if you genuinely want to alter the trajectory of America’s gun culture, stop thinking of yourself as a moral paragon and the people whose rights you are seeking to curtail as potential mass murderers and start thinking of them as fellow citizens you have to convince. – #1 News in a FLASH

Twitter – @realnewsco

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