Defending the right to debate about guns


By JD Chang

Saw this article by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post yesterday going over 12 facts on guns and gun control. The facts provided arguments for both sides of the “debate”, and his main point was:

When we first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid “politicizing” the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for “don’t talk about reforming our gun control laws.”

Let’s be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It’s just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws.

I completely agree.

Two great things about this country is our 2nd AND 1st amendment rights (bear arms & free speech). If something sucks to a significant enough portion of the populace we both have the freedom and the incentive to speak out about it. That’s a great thing. The frustrating part to many people is the speed (or lack thereof) of the government to react to societal emotions. Well, that’s another great thing about the Constitution. It built our government in such a way to defend against haste decisions and public sway. It forces the people to really come together and decide if they want to buck the status quo. Hence, this means that government will always be SLOWER than the people’s reactions, but it will (or should) be calmer in making large decisions.

Both sides of the gun debate should be up at arms right now (no pun intended) because one side wants to buck the status quo. They should be hurling obscenities at each other because this issue is really hard. They should be discussing it with their friends because recent events have propelled the topic to the national forefront. And, they should be thinking about their familes because it does impact every person in the country.

What they should not be doing is trying to silence each other from talking about it.

A few other thoughts:

1. Social Media (aka “The New Normal”) can make it easier to bond, gather, and support those families affected through emotional, financial, and community support.

2. Social Media can also allow us to hear what people in our outer circle think (“Wow, that guy from high school thought THIS WAY?”) without needing a direct conversation with them.

3. More access to data….and statistics, charts, and infographics will lead to a lot of newly formed thoughts and debates.

4. More data and debates will create a danger of “overconfidence in predictions and forecasts.” — The Signal and the Noise.

5. Gun control and gun rights have been marketed and packaged too well.

Why is it that gun control = left, liberal and gun rights = right, conservative? I mean, I know the historical and political answer to that, but don’t some gun owners/activists support entitlement programs or higher taxes? Or people that want more gun control also believe in a central, traditional family structure or want a more fiscally responsible government?

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