1/11/16

Gun Policy . . .

Guns, as you may have heard, have been in the news a LOT lately. Well . . . for the last seventeen years (hard to believe but "Columbine" (as the massacre has been footnoted) was in 1999). There has been much discussion of guns and gun policy and gun rights and gun ownership.

I've ranted on the topic on this blog many, many times (in various contexts and levels of passion/rage/grammar-be-damned-emotion) but the one thing that keeps jamming me up on this, as a marketer/PR person, is the "language" of the discussion and debate on guns.

We talk about "rights" (Amendment 2/Bill of Rights 2 to our Constitution ensures "the right of the people to keep and bear arms") in a way that implies that every one of our rights (as equally "guaranteed" in the Constitution and subsequent amendments) has not been pinched, refined, broadened, or enhanced by hundreds of years of scrutiny by the Supreme Court and thousands and thousands of laws, ordinances, codes, rules, and restrictions laid out by state, county, and local governments (consistent, also, with the language of the Constitution). Of course we rarely talk about those other rights in a financial way.

Sure, sure - free speech is used to protect and enable the porn industry (which has been successful save countless examples where people can't hump children, animals, corpses, et al) but there is something particularly troubling about those who hashtag their tweets "#2A" because 99.9% of those Tweets (and their account users) do not (at least in their language, tone, and execution) understand the difference between the Bill of Rights, the upholding and enforcement of it, the state of the laws and efforts to refine the aforementioned amendment, and the interests of the industry that profits from guns.

Many don't see the truth and lies in the call to arms (pun intended) of endless insistence that President Obama is "coming for their guns" (his record on guns is, from my perspective, DREADFUL) in his efforts to outline sensible ways to keep guns away from people who seek to use them for harm and/or from those who seek to buy and sell guns outside of the existing or future/coming sensible efforts to control how those people might access guns. More importantly many over-emphasize their own ignorance on the actions and role of the Commander in Chief when they say that he is not allowed to lay out a framework through executive action or non-stop begging of the legislature to take the opportunity to do "their" job to begin with.

They are simply wrong. I know this and stand by it despite being labeled a "Left" a "liberal" a "beta male" a "sissy" a "woman" and a "ball-liss (that is how it was spelled when hurled) puss" and worse via Twitter in the recent weeks and months.

President Obama KNOWS that his executive action will not stop gun deaths just as he KNOWS that his directives don't in any way infringe on the right we have ("to keep and bear arms") but he also knows that even if they save a few lives annually and limit the unmonitored and unsafe passage of guns from person to person (note that the right doesn't actually state you can shoot other people or buy and sell guns) he thinks they are worth it. More over the President intimated several times the other day that he would still welcome Congress to actually act.

The WORST part about the 30,000-or-so Americans killed every year by guns (through mass shootings, homicides, suicides, and accidental shooting death (please, gun right zealots learn the difference)) is that their deaths can never be fully contextualized so long as we can't have a real, honest, direct conversation that starts with Americans getting off their lazy, uninformed high horses and learning how our government works, what our "rights" really are and the history of them, how the gun industry is manipulating all of us, how a gun death is defined and the categories of them, what the guidelines President Obama's leaders laid out the other day really say, and then - for good measure - how they feel after reading and contextualizing all of the above.

I'd also like the understand how and why those who are of sound mind and body and comfortable with/confirming to sensible gun policies for the buying, selling, owning, carrying, and usage of guns would not want to immediately distance themselves from those who don't meet all of the above (I'm super comfortable with porn but if you've got kiddie porn on your laptop - you're not my friend and I don't have any interest in protecting your "rights" to it under free speech/expression claims).

I'm a liberal. I'm comfortable with and proud of that. Liberalism (at core) is not actually a bad word nor an adjective for someone who seeks to infringe on individual rights (the opposite would actually be an easier argument to make/defend) and I'm 100% fine with legal, sensible, safe gun ownership and even regulated, tracked, and sensible buying and selling of guns. I'm against the ability for people to just carry guns anywhere and everywhere. I'm against tables full of guns that just anyone can shop from. I'm opposed to the mentally unwell, criminals, those who seek to or have vowed to harm others, and those who are not ready and willing to take gun ownership and the "rights" therein seriously. I'm transparent in this position.

We should ALL be informed and open in our positions on guns and how we arrived at them. It is the right way to start a real conversation.