There was a comment posted on a previous blog that I wrote CLICK HERE TO READ and in response to my gun debate with Darla Jay on Friday night. (KMBZ 980 from 6-9 p.m. – thanks Darla!) that I think needs some attention and a reply.
I’m including the link to this comment, because the comments are hard to find on my blog: http://pleasantlyeccentric.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/attention-nra-and-politicians-idea-to-overhaul-mental-health-you-cant-ignore/#comments (note to self – change comments section to be more visible on blog)
Please go read it and then come back.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
First, thank you for listening to Darla’s show last night and for taking the time to respond to my blog post. Your response was insightful, respectful and I enjoyed reading it. It was much better than the text that came in during the show that read “SHE IS JUST WRONG”. I really appreciate it.
You bring up some excellent points, as did a lot of the callers on last night’s show. I think it is this kind of healthy dialog that will get real change to occur.
So let me respond to some of your points.
I’ve found that most people that aren’t familiar with guns tend to be a little uneasy around them and don’t see the need for anyone to own one.
Mr. Fisher, you are correct here, but I would say “uneasy” is an understatement. The word I would have used is scared. The outbreak of mass shootings has me on edge. I know there are statistics that you could find that could show that the probability that I would be shot in a mass shooting is almost nothing. I get that, but I can’t help but be more than just a little uneasy about guns, mass shootings and the fact that a lot of these guns used were purchased legally.
While you were on Darla’s show a fella called in and made mention about cars killing more people than guns. You said that guns were designed to kill and cars weren’t. Going by the statistics that you like to promote it is pretty clear that cars DO kill many thousands more civilians than do guns.
You are correct here Mr. Fisher, cars do kill many more people than guns. I found this argument to be the most interesting in last night’s debate. I don’t know how well I made my point last night, so let me lay it out here.
You can’t ignore the fact that guns were originally designed and produced to hurt and kill. It may be animals, it may be people, but the invention of guns and bullets was to hurt and kill. Cars on the other hand were designed to get a person from one place to another – it is far from the same thing.
You go on to say-Lets regulate cars. You know they have a lot more moving parts that can malfunction and there you go, you have an accident. But it probably could have been prevented by better maintenance which you are responsible for or it could have more design controls that would make the car so expensive that you couldn’t afford one. Is that something you are interested in?
We do regulate cars! In fact, the states with the highest number of vehicle fatalities are the states with the fewest regulations.
We are constantly increasing the safety standards and passing new legislation to keep people safe on the roads. I think my daughter has to sit in a booster seat until she is 21 now. Increased vehicle fatalities means more regulations whether it be in seat belt laws and fines, reduced speed limits, no texting while driving laws and higher penalties and for drunk driving. Why shouldn’t the same be true for guns? By the way, remind me not to drive in Mississippi – they ranked #1 on the list for vehicle fatalities.
The 2nd amendment is not free from regulation. Let’s remember that the 1st amendment is regulated all the time. Freedom of speech, like I enjoy here, is regulated. I don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, I don’t have the right to drop the f-bomb on network television (cable – well that’s another story), I can be sued if I slander someone’s name. Why do gun advocates think that the 2nd amendment is so sacred and can’t be regulated?
You also bring up mental health - Mental health issues have been connected to a lot of the suicides and school killings. In fact if you are going to kill someone whether it is with a gun or something else you have to have some kind of mental issue. So why not address that? The money you would spend on more gun controls would be better spent on better research and help for the mentally ill. The money you would be spending would help more people and help prevent more suicides and school killings than any gun control you can dream up.
You and I agree on something! Yes, please let’s do something about mental health! Again, I’m at a loss for what can be except throw more money at the problem. What I’ve heard suggested is more state mental institutions, forced institutionalization and the mental health database proposal. Maybe this is the same frustration you share with me about guns – you are punishing the many for the acts of the few. If early intervention is the key to prevent more shootings, then who get institutionalized? Who gets put in the database and monitored? Like I said last night, millions of Americans take antidepressants. Do we put everyone in the database and monitor all of these people who take these drugs? Do we force institutionalization on everyone who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia How about bi-polar? Where does it stop? There are many people who have these conditions that lead productive lives and are not a danger to society.
I don’t think either one of us has the solutions to this complex problem. Like I said last night, as much as I would like to see a gun-free society, even I understand that isn’t going to be possible. I think the point of this whole thing is both sides have to give. Maybe the gun supporters need to stop believing that the government is going to take all guns and maybe those of us who have been diagnosed with a mental illness need to not be so paranoid about being locked away. I believe it has to be a combination of both – better mental health services and funding and more measures to keep citizens safe from guns. I hope that maybe I have swayed you just a little.
Again, I can’t thank you enough for providing your comment. I don’t think either one of us will ever see eye-to-eye, but I can definitely say I understand your point of view better. Who knows, maybe some politicians in Washington will read your comment and my response and maybe they can learn something.