Barry Snell, while at Iowa State Daily (College paper), wrote a lengthy article back on May 3rd, about guns and the gun debate. Over on his blog he has the tag line, “Former college newspaper columnist. Accidental Second Amendment advocate. Almost Internet famous.”
Not only does he do an excellent job of covering the topic, there are scores of links to articles and useful reference material on the subject. As a hobby-blogger, that alone warrants an immense amount of respect. (Research and linking can be very time consuming and tedious). So over the next few days I will post portions of this piece–assuming no one objects–for your consumption and debate.
Originally Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:48 am, Fri May 3, 2013.
By Barry Snell
No experience necessary
In the gun debate, I’ve discovered that one cannot be expert enough about guns. Indeed, when it comes to the gun issue, opinion rules. There doesn’t seem to be any opportunity for any genuine, honest debate on guns, and even liberals would agree with that. I’ve often wondered about this over the years. Is it because my side of the debate is actually loony? I don’t think so; at least, I think I’m pretty normal. Sure, we’ve got some oddballs we all wish would go away, just like any group does.
But all the pro-gun people I know are normal people too — people so normal that nobody knows they’re gun people until they’re told. In fact, there are so many gun owners that if we are all crazy like some suggest, the daily crime rate in America would look more like our crime rate for the entire decade combined, and CNN would actually have something to report on other than the latest gossip.
That is to say, there’s a hundred million of us, owning a few hundred million guns combined, and we contribute to society peacefully every day. Many of us even literally protect society for a living, or used to.
I’ve come to realize after the Sandy Hook shooting that the reason we can’t have a rational gun debate is because the anti-gun side pre-supposes that their pro-gun opponents must first accept that guns are bad in order to have a discussion about guns in the first place. Before we even start the conversation, we’re the bad guys and we have to admit it. Without accepting that guns are bad and supplicating themselves to the anti-gunner, the pro-gunner can’t get a word in edgewise, and is quickly reduced to being called a murderer, or a low, immoral and horrible human being.
You might think that’s hyperbole too, but I’ve experienced it personally from people I considered friends until recently. And every day I see it on TV or in the newspapers, from Piers Morgan to the Des Moines Register’s own Donald Kaul, who among others have actually said people like me are stupid, crazy or should be killed ourselves. YouTube is full of examples, and any Google search will result in example after example of gun-owning Americans being lampooned, ridiculed and demonized by the media and citizens somewhere.
Hell, it’s even gotten so bad that a little kid was expelled from school recently for biting a Pop Tart into the vague shape of a handgun during lunch break (it looked more like Idaho to me).
Liberals always make the common plea, “We need to get some experts to solve this problem!” for any public policy issue that comes along, which is a good thing. But when it comes to the gun issue, gun expertise is completely irrelevant to the anti-gunner — people who probably have never fired a gun or even touched one in real life, and whose only experience with guns is what they’ve seen in movies or read about in bastions of (un)balanced, hyper-liberal journalism, like Mother Jones. That a pro-gun person might actually know a lot about their hobby or profession doesn’t stand up against the histrionic cries of the anti-gunner.
How can we “gun people” honestly be expected to come to the table with anti-gunners when anti-gunners are willfully stupid about guns, and openly hate, despise and ridicule those of us who own them? There must first be respect and trust — even just a little — before there can be even the beginnings of legitimate discussion of the issue.