There is a reflex to narrow the scope, to zero in on a single aspect of an issue and make it the problem and so, in addressing it, the solution.
As Americans we want the quick fix; we’ve been encouraged (despite the duration of our war for independence) to view it as our birthright, one born of forcing the issue. We have a tendency to view compromise a weakness and nuance an annoyance. The result is that these days a political position has to fit on a bumper sticker to be embraced – and effective. Where in the cowboy rhetoric of our culture do we situate moderation of individual rights and civic responsibility?
Perhaps it is understandable that a country born of the gun has a hard time setting it aside. Do we need to entirely? Is that what gun regulation requires? I don’t think so. Most people I know who support gun control are not interested in banning all guns; they are concerned about the accessibility of assault weapons with extended ammunition magazines, the type capable of inflicting the level of destruction we witnessed in Newtown. Yet the slippery-slope yelps of the NRA argue that to limit one aspect of gun ownership is to limit all.
Full Disclosure: I own a gun. (continue reading…)