This is a comment by Nick, mostly on the post “Open Thread: Should Certain Guns be Against the Law?” and by Jed Diamond on the post “Not a Joke: Why Do Our Boys Keep Up the Mass Shootings?“
Nick, mostly said:
“Why oh why does this tragedy have to be made into another venue to trot out our positions on gun control? There will be a time and a place for that. Now is not it.
“Tragedy makes bad policy. If we’re pro-gun control, our gut-level instinct is to legislate tougher gun laws (as Finland did following the shooting in Norway). On the other side of the argument, opponents of gun restrictions point out that gun laws are unlikely to have prevented anything (Norway had some of toughest gun laws in the world at the time of the Breivik shooting). In framing the discussion about this tragedy as one of gun control—how many guns can you own, what size clips can you use, ban on ‘assault’ style stocks—we only end up deciding just how many people Holmes could kill at one time. Would it have been qualitatively better if, because he could only get a 13 round clip, only 7 people had been killed?
“What we so desperately need is to examine what is wrong with the soul of the country. Why are these men so alienated—and to be clear, it’s almost always men—that they feel the need to express themselves through mass homicide? Perhaps that is why we are so quick to focus on gun control, because to understand the root of the problem we might have to address the malignancy at the heart of our society, and that isn’t easily addressed in talking points or as a policy decision. There is a rot at the core, and until we are ready to confront it we will find ourselves in an endless cycle of violence and people wondering, ‘why?'”
Jed Diamond said:
“I’ve been working with violent men for more than 40 years and its clear to me that the causes of violence are multi-dimensional and reducing violence will require that we make changes on the personal level, the inter-personal level, and on the societal level. The World Health Organization published a report on Violence and health: In the introduction Nelson Mandela said, ‘Many who live with violence day in and day out assume that it is an intrinsic part of the human condition. But this is not so. Violence can be prevented. Violent cultures can be turned around. In my own country and around the world, we have shining examples of how violence has been countered. Governments, communities and individuals can make a difference.’
“One of the great things about the Good Men Project is that there is an honest look at the part each of us plays in creating a more non-violent world, how our interpersonal and social relationships influence things, and how our societal practices, beliefs, longings, and fears, influence public policy. The diversity of ideas is evident in this column and other related ones.”
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