50 Shades of Grey. American’s have read this book at an exceptionally high rate. This is despite the fact that it is a poorly written soft-core porn novel inspired by an even more insipid series of books. It does show, however, that American’s know the term of “shades of grey” despite a complete inability to comprehend the portion of the phrase that directs nuance into your thoughts.
As a people, American’s seem to be insistent on choosing sides. There can never be shades of grey, and instead everything must be defined as black and white. In recent decades, this has become even more pronounced. When it isn’t black and white, it is blue and red. Even in elections, there are ‘purple’ states, but no one really describes them that way.
When it comes to elections, everything is about the battle and the battleground states. The winner of those states gets to declare that state “in their side” for the next four years. Ohio is a blue state for the next 4 years, despite the fact that it remains purple, has an extreme-right Republican governor (Kasich), and has a variety of political leanings depending on the segment of the state. Conversely, my home state of Connecticut has a strong blue leaning. I understand that things can be one way, another, or somewhere in the middle.
This is even more evident when it comes to issues like abortion. You are either “pro-life” or “anti-life” if you are on one side, or “pro-choice” or “anti-choice” if you are on the other side. There is no room in the argument for grey. For example, perhaps someone is “pro-choice” in the first and second trimester of the pregnancy, but might be against it if you’ve carried to the third trimester when it is more “life” and less “life-prospective goo”. Sometimes the most pro-life person might be for abortion when it is determined that the child will have an extremely painful and short life and that it would be inhumane to give birth to the child.
This brings me to the most active discussion in our world right now, gun control. I’ll probably say some things here that many won’t agree with, but it is my right to think them. The most troubling thing people will have problems with is the simplest; I am for gun control and against it simultaneously.
Now, you’ll ask me, “but Skyler, how can you can for and against the same thing?” The answer is fairly simple, that I view it more as shades of grey in the issue. I don’t think everyone should have a gun, nor do I think it should be easy to get a gun. However, if you are a sportsman hunter, I don’t see any issue with you having a rifle. I favor closing the gun show loophole, but also believe that people should be able to pick up a hunting rifle the morning they want to go on their hunt.
These variances are actually easier to manage than people may realize, and it comes down to the capabilities of the gun. Rifles should be hunting and sportsman rifles, and high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic firearms should not be available to the general public. Handguns are understandable if you live in a dangerous neighborhood, but they should be limited to 6-bullet capacity types.
The biggest argument is that criminals will obtain guns if they want them, no matter how many controls that are put in place. They’re right. However, if you are limiting production of these weapons to low-capacity firearms, than the ability to shoot up a school becomes much more limited with the firearms available.
If you aren’t in the military, you don’t need weapons designed to take down massive numbers of people. If you aren’t in the national guard, you don’t need semi-automatic weapons to defend the homeland. We’re talking about personal protection and hunting, not building an army.
The Second Amendment of the United States Congress reads as follows:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Everyone wants to pretend the know what the “founding fathers” meant by things within their documents, including the constitution. First, no one can understand this except for what they’ve written. Second, I don’t give a rat’s ass what they think now. As smart as they were, the world was a much different world than it is now. They never conceived of things like iPads, telephones, computers, cotton gins, steam engine trains, or automatic weapons.
Even understanding that we can’t know for certain what they would say today regarding various topics, including gun control, what we do know is one thing simple. The Second Amendment clearly states “a well regulated militia…” and people are not a militia. An army, a national guard, these things are militias. If you think you have a militia, you’re probably in violation of federal law, so you might to stop that now.
I can tell you one thing I am fairly certain the founding fathers of the US would think. They would decry our reactionary way in which we pass laws and regulations. When we are attacked by a small group of terrorists, the immediate reaction is that we all have to take our shoes off in airports and be photographed simulated-naked. That attack also gave us the Patriot Act, something that has depleted more rights than anything else in the history of the country.
When a shooting occurs, the reaction shouldn’t be to immediately ban all guns, and the reaction shouldn’t be to start arming every teacher in the country. We should take a slow, meaningfully discussed conversation on the topic and come to a conclusion as a people that moves us forward as a society. I understand shootings are tragic, but they are also rare. Not as rare as they should be, but they are rare.
In 2010, 90 people died every day in deadly car accidents on average. A lot of them are invariably children. Most are caused by alcohol or speeding. We know lowering the speed limit means less fatalities. We know the faster we go on the interstate, the more likely people are to die. People still speed, and complain when an officer of the peace pulls them over, acting as if it is an inconvenience. We don’t have a move to a temperance movement, and we don’t hear people saying “let’s get those speed limits back down to 55.” You have to ask yourself, should you? If your immediate reaction to tragedy is to pass draconian regulations, then everyone should be as concerned about every accidental death that occurs.
We get so bogged down in the black or white of the arguments, we forget it’s about the betterment of society. We have people falling on the side of 55 MPH or 65 MPH, when we could just settle as 60 MPH. We have people who are so staunchly pro-life they believe there is never an argument for it. People believe that they should arm everyone or no one when a shooting occurs.
I’m not going to lie. When the Newtown, CT shooting occurred, I cried. It is probably one of the most tragic things to ever happen in our country. To have such young children have their lives needlessly cut short is horrendous. Let’s change the world, let’s make it better. Let’s to it in a tempered, even handed way, and think about the shades of grey in the world. Let’s remember it’s about people; our family, our friends, and our neighbors. Let’s talk about it like reasonable people, let’s not insult each other for differing opinions, and let’s bring ourselves together.