CableFlame (c4bl3fl4m3) wrote,

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An Open Letter to My Fellow Liberals & Lefties

(Please, go read my policy for political debate on my journal before replying to this. Thanks!) (Also, x-posted from my Tumblr.)

Dear Liberals & Fellow Lefties,

Hi. You know I love you dearly. I do. I love what you do for the world. I love your commitment to helping people everywhere, for siding on the side of love and compassion, for trying to make the world a more fair place. For trying to make sure that everyone has enough food, shelter, and medical care. Seriously. I just love that. That’s what it means to be GOOD. And I’m hella proud to consider myself amongst your ranks. Truly.

But we need to have a little chat. A small sit down. It’s because you’re misguided on a couple of things. But there’s only 1 I want to talk about today.

Liberals & other lefties, we need to have a talk about guns.

Yeah, that’s right. I need you to listen to me for a bit. I mean seriously sit down and listen and consider what I have to say. I know the standard liberal thought on guns. We see the horrific gun violence that happens on TV and even in our own neighborhoods sometimes. It’s just truly AWFUL. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. It’s hard for you to see why guns should be allowed around. Quite a few of you never grew up around guns, nor have you ever even touched one. You think getting rid of guns will solve gun violence. I’m afraid I need to call you out on this.

It’s not gonna work. No, really, it’s not. I’m sad to say so. I wish it was that easy.

As liberals, we like to deconstruct things. We like to get to the bottom of why bad things happen. Bombings, bullying, etc. We usually find out that it has something to do with the social problems of our world. Racism. Class inequality. Poverty. Homophobia or Transphobia. Intolerance. The rest. You know these things. You probably fight on a regular basis to get rid of them (and good for you!)

Liberals? THIS IS WHY GUN VIOLENCE HAPPENS. I have to tell you this, and if it makes me sound like a conservative, well, maybe they happen to be right this time on 1 tiny little detail. (Remember: even a broken clock is right 2x a day.) Guns don’t actually cause gun violence. No, really, they don’t. No gun hops into someone’s hand and makes someone shoot someone else. They don’t whisper thoughts into your head of a mass killing spree. I promise you. I have held guns, I have shot guns. I have never once committed a gun crime, nor would I EVER do such a thing. It’s the same way your steak knife doesn’t make you go stab people. You use knives all the time. You might even carry around a knife in your pocket or on your keychain. Knives can be used as weapons. But you never use your knife as a weapon, do you? Of course not. You probably find it deplorable. Instead, you use it to cut things, from your dinner to rope. The same thing here. Most guns are used for hunting for food or sport, target shooting for sport, or for personal protection (which I have my own issues with, but that’s neither here nor there). Most of those who own them find the idea of committing gun violence sickening. But for those who DO commit gun violence, remember that it’s committed by human beings using guns. It is *not* committed by guns using human beings. It is NOT the fault of the gun, but of the person shooting it. (And even that is sometimes in the air, as i think, in certain cases, those committing gun violence are mentally ill & can’t help themselves. But even in those cases, it’s still not the fault of the gun.) (Guns make it EASIER to commit certain crimes and types of violence, I will give you that.)

Also, I hate to say it, but if someone wants a gun, they’ll always find a way to have one. Do you remember how well banning abortion worked? Yeah, it didn’t, did it? People just had unsafe ones. Coat hangers and all that jazz. Women bled to death. It was awful. So we fight long and hard for the right of a woman to decide for herself what her morals & ethics are surrounding abortion and then the legality to have one if she decides for herself that it’s moral & ethical & the right thing to do. How about banning drugs like marijuana? How’s that going? Oh, yes, it’s not, is it? Or remember prohibition? We sure did get rid of all of the alcohol in America. Except we totally didn’t. And I don’t even need to bring up prostitution. Hate to say it, but the same thing’s gonna happen with guns. Sure, it might make someone who insists upon going through the proper channels have a harder time to get one. Hell, it might even make it a bit harder to obtain one for someone who doesn’t care how they get it. But, make no mistake, they WILL get one. And this time, it’ll be through a black market system, possibly heavily corrupted, with lots of opportunity for blackmail & abuse all along the way. (Sounds a lot like the current state of sex work for many. Which is why so many are trying to get it legalized or decriminalized.) (I’m not even going to go into the jaded adage of “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”. But there is some truth to this.)

So maybe it’ll slow down gun violence. But incidences of other types of violent crime will go up. Knife crime will increase. Etc.

But, really, in this case, the gun is just a tool, just an accessory to the crime. Remember when we talked about WHY gun violence happens? Shouldn’t we, as liberals, be working on solving THAT instead of spending our time banning guns? Why aren’t we making it so that there’s no NEED to commit gun crime? Why aren’t we fighting for a world without poverty and hatred? Isn’t that the REAL issue here? Isn’t gun violence just a symptom? It genuinely surprises me that the left’s position on these things is a position of removing the gun from the situation instead of digging deeper and removing the social injustice from the situation. Aren’t we usually all about the end of social injustices? Isn’t that the touchstone of who we are as liberal people?

Also, as stated earlier, a number of you have never touched or possibly even seen a gun in person (except for on the side of an officer’s belt). I encourage you… get to know them. Properly and safely, of course. There are organizations that can help you do this. Gun safety is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn, even if you choose to never shoot or touch a gun. You NEVER KNOW when having that knowledge might come in handy and save a life. You’re asking to ban something of which you have no real knowledge. How fair is that? So go take a gun course. Or even go to a gun shop or a sporting goods outfitter and ask the owner to teach you the basics of guns & handling. I’m sure they’d be more happy to do so… most gun folk have a vested interest in teaching others gun safety. Learn about the parts of a gun. Learn where the safety is & how to make sure it’s on. Learn how to tell if a gun is loaded or not. (You can do all of those things, btw, with an unloaded gun.) Learn how to tell if a gun is cocked or not. Learn what makes a gun go off, and what makes a gun NOT go off. Learn that, while they are dangerous tools, they don’t just fire willy nilly at random. They require certain steps to be readied for firing (loading, cocking, the removal of the safety if applicable). If you’d like to, go target shooting with a friend with more experience. Learn what it actually feels like to fire one. Learn their true power. Learn what they can and can not do. Change your fear of guns from an unhealthy fear based on ignorance to a healthy fear/respect based on knowledge. Isn’t knowledge ALWAYS a good thing? The More You Know, and all that jazz? Why hate something you don’t actually know (accurate?) things about? Isn’t that just as bad as conservatives hating gays because they don’t actually know them?

Above all, know this. Gun crime isn’t the real problem. It’s the symptom. The CAUSES of gun crime is the problem. And it’s a crying shame that we, as a political movement, and ESPECIALLY as a political movement that cares so much about social justice, don’t seem to understand that. Social justice, NOT the banning of guns, will stop gun crime. The same way that hate crime legislation, while still a thing I think we need to have, sadly won’t actually stop the root of hate crimes. The only thing that will do that is instilling a love for diversity & difference. You can’t fight ideas in the physical realm… the only way they can die is in the realm of the mind, and is with other ideas.

So that is why, as a liberal person, using traditional liberal values, I think that banning guns is not the answer to ending gun crime. (FWIW, I do support other forms of gun control, but that’s a different letter.) (And, of course, none of this deals with accidental shootings. But proper gun safety & handling takes care of that most of the time, the same way proper driving should take care of most auto accidents.)

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