the problem of violence: a limited debate

The following statement might not be very acceptable, however it is the premise I am working urlwith through observation and life experience.   I feel that Americans are increasingly conditioned to only think of two possibilities to any national problem.  Recently these possibilities have been polar opposites of each other.  The media reinforces that the only dialogue that matters is republican or democrat.   I feel like we have progressively been conditioned into a way of thinking that limits solutions and possibilities    This is exceptionally limiting to democracy and free thought.

I can’t prove that my claims are true; it is simply what I have been observing.  So the drawback when we approach a problem such as gun violence in our society we have two parties advocating for policies more so because they want to be re-elected rather than what is best for society or what makes logical sense.  Look at the current debate on gun control.

One group says, the more guns we have the safer we are.  They advocate arming teachers and basically everybody.  A little more extreme wing of this group sends threatening letters to congress warning what might happen if they try to take their guns.  They essentially say, “Come and get them” with the implications being that there will be a fight.  I am consistently amazed at the contradictory nature of this argument.  We will be safe if everyone has more guns, but come and get them and there is going to be war…Wait, what?  I thought that guns were going to keep us safe.

However the other side of this debate wants to pass legislation that will make law abiding gun owners, technically criminals.  If this happens we drastically confuse the fight against gun violence as a fight against law-abiding citizens.

Both of these arguments to me seem flawed and incomplete.  They both seem like they miss the point.  But how can we find a new way when our culture seems to be so entrenched in two ways of thinking?  Isn’t their a third or a fourth of a fiftieth way?

Is a third way possible?  Is there room in our consciousness for a third way?    Are there things that we can agree on, like the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tec, or Columbine should never happen again?

What are we missing as a nation by drastically oversimplifying very complex issues?  Does limiting the debate also limit the solutions?


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  • M. Borer

    Well said. By limiting the way in which we speak about problems and threatening ridicule, ostracism, etc. for those who dare to voice other opinions, we drastically reduce the options available, as well as the chance for building consensus.