Why is the gun control debate even a debate?

I know I’ve blabbed on about gun control once already but I read the most amazing article today and I hope you read it too (I even braved what will probably be  heap of pro-gun backlash and posted it to FB but it’s too important for me not to share, regardless of whatever comments I might incite).  It was written by a New Zealander and the point that he makes really hits home.  Non-Americans think that the USA, as a country, and Americans, in general, are simply insane.  And to be honest, they are probably right.

There are Americans out there who support gun control.  There are Americans out there who understand how insane this debate is (check out the Daily Show from Jan 8 of this year).  Gun control worked in Australia.  Australia is really not so different from the USA.  Yet in this regard, the USA and Australia couldn’t be more radically different.

How many mass shootings will it take for any change to happen?  How many people killed?  Will it take the death of someone you know and love by a firearm before you support stricter gun control?  Please think critically about this.  We have given our politicians and representatives power – and we need to hold them accountable for representing the NRA’s best interests, which I think we can safely say, are not the interests of most Americans.  All I can do is try and spread the word and hopefully get people discussing gun control, and hopefully pierce the USA-centric bubble that I think many of us Americans live in.  It’s hard not to feel as though the world revolves around the USA, as the rest of the world does follow what happens there.  But in reality there is a big wide world out there and it doesn’t revolve around us, even though we may think it does.  Europe is just as big, just as rich (if not more so) – but oh so much more quiet.  I guess it’s a bit like when you meet Americans or Europeans outside of the USA and Europe – the Europeans are quiet, educated and enjoy polite conversation, and the Americans are always the loud ones that you’re forced to pay attention to…  You think I’m joking, but I’m not.

I must admit I am biased – living here in New Zealand, and surrounded by liberal kiwis.  Most of whom do think my country is insane (D tells me this on a nearly daily basis, usually while watching the daily show or reading reddit.  Funny, that!).  Yes, I have been influenced by my peers over the time I’ve been here.  Regardless, I still think it’s important for Americans to try and perceive America from an outsider’s perspective.  Did you know that not even NZ police officers carry guns?  Only senior police officers have guns – and its locked in the boot of their patrol car.  Talk about cultural differences (I think I may have been here several years before I realized that the police officers were not armed with guns).

Anyways, if you are reading this, please comment.  As an American, were/are you aware of how we are perceived by non-Americans?  As a non-American, how do you honestly feel about the USA?


7 thoughts on “Why is the gun control debate even a debate?

  1. As a liberal American, I know how the outside world must view the US! But I think there are a lot of Americans who are pro gun control. The problem is that the people who yell the loudest are those who are heard. So crazies yell the loudest and so… you get the idea. It makes me really sad. I mean you asked the question – how many people have to die before we do something about it?

  2. I read the article, and I while I don’t agree on all points, I do agree with the main point. First off, I will say that it’s hard not to be offended when people dis the USA, even when the point is one I agree with, because in a way it feels as if I am personally being disrespected and blamed for things that I have no control over. To say that all Americans are insane is like saying all New Zealanders are hillbillies. It’s a sweeping generalization that offends us non-insane, non-shooting, regular USA citizens.

    Do we need assault rifles? Absolutely not. Are we Americans filled with shame and guilt when mass shootings occur (and the fact that they mostly only occur in the US)? Absolutely. It’s disgusting and horrible that gun lobbiests have the control that they do. It’s frightening that gun controls are so loose that people with mental health issues, or people without proper gun safety knowledge are able to attain weapons that are MEANT to kill people. It’s criminal that we cite the 2nd amendment to keep assault/automatic weapons in the hands of the general public, and the sad truth is that it’s not simply a matter of stubborn USA pride, it’s a matter of big money in the hands of influential people.

    Living where we do, it’s pretty hard to be anti-gun, and I’m not. I know too many people (smart, non-insane people) who are hunters. I have not known one of these people to ever have killed a person, nor have they been involved in accidental shootings. There is a time and a place for guns to be used recreationally, and there’s maybe even a place for them to be used for protection, but there absolutely needs to be a big change in the way guns are sold and to whom. Let’s not even start on mental health care 😛

    As someone in the comments of the article you posted clarified, the constitution can be changed. The 2nd amendment is just that — it’s a change in the constitution. It can be changed again, it can be repealed, it could perhaps be clarified. Let’s think back to the roots of our country. The entire foundation of the USA is based on a revolution against an oppressive tyranny, and the “people” taking a stand (with guns) to gain their freedom and form a new government. Sure, that’s an incredibly idealistic/simplistic view, but it’s pretty hard to completely dismiss that fundamental formation of what has made the US what it is today. Obviously, the 2nd amendment does not say “kill thy neighbor.”

    Clearly, we are not so self-diluded to think that we are living in the 18th century, but what happens if a Hitler or Kim Jong Il type comes to power? What if there is a zombie apocalypse? We are all going to be screwed. I believe this is the source of many American’s stubbornness against tightening gun control — the fear that they may one day need to once again take a stand against their own government. Is that to our own detriment? Based on the out-of-control gun violence, it seems that it is. It’s about keeping innocent people’s fundamental right to live freely without fear of getting shot by a stranger, not about our right to keep a handgun under our pillow.

    As for police officer’s carrying guns, I guess I am undecided on that point. I never really considered having unarmed policemen. Not having looked at the statistics, I would suspect that an average policemen would rarely need to draw his/her weapon, and most probably never actually discharge their weapon. The threat of that policeman having a gun is deterrent enough. If a police officer needs to use their weapon, it is likely only against an immediate threat against someone who is themselves armed. The thought of beating someone down with a billy club seems somehow worse to me. Beating someone is such a personal, violent act… although non-lethal I guess. I think tazers are probably the way to go.

    So, Becca, was that enough of a response for you? 😛 I assure you and your non-american friends that we are not all loud, obnoxious idiots who just blunder around shooting everything that moves. Just remember, that it’s the loud people who get heard (for better or worse), and the idiots who make the news. The rest of us Joe Schmoes are just trying to get along.

    • Yes that was a great response! I expect your opinion is probably similar to that of many others so thank you for sharing!

      LOL – all kiwis are hillbillies! Just kidding. I know you are right – I am probably biased in thinking that most Minnesotans are more normal than other Americans.

      Our government is set up to prevent a Hilter or Kim Jong to coming to power so I must say that when people use that as a reason for keeping guns, I personally think it is just an excuse. Although our government has many failings and we do elect some unsavory people (Michelle Bachmann comes to mind), I don’t think that someone like that would be able to come to power in the USA. A military coup also seems unlikely.

      I understand the need for self-protection, obviously people should have a right to protect their homes, families and property. But I don’t think it should come at the detriment to others. If we are concerned about zombie apocalypse/end of the world/invasion etc, we need to remember that we have the largest, most expensive military in the world. If our military can’t keep us safe, then probably nothing can.

      • I agree that it’s a very likely scenario either for someone like Hitler to come to power in the US, but the Germans never imagined the horrors of the holocaust either. Anyway, I don’t fear that happening, I was just trying to articulate the mindset and reasoning behind why people in the U.S. are so gun-happy.

        Besides, I have been watching the Walking Dead, and their survival depends on searching and finding the stashes of ammo and guns hidden all over the place, so it seems like the most positive outcome of everyone having guns in the US is that it will allow the humans to survive the impending zombie apocalypse!

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