A SHORT CONVERSATION WITH MY WIFE
So I was in bed last night watching television with my wife and we were discussing gun control.
There is no more divisive issue sui generis to the American experience and national psyche than the question of gun control. I am often asked to appear as a guest speaker on topics touching on constitutional rights. I always begin those talks by quickly describing my travels and experience living and working with people from similar and vastly different cultures. Because of my exposure to different cultures I am very much aware of what makes Americans different from anyone else on earth. I also know that very few Americans are aware of that difference.
So I ask groups of people whenever I can what it is that makes Americans different and distinct as a culture. It often isn’t easy for them to determine because they’ve never considered the question before. Most of them have never been more than 50 miles from where they were born and most of them live near people who look, talk and think the same way they do.
But eventually the Socratic method succeeds in helping my audience discover the truth – i.e, that it is the rights we enjoy as Americans that makes us fundamentally different. Americans experience a level of freedom no one else in the world can exercise.
Which prompts the inevitable follow-up question. I ask “What freedoms are uniquely American?”
The answer I get varies from audience to audience, but I am always surprised how often the answer is the right to bear arms.
Those who believe this, of course, are wrong. The right to bear arms isn’t fundamentally or uniquely American. The Taliban in Afghanistan believe the same thing and are willing to kill anyone who attempts to compromise their right to own and use fire arms.
I bring this up only to illustrate how important it is to own firearms to many, many Americans. It is so important that millions of Americans value the right to bear arms above the rights of speech, assembly and movement.
I am not that extreme in my views, but I do feel the right to bear arms is an important right if for no other reason than it is expressly mentioned in the American Constitution. My wife disagrees. She believes that the American Founding Fathers’ viewpoint is important, but not controlling because time has made their worldview – their original intent – absurd.
You can see her argument best expressed here:
Gun control is a fairly hot topic, which is why my wife and I were discussing the topic while watching television last night.
The recent horrific shootings in Tuscon, Arizona are at the forefront of all of our minds. My wife is upset and believes Arizona should have more potent gun control regulations. In the heat of our discussion she said “guns kill people.”
I was ready for that argument. “Blaming guns for killing people,” I retorted, “is like blaming spoons for obesity.”
I felt pretty good about that statement. It was eloquent and elegant, bordering on poetry.
We sat in silence a while, me feeling a bit smug, and then my wife said:
“Yeah, but if crazy people were running around killing 9 year old girls with spoons, I bet we would have some spoon control laws pretty quick.”
God, I love my wife.
This entry was posted on January 22, 2011 at 12:46 p01 and is filed under American Decline, Brave New World, dada, Droit Moral, Family and Friends, Hapax Legomenon, Hate Crimes, Headline, Headlines, It's not what you think, Joseph Bleckman, Life, Mad Men, morbidly obese French revolutionary philosophers, News, pandemic, Paying Attention, Politics, Pop Culture, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Pycho-Social Trauma, Small Town America, Steampunk, Stupid People, Television, The Matrix, The River of Time, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, Travel, Why do people in other countries talk funny?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.