Guns. Let’s Start Over.

We need to make new symbols
Make new signs
Make a new language
With these we’ll define the world

lyrics to New Beginnings by Tracey Chapman

She’s on to something.

Imagine the conversation about guns if we had to start all over making terms for things. What if phrases like “gun control” and “second amendment remedies” were forgotten. What if groups like the NRA didn’t exist and Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense were not in existence.

WHAT IF we started over and all the arguments were new.

People with a negative view about guns didn’t use the Newtown Massacre as an opening argument. And people with a positive view of guns didn’t point to Chicago as the reason laws restricting use of guns don’t work.

Me personally, I’m one of those with a negative view. But just think if for one moment I could sit down with someone who has a positive view, and we could – as Tracey Chapman says “make a new language”.

I can sit down and express that I do NOT want to take guns away from everyone. My partner in this conversation could communicate that in fact they do NOT think all laws restricting guns are bad. We could find common ground. We could, together, look at the deaths from guns and agree that it is tragic. My conversation partner could tell me about the time their firearm was used to shoot a mountain lion attacking his dog. And I would listen. I could relay the experience I had with a loved one getting shot by someone. And they would listen.

I could express that gun ownership does not equate to someone being an “ammosexual” another term we would not remember. They could express that it’s good to hear a view from a liberal, without them being a libtard. And that word could be gone from our vocabulary.

What if we ALL just committed to listen. We talk past one another so much of the time. We want to TELL people what they should think. Instead of telling others, we could SHOW each other why we think the way we do.

We have an amendment to the Constitution. The second amendment. What if we each sat with each other and talked about the second amendment – about our Bill of Rights. The WHOLE Bill of Rights with the respect it deserves, and the scrutiny it deserves.What if that conversation took place at dinner tables, in bars, at PTA, at the grain elevator, at the beach, or in local caucuses. What if it took place with a commitment to listen.

WHAT IF?

We could create a new language. We could create terms like:

Firearm education: not training for shooting, but about statistics of gun ownership, gun use and accidental gun deaths. No spin to the statistics — just the facts. It could be taught in civics, at community colleges, at churches, at book clubs.

Gun population: not a gun registration but a look at where guns are located by city, state, or nation. Talk about the correlation of guns to regions. What does a rural citizen use guns for as opposed to an urban setting.

Potential Risk: not about gun safety, but about why people have guns. Talk about how those guns are used specifically. Let gun owners talk about the risks they face and how they are using guns to address those risks. Let those who do not use guns talk about their experiences without a gun, and how they avoided – or dealt with directly – the identified risks.

Americanization of Guns: not about manufacturing guns in the US, but how the US has a unique dynamic with guns. Look at gun use around the world and compare it to the US. Those who own guns can look at how other countries get along with out lots of guns. Those who don’t own guns can examine what is unique about America that might explain why gun use is popular.

I’m tired of the fight. My position feels intrinsic to me, because it is so personal. I imagine those who own guns feel that same intrinsic feeling. We need to talk to one another. We need to be a neighborhood, a city, a state, and a country that can think critically, act communally and address the issues related to guns.

There is much to be said and done around the issue of guns. Maybe we can just start talking to each other, rather than assuming things about one another. We’ve had so many tragedies. The latest being the shooter of several officers and a state Representative. He’s recuperating.

How can we make our country recuperate?

Therein lies the question.

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