I got into an idiotic gun control argument on Facebook that ruined my weekend. A pissing contest with two gun nuts and a contrarian. I should have known better. I posted
arguing against 10 myths of gun advocates, like "they're coming to take our guns." (The rebuttal: there are 79 guns in civilian hands for every gun held by law enforcement or the military.) How will you take that many guns away without starting a huge firefight?
Of course, there is no reasoning with gun nuts. One posted long, incoherent diatribes -- the shotgun approach of argument where you never stay on one topic long enough to debate it.The other nut calmly denied the reality of every fact in the article. The contrarian just piled on, because, well, that's what contrarians do.
The discussion veered toward the ATF's attempt to regulate armor-piercing bullets -- you know, the ones that can burrow their way through police Kevlar vests. Now, I have a brother in the force, so the idea that we would make it easier for crazies and bad guys to get their hands on this kind of cop-killing ammo is anathema to me.
But my response was not smart, and tended toward a violence. "So when my cop brother gets shot by an armor piercing round, do I get to punch you in the face?"
Understandable frustration. Understandable desire to wake up the dead. But not smart to escalate a fight with people who are OK with settling arguments with guns, or with the threat of gunplay. And not smart for my peace of mind, as I snapped at a loved one later that day.
I had an inkling I was on the wrong path when I wrote those words. I thought so more and more later, and eventually took them down.
There may be no dealing with people who are so blind to the human costs of their ideologies that 11,000 annual gun homicides will not move them to consider solutions. There may be no argument that will persuade them of their folly. There may be no way to force them to look at the facts. So I guess (since there is no means to effect the change I want) there is no reason to think violently toward them,
But I did.
Have I come up against a spiritual reality about humankind -- that people must come to the truth in their own way and at their own time? Is it enough to just put the truth out there -- like seed on snow -- hoping that the hungry little birds will come and eat it of their own accord? If I cannot force a wild bird to eat, even for its own good, can I force a human to think, even for his own sake?
A Lenten lesson to ponder.