🔫 Guns 🔫

I wanted to share the above article this morning.

I was planning on retweeting something from @POTUS on twitter, but he hasn’t linked directly to the Op-Ed itself. He has made a few related tweets.

This opened up the opportunity for me to share my own link, so I thought perhaps I’d try a little reflecting on the piece itself, because it is the most memorable article I’ve read this week.

Aside from thoughts like “who actually wrote this article” that pass through one’s mind whenever one reads a presidential op-ed, I mostly had thoughts about the many, many different gun-control related discussions I’ve had over the past decade or so.

I, like most US citizens, have had more occasions over the course of my life than I’d prefer to discuss guns and the role they play in our society.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

I was raised in a church that was terrorized in a 2007 mass-shooting when I was 15. I have traveled outside the country several times, which makes one think purposefully about the differences between cultures, particularly my trip to Hong Kong. In fact, just in the past few months there was another mass shooting in my home town.

So, like you, I’ve thought about this issue with uncomfortable regularity.

I don’t know much about firearm policy around the world, but I do know where to find more info if I was curious.

Here’s what I think I know (though I’m probably wrong):

When I lived in HK my fellow American students thought it was worth mentioning (regularly) that no one was allowed to have guns there. The closest I probably came to being in the same vicinity as a gun in Hong Kong were the novelty rifles in the very strange american military themed novelty shop between school and where I usually ate lunch.

I’m am sure that I felt more safe in both Hong Kong and Dubai than I’ve ever felt in any major US city in my life. Heck, walking through suburban neighborhoods in my hometown of Colorado Springs at dusk feels more dangerous than the walk along Victoria Harbor at 3 AM.

Anyway, all that to say that even though US Citizens think of our country as “home” and therefore as an intrinsically safe place, the US has a lot to figure out when it comes to how we handle firearms. And I’m glad that discussion is being had by all sides.

The main concern I (and many others) have is how we can live in a world that is safe from gun violence. It is fascinating that some of us think the elimination of all guns is the solution, while others think the proliferation of guns is the solution.

I suspect, as with most issues, that the optimal solution is somewhere in between the extremes. I’m sure we will find that balance as the discussion continues to unfold, which is why I feel the need to share the article in the first place.

It’s tricky to find gun violence infographics that lack an overt agenda, so I’ll just give you all of them.

Obviously, from situations like my time in Hong Kong, I’ve been exposed to the idea that the solution to gun violence is to remove guns from the equation. I’m not sure how confident I am in that solution.

Though that said, I have also heard that some countries with tight gun control laws have severe issues with gun violence none the less. I’m not sure how true that is either. I’ve also heard that if you were to remove the gun-death statistics from New York, Detroit, and Chicago, the US would actually be one of the safest developed countries when it comes to armed violence. As you might expect by now, I’m not terribly confident in the truth of this either.

I’m not sure what to think. I don’t think it’s wise to form an opinion when I’m so uninformed, and it would probably be unwise to form a concrete opinion even if I fancied myself very informed. I’m neither a part of the problem, nor do I suspect I will have any role in being part of the solution, but I can help my friends think with perspective about the issues we face, and I can boost the signal of messages I think are worth considering.

Above all, I am happy that people who care actively about gun safety and regulation (many of whom carry guns, in my experience) are engaged in the pursuit of a safer way to live our lives around firearms — and that is why I wanted to share this article.

I hope you read the President’s Op-Ed, and I hope it makes you think, too.

Sometimes I write reactions to articles that stood out to me. This is one of those moments. Thanks for reading. -Steve