Letters to the Editor

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GUNS: No easy solution to complex problem

Letter by Benjamin Kastenbaum, Tacoma on Feb. 6, 2013 at 11:23 am | No Comments »
February 6, 2013 1:29 pm

The recent gun debate that has overtaken public policy discussion seems to be grounded in a check box-like questionnaire, as if solutions are concrete if we just check the correct box. The controversy over which box to check is fueling this debate, without a deeper reflection on how it is not the check boxes that need changing, but rather the entire questionnaire itself.

We live in a deeply rooted culture of guns and, unfortunately, violence. The solution of more guns seems archaic, as if true peace comes through the means of every citizen being a deterrent to one another.

Yet bans also do not seem to be the answer. Chicago is a microcosm of this formula, yet still has among the highest gun-related homicide rates in the nation. We are overlooking the root of the problem, and that is the culture of guns and violence in American society.

There is no easy solution to this complex problem. For beginners, a gun for protection should be viewed as such: a necessary evil, something to be used only in an emergency and with reluctance. Anything else is not striving towards peace and a better society. Developing this mindset is a start, which hopefully one day can permeate a culture whose trigger fingers are quicker than much anything else.

We must trend away from a culture that publicly and privately worships weapons and violence, and toward one that respects its Constitution, independence and democracy, without flaunting a gun to do so.

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