We need a new approach to the gun debate

I’m going to assume something about you. I’m going to assume that you, no matter what your beliefs are on anything else, want the trend of mass shootings in the United States to stop.

Think about that. This is a desire shared by virtually all Americans, and yet we allow the conversation surrounding the subject to devolve into hateful mud-slinging.

Take, for example, something a friend of mine tweeted out following the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18 of this year:

“I’m sorry, but if you talked or posted at all today about advocating for the Second Amendment or concealed carry, you’re a piece of shit.”

This is a problematic way of thinking, even if she raises a good point.

Responding to a high school shooting that happened mere hours before with talk of love for your guns or how wrong the liberals are is deeply inappropriate, and if you do it, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

At the same time, I believe calling someone a “piece of shit” for doing so is flat-out false and dehumanizing. It contributes to the breakdown of both our democracy and sense of togetherness as a nation.

Thus, I urge every reader to prioritize empathy moving forward. This will not simply promote unity, but help us to see our shared humanity and the merits in each other’s arguments, making it more likely to actually solve the problems that plague our nation.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that every citizen possesses the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” In the gun debate, liberals emphasize life; conservatives focus on liberty.

When liberals push for government action on guns, they have in mind the children who were gunned down in what is supposed to be a safe and academic environment. This group believes that freedom and security can be balanced without sacrificing either.

When conservatives boldly stand up for the Second Amendment and push back against gun control, in their mind, they are defending liberty. They are preventing the evil of tyrannical government from gaining any foothold.

These are the things we must keep in mind moving forward. When we allow differing viewpoints to prevent us from getting along, we do a disservice to each other and to our country as a whole. We have to rise above this dangerous trend.

At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, we are all on the same team. Let’s act like it.

Jacob Bennett

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