This week’s carnage in Vegas was shocking and horrifying. I put aside my previously written Musing because it seemed wrong to write about anything other than what had happened. But, I didn’t think I had anything unique to say that would be of value to most of the people who read what I write. Then, I was browsing one of the liberal-leaning sites I like to visit and saw that the equally shocked and horrified women there mostly saw what happened in Las Vegas as a reason to double down on calls for gun control. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and leave a comment on that forum. Here is what I wrote:
It is never comfortable expressing a view in a forum in which yours is a minority opinion. Let me lay it on the table: I am an NRA member and have been for years. I am also a mother of seven and grandmother of many more. I consider myself, and think others would consider me, a loving, kind and giving person.
I did not grow up in a home with guns or where guns were discussed. In the Jewish enclave in which I grew up no one hunted. Guns belonged in cowboy movies and on signs and billboards found around the large city where I lived that said, “Use a gun, go to jail.” Those signs had no relevance to anyone I knew.
After studying both sides of the issue and after some first-hand life experience, I became a Second Amendment supporter. If I may say, very few people who agitate for gun control take the time to meet, talk to and understand those of us who are wary of it. There are corrupt politicians on both sides of the issue who see this topic as an avenue to power; there are opportunities for money on both sides of the issue. There are perverted ideologues on both sides of the issue such as the fired attorney for CBS who said that the she had no sympathy for the people who died in Las Vegas because they were probably “Republican gun-toters.” I’m sure you can find her mirror image on the other side. But when it comes to real people, everyone shudders and mourns not only when mass shootings take place but when smaller numbers are affected. Everyone decent wants all types of carnage to stop.
The art of conversation and debate is dying in our society. There is a lot of shouting and very little listening. The bias of most media outlets is growing more propagandist and each side on many issues only sees data that has been manipulated and studies that have been picked to support its already established views. Sometimes a token “opposing view” is thrown in which is either so wishy-washy or so ridiculous that it just confirms previous biases. That isn’t healthy.
The NRA is not a “thing.” It is made up of many Americans, and increasingly women, who see gun ownership as the only way they can protect themselves and those they love from attack rape, and/or murder. They include women who have been told by police that the police cannot come in time to help them so that they need to be ready to defend themselves. One NRA magazine has a column called The Armed Citizen that gathers reports from newspapers around the country about people, male and female, old and young, handicapped and able-bodied defending themselves. These reports don’t make national news outlets.
Others who support the Second Amendment do so because of a study of history and what happened to societies that imposed gun control. Other supporters have different reasons. America is a huge country and what is true and necessary for one area is often the opposite of what is true and necessary for another region.
As I see it, based on many examples, the political debate is not about “common sense gun laws.” The political debate is about more extremist positions where any concessions of second amendment rights will become a step in the road to a very bad final stage. There is an agenda and it is different from the agenda of most Americans who want to do something that will actually be effective rather than to “just do something” or to take advantage of a crisis situation.
Real people, however, can meet in the middle. We share the bottom line, “What can we do to make things better.” The first step is acknowledging that those on the other side of the issue are good, sincere and intelligent people who might have something to teach you. This website skews towards one group of women. Other websites skew differently. Imagine how much more good we could actually achieve if we respected each other, shared our views and stopped seeing those who disagree with us as evil, warped or stupid.
I very much want to hear your comments and hope you will write. Please note, however, that our offices (and store) will be closed from sunset Wednesday night PT (Oct. 4) through Saturday evening, so many comments will not be approved or answered until later.
If our Library Pack or Library Pack PLUS has been on your most-wanted list, now is a great time to get them. With the purchase of either one, we will add the new book, The Skeptic and the Rabbi, for free at checkout. (The rabbi is my favorite one and I believe many of yours as well.) Here is what one reviewer had to say, “Although Gruen’s struggle seems specific to our time, our religion, and our country, under her scrutiny, it becomes universal. Her spiritual journey speaks to Jews of any affiliation, and to non-Jews, because the profound questions she raises about G-d, family, religious practice, feminism, and secular culture are relevant to any thoughtful reader.”