My political thought of the day:
I’ve been thinking about a tweet made recently Nate Bell (AS state legislator), who wrote
He’s since apologized for the timing (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/19/gop-lawmaker-reacts-to-manhunt-i-wonder-how-many-boston-liberals-spent-the-night-cowering-wishing-they-had-an-ar-15/).
I agree it is in bad taste to say something like this while people were still reeling from the bombs and afraid of what was coming next. That’s why I held off talking about it for a while. But the basic thought here is really interesting because as far as I know there *wasn’t* rioting or widespread mayhem in Boston. The only real threat seemed to be from the brothers and anyone else they might be working with. I get that people were anxious and really wanted security, but Boston is also a very large city – the odds that those brothers would break into your house and attack your family are infinitesimal. The odds of your freaked-out neighbor accidentally shooting you because they are scared and stressed and have an AR-15 on hand seems significantly higher to me.
What really fascinates me though is this assumption that if you don’t have a gun in a dangerous situation, you have to be so scared of what could happen, you end up cowering. Not so, at least with me. My decision not to carry a gun brings with it a certain acceptance of what I can and can’t do in a certain situation, along with what I think is a more realistic assessment of the situation. I think having a gun would actually raise my anxiety, because I would feel like it was my responsibility to control a situation that was really uncontrollable – being unarmed forces me to face the reality that there are some things beyond my control.
This is a lot of what worries me about my country’s focus on gun rights. At least for me, the thought of owning a gun gives me a false sense of security, not a real one. It seems to dwell too much on fear and our need to control it, and ignore the equally real need not to let these rare, extreme events control so much of our lives. Contrary to Mr. Bell, my refusal to carry a gun, with all that implies, gives me the courage I need *not* to let terror(ism) control my life.