I have just unfriended only the second person ever. My feeling is, and remains, that if I am going to spout off in this public space, I should not try to shut down those who disagree with me.
But there are limits.
The argument that “if you take away our guns, only criminals will have guns” is meaningless in these murder tragedies or the shooting of a Congresswoman because the shooters are not “criminals,” they are mentally unstable “normal” people. Their actions are clear evidence that access to weapons of a certain kind, weapons which have nothing to do with hunting or sports shooting, is an issue we should and must deal with.
The argument that “if only they had guns, they would have stopped him” is ludicrous. Who is “they”? The teachers,? The principal/ The kids? Everybody? And when this lunatic blasts his way through the door with an automatic weapon, dressed in body armor, and starts shooting, what then? Who is immediately prepared to react? What will be the results of a suddenly erupting gun battle in a closed space between a madman and a panicked amateur while potential victims cower in fear? A few minutes calm thought leaves the premise in tatters.
There are people who make those arguments and I no longer even try to argue with them. Nor do I do anything to limit their access to or ability to respond to anything I post. But when someone starts ranting about how automobiles kill people too, I cannot handle it. The person I unfriended is someone I know personally and whom I like (as was the first person I unfriended, primarily because he would just never stop–long after I and everybody else had left a conversation, he was still posting on and on–and because he would enter almost every conversation with a political agenda).
Nobody should be arguing to ban guns across the board at this point. That is an untenable position, but somebody, a lot of somebodys, should be trying, in every way possible, to bring some common sense to this issue about access and weaponry which is beyond the pale and be willing to face up to the NRA and the political maelstrom that such an attempt will surely inspire.
In the midst of all our tears and sorrows this weekend, we should also feel a rising tide of embarrassment and disgust. Let those 20 children and the six adults who died trying to save them become a beacon leading this violent nation toward a more civilized future.
NOTE: This post has been edited and expanded slightly from the original to rectify typographical errors and clarify the arguments.