Opinion: Do we have a political will for gun control?

Opinion: Do we have a political will for gun control?

Why are we so obsessed with killing each other?

Are we ready yet as Alaskans and Americans to gather a “political will” that will deal with yet another group of massacres perpetrated on other Alaskans and Americans?

The tragedy, pathos, sadness, insanity and outrage of these gun-related events time after time and time again would suggest and hope that we can get out of denial. We can confront the issues (and there are many). We can develop reasoned and logical solutions to these hydra-headed tragedies that are consuming our children, families, friends, churches and communities across our country.

Why are we so obsessed with killing each other? Why is suicide rampant among young and elders alike? What is our rage and hopelessness really about? Maybe we really do have a “divine mandate” to “go figure.”

At some level, it seems that we all have some basic knowledge of the following:

• This crisis is not “just a mental health” issue for perpetrators of these slaughter house actions. Anyone who believes that is truly in denial about gun violence. It would be valuable to contemplate that individuals, cultures, societies and political persuasions are all part of the fabric for the delivery of these atrocities.

• This is not “just a nasty greedy” National Rifle Association (NRA) ploy to make as much money as possible from as many people as possible.

• This is not “just a crazy ideology” that some people have created around management and mismanagement of the words in the Second Amendment.

• We do not have to abandon the Second Amendment to deal with this issue.

• This is our problem as Alaskans and Americans and we must deal with it if we are to be true to our collective values.

It would appear rational to consider the tenets of standard ethical approaches in dealing with gun violence and gun control (Beauchamp and Childress). This is not a “winner-take-all” game. Both sides must honestly consider:

• Autonomy

• Justice

• Beneficence

• Non-maleficence

Of course advocates on both side of the divide will need to at least consider seriously:

• Background checks for gun possession and ownership with sufficient resources and supports to actually put this in place. No loop holes, no waivers at gun-shows, no lies, no pay-offs, no deceits, no exceptions.

• “Red flag” laws are not unreasonable.

• We cannot begin to address the gun violence issues of this state and country without considering “people despair,” hopelessness, the distance between the “haves” and “have nots”, misogyny, racial and ethnic hatred, economic disenfranchisement, misplaced individual narcissism and (as always) the physical, mental and social health that must address the needs of all of us. The inane trajectory to deal with issues “one bubble at a time” has not worked and will not work

• An informed, educated and caring will to make this happen. This does not appear to exist sufficiently among our leadership or among the population at large.

We do have some leaders among us who listen to and try to understand the complicated views and passions. We desperately need much stronger leadership than appears to be present. Yes, we all understand that many elected officials may be working to secure their next election. That’s not the dance that we need.


• How many people have to die as a result of our inabilities to deal with gun control?

• How much blame, shame, denial, anger and projection are we willing to live with before selling our souls to the devil? What will we be willing to go through before we all begin to consider gun slaughter “the new norm”?

We can do better than accept this carnage. It is well worth noting that if we do not ask any questions about this, we probably will not get any answers.

What, truly, is in our individual and collective “political will”?

• carolyn V Brown lives in Juneau.

• carolyn V Brown lives in Juneau. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.

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