Guns & Human Nature
by Dale Netherton
Let’s be honest, gun control is not about controlling guns – it is about controlling people.
Gun control is about limiting access to a tool because someone may misuse it. Seems logical, and even necessary. Who could argue with some basic simple rules about keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of children, the insane, and proven criminals? However, we already have a system in place to check backgrounds of potential buyers – yes even at gun shows. But it is never enough. Every time a tragedy occurs some people clamor for stricter gun control laws. I believe this is the wrong approach. It is not only largely ineffective, but I believe that focusing on controlling the tool of the crime rather than its deeper roots will lead us down a road that goes in the wrong direction. This road goes counter to progressing our journey towards being a more advanced and ethical species. What we need is a change in human nature, not more controls.
I have two issues with gun control; one is philosophical, and the other is political.
I believe that there is a wide spectrum of beliefs in regards to human nature. On one end there are people who believe that human beings are inherently evil and and if they have access to the tools of destruction they would wreak havoc on society. On the other extreme there are people who believe that we are inherently good and noble and use the tools of destruction in defense only. I feel most people’s beliefs lie somewhere in the middle. I am an optimist and tend to believe in the best in people.
Politically, my problem with gun control is that the control must be in the hands of our government. What is important is how our leaders view society – and remember our government officials are elected by the people. What distresses me is that in general people who desire political office usually are driven by the love of power. Which view point of human nature lends itself to more control and more power?
So where do you find yourself in your view of human nature? Do you believe that people are generally good and responsible enough to handle dangerous tools, or do you believe that humans are generally opportunists and will rob, cheat, and murder unless carefully controlled? More importantly, where would you like society to be headed in the future? What is your view of utopia? A place where everyone has access to guns, but there is no desire to use them? Or a place where all destructive devices are reserved for the privileged few who constantly strive to protect us from ourselves?
I for one would rather live in a society where gun control is self control.
Gun control is a symptom of a much larger problem. We as a society should be working on how to improve ourselves as human beings, rather than assuming that everyone is one gun away from mass murder. How this can be done is a great subject for debate; however, I believe that it is already happening. Statistically everything about guns and gun related crimes are getting better, at least in America. Since 1977 gun ownership is down, and injuries and deaths caused by people misusing guns has been in decline.
It may be that the gun control debate is a solution in search of a problem. I am concerned that gun control is a politically expedient way to grab more power. The proposed solutions are of concern as well, I believe that it takes society in the wrong direction, backwards not forward. I find it ironic that many progressives are leading this charge.