I found myself engaged in a good discussion on gun violence, hosted by fellow Alaska blogger Pete, a dude who lives in an off the grid cabin, year-round. It’s interesting to discuss guns with fellow Alaskans. As a non-urban, rural-living person, I’m more than a little sympathetic to the concerns of subsistence hunters. There’s a good discussion that you can check out here:
One of the talking points that goes around is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Or as Del put it, in the comment section of the above-linked discussion: Well Jonathon [sic] I get your point but really come on, the gun doesn’t kill its the person pulling the trigger its an object like a vehicle or whatever.
However we may disagree on what to do about gun violence, I confess that I find it difficult to understand how intelligent persons cannot make the connection between guns and gun violence. Simply put, gun violence is not possible without guns. So a discussion about gun violence necessarily involves a discussion not merely about the person pulling the trigger but about the nature of the weapon itself.
Take an example from nukes. I’ve yet to hear anyone apply the same logic (or lack thereof) to nuclear weapons as they do to guns. Imagine if people debated as follows: “Look, nuclear weapons are cool. Everyone should have them, because nukes don’t kill people, people kill people.”
I’m not meaning to oversimplify a complicated discussion. Not at all. Like many things in our world today, the discussion is highly convoluted. But perhaps a significant point is emerging, by talking about nukes: the more violent and destructive the weaponry, the more important it is to discuss the nature of the weapon. In other words, talking about gun violence means talking about guns, about the nature of the weapon itself.