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We will never agree – and that’s OK

February 25, 2010

I have a great friend who serves in the United States Air Force and we disagree about lots of things.

I take his cracks about “the liberal media” with good humor, for the most part. But he keeps sending me political e-mails. Some I take great pleasure in debunking, sending him links to Snopes.com, the Urban Legend Reference Pages. (Obama’s “refusal” to put his hand on his heart during the playing of the national anthem was an example of this.)

Sometimes he writes back that he doesn’t care: True or not, his messages reflect his beliefs.

We recently got into a heated debate about gun control. He believes the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights – the right to keep and bear arms – should be upheld.

I couldn’t disagree more.

During our exchange he sent me opinion articles (“If guns are outlawed, the only people that will carry them will be outlaws.” “Guns don’t kill people: People kill people.”) He also sent data – lots of data. (Wikipedia gives a good overview of this hot-button U.S. issue.)

I am his friend. I read it all. And then I replied.

“While you may have a point,” I said. “I have to be true to my own beliefs.”

“I know,” he responded. “But I have to try.”

A couple of weeks went by, then I received this cartoon:

 

(The text reads: “My next-door neighbor wants to ban all guns! Their house is not armed! Out of respect for their opinions, I promise not to use my guns to protect them!”)

“You know I’ll be counting on you to drive my blood-splattered body to the hospital,” I wrote.

“I’m there for ya,” he replied.

— Lucy Chumbley

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tarek Mounir permalink
    February 26, 2010 12:33 pm

    Dear Lucy, another great,great piece.

    “While you may have a point,” I said. “I have to be true to my own beliefs.”
    “I know,” he responded. “But I have to try.”

    So, if somebody’s having apoint, why shoildn’t this make me revise my own beliefs to see if they’re updated enough or not ? Is that why he always feels like he’s trying out because this time maybe, maybe he’ll gain some success ?

  2. Tarek Mounir permalink
    February 26, 2010 12:34 pm

    Dear Lucy, another great,great piece.

    “While you may have a point,” I said. “I have to be true to my own beliefs.”
    “I know,” he responded. “But I have to try.”

    So, if somebody’s having a point, why shouldn’t this make me revise my own beliefs to see if they’re updated enough or not ? Is that why he always feels like he’s trying out because this time maybe, maybe he’ll gain some success ?

    • Lucy Chumbley permalink
      February 27, 2010 12:56 pm

      Hi Tarek and thanks for the great question. I think if I had thought about the wording here a little more, I would have said “I have to be true to my own concience.” By this I mean that someone could show me all kinds of statistics to show that gun ownership reduces crime, and maybe I’d even be convinced that in some cases it can. But even with that knowledge I cannot in good concience accept that gun ownership is OK as it violates something that is a personal value of mine — nonviolence.
      It would be like telling a Muslim or Jew who keeps Halal/Kosher of the proven health benefits of eating certain kinds of food. They might accept the science without question, but still — for personal or religious reasons — choose not to eat that food.
      Or, in the case of Israel’s wall — while people might say it reduces casualties in Israel, I cannot support it for moral and ethical reasons.

      • Jake S. permalink
        August 23, 2011 9:18 am

        “But even with that knowledge I cannot in good concience accept that gun ownership is OK as it violates something that is a personal value of mine — nonviolence.”

        This is the only statement which sticks out to me enough to feel the want/need to comment on.

        The mere act of gun /ownership/ doesn’t (by definition) violate the principle (or value) of nonviolence… at least not any more than owning a knife does.

        Granted, I am probably not as principled about nonviolence as you are. My own personal line in the sand is about the /initiation/ of violence… not all violence, in and of itself.

        So we differ slightly, but enough for the difference to be important… because we differ in philosophy. However, we differ not at all in action. At this point in our respective lives, I would be willing to wager that I have been just as “gun-violent” as you have (that is… not at all). Despite owning several firearms.

        (I qualify the above violence as “gun violence” for two reasons. First of all, it’s what seems to be at issue here. Second of all, I /have/ been violent twice in my life… getting into fist-fights with two different people who initiated the violence upon me, in unfortunate situations where I was unable to talk my way out of it.)

        That said, I really wanted to commend you for the “live-and-let-live” sentiment I felt throughout your post. I seem to be better friends with people who hold opposing views on this issue than I am with people who share my views. I go to lunch [usually] once a week with people who are extremely hostile to firearms ownership (and the social contract which guarantees this right). Yet we are /extremely/ tolerant of our opposing views.

        You sound like a great neighbor, Lucy… one I would be extremely proud to share a property line with. 🙂

  3. Sasa Milosevic permalink
    February 28, 2010 8:19 am

    Dear Lucy

    It is difficult to imagine USA without guns. The fact that you can get gun for a free when open bank account in some of USA bank ( I saw it on documentary regarding the mass killing in one of the USA school) speaks about serious problem of USA society. Unfortunately, criminal is so high there that is impossible thinking the reality without guns. But I agree with you: there is no statistic that show how home-arms reduce the criminal. You are absolutely right. It seems to me that USA goverments are too busy with conflicts in world so that cannot to protect the own people so the ordinary people must protect themselves personally. But, can they? More and more mass killings happening only killer has arms in private collection. In moment of psycho break he or she used it. It is question what would happend if he had not arm.

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