Gun Control, Abortion and Freedom of Speech, Oh My!

WARNING:  PLEASE read this with your intellect, not your emotion. I have thoughts. Not answers. But I welcome, no I crave, thoughtful conversation.

POLICY STATEMENT:  I like shooting guns. I would own some if I didn’t have children in the house. I would feel safer. I believe there should be a limit to what guns can be privately owned and by whom.

I believe that a woman has the right to choose what happens to her own body. The legality of abortion was legislated almost 50 years ago. Limiting a woman’s access to care is unlawful.

 

Yesterday, a photo of 7,000 pairs of children’s shoes on the Capitol lawn went viral. The shoes represented the estimated number of children killed by any kind of gun violence since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. It was a chilling sight.

I was instantly reminded of the drive I used to make down I-35 from Austin to San Antonio where rows of white crosses were installed to represent aborted fetuses. It was a chilling sight.

Each of these displays is a constitutionally protected expression of political position, highly charged with emotion. When I saw the shoes, I was overcome with grief and fear and disgust that our children are at grave risk: at school, at places of worship, at concerts. When I came upon the crosses, I was enraged and repulsed at the judgmental display thrust in my face.

But is there a difference? I’m worried that maybe there isn’t. Yesterday’s realization was that someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum feels just what I do but in reverse.

Some news articles referred to the architects of the Capitol demonstration as activists. I had FB friends refer to it as “powerful art”. I doubt they would have been as complimentary of the white crosses. But wasn’t the intent of each of these displays to invoke emotion to spur legislative change? Doesn’t each expose a truth?

At the end of the day, the intended purpose of a gun is to kill. You can try to mitigate the end result by saying guns are sport. But when you go to a firing range, you are shooting at targets outlining bodies. If you go hunting, you are there to bring down an animal. I wish gun enthusiasts would acknowledge that truth and that the tools of the trade should be limited and controlled. All you have to do is go to any firing range in any city and you will know by instinct that there are people standing next to you with the capability and intent to leave you with a closet full of empty shoes. They should not own guns.

And here’s the bitter pill that those of you who share my views must swallow. The purpose of an abortion is to end a life. You can argue viability, but when you’ve heard a heart beating at 7 weeks, it’s tough to deny the statistical likelihood that this little fucker will be able to wake you up in the middle of the night 1000 times before his 7th birthday. I think the argument to protect Roe v Wade and to increase access to abortions would be strengthened if we acknowledge the truth that electing to bring a child into the world is not always emotionally, financially or physically the responsible choice. But it should be a choice.

These issues are certainly bigger than the bullion I’ve concentrated them into. I know this is all rife with slippery slope arguments and as I acknowledged above, I HAVE NO ANSWERS. I discuss these two issues together, not as any kind of moral equivalency, but only because of my personal emotional response to two demonstrations.

I look forward to your thoughts… I think.

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