Wrestling with complex questions

Wrestling with complex questions

Is essential in gun control debate

Five gun aficionados were wounded at gun shows in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina this past weekend. A New Mexico fire department chaplain, his wife and three of his kids were killed, and another son was taken into custody after a horrific shooting spree in a home filled with weapons.

Pro-gun demonstrations gather hundreds in Mesa County, Denver and elsewhere across the country; some participants feel the need to flaunt firearms and our newly elected state representative panders to the crowd. Two northern Colorado sheriffs declare flatly they won’t enforce new gun laws (though one later backed off, saying he’d been “misunderstood”), and (thankfully) local law enforcement leaders offer more cautious statements.

We’re supposed to feel more comfortable with a District 51 school board discussion of armed volunteers in our schools because one participant is a former police chief and longtime law enforcement officer. But he was also directly involved, despite years of firearms training, in an accidental shooting of a fellow worker at one of our community’s most reputable gun stores.

The National Rifle Association’s response to wide-ranging recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden’s task force is an attack on providing security for President Obama’s children, calling him (and, by extension, all previous presidents) an “elitist hypocrite” for accepting that protection. It’s a response criticized widely, even by some Republican leaders.

Closer to home, the equally tone deaf but dependably belligerent Rocky Mountain Gun Owners sends a “Dear Fellow Patriot” email, offering a chance to win an AR-15 to “increase the size of our pro-gun army.”

In Aurora the Century 16 theater reopens amid controversy. In Newtown parents still mourn the loss of lives and innocence. Old wounds are painfully reopened at Columbine, Virginia and elsewhere.

In the midst of all this, we’re supposed to make some sense about a path forward … provide some direction to our elected leaders at all levels from the school board to the White House. Not an easy task for a divided nation where the search for the perfect gets in the way of the good, where many choose to play defense rather than go on the offense against future tragedies.

Here are some questions I’ve wondered about as a citizen, a husband, a parent, a former elected official and a lifelong gun owner, while absorbing the senseless killings we’ve seen and also following the resulting debates.

Why is it OK for wildlife regulations to limit the ammunition in my rifles and shotguns while hunting but supposedly unconstitutional to limit the capacity of clips for AR-15s and other similar weapons?

How confused might Aurora police have been when responding to a darkened theater if armed folks in the audience were exchanging shots with James Holmes when they arrived? Whom would those officers have targeted?

How many other freedoms are we willing to sacrifice for presumed safety? If it takes nearly 100 TSA agents to keep our local airport secure, how much school security will the supposed fiscal conservatives who control local politics be willing to pay for? And where were they when previous administrations were violating privacy and other rights with the so-called “Patriot Act”?

If trained armed guards are the answer, why didn’t that work at Columbine and Virginia Tech?

What sort of marksmanship standards do we come up with for teachers and administrators when, if I recall correctly, only about half the New York police force recently qualified as proficient with their firearms? And how comfortable should parents be, should our first responders be, with camo-clad Bubbas converging on our kids’ schools to “help” in times of crisis?

How long will we hold out for 100 percent solutions that are impossible to find, forgetting that “the perfect is the enemy of the good”? Can we find sensible ways to deal with both common denominators in all this violence, guns and mental health?

A long time ago, I was told there are three stages of knowledge. In the first, we know all the answers. In the second, we know all the questions. In the third and highest stage, we determine which questions are worth answering.

Let’s hope those charged with deciding how we proceed with the multiple tasks of lessening gun violence, honoring our Constitution and more capably meeting mental health challenges in our society have reached that third stage.

Jim Spehar still wonders. Your questions and/or answers are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Wrestling with complex questions

Is essential in gun control debate

Five gun aficionados were wounded at gun shows in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina this past weekend. A New Mexico fire department chaplain, his wife and three of his kids were killed, and another son was taken into custody after a horrific shooting spree in a home filled with weapons.

Pro-gun demonstrations gather hundreds in Mesa County, Denver and elsewhere across the country; some participants feel the need to flaunt firearms and our newly elected state representative panders to the crowd. Two northern Colorado sheriffs declare flatly they won’t enforce new gun laws (though one later backed off, saying he’d been “misunderstood”), and (thankfully) local law enforcement leaders offer more cautious statements.

We’re supposed to feel more comfortable with a District 51 school board discussion of armed volunteers in our schools because one participant is a former police chief and longtime law enforcement officer. But he was also directly involved, despite years of firearms training, in an accidental shooting of a fellow worker at one of our community’s most reputable gun stores.

The National Rifle Association’s response to wide-ranging recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden’s task force is an attack on providing security for President Obama’s children, calling him (and, by extension, all previous presidents) an “elitist hypocrite” for accepting that protection. It’s a response criticized widely, even by some Republican leaders.

Closer to home, the equally tone deaf but dependably belligerent Rocky Mountain Gun Owners sends a “Dear Fellow Patriot” email, offering a chance to win an AR-15 to “increase the size of our pro-gun army.”

In Aurora the Century 16 theater reopens amid controversy. In Newtown parents still mourn the loss of lives and innocence. Old wounds are painfully reopened at Columbine, Virginia and elsewhere.

In the midst of all this, we’re supposed to make some sense about a path forward … provide some direction to our elected leaders at all levels from the school board to the White House. Not an easy task for a divided nation where the search for the perfect gets in the way of the good, where many choose to play defense rather than go on the offense against future tragedies.

Here are some questions I’ve wondered about as a citizen, a husband, a parent, a former elected official and a lifelong gun owner, while absorbing the senseless killings we’ve seen and also following the resulting debates.

Why is it OK for wildlife regulations to limit the ammunition in my rifles and shotguns while hunting but supposedly unconstitutional to limit the capacity of clips for AR-15s and other similar weapons?

How confused might Aurora police have been when responding to a darkened theater if armed folks in the audience were exchanging shots with James Holmes when they arrived? Whom would those officers have targeted?

How many other freedoms are we willing to sacrifice for presumed safety? If it takes nearly 100 TSA agents to keep our local airport secure, how much school security will the supposed fiscal conservatives who control local politics be willing to pay for? And where were they when previous administrations were violating privacy and other rights with the so-called “Patriot Act”?

If trained armed guards are the answer, why didn’t that work at Columbine and Virginia Tech?

What sort of marksmanship standards do we come up with for teachers and administrators when, if I recall correctly, only about half the New York police force recently qualified as proficient with their firearms? And how comfortable should parents be, should our first responders be, with camo-clad Bubbas converging on our kids’ schools to “help” in times of crisis?

How long will we hold out for 100 percent solutions that are impossible to find, forgetting that “the perfect is the enemy of the good”? Can we find sensible ways to deal with both common denominators in all this violence, guns and mental health?

A long time ago, I was told there are three stages of knowledge. In the first, we know all the answers. In the second, we know all the questions. In the third and highest stage, we determine which questions are worth answering.

Let’s hope those charged with deciding how we proceed with the multiple tasks of lessening gun violence, honoring our Constitution and more capably meeting mental health challenges in our society have reached that third stage.

Jim Spehar still wonders. Your questions and/or answers are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

COMMENTS

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.










THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Sign in to your account
Information

© 2014 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy