Happy New Year

“Firearms are potent objects of power; someone who picks up a gun instantly alters his status and relationship to those around him.  They provide a quick fix to those feeling profoundly impotent and without recourse.  This alteration is the reason that certain young people, feeling especially vulnerable and powerless in their teen-age years, are attracted to violent gun use.  It is the reason that members of a neighborhood watch might feel the need to arm themselves.  The criminal use of guns is a symptom of larger problems of disempowerment in this country.  The answer is not to ban firearms or even regulate them–something I happen to support–but to provide the social, economic, and emotional tools that citizens need to feel a sense of control over their lives.  Guns have become such strong symbols of violence and supremacy that it is much easier to talk about firearms regulation than to talk about the complex social and racial issues in this country, including Americans’ lack of access to adequate mental-health care.  The problem isn’t that it is easy to get a gun in America; the problem is that obtaining a gun is easier than getting therapy, or achieving racial equality and financial stability.” — Barbara Eldredge, “To Keep and Bear Arms”

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