Time for a civil debate, not a civil war

By Judah Taylor



When I was in high school I used to get drawn into what started as friendly debates on Facebook over national issues such as marriage equality or the War on Terror. They all usually ended the same way: we acted like a couple of wild middle schoolers from “Lord of the Flies” going for the kill and screaming about anything but what was relevant. Instead of addressing the others’ points, participants often corrected their punctuation — as if that proved their point.

We never tried to kill each other, but we never solved anything or even came to any sort of understanding I grew out of that, and while I still foster a lively fire for healthy debate in my belly, I do so respectfully in my old age. I’d rather discuss the topic on hand than correct someone’s online grammar. I’d rather learn than punch a keyboard.

I bring this up because America is caught in a major debate right now over gun control. On Tuesday night, Piers Morgan invited several respected experts from all related fields and members of families closely affected by mass shootings onto his CNN show. It started out OK, but as it progressed I was constantly reminded of those adolescent arguments I used to have where no one was right because no one could “write.”

There’s a problem in America. January isn’t even halfway through and there have been four school shootings. Two occurred on Tuesday. Whether guns are bad or good makes no difference; there is a problem. Acting like an unsupervised middle schooler posting on Reddit doesn’t help anyone solve the problem and just wastes time and resources.

To solve these issues, and prevent more tragedies, people on both sides of the issues are going to have to discuss the facts openly and be willing to compromise. Or if shootings are allowed to happen as often as they have this year, we’re in for more than 90 school shootings before Christmas.

Regardless of what your opinion is on the Second Amendment, whether you think it’s OK to have rocket-propelled grenades in your pantry or whether you think that civilian-owned guns should have a limited fire rate and magazine capacity, it’s time for an open minded discussion about all aspects of the issue.

Partisanship and unwillingness to compromise will only lead to the Piers Morgan’s and middle schoolers of the world getting fired up, and children getting fired at.

Judah Taylor is the Kernel’s assistant opinions editor. Email jtaylor@kykernel.com.

WakeDown: The argument is “if it saves just one life”-I just point out the hypocrisy of those arguing for gun control over say, those killed by drunks, or in ground pools for that matter.

Mental Health is something that needs to be addressed, but currently, if I was committed as a teen to a treatment center against my will or over night, I would no longer be allowed to posses a firearm. Would soldiers with PTSD be considered “mental health” risks? Understand, that to qualify for certain VA benefits, soldiers have to sign an affidavit admitting PTSD beforehand. Just 2 examples.

Why should we not be allowed to buy “military grade” firearms? the AR-15 is not military grade. The military uses fully automatic weapons, no semi autos. Our CIVILIAN police forces, with all their years of experience and wisdom, have determined that the standard capacity 30 round, AR-15 is their firearm of choice for defending themselves and the community.

And I haven’t even mentioned the 2nd Amendment yet.

What will limited ammunition sales accomplish? I burn through 1,000 rounds in a day(if not more), and if a good price, I’ll buy 5k-10k rounds at a time. Ever go to a 3 gun competition? UK has not only a shotgun club, but also a 3 gun team now as well. No gun or ammo restrictions will effect criminals, the ATF already testified to this back in the 1930’s! It served no law enforcement purpose.

In Turkey they use a couple gallons of gas and a few chains to kill their school children, in the US a single driver killed 9 when he took his SUV through a farmers market-ON ACCIDENT. The point being, we are merely discussing a method (firearms), not the actual problem. On top of which, there is NO way to keep firearms out of the hands of killers.

People get way to worked up about defending their rights? Ya,those blacks should have been content sitting in the back of the bus. After all, what NEED did Rosa Parks have to sit up front anyway?

It would be nice if people sat down and talked about the facts and real solutions, but again, that goes back to my first point-it’s not about stopping mass shootings or gun violence,as nothing they’ve proposed would do so- it’s using the blood of those killed at Sandy Hook to advance their anti-gun agenda.

So, if Joe Biden had said that hey, if you feel like speaking out and exercising your first amendment rights, you don’t need the internet. You don’t need facebook. You don’t need tv or even radio. Newspapers and pamphlets work well enough to share what you want to say. How long would THAT argument hold up as him not wanting to take away peoples 1st Amendment rights?

And, still haven’t gotten to the 2nd Amendment argument.


You’re right the Texas Bell tower shooting was executed with a bolt action rifle, but it was executed by a Marine— a man who was trained to kill. In this instance, the same is true for the Fort Hood shooter, more proactive mental health screening would be the the obvious solution to me. So, to avoid these types of shootings, I agree that gun control isn’t the solution. But in other cases, it may be. And we shouldn’t rule something out that could save lives just because some people feel the need to have a little extra fire power to shoot at a paper target.

Arguing that because some drivers sometimes drive under and people are still driving everyday is not an argument that is comparable to gun control, in my opinion. Civilians can’t buy a military fighting or armored vehicle, likewise, they should not be able to buy military grade fire arms.
For the most part, that is already true. The problem that is currently up for debate is the issue of what is a military grade weapon, an assault rifle, and what isn’t.

Whatever the working solution is, it will be multi faceted. Having a limited clip and magazine capacity is not the answer just as you said. Anyone can practice tactical reloads.
While guns will never be completely taken away, perhaps limiting the amount of ammunition one can buy or further restricting the types of weapons can play major part in stoping these tragedies. I think a great solution is tracking how much ammunition someone buys in a federal database, similar to the one used for ammonium nitrate. If anyone had spotted the alleged 6,000 rounds that the Colorado theater shooter bought just days before… maybe that tragedy could have been avoided. And people could keep their guns!

As for making bombs with fertilizer, those are different types of attacks that school shootings and the bombers plan differently that highschool shooters do. High school students generally don’t have the financial power or resources to pull off an attack like that, nor do generally plan like that. The Sandy Hook shooter just took his mom’s guns from his house. Moreover, no, you can’t just go buy a TON of ammonium nitrate to make ANFO and a bomb.

Truly though, the biggest problem I see is that people get way too worked up about defending their rights on this issue, and refuse to just sit down and talk about all of the ingredients that make a shooter, and how to spot and stop one. If politicians and people just sat down and examined the facts, we may get more done and stop future tragedies.

Lastly, I think everyone should relax, and remember that Joe Biden recently told the American people to guy buy shotguns if they didn’t feel safe. That doesn’t sound like a VP who is trying to take away guns to me!

I’m not expert, and don’t pretend to be. I just think that a more open discussion without focusing on just on facet of the issue is what this country really needs.

If the goal is to end school shootings, then we have to repeal the idiotic government sponsored victim disarmament zones-er…”gun free zones”.
If we can not secure our schools like we do our airports and court houses, then leaving our educators and children with out the ability to defend themselves except through hope and prayer is asinine.

And since it took 20 MINUTES for police to arrive at Sandy Hook elementary, and a priority 1 call averages 11 minutes, excercising yoru right to self defense with a firearm is the only viable solution until we all hold hands and sing kumbaya at the dawn of world peace.

Taking away someone’s right to defend themselves based upon someone else’s actions is just plain stupid and morally wrong. Why do we not seek to take away everyone’s vehicles because they MAY one day, at some point, drive under the influence and kill themselves or others?

You are not allowed to yell “FIRE!” in a theater, but you don’t go through a background check, present a government ID, and then have duct tape placed over your mouth before entering the theater either.

Compromise should not be the goal. Compromise is not the solution. People run after “compromise” as if it means something, as if we HAVE to compromise principles and reality in order to make someone feel better. Ya, no. Sorry about your luck.

The fundamental flaw is the premise that the latest talk of gun control has anything to do with reducing school shootings or making a dent in gun violence.
The NRA is pilloried by those seeking gun control for suggesting we place armed officers in the schools, and then Obama comes out with an initiative to fund…armed officers in the schools. hmm…
A politician arbitrarily sets the magic number of bullets that are “safe” for civilian uses at 7, or 10 depending on which state you’re in. What’s to stop a murderer from using multiple magazines, practicing tactical reloads? How does this impact gun violence again?
Politicians and gun control advocates attack scary looking “assault weapons” based on their cosmetics-not their function. The Texas bell tower shootings that killed 14 and injured many others took place with a bolt action rifle. McVeigh committed the largest mass murder till 9/11 using a bomb. Last time I checked, you could rent a box truck, buy some fertilizer and diesel fuel all w/out even a background check….
There is NO LAW that can be passed that will prevent school shootings, or other murders, whether they be by guns or other means. Attacking firearms is a politically expedient means of capitalizing on the emotions of the public who demand we must “do something”-wouldn’t it be nice if we implementing something that would actually ACCOMPLISH something?

When we start talking about ways to address the economic plight of our inner cities. When we start finding ways to address the destruction of the traditional family unit, the destruction of community ties, the creation of a culture of violence and silence in regards to the drug and gang problems we have-THEN we will start to make an impact on the violence in this country.

And the US is murdering children in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, or now Mali every day.
But there isn’t a discussion about that.
If we’re truly serious about ending violence, we should stop being such a violent country. Only when we start talking about that will kids truly stop dying.