Time for a civil debate, not a civil war



By Judah Taylor

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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 [email protected].