In the wake of the tragedy on Friday, it feels like the country has immediately ran into their own corners of thought about gun control. I cannot imagine what the families of the victims are going through and I don't intend to discuss this tragedy specifically.
What has troubled me most this week is the assumption that you must have a secure stance. Before any further discussion, before reading any more facts, before thinking things through, you state your position. For or against. A or B. My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of folks on both sides of the argument digging in with their side.
But it is so much more complicated than that. It might be quick to say that it isn't complicated. You believe there needs to be more strict gun regulations or you believe in your right to own the guns you'd like. But the United States of American is built on an idea of a certain amount of freedom. In a lot of ways, merely stating your position that is unflinching seems unproductive.
I believe America's citizens should be able to own guns. I also don't believe that guns should be as easy to obtain of ill uses as they are now. I don't entirely know what the best next steps are so I've been reading, talking to gun owners, and talking to ardent regulation believers. On a personal level, I'm somewhat undecided. My business partner owns a gun while I personally don't. I don't think it's so simple to say that the government should butt out or the government should butt in.
My wish in this debate, and in future debates, was that there was a better acknowledgement of how complicated freedom is. Complete and utter freedom doesn't work in America but neither does complete and utter regulation. But our discussions with our fellow citizens should be based in the idea that, though they might disagree, they believe in their heart that they believe in what's best for themselves, their families, and their country.
There are many complicated issues that our country is facing right now. We need to acknowledge that complicated is OK and that we can have a discussion to learn more without feeling like our position is threatened. Like in a web development project after you finish the easy parts, the difficult parts take more time. They take more thought. Its easy to brush them off as simple, "I know the answer", and push forward without listening. But we don't have time for hubris right now.
These are complicated issues we're are dealing with as a country. We need to listen to each other and our ideas better and not dismiss either side in their entirety.