In the midst of a civil exchange on gun control with a thoughtful but not at all pro-gun friend. I wouldn't say he's anti-gun; he's anti-harm.
We should all be anti-harm. Maybe we won't all implement it in the same way -- I doubt there will ever be a gun in my friend's house, even unloaded and under lock and key; meanwhile, Tam and I, childless spinsters, keep the doors locked and stash our carry guns out of our immediate control only when we sleep, and check any gun that passes from one of us to the other as soon as we have hold of it: "not having any" and "maintaining safe habits" are both approaches to firearms safety and both work to reduce accidents.
A healthy society accommodates both.
I think a healthy society also looks to the root causes of violence and strives to eliminate them. FBI's uniform crime statistics show a long-term downward trend in the murder rate that says we are making steady progress but I think we can do better. One simple way to do so is to treat one another better; to see others as fellow humans.
The flip side of "seeing one another as human" is to recognize human fallibility: avoid getting into bad situations; many criminals do have poor impulse control. In the 1970s, a series of anti-car-theft PSAs reminded people to lock their cars and not leave the keys in the ignition (yes, kids, we used to do that, at least in rural/small town America: what if someone needed to move your car out of the way?). The theme was "Don't help a good boy go bad," and while it is questionable just how good a boy (oh, that was such a long time ago!*) who steals cars might be, there's no question that he'll have a lot harder time of it without the keys and an unlocked door. The career thief will still bash in a window -- but those locked cars did chip away at the rate of auto theft.
"Chipping away" sounds silly, futile; but chipping away is how we get things done. The old line asks, "How does a tiger eat an elephant?" and the answer is, "One bite at a time."
Be nice to someone today. Be friendly to people and aware of your surroundings, and don't treat anyone badly that you don't have to. Maybe it's not much, but it's just one more chip.
And don't just lock your darned car -- look for ways to expand on that idea. Try to make it easier for those around you to choose to do right than otherwise.
* My immediate impulse was to add "...or girl.." to that, despite joyriding car theft being almost exclusively committed by young men.
5 weeks ago