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Analogy to Gun-Rights: [Either-Or] part 2
The tool one uses to analyze a problem must suitably fit the contours of that problem or no solution will ever be found. With the wrong tool, the problem will appear to be unsolvable, rather than simply seen from a faulty vantage point.
This is an analogy to the gun debate.
I have a dog whom I love very much. We’ve had him since he was a puppy. My life would be devastated without him. He’s now quite big… a Doberman. He’s obedient and would never hurt me.
The dog loves to go out on walks and sometimes runs away; and well, dogs like him often maul people. Sorry about that, but stuff happens! After all, you can’t have restrictions if you want true American freedom.
Look, I’m not unfeeling! I send my hopes and prayers every time it happens. No, it’s too soon to talk solutions, because people are still grieving. I love my dog. He’s my security, my hobby, a part of me. I won’t let you take away my dog
Citizen: Would you consider not taking him out?
Me: Absolutely not! This is a free country! Look, if you want to feel safe, get your own dog!
But don’t ask me to make changes. That’s not going to happen. If I take my dogs out less, then you’ll want me to use a leash. Where will it end?
Citizen: But I’m an American. I want to feel safe too!
Me: Look, I’m a good, honest dog owner. You’re annoying, a dog activist, a snowflake.
Wait! You’re a Nazi!
Citizen: I don’t want to take away your dog. I just don’t want to be dinner.
This is an analogy to the gun-debate.I want the citizen to take my concerns seriously but I’m not willing to make concessions or show any genuine contrition for the mauling tragedies that regularly occur. I value my rights more than his life. I want to dominate him!
So how can I fault him for meeting my intractability in kind? To become your common-sense partner rather than your opponent enables me to recognize in human terms the damage done by guns and to work together with you to plot a future together.
In a recent piece, I argued for a theoretical means to resolve the gun debate through a shift in thinking. This would lift us out of the “either…or” realm where somebody must lose in order for somebody else to win.
In competition however, either-or is necessary. In a basketball game, it’s precisely what makes the game exciting. Without it, there’s no game. Ties aren’t wins. They’re losses.
Nevertheless, when you impose this structure on say, a marriage or to solve a socio-political problem, parties lose the ability to distinguish solutions from impediments. Using either-or to settle the gun debate can only produce defeat.
However tempting, it isn't a game and cannot be solved as one! So, if in our imaginations, we can get past either…or, and envision “both…and”: if those who recognize security in guns can find bipartisan benefit with those who seek security from guns, both sides can be accommodated in a set of common-sense compromise measures.
Could this work? Stay tuned.
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