Firearms and Fear

Dear gun owners:

I know you have many stories of how the presence of guns prevented a crime of some sort, and I in turn have stories of when their presence caused injuries or death.

We’re both right. But when different stories each have internally consistent reasoning, the only way to choose between them is to see which one is supported by the facts, and here the facts are unequivocal: more guns lead to more deaths and injuries.

Yet you don’t accept this. The emotional part of your brain, whether generating anger or fear, is so loud and insistent that the frontal cortex, where rational assessments are made, is drowned out.

Let me put it another way: YOUR FEARS ARE ENDANGERING ALL OF US. Please don’t offer me adolescent fantasies about the need to overthrow a tyrannical government. That’s what the ballot box is for. Arms didn’t work at Waco or Ruby Ridge, so get real.

We all have fears. They are a major cause of our actions in the world, but here’s the thing: we don’t see their influence, because it’s scary to look over our shoulder and see what is pushing us around. But please, be brave, face your fears, and join the conversation on reasonable gun control instead of barricading yourself in the corner.

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