, , , , , , , , , , , ,

When ignorant people can’t come up with a reasonable argument they denigrate the speaker.

I have come to the sad conclusion that few minds are changed or “souls saved” through civil discourse. Shouting, on the other hand, is a perfect tool to be, well, a perfect tool. And “shouting” need not be in person.

We shout when we denigrate someone for being “something” rather than dissecting the position of the person with whom we disagree, and we shout at mass groups of people when we post articles or comments on the internet that Blacks do this, and Muslims are that and Republicans do this and Democrats do that.

Really? That’s the best you got? Calling names or using some big fat paint brush that slanders millions if not billions in one unreasoned, prejudiced stroke? Please. We were given frontal lobes for a reason. To reason. Let’s try a little persuasive reason and wide-angle perspective rather than partisan, hate filled shouting.

There’s a lot of shouting going on in the USA right now. A lot of shouting on a lot of topics but the anger soup du jour is Gun Control. Valentine’s Day marked The United States’ thirtieth mass shooting of 2018 (Mass shooting equals four or more dead in one incident) and guns are responsible for 72% of all US homicides. (Not including suicides. That sends the percentage even higher.)

Gun Control or Second Amendment Rights is not the topic of “Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable,” but it is its impetus. For the record, when it comes to Gun Control I am “Left” enough to be more than “Center Left,” but don’t quite hit the “Far Left” ban all guns for civilians position. In my world all guns are registered, most guns are banned, handguns are not carried by civilians, (but are legal in one’s own home) and gun owners must take yearly classes. Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable isn’t trying to “sell” you a position on Gun Control. I only mention my position on Gun Control to clarify my Left-leaning Second Amendment position.

I have posted my left leaning position on guns for years and I have been challenged on same for just as long. I have many friends who are gun enthusiast, my children shot guns in Boy Scouts, (my wife went so far as to become an NRA certified rifle instructor, so she could help the Troop) and I have participated at events with both the Boy Scouts and a shooting club.

I do a pretty good job of leading by example in the area of challenging someone’s statements rather than denigrating the speaker and I expect the same from those who comment on my posts. If your position is that people with whom you disagree are stupid (the words used are typically far more inflammatory) then don’t comment on my posts.

I have two friends, one an age-mate minister (we’re both old!) we’ll call T.M. and a former coworker, B.A., who is one generation my junior, who shared with me personal stories where guns did, or could have, been used to protect them. T.M. was kidnapped at gun point and has since become a staunch believer in carry permits. His terrible ordeal left him scarred and his gun gives him security.

Likewise, as a child B.A.’s home was broken into by gun wielding marauders who left bird-shot in the woodwork of his home. Before his eyes, B.A. watched as his father pointed a gun at the intruders, disarmed them and held them until the police arrived. To these men guns are a necessary means of defense. (B.A. loves to shoot, too, but we won’t hold that against him.)

Their perspective is different from mine. I look at statistics and know that 3/4 of U.S. murder victims die by gunshot. I know that the perception of a gun “protecting” us is far outweighed by accidental gun deaths, by suicide, by guns turned against gun owners. I’ve got the numbers, T.M. and B.A. have the personal experience. Do we agree on Gun Control/Second Amendment rights? Not. Even. Close.

But we do agree to be civil. We do agree to consider the other’s perspective, and we do agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Because no argument was ever won, no consensus ever reached, through screaming, hate-filled, blind vitriol.

Passion must not supersede compassion. Stop screaming, start listening, realize that it is our pasts that define us and try, at least for the few seconds that it takes to post a comment, to look at things from the other guy’s perspective. There’s a lot of common ground out there, we just need to be open to finding it.