Tuesday, February 20, 2018

R-e-s-p-e-c-t, find out what it means to me ...

Respect First, Then Gun Control - The New York Times

Because letting Red State gun-lovers lead has been working so well.

And while the NRA and their supporters have been leading on the issue of gun control, how exactly have they been productively respectful of the majority of people who want firearm sales and ownership to be more regulated? I don't feel like I've been respected, but at least I haven't been shot to death yet so I've got that going for me.

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, one of my neighbors shared a meme blaming school shootings on the lack of prayer in schools and the godlessness of society. Basically, he thought the most useful thing he could share was that people like me, who ask that others keep their religious beliefs to themselves, but worship any way they like as long as they're not forcing down the throats of non-believers of folks of a different faith than their own, are to blame for mass shootings. Not people who vote for NRA-backed politicians, for the status quo or worse, when it comes to regulation of firearms. Nah. Apparently the fact I've never bought a firearm, never voted Republican, have spoken out and marched against the NRA for decades, and am raising my children to be open to the best of religious teaching, regardless of the faith tradition they come from, to be tolerant of the religious, respectful of their traditions, but also to question, to think for themselves and to be sceptical, and to stand up for their freedoms ... apparently that means it's me and others like me who are the problem.

The hypocrisy, the arrogance, and the ignorance of people who blithely share victim-blaming platitudes (because the kids clearly didn't pray enough either) makes me tremble with rage. I don't expect to be applauded for not punching that asshole in the face, nor for continuing to be polite to him when our paths cross, but it would not be wise to not take my continued forbearance for granted. Eye to eye, in person, I'm going to expect to be treated with respect and I will say my piece when the topic comes up. My style is to ask questions, to listen and paraphrase back to confirm my understanding, and only then to point out factual errors if any, and ask if we agree about the implications of a stated position, but I won't let any bullshit go unchallenged either. If you're going to look me in the eye and blame me for dead kids, you'd better convince me that more assault weapons in the hands of domestic abusers, troubled teens, white nationalists, Christian (and other) religious extremists will prevent more deaths. I'll let you make your case, but unless you can convince me, you'll either take back the accusation or fists will fucking fly.

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