Our View: A call for civility in gun debates
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 18:01
It is terrifying to think that a fellow human being is consciously able to massacre innocent lives. But perhaps even more terrifying is that in the aftermath of such events we are tearing at each other instead of having a reasonable discussion about how to stop such tragic acts.
It seems that week after week we are shown shaky video footage of crying victims who have witnessed yet another shooting.
But, instead of having civil talks with one another about how to work out a compromise, each conversation turns into a fight that’s become more and more personal and demoralizing. Our country’s leaders and citizens seem incapable of speaking about this issue without resorting to name calling and vicious argument.
On Wednesday, former House member Gabrielle Giffords addressed Congress speaking slowly while reading from a hand-written note.
As she struggled through each word, it was clear she is still recovering from her near-fatal shooting that occurred two years ago.
While the Arizona Democrat delivered a riveting speech to a silent audience, it was apparent that the people in the room were still very divided over her plea for more gun restrictions.
Sadly, a short time later, the room turned again into a vicious environment as congressmen and women forgot the captivating moment of Giffords’ request and again began to personally attack one another.
This is the pattern that most Americans seems to follow when discussing a solution to gun violence.
We seem to have forgotten the situations that have prompted us to so passionately and urgently engage in a debate about guns in our society.
Following the tragedies of Virginia Tech, Columbine, Aurora and Newtown, we called for kindness to each other, and that call should be remembered in the aftermath of these horrible incidents when we as a nation discuss what needs to be done to restore sanity and safety.
While we are divided over what is the best solution, we should not be divided about the manner in which we should behave as we seek a resolution.
We must act responsibly, bravely and respectfully.
The need to find solutions to this difficult problem is too important to end in polarizing fights. The need to provide a better nation for our children is too important for this conversation to simply end in more violence.
We need to have reasonable discussions and level-headed conversations. This situation calls for us to listen with patience and to speak with thoughtfulness.
After all, the example we set as we engage in this debate is one that future generations will look to as a model of how to behave in times that demand difficult discourse.
Although the country may remain divided about Giffords’ proposed solutions, her final comment is universal to all.
“America is counting on you.”
“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of Arkansas State University.