Changing minds

powIt is so hard to change the minds of people.

The massacre in Connecticut brought all who are for or against gun control to the surface. I like the idea of gun control. (Please, bring on any controls!) I have many friends who prefer total freedom when it comes to firearms. I can never convince them to change their minds. They cannot change mine.

This left me in a discouraged frame of mind. I don’t see the reason to post a video on my Facebook page from Bill Moyers that makes a very convincing case (to me) against the availability of automatic weapons to the general public. (I posted the video and later thought, “What’s the point?” I probably turned off several people, if they actually clicked on the link. And it didn’t make any difference to those who agree with me.)

The one area where I can make a difference is to convince young, impressionable minds of the values behind the ways I think. My wife and I have three kids. All of them agree with our views about gun control (and lots of other things).. at least for now.

For my friends who don’t have kids, you can get involved in a mentor program — and make a difference in the minds and hearts of young people who need the influence of a caring adult. You can pour yourself into their lives. Chances are they will listen to you more than your adult friends.

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4 Replies to “Changing minds”

  1. I have a Facebook friend who shared a very pro-gun-rights item on Saturday. As a believer in reasonable gun control laws (not taking away hunting rifles, but PLEASE reinstate the assault weapons ban), my initial reaction to the post was somewhere between frustration and anger, and I mentally composed a number of “point-counterpoint” responses. However, I ended up thinking that minds on either side of this issue seem completely unwilling to even consider the perspectives of the other side. Also, I thought of the families of the victims, and decided that for them, gun control or gun rights was the last thing on their minds right now. I ended up writing this comment in response to my friend’s gun rights post:

    I would just like it if BOTH sides in the gun debate would back off for a respectful period of time — at least a week or so — and let us grieve over the lives taken in these tragedies. This incident is not about guns right now, it is about dead little children and heroic adults.”

  2. One more thing: I fear that your mentoring idea can be good or bad — for example, a parent or adult mentor who is a “Birther” convincing their child that their perspective is correct, or a parent with paranoid views of society and the world passing those on. I can only hope that children who receive “bad” mentoring get “corrected” once they are exposed to more rational information from other adults like teachers.

  3. I know I’ve said this before, but I don’t think gun control is the issue here. I think that young man’s mental and spiritual health — and our country’s collective mental and spiritual health — are the issue. Yes, making assault weapons unavailable would have slowed him down, but there are so many other ways to accomplish the same tragic feat. On the internet he could easily find many ways to make a bomb, a chemical weapon, whatever he wants. While I am in favor of some amount of gun control, I’m afraid that a knee-jerk reaction right now could do more harm than good, and will lull us into thinking we are now safer, when in truth we have not addressed the underlying cause.

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