Whiting column: Extremes are never the solution on gun violence, other hot-button issues | PostIndependent.com

Whiting column: Extremes are never the solution on gun violence, other hot-button issues

Bryan Whiting
Personal Responsibility

The time for political extremes has ended.

They block constructive change and any route to improve the status quo. It’s the playground of the incapable whose only route for attention is utilizing the fringe. Occupying the extreme insulates them from any degree of accountability, because the extreme is seldom adopted.

Extreme partisanship isn’t new, but current events elevate it to where reasonable people find it intolerable.

Shootings are so common that many aren’t front page news, but that doesn’t make them acceptable. School shootings, however, involve the safety of our children affecting us more significantly.

Prevention leaps to the top, but we’ve been there before. The powers that be talk, discuss and propose, but nothing happens, because they continually occupy the extremes, preventing adoption of effective strategies.

I realize people kill people, but children dying in their school can’t be acceptable. We can’t be the society that allows this to continue. We must try.

Fifty years ago, my father said I needn’t be worried about the extremes because their presence provides the parameters within which good sense is revealed. His definition was accurate, but times have changed. We’re having trouble finding good sense.

Discussions regarding guns get distorted because the only solutions proposed are extremes: Eliminate guns or everyone gets guns. Politicians are pressured to choose a side. The options in-between, suitable to the reasonable majority, are not seriously considered. We must find a way to meet the needs of both sides. It can’t be a Republican or Democrat issue, a conservative or liberal issue. It isn’t a right or wrong decision.

We must try, because the status quo is killing our children.

The middle majority must advocate reasonable actions without undo infringement of freedoms. We must make reasonable accommodation to save children’s lives. The goal isn’t to eliminate guns or their possession but add a few hoops to make gun owners responsible for their weapons and more difficult for those who may be dangerous.

Reasonable examples might involve:

1. Age 21 to purchase a gun. If 21 is reasonable for cigarettes and alcohol, it must be for weapons.

2. Gun safety certificate to purchase a gun. Something like hunter safety can’t hurt, and a qualified instructor can learn a lot about a person in the process.

3. Eliminate importing of guns so domestic production can track the serial number and purchaser; anytime the gun is sold, it’s the seller’s (not the government’s) responsibility to record the buyer or the seller will be held responsible.

4. All purchasers, whether commercial or individual, must pass federal/state fingerprint background check, which must occur within a week and before possession can transfer. One can obtain long-term approval like TSA Pre-check.

5. Those purchasing more than 75 rounds of ammunition must do #4.

6. A reasonable limit on the number of purchases in a given period.

7. No weapon will be able to hold more than six rounds. If larger capacity isn’t allowable for hunting wild game or waterfowl, it shouldn’t be for any purpose.

8. Weapons must be kept under lock and key. The only exception would be a person’s place of business.

9. Eliminate possession of AR-15 and assault-style weapons. There aren’t hunting applications. Those enjoying shooting them can utilize approved gun ranges where they can be rented and shot under supervision. Ukraine has illustrated the need for the populace to be armed with such weapons. In an invasion, this need could be met with the gun range and a community gun vault.

I’m not smart enough to flesh out the details, and the above may not be comprehensive, but there are those who are. I realize it will always be possible for someone to skirt the law and obtain a weapon, but something is better than nothing, just as it has been with alcohol, drugs and prescriptions.

The reemerged abortion debate reinforces the partisan issue. People tend to inhabit two extremes: abortions at will anytime or no abortions ever. There must be a reasonable middle ground. Any civilized society values life and protects it, but there are obvious situations when abortion is justified. Rape, incest, mother’s life in danger, even certain birth defects can be valid reasons. Procedures requiring multiple doctor approval and other processes could be established.

Statistically, however, most abortions aren’t for the above reasons. Most are because the pregnancy is inconvenient. It can be a bad time financially or in one’s career, but it seems hard to justify ending a life.

There was “choice.” It involved the choice of having unprotected sex. I had fraternity brothers who refused to utilize a condom because they felt it wasn’t manly or the real thing; but in either case they weren’t being personally responsible. I know it’s nice to be spontaneous, but can it be right to end a life because pregnancy is inconvenient? We must be better than that.

In 40 years of teaching, sadly I knew many parents who shouldn’t have been. Many times, their child’s life was negatively affected permanently. But there were also kids who used their “bad” parents as motivation and took command to create a successful life. It wouldn’t have been right to deprive them of that opportunity.

Personal responsibility is seldom the easy way and can often require limiting one’s freedom, but it’s a small price and necessary if society is to improve. “Kids Lives Matter,” whether it be in school or in the womb.

Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: bwpersonalresponsibility@gmail.com.

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