Do Guns Make a Safer Community?

Recently we have been hearing a lot about guns. For our neighbours in the USA, we are hearing about daily mass shootings and a big debate whether the government should make new gun laws. Here in Canada, there is a debate about putting more restrictions on handguns and large magazines.

For or against?
One side of the argument is guns make us safer. If people know I am armed, they won’t invade my home and if I see a mass shooting, I can shoot the shooter and save other people (This rarely, if ever happens).

The other side of the argument is the more guns there are, the more likely they will be used to shoot people. No guns, no shooting. In the middle of all this is an another logical statement: Good people who own guns for sport don’t shoot people and bad guys will get guns anyway.

All these arguments are founded in fear.

We have developed a culture of fear.

Politicians promote fear to get votes. Special interest groups promote fear as a way of moving their agendas forward. The media and social media amplify all the bad things happening in the world. Have we just become afraid of each other in general?

We are afraid of people who look different than us, or think differently than us. We are afraid of people we don’t know.  And we are afraid the government will restrict our freedoms. And when we are afraid, we behave in a way we believe will protect us from the threat.  Gun for/against arguments often contain the word “protection”.

But how about another argument?

We know from both personal experience and research that the more we know the people around us, the safer we feel. If we know people well, we know who we can trust and who we can’t. We know that most people are good people, and we have no reason to fear them.

We also know that we behave according to what we believe. If we believe that every person is a possible threat, we will be inclined to be wary. If we believe that most people have good intentions for others, we can lower our guard.

We also know that when most people believe the same thing, that makes a culture, and we all tend to behave according to the culture.

So, the logic here is, we have developed a culture of fearfulness and that is why we need guns. But if we developed a culture of trust, do we really need guns made to shoot people? (We may still want guns for hunting and sport?)

Do we really want to become more afraid?

So rather than arguing how we deal with our fear using a counter force (guns), how about reducing the need to be afraid? How about developing a culture of trust.

Naïve you say? Idealistic and not realistic you say? Well, we have proven it can be done. We have proven that we can create communities where people know each other and therefore can trust each other.

What do you think? What kind of community do you want to live in? A community of fear or a community of trust?

Barry@happycommunityproject.com

Let’s build happier communities: 

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