Articles

Contemporary Issues 2013: Guns 2, the Second Amendment


>>I LIKE SILENCE.>>OKAY, FOLKS, I THINK
WE CAN GET STARTED. FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO THANK
YOU FOR ATTENDING TONIGHT. THIS IS THE SECOND NIGHT
OF A THREE NIGHT SYMPOSIUM ON GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA,
AND HE’S NOT HERE TONIGHT, BUT I WANT TO RECOGNIZE
DR. FRANK CONNER WHO IS THE CHAIR
OF THE PSYCHOLOGY
DEPARTMENT HERE AT GRCC, WHO REALLY STARTED THIS PROCESS
AND STARTED THE CONVERSATION, AND THAT LED TO WHAT YOU’RE
GOING TO SEE TONIGHT. HE ACTUALLY
PRESENTED LAST NIGHT ON THE PSYCHOLOGY
OF A MASS SHOOTER. TONIGHT IS GOING TO BE
A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. WE HAVE FOUR PANELISTS
WITH YOU TONIGHT. MY NAME IS MIKE LIGHT, I’M THE CHAIR OF THE
SOCIAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT. ALL FOUR OF THESE FOLKS
REPRESENT DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES WITHIN THE SOCIAL
SCIENCE DEPARTMENT. WE HAVE DR. BOB HENDERSHOT, WHO TEACHES HISTORY
HERE AT THE COLLEGE, DR. DILLON CARR, WHO TEACHES
ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY, PROFESSOR
GORDON VURUSIC, WHO TEACHES
POLITICAL SCIENCE, AND DR. LISA GLOEGE,
WHO TEACHES ECONOMICS. THEY ARE ALL GOING TO
APPROACH THE ISSUE OF
THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND THE CURRENT DEBATE
AROUND THE SECOND AMENDMENT FROM THEIR OWN
DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC
PERSPECTIVES, PROBABLY TALKING FOR ABOUT
10 TO 15 MINUTES EACH, AND THEN WE’LL OPEN
IT UP FOR QUESTIONS. WHAT WE REALLY HOPE IS THAT
THIS IS MORE OF A DIALOGUE. IF YOU GUYS HAVE QUESTIONS, WE
WANT YOU TO BE ABLE TO ASK THEM, AND THEN HAVE THEM
ADDRESS THOSE QUESTIONS. AND YOU CAN CERTAINLY
HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH EACH OTHER
AS WELL. THE ONE THING I’M GONNA ASK IS
I HAVE A COUPLE OF MICROPHONES. WE LIKE TO FILM THIS, AND THE
ONLY WAY THAT WE CAN CAPTURE THE QUESTIONS ON VIDEOTAPE
IS IF YOU USE THE MICROPHONE. SO, IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION,
JUST RAISE YOUR HAND AND I’LL COME AROUND
WITH A MICROPHONE AND YOU CAN STATE YOUR
QUESTION INTO THE MICROPHONE. IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S
KARAOKE NIGHT OR ANYTHING, SO THERE’S NO PRESSURE,
IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, JUST
FEEL FREE TO ASK AWAY, OKAY? I’LL LET THEM GET STARTED–
I THINK WE’RE GOING TO START WITH DR. HENDERSHOT.>>IT COULD BE KARAOKE
NIGHT– JUST SAYING.>>WELL, WHAT WOULD
YOU LIKE TO SING?>>”BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN,”
MAYBE IF THERE’S TIME. (audience chuckling) ALL RIGHT, SO MY NAME
IS BOB HENDERSHOT AND I TEACH HISTORY HERE AT THE
GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, AND I’VE BEEN ASKED TONIGHT
TO FOCUS SOME OF MY REMARKS AT THE START
ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THIS DEBATE AROUND THE SECOND AMENDMENT. FIRST OF ALL, CAN
EVERYBODY HEAR ME OKAY? AM I ALL RIGHT FOR
LEVELS IN THE BACK? EXCELLENT. ALL RIGHT,
SO THE SECOND AMENDMENT
IS A FASCINATING TOPIC, ESPECIALLY IN
THE LAST 30 OR 40 YEARS, AND OFTEN THE RHETORIC
OF THE MODERN DEBATE CENTERS AROUND THE LANGUAGE
OF THIS AMENDMENT AND HOW WE SHOULD
INTERPRET IT OR NOT, HERE IN THE 21st CENTURY. AND OF COURSE, THE LANGUAGE
ITSELF IS FASCINATING IN THAT IT DESCRIBES A “WELL
REGULATED MILITIA,” AND IT’S… AN INTERESTING PIECE
TO THINK ABOUT. IT’S NOT THE MOST CLEAR PIECE
OF WRITING EVER COMPLETED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. THE SECOND AMENDMENT READS,
“A WELL REGULATED MILITIA, “BEING NECESSARY TO THE
SECURITY OF A FREE STATE, “THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE
TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS, “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” AS FAR AS WHAT ITS AUTHORS
WERE THINKING AT THE TIME, IN THE 1780s WHEN THE
REPUBLIC WAS YOUNG– THIS IS NOT
A CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC. I MEAN, IT’S PRETTY CLEAR
WHAT THEY WERE THINKING IN THE EARLY REPUBLIC. THEY WERE
ENLIGHTENMENT FIGURES, THEY WERE
ENLIGHTENMENT THINKERS. AND OF COURSE, THEIR LANGUAGE–
“THE PEOPLE”– IS UBIQUITOUS
IN THE ERA OF REVOLUTION, MEANING
A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. “WE THE PEOPLE,” RIGHT? IT REFERENCES A FORM OF
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OPPOSED TO MONARCHY. BUT THE FOCUS, OF COURSE– THE
ACTUAL SUBJECT OF THE SENTENCE IS IN THE FIRST CLAUSE, RIGHT? THE “WELL REGULATED MILITIA,”
AND IT GOES ON TO TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE “NECESSITY FOR THE
SECURITY OF THE COUNTRY,” RIGHT, FOR THEM TO HAVE ARMS. IT IS NOT, IN THE
LANGUAGE ITSELF, REFERENCE
INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS. IT IS NOT TALK ABOUT GUNS– IT TALKS ABOUT A WELL-REGULATED
MILITIA’S NECESSITY FOR THE SECURITY
OF THE COUNTRY AND ITS NEED TO HAVE ARMS. WELL, ANYWAY, WHEN YOU PLACE
IT IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT– AGAIN, IN THE ERA OF THE EARLY
REPUBLIC DURING THE 1780s– THE YOUNG UNITED STATES
HAD VERY LITTLE BY WAY
OF A STANDING ARMY, AND IT WAS HIGHLY DEPENDENT
UPON A BODY OF A MILITIA OF CITIZEN SOLDIERS AS IT
HAD BEEN IN THE REVOLUTION. AND IN THE EARLY
REPUBLIC, RIGHT, THE AMENDMENT WAS TO GUARANTEE
THE SECURITY OF THE COUNTRY BY MAINTAINING SUCH A MILITIA,
IN THE CASE OF SEVERAL SCENARIOS THAT CREATED
A HIGH DEGREE OF PARANOIA
AMONGST THE EARLY AMERICANS, THE EARLY
AMERICAN CITIZENS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF THE
BRITISH SHOULD RE-INVADE, THEY WOULD NEED SUCH A REGULATED
MILITIA WITH ACCESS TO ARMS… IF THE SLAVES SHOULD
RISE UP, ALL RIGHT, THEY NEEDED
A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA TO
CRUSH SUCH AN INSURRECTION AS THEY HAD SEEN RECENTLY
IN PLACES SUCH AS HAITI AND THROUGHOUT THE AMERICAN
SOUTH ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS… AND THEN, FINALLY, OF COURSE,
LOOMING LIKE A SPECTER OVER MUCH OF LIFE IN THE YOUNG
REPUBLIC WAS THE POSSIBILITY THAT NATIVE AMERICANS
WOULD ATTEMPT TO
REASSERT THEIR CONTROL OVER THE LAND BASE. AND ONCE AGAIN,
A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA WAS THE YOUNG COUNTRY’S
MAIN ARMORED DEFENSE. SO, PLACED IN HISTORICAL
CONTEXT– AND THIS IS WHAT WE SEE WITH
THAT AMENDMENT, RIGHT– THE DEPENDENCE
UPON CITIZEN SOLDIERS WHO COULD BE CALLED
UP BY THE COUNTRY. TIME PASSED, THE NATION GREW UP,
IT GREW LARGER, MORE POPULOUS, AND ITS PROBLEMS CHANGED. EVENTUALLY, THE BRITISH DID
RE-INVADE AND WE SURVIVED THAT, BUT AS I SAY, IT EXPANDED, THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION HAPPENED, AND SOON NO LONGER WAS THE
UNITED STATES AN AGRARIAN NATION OF THE OLD MEN FARMERS
AND THEIR SLAVES. IT BECAME AN INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY WITH INDUSTRIALIZED
PROBLEMS. AS IT REACHED THE STATUS OF
NOT JUST A REGIONAL POWER, BUT A GLOBAL POWER TOWARDS
THE DAWN OF THE 20th CENTURY, THE UNITED STATES
HAD DEVELOPED A MUCH LARGER STANDING
PROFESSIONAL ARMY. THE NATIONAL GUARD, RIGHT, IS THE EVOLUTION OF
THOSE EARLY MILITIAS. BUT BEYOND THAT, A CENTRALIZED
FEDERALLY-CONTROLLED ARMY AND OTHER BRANCHES
OF THE MILITARY. THE IDEOLOGY AND NECESSITY
BEHIND THE SECOND AMENDMENT BECAME ANTIQUATED. THE ROLE OF A WELL-REGULATED
MILITIA OF CITIZEN SOLDIERS WAS NO LONGER THE LINCHPIN
OF AMERICAN SECURITY THAN IT ONCE WAS. AND A LONG TIME PASSED,
AND ACTUALLY, IT’S SURPRISING TO THINK ABOUT,
GIVEN THE STATE OF DISCOURSE IN CURRENT AMERICA AND
MODERN-DAY AMERICA, IT’S INTERESTING TO THINK
ABOUT HOW A LONG TIME PASSED, AND FOR MUCH OF
THE 20th CENTURY– INDEED, FOR THE BULK
OF THE 20th CENTURY, THE SECOND AMENDMENT
WAS ACTUALLY NOT A
HOTLY CONTESTED TOPIC IN AMERICAN POLITICS. “WHEN DID THAT CHANGE,”
IS WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. FORTUNATELY, ALL RIGHT,
I HAVE AN ANSWER, AND THE ANSWER IS
“IN THE MID TO LATE 1970s.” AND IT’S AT THAT POINT,
IN THE LATE ’70s AND
THROUGH INTO THE ’80s, THAT’S WHEN THE CURRENT
POLITICAL DEBATE OVER THE SECOND AMENDMENT
WAS IGNITED. AND THE CURRENT INTERPRETATION
OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT BECAME– THE DEBATE AROUND IT BECAME THIS
IDEA THAT THE SECOND AMENDMENT WAS ACTUALLY AN EXPLANATION
OF THE RIGHT OF INDIVIDUALS TO HAVE GUNS. AGAIN, NEITHER THE TERM
“INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN” OR “GUN” IS USED IN THE LANGUAGE, BUT THAT BECAME
THE DOMINANT DISCOURSE, ALL RIGHT, SURROUNDING
OUR DISCUSSION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT
AT THAT TIME. AND SO, FOR THE HISTORIANS,
THE QUEST IS ALWAYS THE SAME– IT’S “WHY”–
IT’S CAUSATION. WHY DID IT TAKE ON THIS MODERN
RHETORIC AND DIMENSIONS ONLY IN THE LAST
30-PLUS YEARS? THAT’S A QUESTION
THAT NEEDS AN ANSWER. HOW DID WE GET HERE? AND THE ANSWER, FOR US, IS FOUND
IN A CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF AMERICAN CULTURE. BY THE WAY, IF ANYBODY’S
INTERESTED IN READING A THOUGHT-PROVOKING
BOOK ON THIS TOPIC, FIND SCOTT MELZER’S BOOK– M-E-L-Z-E-R– AND IT’S CALLED “GUN CRUSADERS–
THE CULTURE OF WAR.” ALL RIGHT, IT’S A FASCINATING
STUDY OF EXACTLY THE TOPIC WE’RE HERE TO TALK
ABOUT TONIGHT. YOU CAN GET IT IN OUR
LIBRARY, I BELIEVE. WELL, ANYWAY, “CULTURE WAR”
IS THE TERM THAT MELZER USES, AND… AND IT’S SOMEWHAT OF
A SALACIOUS TERM– “WAR”– BUT HE’S REFERENCING A CLASH OF
VALUES AND ATTITUDES THAT BECAME MODERNLY RECOGNIZABLE
BY THE LATE 1970s. AND THAT’S PRECISELY
THE LANGUAGE THAT LEADERS OF ORGANIZATIONS SUCH
AS THE FAMOUS N.R.A.– THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION–
THEY INVOKE THAT LANGUAGE. “THE CULTURE WAR”–
THEY USE THAT REPEATEDLY. AND THAT IS SOMETHING
NEW FOR THE N.R.A. IN THIS ERA
OF THE 1970s. NOW, THE N.R.A. HAD BEEN
AROUND SINCE THE 1870s– 1871, ACTUALLY. IT WAS FORMALIZED
IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
AND FOR A LONG TIME, IT WAS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY
A GENTLEMAN’S ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON HUNTING AND
MARKSMANSHIP AND CONSERVATION, AND THAT WAS WHAT
ITS PUBLICATIONS AND
ITS MEETINGS WERE ABOUT. BUT IN THE 1970s, THE OLD
GUARD– THE OLD LEADERSHIP OF THE N.R.A., ITS OFFICERS–
EITHER DIED OR RETIRED, AND THE NEW LEADERSHIP CHANGED
THE NATURE OF THAT ASSOCIATION, AND THEY MADE IT INTO–
THEY DELIBERATELY FORMED IT INTO THE VANGUARD
OF WHAT HISTORIANS NOW
CALL “THE CULTURE WAR” THAT HAS COME TO DOMINATE–
YOU KNOW, THE CULTURAL CLASH THAT HAS COME TO DOMINATE
AMERICAN SOCIETY. THEY ABANDONED
HUNTING, MARKSMANSHIP, AND CONSERVATION
NOT ENTIRELY, BUT THEY MADE IT
INTO AN ORGANIZATION THAT WAS DESIGNED
AROUND ADVOCATING
FOR THE SECOND AMENDMENT, IN PARTICULAR TO ADVOCATE
A PARTICULAR INTERPRETATION OF WHAT THE SECOND AMENDMENT
WAS SUPPOSED TO BE. AND IN THEIR CRUSADE TO PRESERVE
AMERICANS’ RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, “THE CULTURE WAR” FIGURED
PROMINENTLY IN THEIR RHETORIC. FOR EXAMPLE, ALL RIGHT,
N.R.A. PRESIDENT– FORMER PRESIDENT CHARLTON HESTON
ONCE WARNED IN A SPEECH, “CULTURE WAR IS FOUGHT
WITHOUT BULLETS, BLOODSHED, “OR ARMORED TANKS, BUT LIBERTY
IS LOST JUST THE SAME. “IF WE LOSE THIS CULTURAL WAR,”
HE TOLD HIS MEMBERSHIP, “YOU AND YOUR COUNTRY
WILL BE LESS FREE.” AND IN THIS CULTURAL WAR,
RIGHT, THE N.R.A.– AS I SAID, THEY SET IT UP AS
THE VANGUARD IN THE STRUGGLE TO PRESERVE THE COUNTRY
THAT THEY SAW AS ESSENTIAL. YOU KNOW, THE ENEMIES IN
THIS CULTURAL WAR INCLUDE– YOU KNOW, IN THE ’70s
AND ’80s AND TODAY– COMMUNISM AND NANNY STATES,
SOCIALISM. AND YOU SEE, I’M USING THEIR
TERMINOLOGY IN THEIR MAGAZINES AND PUBLICATIONS–
NANNY STATE, SOCIALISM– THEIR TERMINOLOGY IS
IN PARTICULAR TELLING OF THE CULTURAL
CLASH ITSELF. NOT JUST WELFARE AND RECIPIENTS
OF WELFARE, BUT RATHER, THE MYTHOLOGICAL
“WELFARE MOTHER” AND “WELFARE QUEENS
AND PANHANDLERS AND LEECHES.” THESE OTHER TERMS
THAT ARE USED AS PART OF THIS CULTURAL
CONFLICT AND DEBATE. FEMINISM AND FEMINISTS WERE
HELD UP AS ENEMIES, RIGHT, IN THIS CULTURAL CONFLICT. PRO-CHOICE ADVOCATES,
GAY-RIGHTS ADVOCATES, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE ADVOCATES,
GAY PEOPLE IN OUR MILITARY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ADVOCATES, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND SOMETIMES
ANY IMMIGRANTS AT ALL… (laughing)
ARE HELD UP AS ENEMIES, THE MUSLIMS OF COURSE– AND
YOU KNOW, IN THE TERMINOLOGY, THE “A-RAB.” OPPONENTS OF RACIAL PROFILING,
TAXES IN GENERAL, THE MEDIA, LIBERALS–
A.K.A. BLEEDING HEART LIBERALS– DEMOCRATS,
YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY, AND FINALLY, THE MOST
VILLAINOUS OF ALL N.R.A. ENEMIES IN THE CULTURAL CLASH
ARE GUN GRABBERS. AND THE HEROES IN
THIS WAR ARE… ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY–
ALL RIGHT, THEY’RE ALMOST ALL
CONSERVATIVE, STRAIGHT, WHITE, MIDDLE-CLASS MEN. AND THE GENDER LINE HAS BEEN
BROKEN DOWN A LITTLE BIT BY THE I.R.A. RECENTLY– ER, EXCUSE ME,
BY THE N.R.A. IN RECENT YEARS,
BUT OVERWHELMINGLY, IT’S STILL A GENDER-SPECIFIC
ORGANIZATION IN ITS ATTITUDE AND IN ITS MEMBERSHIP
AND ITS FUNDING. AND AS MELZER TELLS US,
THESE STRAIGHT, WHITE,
MIDDLE-CLASS MEN WHO FORM THE BACKBONE
OF THE N.R.A. CLING TO A BYGONE IDENTITY
THAT HE REFERS TO AS
“FRONTIER MASCULINITY,” BUT ACTUALLY, IT’S MUCH
MORE THAN THAT. IT’S A NEW– IT’S A VERY
SPECIFIC MODERN AMERICAN FORM OF IDENTITY THAT IS NOT
LIMITED TO THE MASCULINE, BUT IT’S– THINK
TEDDY ROOSEVELT, ALL RIGHT? IT’S CALLED “MUSCULAR
CHRISTIAN AMERICAN IDENTITY.” FRONTIER MASCULINITY
AND MUSCULAR CHRISTIAN
AMERICAN IDENTITY, THAT’S CHARACTERIZED
BY SELF-RELIANCE, SELF-DEFENSE, AND SELF-DETERMINATION, AN IDENTITY THAT
MANY N.R.A. MEMBERS FEEL IS THREATENED BY
THOSE AFOREMENTIONED ENEMIES, AND ON THE VERGE OF
BECOMING EXTINCT. SO, WHEN CHARLTON HESTON
AND OTHER FAMOUS LEADERS OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE
ASSOCIATION SHOUT, “FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS,”
THEY’RE NOT JUST REFERRING TO THEIR WILLINGNESS
TO DEFEND TO THE DEATH THEIR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. THEY’RE ALSO TALKING ABOUT
DEFENDING THEIR MASCULINITY AND THEIR MODERN, ROBUST,
AMERICAN, PHYSICAL CHRISTIANITY. AND ALL MANNER OF FREEDOMS
THAT THEY ASSOCIATE WITH THAT IDENTITY, AND THEY WILL ATTACK
ANY PERSON OR GROUP THAT THEY HAVE CONSTRUCTED
AS STANDING IN THE WAY, EVEN IF IT MEANS DENYING OTHERS
ANY SEMBLANCE OF FREEDOM. NOW, FOLKS, THAT STRATEGY,
SINCE THE ’70s AND ’80s, HAS BEEN SHOCKINGLY
EFFECTIVE. AND THE N.R.A. HAS THRIVED ON
FRAMING RIGHTS TO GUN RIGHTS– EXCUSE ME, ON FRAMING
THREATS TO GUN RIGHTS, WHICH IS TYPICALLY INVOLVED
IN MAKING EXAGGERATED CLAIMS. WHAT DO I MEAN BY THAT? GIVEN THAT THERE HAVE
BEEN FEW GUN CONTROL LAWS
ENACTED DURING THIS TIME, AND EVEN THOUGH THE ONES THAT
PASSED HAVE BEEN WATERED DOWN OR, AS IN THE CASE OF THE
ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, EXPIRED. IT APPEARS THAT THE GUN
CRUSADERS ARE WINNING THEIR CULTURAL CONFLICT… BUT A DIMINISHING THREAT
IN THE LAST TEN YEARS MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT TO
RECRUIT AND MAINTAIN MEMBERS, AND PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO
RAISE FUNDS FOR LOBBYING, RIGHT? BOTH FOR SUSTAINING
GUN RIGHTS AND FOR WAGING VARIOUS
OTHER CAMPAIGNS ASSOCIATED WITH
THE CULTURAL CONFLICT. HENCE, THE N.R.A. CONSTANTLY
BOMBARDS ITS MEMBERS WITH EMBELLISHED CLAIMS
OF OLD AND NEW THREATS TO THEIR
GUN OWNERSHIP, HIGHLIGHTING VARIOUS
QUOTE-UNQUOTE “SLIPPERY SLOPES” ON EACH NEW HORIZON
AND AROUND EACH TURN IN MORE RECENT HISTORY. ANYWAY, OVER
THE PAST 30 YEARS, THE N.R.A. HAS BEEN PERHAPS
THE MOST EFFECTIVE GROUP IN SETTING UP WHAT WE CALL
THE “DOMINANT DISCOURSE” IN THIS SO-CALLED
“CULTURE WAR.” AS A RESULT, FOLKS,
THEIR INTERPRETATION OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT’S MEANING
AND PURPOSE, ALTHOUGH LARGELY MYTHOLOGICAL,
HAS ALSO BECOME DOMINANT. ALL THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE
OF WHAT IS OFTEN IN POLITICS REFERRED TO AS
“A SACRED VALUE,” WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT
IS HELD TO BE ABSOLUTE. ALL RIGHT, IF SOMETHING
IS A SACRED VALUE, IT IS ABSOLUTE IN THAT
IT RESISTS TRADE-OFFS
AND YOU CAN’T NEGOTIATE, YOU CAN’T HAVE A
DISCOURSE OR DISCUSSION ABOUT CHANGING ANYTHING THAT
IS HELD AS A SACRED VALUE. SACRED RHETORIC, RIGHT,
IS WHAT THE SECOND AMENDMENT HAS BECOME IN MODERN
AMERICAN DISCOURSE FOR MUCH OF THE POPULATION. IT IS UNTOUCHABLE. IT HAS BECOME SACRED–
THE VALUES AND THE RHETORIC OF THIS SACRED HAS
COME TO DOMINATE, AGAIN, N.R.A. PUBLICATIONS
AND LANGUAGE. FOR EXAMPLE–
AGAIN, I CAN ALWAYS RUN HOME
TO CHUCK HESTON FOR THIS– BUT THE N.R.A. PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS, WHEN HE WAS
INAUGURATED IN 2000– HE CONCLUDES WITH THE SLOGAN,
“FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS,” BUT HE USES OTHER SACRED
LANGUAGE ELSEWHERE WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT “WE KNOW
THAT THERE IS SACRED STUFF “IN THAT WOODEN STOCK
AND THAT BLUE STEEL.” WELL, ANYWAY, THE SECOND
AMENDMENT FOR MANY AMERICANS HAS BECOME SACRED
RHETORIC, UNTOUCHABLE, YOU CAN’T NEGOTIATE IT, IT MUST BE DEFENDED TO
THE LAST AND AT ALL COSTS. AND THAT DOES SOMETHING
IMPORTANT TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. SACRED RHETORIC
IS NOT THAT EFFECTIVE WHEN IT COMES TO
CHANGING MINDS… IT’S NOT, OKAY? IT DOES DO A COUPLE
OF THINGS, THOUGH. IT HELPS TO SET THE COURSE
OF LANGUAGE THAT WE USE TO DEBATE THESE
IMPORTANT ISSUES… AND IT ALSO INCREASES
POLITICAL INTENSITY. BUT THE DEMOCRATIC
CONSEQUENCES COULD BE PROFOUND. ONE, THE USE OF SACRED RHETORIC
ON THIS ISSUE AND OTHERS LEADS TO MORE PEOPLE
PARTICIPATING BECAUSE
THEY FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT DEFENSE OF THEIR
SACRED IDEAS AND VALUES. SO, IT INCREASES
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, IT LESSENS THE PROSPECTS
FOR MEANINGFUL DEBATE. OKAY, IT MAKES IT HARDER TO HAVE
AN HONEST EXCHANGE OF IDEAS WITH THE POTENTIAL OF FINDING
THIRD WAYS AND SOLUTIONS. AND AT BEST, THEN,
SACRED RHETORIC CREATES A CONTRADICTORY INFLUENCE ON THE
HEALTH OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, AND I THINK THAT’S SOMETHING
THAT WE NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN WE DEBATE
THESE ISSUES. WHATEVER SIDE YOU’RE ON–
THE SEARCH IS FOR MIDDLE GROUND, OBVIOUSLY, BUT WHATEVER
SIDE YOU’RE ON, WE MUST ALWAYS THINK ABOUT
WHY I THINK THE WAY I THINK. EACH OF US, ALL RIGHT? “WHY DO I USE THE
TERMS THAT I USE? “WHAT HAS CEMENTED MY IDEAS? “WHERE DOES THAT COME
FROM HISTORICALLY?” I APOLOGIZE FOR GOING OVER
MY TIME, BUT THANK YOU.>>I’M TRYING TO THINK OF
A GOOD WAY TO SEGUE OFF OF BOB’S PRESENTATION. HE SORT OF FINISHED WITH THE
CULTURE WARS, AND OBVIOUSLY, MY ROLE HERE AT GRCC IS
AS AN ANTHROPOLOGIST, AND SO CULTURE BECOMES
SORTA MY AREA OF EXPERTISE. I’M ALWAYS HESITANT TO
USE SORT OF WAR AND COMBAT AND THOSE SORT
OF METAPHORS, BUT THAT ITSELF
SORT OF SEGUES INTO HOW
I WAS GOING TO INTRODUCE MY LITTLE
SECTION OF TIME. SO, I WAS FIRING UP
IDEAS FOR THIS PANEL, AND I WAS AIMING TO COME
OUT WITH MY GUNS BLAZING, BUT IN THE PROCESS,
I GOT A LITTLE GUN SHY. I DIDN’T WANT TO SEEM
LIKE A LOOSE CANNON OR SOME SORT OF BIG SHOT. BUT RATHER,
I WANTED TO COME ACROSS LIKE
A REAL STRAIGHT SHOOTER, BY ZEROING
IN ON MY TARGET. I WORRIED THAT I WOULD
GO BALLISTIC AND END UP SHOOTING
FROM THE HIP, SO I SHOT DOWN MY FIRST
COUPLE BULLET POINTS TO AVOID SHOOTING MYSELF
IN THE FOOT. IN RETROSPECT, I FEEL LIKE
I REALLY DODGED A BULLET. NOW THAT I GOT
MY DUCKS IN A ROW, I’M READY TO PULL THE TRIGGER
ON THE PRESENTATION AND SET MY SIGHTS SQUARELY
ON THE ISSUE AT HAND. WHAT REALLY BLOWS ME AWAY IS
THAT ALL THE CONVERSATION ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE HAS
BEEN UP SO SCATTERSHOT, WITH EACH SIDE TRYING TO
TAKE POTSHOTS AT EACH OTHER. SO, TONIGHT, I’M GOING
TO DIG DEEP INTO MY
ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARSENAL AND HOPEFULLY ARM EACH OF YOU
WITH A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE DEBATE. REALLY, WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO
IS THAT ALL OF US ARE HOPING FOR A MAGIC BULLET THAT WILL
SOLVE OUR GUN VIOLENCE PROBLEM. ROBERT MYERS IS A
LINGUISTIC ANTHROPOLOGIST. HE DESCRIBES THAT SORT OF
PHENOMENON AS “GUN SPEAK.” AND REALLY,
ONE OF THE FOCUSES IS “WHAT
ARE SOME OF THE METAPHORS “THAT WERE WE EMBED IN OUR
EVERY DAY LANGUAGE USE “AS AMERICANS, AND SORT OF
OUR CULTURE OF LANGUAGE?” AND SO, SOMETHING
IN TERMS OF DEBATES, WE HEAR ABOUT
CULTURE WARS. WE SORT OF FRAME THAT IN TERMS
OF BATTLE AND ARGUMENTATIVE AND COMBATIVE TONES. WE LITERALLY PEPPER OUR
LANGUAGE USE WITH TERMINOLOGY AND METAPHORS THAT EMBED GUNS
AND USE OF GUNS IN THAT. I THINK EVEN ONE OF THE NEWS
CHANNEL NEWS RELEASES WAS “GRCC EXPERTS TAKE
AIM AT GUN VIOLENCE.” SO, PLAYING UPON
THOSE GUN METAPHORS. AND THIS IS REFERRED
TO AS “GUN SPEAK” AND SO WHAT YOU END UP
SEEING WITH THESE CORE
CULTURAL METAPHORS THAT REALLY PERVADE
ANY CULTURAL CONTEXT IS THAT WHEN YOU SHIFT METAPHORS
FROM ONE SEMANTIC DOMAIN– SO WERE TALKING ABOUT GUNS
IN ONE SET OF AREAS, AND WE SHIFT THAT OVER
TO STUFF LIKE SPORTS OR
EVERYDAY INTERACTION, WHAT WE’RE REALLY
DOING IS WE ARE CREATING A CULTURAL CONTEXT IN
WHICH WE TEND TO FRAME AND THINK ABOUT ISSUES WITHIN
THOSE PARTICULAR TYPES OF LIGHT. SO, WHICH GETS US
DOWN TO THE POINT, IS THAT VERY FEW OF US
IN THIS ROOM WOULD ARGUE AGAINST THE IDEA
THAT GUNS ARE AN INTEGRAL
PART OF AMERICAN CULTURE, SO TO SPEAK. AND YET, BASICALLY, BECAUSE
OF SEVERAL RECENT EVENTS THAT THIS DISCUSSION
ABOUT “WHAT IS THE ROLE “AND WHAT IS
THE INTERSECTIONS OF GUNS
WITHIN AMERICAN CULTURE,” THAT HAS BECOME THRUST
INTO THE FOREFRONT OF REALLY THE AMERICAN CONSCIOUSNESS. AND TO BE HONEST, IT’S AN ISSUE THAT I DON’T HAVE
ANYWHERE NEAR ENOUGH TIME– I DON’T EVEN THINK I COULD
COVER IT IN A SEMESTER– OF ALL THE MYRIAD OF
DIFFERENT WAYS THAT GUNS AND IDEAS OF GUNS
AND METAPHORS OF GUNS ARE REALLY INTERCONNECTED INTO
THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR CULTURE. YET, AS A COUNTRY, WE’VE BEEN
ATTEMPTING TO KIND OF PULL THOSE THREADS OUT IN SORT
OF DIFFERENT WAYS. SO, WITH THAT SAID, IF YOU TRY
TO THINK ABOUT WHAT THE OVERALL CULTURAL FRAMEWORK REGARDING
GUNS AND CENTER ON THIS ISSUE OF GUN VIOLENCE, I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO
FRAME THE ISSUE SPECIFICALLY ON THE DISCUSSION
TO MAKE IT PRODUCTIVE. WHAT CAN WE GO
FORWARD FROM THIS? AND SO, FOR ME, THE CENTRAL
QUESTION THEN BECOMES, “DOES AMERICA HAVE
A GUN PROBLEM, “OR DOES AMERICA HAVE
A VIOLENCE PROBLEM?” I THINK THAT BECOMES ONE
OF THE CORE QUESTIONS. FOR ME, THEN, THE QUESTION
IS, “HOW MIGHT WE THINK “ANTHROPOLOGICALLY
ABOUT THIS?” AND ONE THING THAT MY STUDENTS
ARE PROBABLY SICK OF HEARING IS I TALK ABOUT ANTHROPOLOGY
NOT SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT WE DO, BUT IT’S REALLY ABOUT HOW
WE STUDY HUMANS AND CULTURE. SO, WE LOOK AT INTERCONNECTIONS
BETWEEN THINGS. AND SO, I THINK THERE’S
SOME VALUE DISCIPLINARILY TO THINK ABOUT THIS QUESTION
ABOUT WHAT IS THE ROLE OF DIFFERENT ASPECTS
OF OUR CULTURE, AND HOW DO THOSE
MANIFEST THEMSELVES? AND SO, TO GO BACK TO THE ISSUE
OF “DO WE HAVE A GUN PROBLEM “OR DO WE HAVE
A VIOLENCE PROBLEM”– THERE IS AN OLD MONIKER
THAT GETS FRAMED ABOUT– AND SO, SOME COULD ASK,
“GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE… “PEOPLE DO.” AND HERE’S MY JOKE–
“NOW THAT’S A LOADED QUESTION.” (audience chuckling)
BUT FUNDAMENTALLY, THAT STATEMENT IS,
IN FACT, CORRECT. GUNS DO NOT KILL PEOPLE. IT IS THE ACTION OR USE
OF GUNS THAT KILL PEOPLE. AND THIS IS ONE OF
THE TOPICS THAT DR. CONNER
TALKED ABOUT YESTERDAY WITH HIS PRESENTATION
IN THE PANEL, IS THAT VIDEO GAMES
DON’T KILL PEOPLE, VIOLENT MOVIES AND THAT
DON’T PHYSICALLY THEMSELVES KILL PEOPLE. IT MIGHT CREATE
SOME ACCENTUATIONS
IN VIOLENT BEHAVIOR, BUT THEY,
IN AND OF THEMSELVES, ARE NOT THE ROOT
UNDERLYING CAUSES OF GUN VIOLENCE,
SO TO SPEAK. AND SO, FOR ME,
AMERICA FUNDAMENTALLY
HAS A VIOLENCE PROBLEM, LESS SO THAN SPECIFICALLY
A GUN PROBLEM. AND SO, THE MORE APPROPRIATE
QUESTION THEN BECOMES, “HOW DOES AMERICA’S CULTURE
OF GUNS AND GUN SPEAK “INTERSECT WITH OUR
VIOLENCE PROBLEM?” AND I THINK WHEN WE FRAME THE
DISCUSSION IN THAT REGARDS, THEN WE OPEN OURSELVES UP TO A
POINT THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY MAKE MEANINGFUL PROGRESS AND
WADE THROUGH CULTURE WARS, OR SORT OF “BATTLE” AND
ARGUMENTATIVE SORT OF METAPHORS, AND ACTUALLY GET AT TO
WHAT ARE FUNDAMENTALLY
ROOT CAUSAL PROBLEMS, AND HOW MIGHT
WE TACKLE THEM. AND PROBABLY THE BEST QUOTE I’VE
HAD THAT REALLY SUMMARIZES THIS VERY, VERY SUBTLE TREND OF
WHAT IS THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN AMERICA’S CULTURE
OF GUNS AND GUN SPEAK, AND OUR VIOLENCE PROBLEM. AND DAVID DOBBS ARTICULATES
THIS QUESTION WHEN HE SAYS, “CULTURE GIVES THE IMPULSE
AND FORM– “GIVES THE IMPULSE
FORM AND DIRECTION.” SO, LET ME KIND OF
UNPACK A LITTLE BIT, AND IT REALLY ARTICULATES
THE CAUSAL DIRECTION OF WHAT IS GOING ON WITH
THIS BROADER DISCUSSION. CULTURE GIVES THE IMPULSE
FORM AND DIRECTION. THE IMPULSE IS WHATEVER THE
STRUCTURAL CAUSES OF VIOLENCE– THAT BECOMES THE IMPULSE. INDIVIDUALS HAVE
VIOLENT IMPULSES, AND THEY ACT UPON
VIOLENT IMPULSES. THAT’S A CROSS-CULTURAL
PHENOMENON. THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WE
CAN SEE ETHNOGRAPHICALLY IN EVERY SINGLE
CULTURE OUT THERE. WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT
THE AMERICAN CONTEXT IS THAT OUR CULTURE HAS
EMBEDDED GUN SPEAK AND GUNS, AND EVERYBODY HAS– EVEN
WITHIN THE COURSE OF TODAY– USED SOME SORT OF GUN METAPHOR
WITHIN THEIR EVERY DAY LANGUAGE. AND SO, WHEN THERE
ARE UNDERLYING IMPULSES
THAT LEAD TO VIOLENCE, OUR PARTICULAR CULTURE OF GUNS
AND GUN SPEAK GIVE THAT IMPULSE ITS FORM AND ITS DIRECTION. AND SO, WHEN WE THINK
ABOUT IT IN THAT REGARD, AMERICA FUNDAMENTALLY
HAS A VIOLENCE PROBLEM. UNFORTUNATELY, WITHIN
THIS CULTURAL CONTEXT, GUNS REALLY MAKE THAT VIOLENCE
PROBLEM MUCH MORE LETHAL, AND THAT’S ESSENTIALLY
WHERE WE NEED TO FOCUS
OUR ATTENTION TO IT. AND SO, IF GUNS
DON’T KILL PEOPLE, THEY CERTAINLY MAKE VIOLENT
ACTIONS MORE LETHAL, AND IF THAT’S THE PROBLEM, THEN WHAT MIGHT BE
ON APPROPRIATE SOLUTION FOR DEALING WITH
THOSE PROBLEMS? AND I THINK ONE THING THAT
IS OFTEN CLEAR WITH SOME
OF THE DATA THAT WE HAVE, PARTICULARLY AFTER
SOME OF THE EFFECTS OF THE MOST RECENT ASSAULT
WEAPONS BAN THAT EXPIRED, IS THAT BANNING GUNS OR
BANNING CERTAIN GUNS FUNDAMENTALLY DOES NOT CHANGE
THOSE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS, BECAUSE AS I POINTED OUT, GUNS
ARE NOT THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM. THE VIOLENCE ARE, AND THE GUNS
AND THE METAPHOR OF GUNS GIVES FORM AND DIRECTION
TO THOSE IMPULSES. BUT REMOVING GUNS IN
AND OF THEMSELVES DOES NOT FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE
AMERICA’S VIOLENCE PROBLEM. THE OTHER MAJOR DIMENSION
OR THREAD THAT I THINK WHEN WE THINK ANTHROPOLOGICALLY
ABOUT THIS, THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE
A DISTINCTION OF IS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL
AND STRUCTURAL ISSUES. AND SO, INDIVIDUAL ISSUES
AND STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS AND STRUCTURAL ISSUES REALLY
OPERATE AT DIFFERENT SCALES. AND THAT’S REALLY, WHEN I LISTEN
TO ALL THE RHETORIC AROUND THE GUN DEBATE
WITHIN AMERICA THAT’S PORTRAYED IN
MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS, THAT ONE OF THE
CRITICAL DIMENSIONS IS WE HAVE INDIVIDUALS THAT COME
FROM A STRUCTURAL PERSPECTIVE, AND WE HAVE INDIVIDUALS
COMING FROM AN
INDIVIDUALISTIC PERSPECTIVE. FOR INSTANCE, AN
INDIVIDUALISTIC SOLUTION TO
THIS PROBLEM OF VIOLENCE IS TO BEAR ARMS AND DEFEND
ONESELF FROM POTENTIAL VIOLENCE. AND WHEN YOU TALK
TO MOST GUN OWNERS, THAT’S THE PERSPECTIVE
OF WHY THEY OWN GUNS… IS THERE IS A DEGREE OF
SAFETY THAT THAT GUN AFFORDS. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG
WITH THAT PERSPECTIVE. TO THINK OTHERWISE WOULD BE
ETHNOCENTRIC WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING AT WHAT SPECIFICALLY WOULD BE AN
INDIVIDUAL’S REASON FOR WANTING TO BEAR ARMS AND
DEFEND HIMSELF, REGARDLESS OF THE
HISTORICAL CONTEXTS SURROUNDING AROUND HOW
THE SECOND AMENDMENT
MIGHT HAVE BEEN SHIFTED IN ITS HISTORICAL
INTERPRETATION. OUR REALITY TODAY IS WE
LIVE IN A VIOLENT SOCIETY, AND GUNS IS AN INDIVIDUALISTIC
SOLUTION FOR DEALING WITH THAT. AND I HAVE A WIFE THAT
I LOVE DEARLY, AND FOR ME, THE ISSUE OF,
“DO I PURCHASE A GUN?” OR “DO I HAVE A GUN
TO DEFEND MY FAMILY” AND THAT BECOMES A VERY INDIVIDUALISTIC
RESPONSE TO THAT. AND SO, THAT’S
ONE SIDE OF THE ISSUE AND ONE SIDE
OF THE DEBATE. HOWEVER, ANYBODY WHO WOULD
AGREE OR EVEN DISAGREE WITH THE INDIVIDUALISTIC SOLUTION OR AN INDIVIDUAL’S APPROACH
SHOULD ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE UNDERLYING
STRUCTURAL CAUSES TO VIOLENCE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY, AND IF THE GUNS ARE NOT
THE STRUCTURAL CAUSE BUT VIOLENCE IS, WHAT CAN WE DO TO ARTICULATE
WHAT THOSE SPECIFIC
STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS ARE? SO, WHAT DO WE DO
ABOUT THIS? FOR ME, FROM SORT OF AN
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE, IS TWO CENTRAL QUESTIONS–
“HOW DO WE, AS A SOCIETY, “IDENTIFY WHAT THOSE
UNDERLYING STRUCTURAL
CAUSES OF VIOLENCE ARE “THAT OUR CULTURE OF GUNS
MAKES MORE LETHAL “BY PROVIDING
THE FORM AND DIRECTION?” AND TWO, “HOW DO WE,
AS A SOCIETY, “BETTER MITIGATE THOSE
STRUCTURAL CAUSES OF VIOLENCE?” SO, IRRESPECTIVE OF DOING
ANYTHING WITH THE AVAILABILITY OR SUPPLY OF GUNS, IF WE CAN REDUCE
THE UNDERLYING ROOT CAUSES
OF STRUCTURAL VIOLENCES THAT MANIFEST THEMSELVES
IN AMERICAN SOCIETY, THEN WE’VE TAKEN A COUPLE STEPS
TOWARDS THE RIGHT DIRECTION OF WHAT EVERYBODY’S
ULTIMATE GOAL IS, ON ALL SIDES OF THE DEBATE,
WHICH IS TO SAVE LIVES. SO, WHAT TYPES OF STRUCTURAL
VIOLENCES DO WE HAVE? AND YOU CAN PROBABLY OUTLINE ANY
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES IN TERMS OF HOW GUN VIOLENCE
TURNS LETHAL. WE HAVE ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGES–
THAT’S REALLY NOT A– SOME DEGREE OF
A STRUCTURAL PROBLEM, BUT TO WHAT EXTENT
ARE PEOPLE GETTING AND HAVING ACTUAL TRAINING
TOWARDS POSSESSING WEAPONS AND KEEPING THEM SAFE? BUT ACCIDENTS ARE ONE LEADING
CAUSE OF GUN VIOLENCE AND DEATH. DOMESTIC AND
INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE– ARE PEOPLE HAVING SORT
OF INTERPERSONAL SPIELS? IS THERE SOMETHING IN THERE
THAT’S CREATING BEHAVIOR THAT BECOMES
MUCH MORE VIOLENT? AND ONE OF THE PERSPECTIVES
I THINK WAS TOUCHED UPON A LITTLE BIT
AND HAS COME OUT IS A RECOGNITION THAT A
LOT OF INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE IS BEING DONE ESSENTIALLY
BY YOUNG, MALE INDIVIDUALS, AND SO THERE’S OFTEN RHETORIC
CALLED “HYPERMASCULINITY” THAT SEPARATES
AROUND THIS, THAT INDIVIDUALS HAVE SOMEHOW
CODED THEIR MASCULINE BEHAVIOR WITH AGGRESSIVENESS, AND THAT CREATES THAT
IMPULSE THAT LEADS TO VIOLENT BEHAVIOR. THAT’S THE STRUCTURAL CAUSE. WHEN YOU ADD THE CULTURE
OF GUNS INTO IT, WHAT THAT DOES IS IT GIVES THAT
UNDERLYING VIOLENT IMPULSE FORM AND DIRECTION, AND IT’S THAT PARTICULAR
FORM AND DIRECTION THAT WE HAVE THAT ULTIMATELY
LEADS TO AN INCREASE IN THE LETHALNESS
OF THAT. MENTAL HEALTH IS BECOMING
A BIG ISSUE REGARDING SOME OF
THE MASS TRAUMA EVENTS THAT HAVE
RECENTLY OCCURRED, IN TERMS OF THE AURORA SHOOTING
AND NEWTOWN AS WELL. WE CAN LOOK AT
MENTAL HEALTH FROM A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. WE CAN LOOK AT IT FROM
DIFFERENT PSYCHOSES THAT
HAVE MANIFESTED THEMSELVES IN HIGH BODY COUNT
INCIDENCES. OR PROBABLY THE MORE PREVALENT
CAUSE OF MENTAL HEALTH THAT ULTIMATELY LEADS TO GUN
VIOLENCE IS DEPRESSION AND ULTIMATELY SUICIDE, AND THAT’S PROBABLY ONE
OF THE MOST COMMON EFFECTS OF WHICH GUNS IN A HOUSEHOLD
PROVIDE FORM AND DIRECTION TO AN IMPULSE. ANYBODY WHO HAS SUFFERING FROM
DEPRESSION IS GOING TO HAVE, AT SOME POINT,
A SUICIDAL IMPULSE. THE GUN
AND THE CULTURE SURROUNDING
THE AVAILABILITY OF GUNS, AND THE MENTALITY OF GUNS,
AND THE USE OF GUNS, PROVIDES FORM AND
DIRECTION TO THAT IMPULSE. AND THEN, VIOLENT CRIMES
IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MORE PUBLICIZED DIMENSION. IT MIGHT NOT BE THE MOST
NUMERICALLY VOLUME-WISE SIDE OF THIS DEBATE, BUT IT BECOMES ONE OF THE MORE
PUBLIC SIDES OF IT. BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY WE PUSH
THAT OUT IN OUR NEWS MEDIA, SO ARMED ASSAULTS
AND ROBBERIES, AND THERE’S A HUGE BODY
OF RESEARCH SURROUNDING GANG
VIOLENCE AND THAT. BUT UNDERLYING THOSE IS
WHAT ULTIMATELY CAUSES THOSE TYPES OF ATTRIBUTES
IN A SOCIETY, AND THAT STRUCTURALLY LEADS
TO PEOPLE BEHAVING VIOLENTLY, AND THEN IF PEOPLE CREATE
THE IMPULSE OF VIOLENT BEHAVIOR, THEN WHAT YOU HAVE
IS AN INCIDENT WHERE THE GUN PROVIDES
THE FORM AND DIRECTION TO THAT PARTICULAR VIOLENCE. ONE OF THE BEST ANTHROPOLOGICAL
STUDIES OF THAT ISSUE IS PHILIPPE BOURGOIS, WHO’S DONE A LOT OF WORK DOING
ETHNOGRAPHY IN INNER-CITY AREAS, AND WHEN HE WORKS
IN COMMUNITIES THAT ARE INVOLVED IN ILLICIT GUN
TRADE AND HEAVY GANG ACTIVITY, THE THING THAT SEEMS TO SHOW UP
IN TERMS OF UNDERLYING CAUSES– IT’S NOT DRUGS, PER SE. IT’S REALLY A LACK OF ECONOMIC
OPPORTUNITY FOR INDIVIDUALS IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES. SO, INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE
STUCK IN AN AREA WHERE
THEY’RE NOT AFFORDED A LOT OF VALUABLE
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY– THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO ENTER
INTO THE WORKFORCE IN VERY, VERY LOW-LEVEL TASKS THAT CREATE
A LOT OF DEMEANING INTERACTION, THEY ENCOUNTER A LOT
OF OPPRESSION, A LOT OF RACIST SENTIMENT,
ETHNOCENTRIC SENTIMENT– AND THAT REALLY PUSHES PEOPLE IN
AND OUT OF THE FORMAL WORKFORCE, AND WHEN THEY GET PUSHED
OUT OF THE FORMAL WORKFORCE, OFTEN TIMES WHAT
AN ADAPTATION TO THAT IN
AN IMPOVERISHED CONTEXT IS TO SEEK INFORMAL
MEANS OF INCOME. AND OBVIOUSLY,
PROBABLY THE MOST PROFITABLE
FORM OF INFORMAL INCOME BECOMES BEING INVOLVED
IN ILLICIT DRUG TRADE. BUT UNDERLYING ALL THAT,
ENDS UP SORT OF– WHEN BOURGOIS
DID THE ETHNOGRAPHY AND TALKS TO INDIVIDUALS
THAT ARE INVOLVED IN
THAT CULTURAL CONTEXT, UNDERLYING THAT THAT
GIVES THEM THE IMPULSE IN THE FIRST PLACE
IS REALLY THIS THIRST FOR AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY,
THEY WANT TO BE RECOGNIZED, THEY WANT TO HAVE
THE RESPECT OF THEIR PEERS. THEY GO INTO ACTIVITIES
THAT HAVE HIGH PRESTIGE WITHIN THOSE LOCAL
CULTURAL CONTEXTS. UNFORTUNATELY, THE MANIFESTATION
IN THAT PARTICULAR CULTURAL
STRUGGLE FOR RESPECT THEN BECOMES THE NEED TO REACT
IN HYPERMASCULINE BEHAVIORS AND ACT OUT
AGGRESSIVELY. AND THEN, WHEN WE PUT THAT
IN THE PECULIAR GUN SPEAK AND CULTURE OF GUNS THAT
WE HAVE ESTABLISHED HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, THAT PROVIDES AN UNUSUALLY
LETHAL FORM AND DIRECTION. SO, YOU CAN TAKE IT ALL
THE WAY DOWN TO SOME ISSUES SUCH AS FUNDAMENTAL RESPECT,
IN SOME OF THOSE REGARDS. SO, I ASK ANYBODY IN HERE TO
THINK BACK TO YOUR YOUNG YEARS AS A YOUNG INDIVIDUAL– HOW
MANY DUMB THINGS HAVE YOU DONE OUT OF THE SEARCH AND THE
MISGUIDED NOTION FOR RESPECT? AND THAT REALLY IS NO
DIFFERENT IN ANY OTHER CONTEXT. SO, THAT BECOMES ONE
MANIFESTATION OF IT. THAT’S THE IMPULSE. AND SO,
WHAT WE NEED TO DO, RATHER THAN FOCUS ON
THE APPROXIMATE CAUSE, WHICH IS THE LETHALITY
PROVIDED BY GUNS, IS TO FOCUS MORE ON WHAT CAN
WE DO TO SORT OF DEAL WITH AND MITIGATE SOME OF THESE
STRUCTURAL INFLUENCES IN SOCIETY. I WISH I HAD
A GREAT ANSWER. I MIGHT HAVE
A GREAT ANSWER, BUT I DON’T HAVE
ANY TIME, RIGHT? (audience laughing)
BUT FOR ME, THE ONE MAJOR
ANTHROPOLOGICAL LESSON IS REGARDING TOP-DOWN
AND BOTTOM-UP APPROACHES TO DEALING WITH STUFF,
AND WE SEE THIS OCCURRING IN DEVELOPMENT CONTEXTS,
WHERE WE ATTEMPT A LOT OF TOP-DOWN APPROACHES
TO IMPOSE THINGS AND WE GET A LOT OF IMPERSONAL
RESISTANCE IN LOCAL CONTEXTS, AND I THINK WE’RE GOING TO
EXPERIENCE THAT IF WE ATTEMPT REALLY SEVERE TOP-DOWN
APPROACHES TO DEALING
WITH THESE ISSUES, PARTICULARLY
IN AMERICAN SOCIETY,
BECAUSE GUNS, GUN SPEAK, AND THIS CULTURE OF GUNS
IS SO DEEPLY INTERWOVEN INTO THE VERY FABRIC OF WHO
WE THINK WE ARE AS AMERICANS. AND SO, I THINK
THE BOTTOM-UP APPROACH DEFINITELY BECOMES
A MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE AWAY BECAUSE THAT HELPS YOU GET
ACROSS A LOT OF BARRIERS OF IMPERSONAL
RESISTANCE. SO, THAT’S MY HOPE IS
THAT’S WHERE THE DIRECTION AND THE DISCUSSION
WILL COME TO, RATHER THAN FOCUSING ON
SOME OF THE SEMANTICS, FOCUSING ON SOME OF
THE “CULTURE WARS,” SO TO SPEAK. LET’S MOVE BEYOND THAT
AND RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS INDIVIDUAL
RESPONSES TO PROTECTING
ONESELF FROM VIOLENCE, BUT REGARDLESS OF YOUR
INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME,
WHICH IS PROXIMATE, THAT THE ULTIMATE PROBLEM
THAT WE HAVE ARE
STRUCTURAL VIOLENCES, AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO
IS HAVE A CONVERSATION AS A COUNTRY TO FIGURE OUT
WHAT WE CAN DO TO MITIGATE THOSE
STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS AND PREVENT OUR IMPULSES OR
THE IMPULSES OF INDIVIDUALS FROM TAKING AN UNUSUALLY LETHAL
FORM AND DIRECTION. (applause)>>(Croatian accent)
GOOD EVENING. (audience chuckling) IN 1996, A LONE GUNMAN IN
THE COUNTRY OF AUSTRALIA KILLED 35 PEOPLE BY USING
SEMIAUTOMATIC GUNS AND A SHOTGUN. THE SAME YEAR,
UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF A FAIRLY CONSERVATIVE
PRIME MINISTER, JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIA– THE COUNTRY
OF AUSTRALIA CREATED WHAT I WOULD CALL
A “SOCIAL CONTRACT.” THAT SOCIAL CONTRACT
WAS AN AGREEMENT AMONG
THE STATE GOVERNMENTS, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO PASS NEW GUN
RESTRICTION LAWS. THESE LAWS WERE VERY
RESTRICTIVE, AND IT STILL IS. FIRST OF ALL,
THIS PARTICULAR LAW PASSED
BY THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT BANNED ALL KINDS
OF SEMIAUTOMATIC WEAPONS, INCLUDING SHOTGUNS, FROM
THE CIVILIAN OWNERSHIP. THE LAW ALSO REQUIRED MANDATORY
GUN BUYBACK PROGRAMS, RIGHT? SO, WHAT BASICALLY WITH
PARTNERSHIP OF LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
IN AUSTRALIA WANTED TO DO WAS TO FORCE PEOPLE TO BASICALLY
SELL THEM THEIR GUNS. IN THE FOUR YEARS OF THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BUYBACK, THE COUNTRY OF AUSTRALIA
BOUGHT BACK AROUND 650,000
SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS. THIS PARTICULAR LAW ALSO
BASICALLY BANS THE USE OF GUNS FOR THINGS LIKE
SELF-DEFENSE. WHEN ONE WANTS TO BUY A GUN
IN THE COUNTRY OF AUSTRALIA, ONE HAS TO STATE THE REASON
WHY THEY NEED THAT GUN, THEN THEY NEED TO
WAIT FOUR MONTHS, AND THEN GO THROUGH THE
BACKGROUND CHECK FOR SIX MONTHS. NONE OF THE ACCEPTABLE
REASONS INCLUDES SELF-DEFENSE. ONE OF THE ACCEPTABLE
REASONS IS SPORTSMANSHIP, ANOTHER IS HUNTING,
BUT ONCE AGAIN, NONE OF THEM INCLUDE
SELF-DEFENSE. EACH GUN IS REGISTERED–
EACH BOUGHT GUN FROM A DEALER OR PRIVATE PERSON IS
REGISTERED WITH THE POLICE LIKE ANY OTHER CAR, RIGHT, WHICH BASICALLY REDUCED
THE NUMBER OF GUN HOUSEHOLDS IN AUSTRALIA TO 20 PERCENT–
FROM 60 TO 20 PERCENT. BEFORE THE GUN LAW
WAS INTRODUCED, THE GUN OWNERSHIP OF–
THE HOUSEHOLDS THAT OWNED GUNS WERE AROUND 60 PERCENT. NOW, IT’S AROUND
20 PERCENT. SO, HOW DID THE LAW DO? DID THE LAW
PREVENT ANY VIOLENCE? I THINK WE CAN TALK ABOUT
TWO SEPARATE THINGS. ONE THING
IS THE QUESTION, “DID THE LAW PREVENT
MASS SHOOTINGS?” BEFORE THE LAW WAS INTRODUCED,
THERE WERE 15 MASS SHOOTINGS IN THE COUNTRY
OF AUSTRALIA. MASS SHOOTING, ACCORDING
TO AUSTRALIAN LAW, IS DEFINED AS “FOUR OR
MORE PEOPLE KILLED.” AFTER THE LAW WAS INTRODUCED,
THERE WAS ZERO. SINCE 1996, AUSTRALIA
HAS NOT HAD AN INSTANCE OF MASS SHOOTINGS. SO, THERE WAS NO INCIDENTS
IN THE COUNTRY OF AUSTRALIA WITHIN ONE SHOOTING WHERE
FOUR OR MORE PEOPLE WERE KILLED. THERE IS SOME MIXED EVIDENCE
ABOUT THE RATE OF HOMICIDES. SOME STUDIES ARE TALKING
ABOUT A 40 PERCENT DROP IN THE RATE
OF HOMICIDES, BUT THAT PARTICULAR EVIDENCE IS
NOT STATISTICALLY STRONG ENOUGH BECAUSE THE RATE OF HOMICIDES
IN THE COUNTRY OF AUSTRALIA WAS FALLING ANYWAY,
BEFORE THE LAW WAS INTRODUCED. SO, THE MAIN QUESTION WAS,
“DID THE LAW PRECIPITATE IT “OR SPED UP THE FALL
IN THE HOMICIDE RATE?” THE ANSWER IS, “PERHAPS, BUT
THERE IS NO CONCLUSIVE “STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT
EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT.” HOWEVER, IT IS ALSO CLEAR THAT
THE NUMBER OF HOME INVASIONS DIDN’T GO UP AFTER ALL
THESE GUNS WERE BANNED. YOU PROBABLY KNOW THAT ONE OF
THE MAIN REASONS WHY PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO OWN SEMI-AUTOMATIC
GUNS IN THE UNITED STATES IS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES
FROM HOME INVASIONS. SO, THE HYPOTHESIS OF
RESEARCHERS WAS, “WELL, IF SEMI-AUTOMATIC
GUNS WERE BANNED “IN THE COUNTRY
OF AUSTRALIA, “THEN THE NUMBER OF HOME
INVASIONS WOULD GO UP “BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD
NOT HAVE HAD WEAPONS “TO DEFEND THEMSELVES.” THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. ANOTHER INTERESTING
FINDING IS THAT THE
NUMBER OF ARMED ROBBERIES DROPPED BY OVER 40 PERCENT SINCE
THE GUN LAWS WERE INTRODUCED. THE NUMBER OF–
THE BIGGEST SURPRISE WAS THE NUMBER
OF SUICIDES. THE NUMBER OF SUICIDES BY
GUNS DROPPED BY 69 PERCENT, WHICH IS SOMEHOW
AN INCREDIBLE NUMBER. WHAT IS INTERESTING
IS THE NUMBER OF
HOMICIDES BY OTHER MEANS, WHICH MEANS
“MEANS OTHER THAN GUNS,” DIDN’T GO UP. SO, THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES BY
OTHER MEANS REMAINED CONSTANT, OR DROPPING VERY SLOWLY. SO, IS IT TRUE THAT THIS VERY
RESTRICTIVE GUN LAW WORKED, IN THE SENSE OF
PREVENTING MASS MURDERS? WELL, NOTHING CERTAIN IN SOCIAL
SCIENCES BECAUSE SOCIAL SCIENCES DEAL WITH HUMAN BEHAVIOR. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO
ISOLATE A PARTICULAR VARIABLE THAT INFLUENCES THIS HUMAN
BEHAVIOR, RIGHT? BUT I WOULD SAY THERE IS
AROUND 80 PERCENT LIKELIHOOD THAT THIS PARTICULAR
THING WORKS IN THE TERMS OF PREVENTING
NEW MASS MURDERS. DID IT WORK IN TERMS OF
LOWERING THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES JUST BECAUSE OF THAT LAW? THE EVIDENCE IS
NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR. HOWEVER,
DID NEGATIVELY INFLUENCE
THE (indistinct) VIOLENCE IN THE COUNTRY
OF AUSTRALIA? THE ANSWER IS, “NO,” THERE
WAS NO INCREASE IN HOMICIDES BY ALTERNATIVE MEANS, AND THERE WAS
NO INCREASE IN THE NUMBERS
OF HOME INVASIONS PER YEAR. OH, JUST A MOMENT. (music)
THAT WAS PART OF THE MUSIC THAT I PREPARED FOR MY PRESENTATION.
(audience laughing) SO, COULD WE DO
SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN THE UNITED STATES? OR IF WE DO IT,
COULD IT WORK? MY ANSWER IS, “NO…”
(chuckling) ON THE FIRST COUNT. MY ANSWER IS, “NO, WE CANNOT DO
IT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.” WHY? THE FIRST ANSWER IS THIS
PESKY SECOND AMENDMENT, RIGHT? THE SECOND AMENDMENT SAID,
“A WELL REGULATED MILITIA “BEING NECESSARY FOR
THE DEFENSE OF A FREE STATE “THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO BEAR
ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” IF ONE READS THE AMENDMENT
LITERALLY, AS I DO, I WOULD SAY BECAUSE WELL
REGULATED MILITIA IS NECESSARY, THEREFORE PEOPLE HAVE
THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. IS A WELL REGULATED MILITIA
STILL NECESSARY TO DEFEND A STATE WHO IS GOING
TO ATTACK A STATE, RIGHT? MY STUDENTS SAY, “CANADA.”
(audience laughing) I DISAGREE. BUT I THINK ANOTHER KEY WORD IN
THIS PARTICULAR AMENDMENT IS… “REGULATED.” THERE WERE TWO MAJOR CASES
BEFORE THE SUPREME– WELL, I SHOULD SAY THE ONLY TWO
CASES BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT IN WHICH THE SUPREME COURT
DEALT WITH THE ISSUE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT, AND BOTH OF THESE
CASES WERE VERY LATE. IN 2008– ONLY IN 2008,
THE SUPREME COURT DEALT WITH THE ISSUE OF SECOND AMENDMENT
FOR THE FIRST TIME, RIGHT? ONE OF THE QUESTIONS BEFORE
THE SUPREME COURT WAS, “DOES THE RIGHT OF
THE PEOPLE TO BEAR ARMS “DEPEND ON THEIR BELONGING
TO A WELL REGULATED MILITIA, “HAS SECOND AMENDMENT SAYS?” THE SUPREME COURT REJECTED
THE NOTION OF “MILITIA,” THE SUPREME COURT DIDN’T REJECT
THE NOTION OF “REGULATED.” SO, SUPREME COURT
IN THE FAMOUS CASE, HELLER VERSUS DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA IN 2008, ARGUED, “WHILE YOU DO NOT HAVE
TO BELONG TO A MILITIA “IN ORDER TO HAVE THE RIGHT
TO CARRY ARMS, THE GOVERNMENT– “LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
STATE GOVERNMENT, “FEDERAL GOVERNMENT–
THEY ALL HAVE THE POWER “TO REGULATE WHAT
ARMS YOU CAN CARRY, “WHERE YOU CAN CARRY
THESE ARMS, RIGHT, “AND UNDER WHAT
CIRCUMSTANCES.” SO, THE SUPREME COURT
DISAGREED WITH HELLER, WHO WAS THE PLAINTIFF
IN THE CASE– AND THE GUN DEALER,
BY THE WAY– WHO CLAIMED THAT THE PEOPLE’S
RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS IN THE UNITED STATES IS
NOT LIMITED OR RESTRICTED. SUPREME COURT SAID, “YES,
LOOK AT THE CONSTITUTION. “LOOK AT THE SECOND AMENDMENT. “THERE IS THE WORD
‘REGULATED’ THERE.” SO, IF THE WORD
“REGULATED” IS THERE, ACCORDING TO
THE SUPREME COURT, THAT MEANS THAT THAT PARTICULAR
RIGHT CAN BE LIMITED. THE SECOND REASON WHY THIS
PARTICULAR BUYBACK PROGRAM WOULD NOT WORK IN
THE UNITED STATES… IS THAT ALTERNATIVE WEAPONS
WOULD BE EASILY AVAILABLE, RIGHT? SO, IF THE GOVERNMENT
TAKES AWAY YOUR WEAPONS BUT DOESN’T BAN
THE SALE OF IT, WHICH IS PROTECTED
BY THIS INTERPRETATION OF THE SUPREME COURT
BY SECOND AMENDMENT, YOU CAN EASILY GET
A NEW ONE, RIGHT? SO, ALTERNATIVE WEAPONS ARE
BASICALLY EASILY AVAILABLE. A THIRD REASON IS WHAT MY
COLLEAGUES ALREADY MENTIONED, IS A DIFFERENT
GUN CULTURE. THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN
BUILT ON THE NOTION OF
SEVERE INDIVIDUALISM, RIGHT, AND THIS INDIVIDUALISM
USUALLY IN AMERICAN POLITICS HAS BEEN JUXTAPOSED
TO GOVERNMENT. SO, IN AMERICAN
POLITICAL MYTHOLOGY, THERE IS ALWAYS TENSION BETWEEN
THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS AND THE POWER OF THE
GOVERNMENT, RIGHT? SO, IF YOU REALLY TAKE A CAREFUL
LOOK AT THE FIRST TEN AMENDMENTS OF THE CONSTITUTION, THESE TEN AMENDMENTS
OF THE CONSTITUTION ARE IN FACT ALL ABOUT
THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY, ALL ABOUT INDIVIDUAL PROTECTIONS
AGAINST UNNECESSARY ENCROACHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE
PRIVATE LIFE OF INDIVIDUALS. AND FINALLY I THINK, PERHAPS I
WOULD SAY LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHY IT IS THAT… THIS KIND OF LAW COULD
NEVER EVEN BE PASSED IN THE UNITED STATES
BY CONGRESS, IS THE AMERICAN
ELECTORAL SYSTEM. IN THE UNITED STATES,
THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM IS WHAT IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
WE CALLED “SINGLE DISTRICT
PLURALITY SYSTEM.” THAT MEANS THAT EACH
ELECTORAL DISTRICT– THERE ARE 435 ELECTORAL
DISTRICTS IN THE UNITED STATES, WHICH GIVES US
435 REPRESENTATIVES IN THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES. SO, EACH DISTRICT GIVES ONE
REPRESENTATIVE TO CONGRESS, BUT IN ORDER
FOR A PERSON, FOR A CANDIDATE TO WIN
IN EACH DISTRICT, THIS PARTICULAR CANDIDATE
DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE
THE MAJORITY OF VOTES. THIS PARTICULAR CANDIDATE
CAN HAVE ONLY MOST VOTES, BUT NOT MAJORITY–
“MAJORITY” WOULD MEAN
50 PERCENT PLUS ONE VOTE. SO, IF THERE ARE MORE
THAN TWO CANDIDATES, CONCEIVABLY YOU CAN GO
TO CONGRESS BY 40 PERCENT OF THE VOTES CAST. WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT? THIS IS IMPORTANT
BECAUSE AS FRENCH POLITICAL
SCIENTIST DUVERGER NOTED, THIS KIND OF ELECTIONS–
WINNER TAKE ALL ELECTIONS OR SINGLE DISTRICT
PLURALITY ELECTIONS– GENERATE ONLY TWO
MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES IN REPRESENTATIVE BALLOT. SO, THIS IS WHY WE HAVE ONLY
TWO MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE AMERICAN CONGRESS
BECAUSE OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE AMERICAN
ELECTORAL SYSTEM. WINNER TAKE ALL. IF YOU JUST HAVE TWO MAJOR
POLITICAL PARTIES COMPETING, AND ONLY ONE OF THEM
CAN GO TO CONGRESS, WHY WOULD ANYBODY
VOTE FOR ANYBODY ELSE? IF YOU REMEMBER
RALPH NADER, RIGHT, WHO PERENNIALLY RAN FOR
OFFICE ALL THE TIME… (audience laughing)
HE DIDN’T HAVE A CHANCE, BECAUSE EVEN PEOPLE
WHO LIKED HIM… DIDN’T WANT
TO VOTE FOR HIM BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THEY
WOULD LOSE THEIR VOTE– I MEAN, THEY WOULD JUST
“WASTE” THEIR VOTE, RIGHT? WITHOUT SENDING
SOMEBODY TO CONGRESS. BUT IMAGINE IF THE UNITED
STATES HAD THE PROPORTIONAL
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM IN WHICH EACH POLITICAL PARTY
THAT CROSSES THE THRESHOLD OF FIVE PERCENT
OF THE VOTE WOULD BE REPRESENTED
IN PARLIAMENT LIKE IT IS
WHERE I COME FROM, IN EUROPE. THAT WOULD BASICALLY PROVOKE
POLITICAL CANDIDATES TO TRY TO REACH MIDDLE GROUND
WITH OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES, BECAUSE NOBODY WOULD HAVE
50 PERCENT PLUS MORE SEATS IN THE CONGRESS. SO, THE PLAYING OF EXTREMIST
POLITICS WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE, BECAUSE IN ORDER
FOR THE PEOPLE TO– IN ORDER FOR THE CANDIDATES
TO GET TO CONGRESS, THEY WOULD HAVE TO
COMPROMISE WITH OTHERS. SO, IF THE COMPROMISE
WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER FOR POLITICAL CANDIDATES
TO GO TO CONGRESS, THAT WOULD BASICALLY
OPEN THE POLITICIANS TO LESS EXTREME AND
MORE MODERATE POSITIONS, AND THAT WOULD PERHAPS
OPEN POLITICAL SPACE AND OPEN UP
POLITICAL INCENTIVE FOR SOME KIND
OF AN AGREEMENT FOR BASICALLY GUN LAWS
TO BE INSTITUTED. WHY AM I ONLY TALKING
ABOUT GUN LAWS? WHY DO I THINK THAT
DESPITE THE FACT THAT… GUNS MAY NOT KILL PEOPLE,
PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME,
IF PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE GUNS, THEN THEY CAN INFLICT
LESS DAMAGE, RIGHT? AND IT’S EASIER FOR THE
POLITICIANS TO REGULATE GUNS THAN TO REGULATE
MENTAL HEALTH. JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE
THE SANDY HOOK SHOOTINGS, WE HAD AN ATTACK BY
A STUDENT IN CHINA. THE STUDENT CAME TO SCHOOL, BUT
HE DIDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO GUNS, SO HE BROUGHT A KNIFE. HE STABBED A BUNCH OF STUDENTS,
BUT HE DIDN’T KILL ANYBODY. IMAGINE IF HE HAD
ACCESS TO GUNS. I’LL YIELD TO MY COLLEAGUE,
LISA GLOEGE. (audience chuckling)
>>ALL RIGHT. I CAN TELL IT’S WHAT
YOU’RE ALL WAITING FOR– THE ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE
ON THIS. I REALLY APPRECIATE
THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE WITH MY COLLEAGUES
IN SOCIAL SCIENCE BECAUSE ECONOMICS IS
A MEANS OF ANALYSIS, AND IT’S DONE MORE FULLY–
WE CAN DO BETTER ANALYSIS IF WE UNDERSTAND THESE
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. SO, I NEED TO UNDERSTAND
THE HISTORIAN’S PERSPECTIVE, THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT HERE,
AS WELL AS THE CULTURAL CONTEXT AND THINKING ABOUT SOME
OF THE INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES FROM A POLITICAL SCIENCE
PERSPECTIVE, TOO. SO, HERE’S THE WAY
AN ECONOMIST THINKS– WE STUDY THE WAY
PEOPLE MAKE CHOICES. SO, WE’RE STUDYING
INDIVIDUAL CHOICES AND HOW
THOSE CHOICES INTERACT, AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF
THOSE CHOICES FOR SOCIETY. SO, WHEN I THINK
ABOUT GUNS, THIS IS SORT OF AN INTERESTING
CHOICE THAT SOMEONE CAN MAKE, BECAUSE YOU
GET TO CHOOSE WHETHER OR NOT
TO BUY A GUN… BUT I AM AFFECTED
BY THAT CHOICE. WE CALL THESE SIDE
EFFECTS “EXTERNALITIES.” EVERYBODY SAY THIS WORD
WITH ME– EXTERNALITIES.>>(all) EXTERNALITIES.>>YOU’LL SOME VERY SMART
IF YOU USE THAT WORD OFTEN. IT JUST MEANS
A SIDE EFFECT. AND SO, THE BIG QUESTION
IN ECONOMICS– WELL, THE BIG QUESTION
IN THIS MARKET IS “ARE THESE SIDE EFFECTS
POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE, “WHEN IT COMES TO GUNS?” BECAUSE IF YOU LISTEN TO
THE RHETORIC OF THE N.R.A., AS PROFESSOR HENDERSHOT
WAS SAYING, IT SOUNDS LIKE IT’S POSITIVE,
THAT GUNS CAN PROTECT YOU, AND THAT PEOPLE HAVING GUNS
IN OUR CLASSROOMS AT GRCC WOULD MAKE US ALL SAFER BECAUSE
THEN IF A BAD GUY COMES IN, SOMEBODY ELSE WILL BE
ABLE TO TAKE HIM OUT. ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU HAVE
OTHER PEOPLE SAYING, “WELL, YOU KNOW, AT A
COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN TEXAS “A FEW WEEKS AGO, “SOMEBODY WAS CAUGHT IN
THE MIDDLE OF A GUNFIGHT, “AND SO A BYSTANDER
WAS HURT.” SO, THIS IS THE REAL QUESTION–
THIS IS THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION IS “ARE THESE SIDE EFFECTS
POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE?” SO, IF MY NEIGHBOR BUYS A GUN,
DOES THAT MAKE ME SAFER BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL KNOW
THAT MY NEIGHBORHOOD IS NOT A PLACE WHERE YOU
WANT TO MESS AROUND? OR DOES THAT MAKE ME LESS SAFE,
EITHER BECAUSE MY NEIGHBOR MIGHT MISUSE THE GUN OR BECAUSE THERE’S A POTENTIAL
FOR THEFT OF THAT GUN, AND THEN THEY COME TO MY HOUSE
NEXT WITH NOW HAVING A GUN AND THE ABILITY
TO USE IT? SO, THAT’S THE FUNDAMENTAL
QUESTION. ECONOMISTS HAVE SPENT QUITE
A BIT OF TIME AND EFFORT TRYING TO FIGURE THIS OUT,
TRYING TO MEASURE THESE THINGS. AND ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN
PAPERS IS BY COOK AND LUDWIG. IT WAS PUBLISHED IN 2006. SO, THEY DID A STUDY
TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT ARE THE EXTERNAL COSTS
OR BENEFITS OF GUN OWNERSHIP, AND WHAT THEY FOUND WAS
THAT THE EXTERNAL COSTS– SO, THE COSTS TO OTHER
PEOPLE OF A HOUSEHOLD BECOMING A GUN-OWNING HOUSEHOLD
IS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN– THIS IS A WIDE RANGE–
IT’S BETWEEN $100 AND $1,800. SO, A VERY WIDE RANGE,
BUT IT’S NEGATIVE, RIGHT? WHICH MEANS, FOR EXAMPLE,
THAT IF MY COLLEAGUE WHO HAS AN OFFICE RIGHT NEXT
TO MINE DECIDES TO BUY A GUN, THAT HAS A COST TO ME. NOW, THAT LEAVES US ROOM TO
THINK THAT THERE MIGHT BE A WAY THAT WE CAN MAKE
THINGS BETTER. IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT SOMEBODY
SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO OWN A GUN. CLEARLY, WE HAVE THIS
RIGHT IN OUR COUNTRY… BUT IT DOES TELL US THAT
WHEN THEY MAKE THAT CHOICE, IT WON’T NECESSARILY
BE THE OPTIMAL ONE, BECAUSE WHEN PEOPLE
MAKE A DECISION ABOUT
WHETHER TO BUY SOMETHING, THEY’RE THINKING ABOUT
THEIR OWN BENEFITS AND COSTS AND PROBABLY NOT THE COST
IMPOSED ON OTHER PEOPLE. SOME OF US MIGHT THINK
THROUGH HOW OUR NEIGHBORS
ARE AFFECTED BY THINGS, BUT MAYBE NOT FULLY. SO, THEN WE ASK, “WHAT
DO WE DO ABOUT THIS?” SO, HOW CAN WE MAKE
THIS BETTER? AND I COULD TALK ABOUT ALL
DIFFERENT POLICIES ALL NIGHT, BUT LET ME JUST GIVE YOU AN
EXAMPLE OF THE WAY AN ECONOMIST MIGHT THINK ABOUT HOW DO
WE FIX A PROBLEM LIKE THIS. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU ALL
IF YOU DROVE HERE TONIGHT, THEN YOU LIKELY HAVE
INSURANCE ON YOUR CAR, OTHERWISE YOU’RE
DRIVING ILLEGALLY. SO, WE REQUIRE SOMEONE, IN ORDER
TO HAVE THEIR CAR REGISTERED, TO HAVE CAR INSURANCE. AND THE PRIMARY REASON
FOR THAT IS NOT TO PROTECT YOU IF YOU GET IN AN ACCIDENT,
SO YOU CAN FIX YOUR CAR. IT’S ACTUALLY
FOR OTHER PEOPLE. THERE’S LIABILITY HERE. SO, THERE IS A POTENTIAL
WHEN YOU’RE DRIVING A VEHICLE THAT YOU COULD HURT SOMEONE
ELSE, LIKELY INADVERTENTLY, BUT YOU COULD HURT
SOMEBODY ELSE. AND SO, THE QUESTION IS, “WHAT’S
GOING TO HAPPEN IN THAT CASE?” SO, WE REQUIRE YOU TO
GET CAR INSURANCE IN ORDER TO ACCOUNT FOR THAT. SOME ECONOMISTS WOULD SAY,
“WHY IN THE WORLD DO WE NOT “REQUIRE SOME SORT
OF LIABILITY INSURANCE “FOR SOMEONE
THAT OWNS A GUN?” BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE COULD
POTENTIALLY BE AFFECTED BY YOU OWNING A GUN. IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT
YOU’RE IRRESPONSIBLE, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT
YOU’RE GOING TO MISUSE IT, BUT THERE’S ANOTHER GUN OUT
THERE AND IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO HARM SOMEONE ELSE. SO, OUR INSURANCE INDUSTRY KNOWS
VERY WELL HOW TO ASSESS RISK. SO, IN THE CASE
OF GUN OWNERSHIP, IN ORDER TO GET
A REGISTRATION FOR A GUN, PERHAPS THEY’RE GOING TO
ASK YOU SOME QUESTIONS, LIKE YOUR AGE
OR YOUR GENDER– THE SAME QUESTIONS THEY ASK YOU
WHEN YOU GET YOUR CAR INSURANCE. MAYBE SOMETHING– INSTEAD OF
WHAT TYPE OF CAR YOU’RE DRIVING, MAYBE WHAT TYPE OF
GUN ARE YOU BUYING? SOME GUNS MIGHT BE A LITTLE
MORE RISKY THAN OTHERS. SOME 70-YEAR-OLD RIFLE THAT YOU
INHERITED FROM YOUR GRANDFATHER IS PROBABLY NOT
REALLY RISKY, BUT MAYBE SOME OF THESE OTHER
SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS MIGHT BE QUITE DIFFERENT. THEY MIGHT ASK YOU, “WHERE ARE
YOU GONNA STORE THIS WEAPON?” JUST LIKE WHEN I GOT
MY CAR INSURANCE, THEY ASKED ME HOW FAR WAS
IT FOR ME TO DRIVE TO WORK. THEY WANTED TO KNOW HOW MANY
MILES I WAS GOING TO BE DRIVING. SO, IF WE ASK THOSE
KINDS OF QUESTIONS, THEN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY
SHOULD BE ABLE TO ADEQUATELY– HOPEFULLY WELL–
ASSESS OUR RISK, THE RISK OF US OWNING
A GUN ON OTHER PEOPLE. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU
LIVE OUT IN THE COUNTRY AND YOU’VE GOT
A SAFE FOR YOUR GUN AND IT’S GOING TO BE
LOCKED UP ALL THE TIME EXCEPT FOR DURING HUNTING
SEASON WHEN YOU USE IT, THE INSURANCE RATE FOR YOU
WOULD LIKELY BE VERY LOW… WHEREAS IF YOU LIVED
IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO AND YOU WERE AN 18-YEAR-OLD
THAT DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL, YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD
TO GET INSURANCE FOR A GUN BECAUSE THE RISK
WOULD BE SO HIGH. AND SO, MAKING THAT KIND OF
ADJUSTMENT ENCOURAGES PEOPLE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THOSE
EXTERNAL COSTS, RIGHT? BY PAYING THAT INSURANCE RATE,
THEY’RE ACKNOWLEDGING THE COST TO SOCIETY OF THEIR
DECISION TO GET A GUN. NOW, IT’S NOT PERFECT… BUT IT MIGHT CHANGE
BEHAVIORS A LITTLE BIT. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU KNOW
THAT YOUR INSURANCE RATE IS GOING TO BE LOWER FOR YOUR
GUN IF YOU HAVE IT LOCKED UP, THEN MAYBE YOU’RE GOING TO DO
A BETTER JOB OF DOING THAT. OR MAYBE, IF YOU WERE
ASSESSED AS HAVING A VERY, VERY HIGH RISK
OF HAVING A GUN, YOU MIGHT DECIDE
NOT TO GET ONE, AND MAYBE THAT RISK ASSESSMENT
IS BECAUSE OF THE NUMBER OF GUNS THAT HAVE BEEN STOLEN
IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, AND THAT MIGHT BE BETTER FOR
SOCIETY TO NOT HAVE MORE GUNS AVAILABLE TO BE STOLEN. SO, THAT KIND OF ADJUSTMENT
WOULD MAKE SENSE FROM AN ECONOMIC
PERSPECTIVE. THERE ARE OTHER POLICIES
THAT WE CAN LOOK AT. SO, FOR EXAMPLE,
THE LOOPHOLE WHERE IF
YOU’RE AT THESE GUN SHOWS WHERE THERE’S NO
BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIRED… NOW, FROM AN
ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE, WE WANT TO THINK ABOUT CHOICES
AND THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF THOSE CHOICES, AND THE COSTS AND BENEFITS
OF THE POLICIES IN THE SAME WAY. SO, GETTING RID
OF THAT LOOPHOLE AND FORCING EVERYONE THAT BUYS
A GUN, EVEN AT A GUN SHOW, TO GET– TO HAVE A
BACKGROUND CHECK DONE. WELL, FOR
LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS, THAT’S NOT A HUGE
INCONVENIENCE– MAYBE A SMALL
INCONVENIENCE, AND IT MAY HAVE A HUGE BENEFIT,
IN THAT WE DON’T HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE IN GANGS IN CHICAGO
DRIVING OUTSIDE OF THE CITY, GOING TO A GUN SHOW, AND PICKING
UP 30 GUNS ON THE WEEKEND. SO, THINKING ABOUT THOSE
TYPES OF POLICIES– WHERE CAN WE GET THE MOST
AMOUNT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AT THE LEAST COST IN TERMS OF
NOT JUST INFRINGING ON FREEDOMS, BUT ALSO INCONVENIENCE
FOR LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS THAT HAVE APPROPRIATE
USES FOR GUNS. SO, THAT’S GENERALLY
THE WAY THAT ECONOMISTS LOOK AT THESE THINGS. WE WANT TO THINK ABOUT
HOW CAN WE MAKE IT BETTER. THERE IS NOTHING– NOTHING
THAT SUGGESTS THAT THIS MARKET WOULD WORK RIGHT,
WOULD WORK WELL, AND IN A SOCIALLY OPTIMAL WAY
IF WE JUST LEAVE IT ALONE. THERE ARE CLEAR
EXTERNAL COSTS HERE. SO THEN, THE BIG QUESTION IS,
“WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THEM?” AND “HOW CAN WE THINK
ABOUT THIS?” YOU KNOW, MAYBE ONE
POLICY AT A TIME. ALL RIGHT, SHOULD I
OPEN UP FOR QUESTIONS?>>I THINK WE SHOULD. LET’S GIVE THEM A ROUND
OF APPLAUSE FIRST. (applause) IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION,
JUST RAISE YOUR HAND– I’LL BE HAPPY TO BRING
THE MICROPHONE AROUND AS QUICKLY AS I CAN MOVE.>>WELL, I HAVE
A COUPLE QUESTIONS. I CAN’T RECALL
YOUR NAME…>>MR. CARR.
>>MR. CARR, I DO APOLOGIZE. BUT I WAS LISTENING
TO WHAT YOU WERE SAYING FROM A CULTURAL STANDPOINT
OF VIEW, AND I WAS THINKING, COULD BE A CULTURAL THING THAT
THE NATION HAS THE RIGHT– OR THE NOTION OF THE RIGHT
TO DO WHATEVER THEY PLEASE, AND OUR CULTURE BEING
A PART OF A PROBLEM, MEANING THAT GOING BACK
OVER 300 YEARS AGO, A CULTURE THAT WOULD
TAKE WHATEVER THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT WITHOUT
ANY CONSCIENCE OR REGRET. NOW, IF YOU GO BACK MANY,
MANY HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO, THAT’S THE WAY
OUR COUNTRY WAS. SO, THIS IS A CULTURAL
THING THAT’S BEEN GOING
ON AND ON FOR YEARS, AND WHAT I’M REFERRING
TO IS THE MASS MURDERS. NOW, AS I MENTIONED
TO YOU, MR. HENDERSHOT– DR. HENDERSHOT, EARLIER ABOUT
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM THAT WE’RE DISCUSSING
EARLIER, WHICH YOU DIDN’T– I DIDN’T
HEAR YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT, BUT I WILL ADDRESS IT. THESE MASS MURDERS
IN AURORA, NEWTOWN, WERE PROFILED OF SINGLE
WHITE MALES FROM 17 TO 25. THAT’S THE ISSUE
RIGHT THERE. AND WHAT WE WANT TO FIND OUT,
WITHOUT POINTING BLAME, IS WHY IS THAT HAPPENING? NOW, MENTAL HEALTH, ACCORDING
TO THE DOCTOR LAST NIGHT, THAT THERE’S NO MENTAL HEALTH
ISSUES WITH THESE PEOPLE COMMITTING THESE CRIMES
BECAUSE THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY’RE DOING. THEY’VE HAD TIME TO PLAN
THINGS OUT– MONTHS AND MONTHS TO PLAN THIS INFORMATION OUT. SO, THIS NOTION OF
MENTAL ISSUES… I BEG TO DIFFER ON THAT. I GUESS I’D LIKE TO
SEE SOME STATS ON THAT. AS FAR AS YOUR
COMMENT ON AUSTRALIA– IT’S WORKING OVER THERE. YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S
NO STATISTICS, BUT YOU HAD MENTIONED IT
DROPPED FROM 60 TO 40 PERCENT, OR FROM 40 PERCENT
DOWN TO 20. WHERE DID THOSE STATS COME FROM
IF THERE’S NO STATISTICS ON IT?>>WELL, I SAID
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
IN SOME ASPECTS. “STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE”
MEANS DOES IT MAKE– I MEAN, EVERY STATISTICAL
MODEL HAS AN ERROR, RIGHT? SO, IS THE MOVEMENT
LARGER THAN AN ERROR? AND SOME STUDIES ARE SAYING
THERE IS NO MOVEMENT THAT IS LARGER THAN AN ERROR,
A STATISTICAL ERROR. RIGHT, BUT THAT’S
ONLY IN SOME ASPECTS. THE IMPROVEMENT IN THE NUMBER
OF SUICIDES IS CLEARLY– IS CLEAR, RIGHT? THE VERY FACT THAT BEFORE
THE LAW WAS INSTITUTED, AUSTRALIA HAD 15 INCIDENCES OF
MASS SHOOTINGS, AND SINCE 1996, THERE WAS NO INCIDENT IN WHICH
FOUR OR MORE PEOPLE WERE KILLED. THAT’S SIGNIFICANT
ALL IN ITSELF, RIGHT? SO, I DIDN’T MAKE SUCH
A BLANKET STATEMENT, RIGHT? (chuckling)
I’M SORRY?>>THERE HAS BEEN PROOF.
>>THAT’S RIGHT, YES.>>BUT THE QUESTION IS ABOUT
HOW TO SORT OF DECOUPLE THAT IMPROVEMENT
FROM POTENTIAL TRENDS THAT
WERE ALREADY IN EXISTENCE PRIOR TO THE LAWS. SO, IT BASICALLY BECOMES
A STATISTICAL QUESTION IN THAT REGARD. I’M JUST TRYING TO THINK OF
A WAY TO UNPACK YOUR QUESTION, SINCE IT KIND OF
INTERWOVE ITS WAY THROUGH EVERYBODY’S
PRESENTATION WITH THAT.>>(indistinct speaking).
>>WE APPRECIATE THAT. SO, I GUESS IN TERMS OF–
YOU RAISED A POINT IN REGARDS TO INDIVIDUALISM, AND PROFESSOR VURUSIC TALKED
ABOUT SORT OF THE TENSION BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL
AND THE STATE WHICH IS DEEPLY EMBEDDED
IN AMERICAN SOCIETY, AND THEN YOU SORT
OF SHIFTED OVER TO TALKING ABOUT
SORT OF THE ETHNICITY AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND OF
INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE INTERACTING WITH SORT OF VIOLENCE
IN PARTICULAR WAYS. AND SO, YOU REFERENCED THE
TWO MOST RECENT MASS MURDERS– THE TWO MOST RECENT ONES, YOU’RE REFERENCING ESSENTIALLY
A YOUNG, WHITE MALES, BUT THEN WE CAN
GO BACK AND TALK ABOUT THE ETHNICITY
REGARDING VIRGINIA TECH. AND THEN, BASICALLY WHAT
I WAS REFERENCING IN TERMS OF SOME OF
THE STRUCTURAL VIOLENCES THAT EMERGE IN
INNER-CITY AREAS IS GENERALLY PLAGUING
INDIVIDUALS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HISPANIC
ETHNICITIES. AND SO, BASICALLY,
WHAT WE’RE SEEING IS SOME OF
THE SAME VIOLENT RESPONSES, BUT WHAT THEY’RE DOING IS
THEY’RE MANIFESTING THEMSELVES IN CULTURALLY
DIFFERENT WAYS BECAUSE OF THE SPECIFIC
CULTURAL CONTEXTS THAT THEY ARE. SO, YOU’RE RIGHT IN TERMS
OF LOOKING AT A PROFILE OF THE MASS MURDERER, BUT PART OF THAT PROFILE
HAS MORE TO DO WITH THEIR PARTICULAR CULTURAL
AND LIVED EXPERIENCES THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN
SOMEBODY ELSE’S CULTURAL
AND LIVED EXPERIENCES. BUT BOTH OF THOSE ARE
REACTING VIOLENTLY TO PROBABLY A DIFFERENT
SWEEP OF UNDERLYING CAUSES THAT PUSH THEM
IN THAT DIRECTION. SO THAT’S DEFINITELY SOMETHING
TO THINK ABOUT IN TERMS OF HOW WE GO FORWARD TO
DEALING WITH THESE ISSUES IS A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION
IS NOT GOING TO COVER ALL THOSE DIFFERENT
LIVED CONTEXTS. SO, I THINK THAT THIS
MORE BOTTOM-UP APPROACH IS GONNA GIVE YOU
THE FLEXIBILITY TO REALIZE THAT
IN THIS CONTEXT, THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO
BE PAYING ATTENTION TO, IN THIS CONTEXT, THIS IS
WHAT’S GOING TO BE A MORE
EFFECTIVE RETURN ON THAT. I’D BE HESITANT TO PROJECT
SOME OF THOSE IDEAS THAT FAR BACK
IN HISTORY THOUGH, AND MAKE GENERALIZING
STATEMENTS, BUT MY COLLEAGUE MIGHT.>>THIS IS DIFFICULT,
AND OF COURSE, I MEAN, IN TERMS OF WHO THESE MASS
MURDERERS ARE AS INDIVIDUALS, AND DR. CONNER’S
PRESENTATION YESTERDAY, WHICH I BELIEVE
WILL BE AVAILABLE ON
OUR COLLEGE YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO
WERE NOT ABLE TO ATTEND– FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WEREN’T
ABLE TO ATTEND, BUT YES, AS FAR AS THE PSYCHOLOGY
OF SOMEONE WHO WOULD
COMMIT A MASS MURDER WILL VARY DRAMATICALLY
ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. ACCORDING TO THE
DATA THAT WE HAVE, LOOKING AT
THE PAST 20 YEARS, I MEAN IF WE HAD ALL THESE
MASS MURDERERS IN A ROW, THEY ARE A REMARKABLY
HOMOGENEOUS GROUP AND THAT THEY ARE WHITE MEN IN
THEIR 20s– NOT EXCLUSIVELY, OF COURSE, BUT THAT
IS THE PATTERN. AND IF WE ARE GOING TO TAKE
A VIEW TOWARDS DOING THAT– I MEAN, THE OTHER PATTERN THAT
FITS WITH THIS PARTICULAR GROUP IS THAT MOST OF THESE CRIMES
WERE PERPETUATED WITH
LEGALLY BOUGHT FIREARMS, AND SO IT WAS LOGICAL TO DEDUCE
THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH LEGAL FIREARMS
FALLING INTO THE HANDS OF A POPULATION THAT
HAS A PRE-TENDENCY, RIGHT– A PREDILECTION TO USE THEM
IN A MASS MURDER-TYPE SITUATION. NOT ALL OF THEM,
OF COURSE… BUT WE CAN AT LEAST TARGET OUR
WORK WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES, NO?>>(indistinct speaking)… …(indistinct speaking)…>>WELL, I MEAN,
I THINK A– WELL, CERTAINLY THERE IS
A LOT OF MONEY INVOLVED, BUT I THINK AN OVER-EMPHASIS
ON THESE MASS KILLINGS IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE WAY
TO GO ABOUT THIS. WE HAVE OVER 80 GUN DEATHS EVERY
SINGLE DAY IN THIS COUNTRY. SO, IF WE’RE JUST GONNA
FOCUS ON THE MASS KILLINGS, OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS, WE
WOULDN’T GET TO HOW MANY DEATHS THERE HAVE BEEN JUST IN THIS
MONTH, RIGHT, IN THE COUNTRY. SO, I THINK WE WANT
TO THINK MORE BROADLY. AND THE MASS KILLINGS ARE A
PARTICULARLY PERPLEXING ISSUE BECAUSE THEY DO
SEEM QUITE RANDOM, THEY DON’T HAPPEN OFTEN… BUT THERE ARE CLEAR THINGS
THAT WE COULD DO TO CUT DOWN ON THIS OVER
80 DEATHS A DAY, SO I’D LIKE TO SEE
US FOCUS ON THAT.>>I GUESS I’D GO WITH
THE STATISTIC HERE AND THAT– WELL, THE 69 PERCENT
DROP IN SUICIDE AND OF COURSE I WAS HERE
LAST NIGHT– A LOT OF THE MASS SHOOTINGS ARE
SUICIDES WITH HOSTILE INTENT, WHICH IS ACTUALLY
A MAJOR THOUGHT ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL
VIEW OF THEM. DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE
A SECONDARY EFFECT IF THE– WITH THE 69 PERCENT DROP
IN SUICIDES BY GUN, AND ALMOST ALL
THESE MASS SHOOTINGS BEING HOSTILE INTENT
WITH WEAPONS, YOU’D THINK THAT WOULD
ACTUALLY DECREASE THE CHANCES FOR MASS SHOOTINGS. THIS QUESTION IS FOR ANYBODY,
IF YOU WANT TO ANSWER IT.>>I WAS TALKING ABOUT
AUSTRALIA, THOUGH… (audience laughing)>>IT DOES HIT ON WHAT
DR. CONNER WAS TALKING ABOUT LAST NIGHT IN TERMS OF–
HE MENTIONED THAT THE PROFILE OF MOST OF THESE MASS SHOOTERS
IS THAT THEIR INTENT IS TO DIE IN THE ACT OF THESE
MASS SHOOTINGS. SO, I THINK THE QUESTION
IS IF THE STATISTICS
IN AUSTRALIA ARE TRUE, AND THE 69 PERCENT
DROP IN SUICIDES, THEN PERHAPS YOU WOULD
ALSO REDUCE THE AMOUNT
OF MASS KILLINGS– IT’S A GOOD QUESTION. MAYBE NOT ONE THAT
THEY CAN ANSWER, BUT MAYBE THAT’S ONE WE
COULD SEND TO DR. CONNER.>>(indistinct) MASS KILLINGS.>>YEAH– WELL, YOU’RE
SOMEHOW ASSUMING THAT PEOPLE COMMIT MASS SHOOTINGS IN
ORDER TO COMMIT SUICIDE.>>THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT
HE WAS TOLD LAST NIGHT.>>(laughing)
FRANKLY, I HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THAT IDEA OF PEOPLE
DO THAT IN ORDER TO– THAT PEOPLE PERFORM
MASS SHOOTINGS IN
ORDER TO COMMIT SUICIDE. SO, IT SEEMS TO ME
LIKE THEY KILL THEMSELVES IN ORDER NOT
TO GET CAUGHT, BUT NOT THAT THEY
START KILLING BECAUSE THEY
WANT TO COMMIT SUICIDE, BUT I MAY BE WRONG. IT SEEMS– IT LOOKS TO ME
LIKE REVERSE CAUSATION, BUT AS I SAID,
I MAY BE WRONG. I WOULDN’T BE ABLE
TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION WITH ANY CERTAINTY.>>THE PART I LOVE ABOUT THAT
IS HE WAS HERE LAST NIGHT, AND I THINK IT’S AN
AWESOME QUESTION. (audience laughing)
WE’LL HAVE TO ASK DR. CONNER.>>I ALSO HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT
THE 69 PERCENT REDUCTION IN SUICIDE RATES. I KNOW YOU SPOKE
TO HOMICIDE AND SAID THAT
THAT REMAINED CONSTANT– DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION JUST
ABOUT THE NUMBER OF SUICIDES BY OTHER MEANS?>>THE NUMBER OF SUICIDE BY
OTHER MEANS REMAINS CONSTANT, YES, ACCORDING TO
THE RESEARCH FROM– I MEAN, THE MOST RECENT RESEARCH
WAS PUBLISHED IN 2010 BY TWO PROFESSORS FROM
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, WHICH IS THE PREMIER UNIVERSITY
IN THE COUNTRY OF AUSTRALIA. SO, JUST BECAUSE
SUICIDE BY GUNS WENT DOWN, IT DID NOT NECESSARILY CAUSE
SUICIDE BY OTHER MEANS TO GO UP.>>ANYONE ELSE?>>OFF THE HYPERMASCULINITY
COMMENT THAT YOU MADE EARLIER, I KIND OF FEEL AS IF… OUR COUNTRY DOES
THAT IN A SENSE, BASICALLY SHOWING OFF OUR
“BIG GUNS” TO OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, SO WHY IS IT
THAT WE AS A COUNTRY ARE
TRYING TO FIX THE PROBLEM WITHIN OURSELVES BUT CAN STILL
DO IT OUTSIDE OF OUR COUNTRY?>>DID YOUR FATHER TELL
YOU TO ASK THAT QUESTION? (audience laughing)
>>IS A WONDERFUL QUESTION.>>IS A GREAT QUESTION. REALLY, I’M HESITANT TO
REALLY PROJECT THAT TOO FAR TO SORT OF INCLUDES
THE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS, BUT YOU DO SEE THE SIMILAR TYPES
OF METAPHORICAL REFERENCES IN TERMS OF MASCULINITY, AND I THINK WITHIN
AMERICAN CULTURE THAT– I’M NOT GOING TO SAY IT IN HERE,
BUT I THINK THAT A LOT OF US COULD COME UP WITH A FAIRLY
SIZABLE LIST OF EUPHEMISMS THAT EQUATE GUNS AND SORT
OF MASCULINE ELEMENTS TOGETHER. AND SO, THERE’S DEFINITELY
A VERY CLOSE SORT
OF PARALLEL WITH THAT. AND SO, NOT NECESSARILY WITH
PEOPLE OVERLY ACCENTUATING THAT MASCULINITY ELEMENT, BUT THE TWO ISSUES
GO HAND-IN-HAND IN TERMS OF THINKING
ABOUT THE METAPHORS THAT WE USE
TO DESCRIBE OUR PERSON AND HOW WE ENVISION OURSELVES
IN THE LARGER SORT OF CONTEXT. SO, IN THAT REGARD, YOU’RE
PROBABLY CORRECT IN THAT– NOT TO THROW
THE MEDIA OR ANYTHING
LIKE THAT UNDER THE BUS, BUT I THINK WE HAVE A
REALIZATION THAT A LOT OF THESE GENDERED IDENTITIES ARE SOMETHING THAT ARE
CULTURALLY PRESCRIBED IN US BY VARIOUS MEDIA AND
IMAGES THAT WE PERCEIVE, ARE CONDITIONED
TOWARDS, IN ADDITION TO THE LANGUAGES
THAT WE USE AROUND OURSELVES. AND I THINK THAT THAT LEADS
TO A DESIRE FOR INDIVIDUALS THAT EMBRACE THAT IDENTITY
TO WANT TO FIRMLY MARK THAT, WHETHER THAT TAKES
A VIOLENT FORM, WHETHER THAT’S
COMPANSATIONAL MERIT, WHETHER IT’S A SEARCH FOR SOME
SORT OF MASCULINE IDENTITY THROUGH SOME SORT OF ACT. AGAIN, THAT IMPULSE
MIGHT BE THERE, AND IT’S JUST HOW THAT FORM
AND DIRECTION THAT COMES OUT. AND SO, IN SOME CONTEXTS,
IT TAKES A VERY VIOLENT FORM. IN OTHER CONTEXTS,
IT TAKES A FORM WHERE PEOPLE ARE STRIKING AFTER EXCELLING
IN A SPORTS CONTEXT BECAUSE THEY GET THE RESPECT
AND PRESTIGE IN THAT REGARD. AND SO, I THINK YOU’RE
CORRECT IN THAT REGARD, THAT WE CAN SORT OF EXTEND
THAT METAPHOR TO INCLUDE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ASPECTS
OF AMERICAN CULTURE, AND THAT WAS PROBABLY
A VERY LONG-WINDED ANSWER TO A GOOD QUESTION.>>THERE’S A VERY LONG
AND STRONG TRADITION IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
OF FEMINIST RESEARCH THAT BASICALLY IS TRYING
TO ANALYZE THE USE OF LANGUAGE AND METAPHOR IN THE CONTEXT
OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, AND PROJECTION OF
AMERICAN MILITARY POWER TO OTHER COUNTRIES, RIGHT? FOR EXAMPLE, ONE OF THE MOST
FREQUENTLY USED WORDS FOR SPECIAL FORCE INVASION
IS “PENETRATION.” I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE
NOTICED THAT ALL MISSILES HAVE THE SHAPE OF
AN ERECT PENIS, RIGHT? SO, THERE IS SUCH
INTERPRETATION AMONG THE FEMINIST INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS SCHOLARS WHO ARE BASICALLY CLAIMING
THAT THE SHAPES AND WORDS THAT ARE USED IN THE STUDY OF
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AND THE MILITARY ARE BASICALLY
COMING FROM THE FEELING OF MASCULINE SUPERIORITY. IF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS WAS
DOMINATED AND GOVERNED BY WOMEN, SOME FEMINIST
SCHOLARS ARE ARGUING, THE UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN
POWER OR OF POWER IN GENERAL WOULD BE DIFFERENT, RIGHT,
WHILE THE MASCULINE DEFINITION OF POWER IS TRYING– ACTOR A TRYING TO
BASICALLY FORCE ACTOR B TO DO WHAT ACTOR B
WOULD OTHERWISE NOT DO, AND TICKNOR– SHE’S A PROFESSOR
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF– FROM UCLA– SHE’S CLAIMING
THAT THE USE OF FEMALE POWER WOULD BE THE ONE IN WHICH
YOUR POTENTIAL OPPONENT
IS GIVEN RESPECT, AND THUS, BY GIVING RESPECT
TO POTENTIAL OPPONENT, YOU WOULD BASICALLY BE–
IT WOULD BE EASIER FOR THE UNITED STATES
OR OTHER COUNTRIES TO PERSUADE AN
OPPONENT TO DO WHAT THEY WOULD
OTHERWISE NOT DO, RATHER THAN TWISTING THEIR ARM
BY THE THREAT OF POWER WEAPONS. SO, GENDER SPEAK AND
UNDERSTANDING OF HOW
COUNTRIES BEHAVE IN POLITICS AND HOW
TO PROJECT THEIR POWER, FOR MANY ANALYSTS IS
BASICALLY CONDITIONED– OR IS CAUSED BY WHO IS
DOMINANT IN THAT POWER, AND DOMINANT PEOPLE
WHO BASICALLY GOVERN
INTERNATIONAL POWER OF THE UNITED STATES
ARE MEN, AND THEREFORE, THESE ANALYSTS
ARE SAYING THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE UNITED STATES BEHAVES
TOWARDS OTHER COUNTRIES IS MALE.>>WAS THERE A QUESTION
BACK HERE?>>JUST TO COME IN A LITTLE
BIT ON THAT POINT. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS
TO THAT AS WELL– JUST LISTENING TO MY COLLEAGUE
SPEAK, I’M THINKING ABOUT SECRETARY
HILLARY CLINTON AND SECRETARY
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, RIGHT, WHO WERE POWERFUL WOMEN IN
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WHO DID NOT HESITATE– IN THE CASE OF
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
THROUGHOUT THE ’90s TO BOMB TO BEJEEZUS OUT OF
IRAQ WHENEVER THEY DETECTED A LARGE BIRD
IN THE NO-FLY ZONE. (audience chuckling) AND THERE WAS NO HESITATION
TO USE FORCE, AND I DON’T KNOW
THAT IN EVERY CASE, GENDER WOULD DETERMINE
AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY. AND BACK TO OUR COLLEAGUE
IN THE BACK HERE– YOUR INITIAL QUESTION
ABOUT DOES THE BELLIGERENCY OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE VIOLENCE WITHIN
OUR DOMESTIC BORDERS? AND I HAD A STRONG “YES” TO
THAT– A VIOLENT SOCIETY WILL MANIFEST
IN A MULTITUDE OF WAYS, BOTH EXTERNALLY
AND INTERNALLY. AND I THINK WE’LL SEE THAT IN
OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD AS WELL, RIGHT? NATIONS WITH A VIOLENT
FOREIGN POLICY WILL HAVE VIOLENT PROBLEMS
INSIDE OF THEIR COUNTRY. NATIONS WITH A MORE PEACEFUL
FOREIGN POLICY WILL HAVE… I SHOULD THINK CONSIDERABLY LESS
VIOLENCE WITHIN THEIR COUNTRY. I THINK VIOLENCE BOTH
INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC IS ALWAYS CORRELATED. THANK YOU.
>>DID YOU HAVE A QUESTION?>>YES, THANK YOU VERY
MUCH FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY. YOU CANNOT HAVE
AN INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION
ONLINE ABOUT THIS STUFF, AND I VERY MUCH
APPRECIATE YOUR ANALYSIS. I HOPE YOU TAKE
THIS ON THE ROAD. AND I HAVE SO MANY TOPICS
I’D LIKE TO COVER, BUT I WON’T. I JUST HAVE
A SMALL LIST HERE. I’LL START WITH THE MEDIA–
CULPABILITY. A VERY SHORT EXAMPLE– WHEN I
WAS A KID IN PAROCHIAL SCHOOL, THEY TOOK THE WHOLE K-8 TO SEE
THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE, WHICH WAS ABOUT
GANG MEMBERS FINDING GOD– WE DIDN’T TAKE THAT MESSAGE
BACK TO THE PLAYGROUND. WE WENT OUT AND
PLAYED “GANG FIGHTS.” YOU KNOW,
THAT’S WHAT WE DID. KIDS EMULATE
WHAT THEY SEE. OUR 16-YEAR-OLDS SPEND
ALL NIGHT “TEAM FORTRESS 2”– OR PLAYING “TEAM FORTRESS 2.” THEY SPEND ALL NIGHT GLEEFULLY
KILLING EACH OTHER… AND IT’S A RIOT–
IT’S VERY ENTERTAINING. BUT WHAT ARE
THEY LEARNING AND WHAT ARE THEY TAKING
INTO THEIR BRAINS? SAME THING
WITH HOLLYWOOD. WHILE THEY ARE– THESE
CELEBRITIES ARE COMING OUT AND DEMONIZING ANYBODY
THAT WOULD WANT IT GUN, THEY’RE ON THE SCREEN
SHOOTING EACH OTHER. YET THEY HAVE
NO CULPABILITY BECAUSE MAYBE THEY’VE
BOUGHT IMMUNITY THROUGH THEIR INFLUENCE. HUMAN NATURE. ONE THING I ENJOY ABOUT
READING THE THOUGHTS
OF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS IS THAT THEY
EXPERIENCED TYRANNY, THEY THOUGHT IT DIRECTLY, AND
THEY TRIED TO GIVE US SOME TOOLS TO PROTECT
OURSELVES FROM IT, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T TAKE HUMAN
NATURE OUT OF THE EQUATION. WE ARE NOT SEPARATE
FROM NATURE. WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH,
WE BECOME PREDATORS. WE HAVE A SURVIVAL INSTINCT. WE’VE EVOLVED TO SURVIVE, TO
KILL THINGS, TO FIGHT, TO EAT… AND TO FIGHT EACH OTHER. OUR BRAINS ARE SET UP TO BE “US”
AND “THEM” TYPE OF CRITTERS. SO, HOW DO YOU
TAKE THAT OUT? OKAY, HOW CAN YOU TELL ME,
OR ANY OTHER MAN, WHO FEARS FOR HIS FAMILY
BECAUSE THE NEIGHBORHOOD ISN’T SO NICE ANYMORE THAT
YOU CAN’T DEFEND YOURSELF, THAT YOU HAVE NO
RIGHT TO DO THAT? THAT THAT IS IRRESPONSIBLE
AND YOU ARE DEFECTIVE PERSON FOR WANTING TO DO IT? THESE ARE PLACES WHERE
I HAVE SOME SERIOUS CONFLICT WITH THE RHETORIC
THAT’S OUT THERE. I WISH–
>>I LOVE ALL YOUR PASSION, RIGHT, BUT FOUR OR
FIVE QUESTIONS AT ONCE TO FOUR PANELISTS
IS GONNA GET CRAZY, SO IF IT’S OKAY,
WE CAN ADDRESS SOME OF THAT. IF YOU WANT TO TAKE THAT–
LISA, MAYBE FIRST– AND WE’LL GO
DOWN THE ROW, IF YOU GUYS WANT TO
ADDRESS ANY OF THAT.>>WELL, LET ME TAKE
YOUR LAST POINT. I HONESTLY DON’T THINK
THAT ANYONE IS SUGGESTING THAT YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE A RIGHT
TO HAVE A GUN IN YOUR HOME. AND I THINK THERE’S SO MUCH
MISINFORMATION OUT THERE, AND PROFESSOR HENDERSHOT
TALKED ABOUT THIS EARLY ON– THE RHETORIC OUT THERE
IS JUST NOT TRUE. SO, WHEN I’M LOOKING AT THIS
FROM AN ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE, YOU WANTING TO HAVE
A GUN IN YOUR HOME DOESN’T SEEM
PROBLEMATIC.>>(indistinct speaking).
>>RIGHT.>>I THINK HAVING THEM
AROUND EMOTIONAL PEOPLE
IS IRRESPONSIBLE.>>RIGHT, SO YOU’RE MAKING
A RATIONAL DECISION, AND IT’S ACTUALLY
QUITE INTERESTING. YOU KNOW, THE RATE OF
GUN OWNERSHIP IS FALLING, AND THOUGH THE IMPRESSION
THAT PEOPLE HAVE– WELL, AND SO IS OUR RATE
OF GUN DEATHS HAS FALLEN. BUT THE IMPRESSION PEOPLE
HAVE IS THAT THINGS ARE GETTING SO MUCH WORSE,
THAT CRIME IS GETTING WORSE, AND CRIME IS ACTUALLY
SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER IN MANY WAYS THAN IT
WAS IN THE EARLY ’90s, ALTHOUGH WE HAVE THIS
IMPRESSION, I THINK,
THAT MUCH OF IT IS THE MEDIA– THAT WE’RE SEEING ALL THIS
VIOLENCE ALL THE TIME, AND SO THAT’S THE VIEW
THAT WE HAVE– THAT’S “THINGS ARE BAD
AND I NEED A GUN.” ALTHOUGH, WHILE PEOPLE SEEM
TO THINK THAT THEY’RE BAD, FEWER PEOPLE ARE BUYING GUNS–
AND FOR GOOD REASON. LIKE YOURSELF, MAKING A
RATIONAL DECISION FOR YOURSELF THAT THAT WOULD BE
MORE DANGEROUS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO
HAVE ONE IN THE HOME. THE ESTIMATES ARE REALLY CLEAR
THAT HAVING A GUN IN THE HOUSE MAKES THE RISK OF SUICIDE IN
THE HOME AT LEAST TWICE AS BAD, AND PERHAPS UP TO
TEN TIMES AS BAD. SO, JUST THE FACT
THAT IT’S THERE– IT GIVES ACCESS TO
A DEPRESSED PERSON THAT MAY BE IN A POOR MOMENT
AND IT MAKES A BAD CALL. SO, I THINK THAT THERE ARE A LOT
OF THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON IN YOUR QUESTION, AND I’M NOT
SURE– IN YOUR QUESTIONS, AND I’M NOT SURE
IF I ANSWERED THEM. BUT I DO THINK THERE’S A LOT
OF MISINFORMATION OUT THERE, AND IT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO
HAVE THESE KINDS OF DISCUSSIONS, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE ACTUALLY
HAVING AN INFORMED DISCUSSION, AND DOING SO IN
A PRODUCTIVE WAY.>>INDEED. EVERY STUDY
DEMONSTRATES THAT PEOPLE
WHO KEEP A GUN IN THEIR HOME ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO
EXPERIENCE GUN-RELATED CRIME THAN PEOPLE WHO DO NOT
KEEP GUNS IN THE HOME. YOUR PHYSICAL PROXIMITY
IS JUST SIMPLY MUCH GREATER TO A TOOL OF VIOLENCE
AND DEATH, RIGHT, AND THAT HAS
REPERCUSSIONS. DESPITE THE RHETORIC THAT’S–
OR– HOLDING A GUN CREATES AN ILLUSION OF SECURITY
AND STABILITY, ALL RIGHT? AND IT MIGHT ACTUALLY
CREATE A HIGH DEGREE OF
SECURITY AND STABILITY FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
AND PEOPLE IN THE MILITARY, BUT IT REQUIRES A LOT OF
TRAINING AND DEDICATION AND DISCIPLINE. IT DOESN’T JUST COME WITH
THE ABILITY TO ACCESS A GUN. IT CERTAINLY COMES WITH AN
INFLATED SENSE OF SELF-ESTEEM AND POWER AND THE
ILLUSION OF SECURITY. ALL RIGHT, BUT THAT’S
ABOUT AS FAR AS IT GOES. AND THE STATISTICS
WILL BEAR THAT OUT. TO THE EARLIER PART
OF YOUR QUESTION– TORONTO GET THE EXACT
SAME MOVIES, TELEVISION, AND VIDEO GAMES
AS CHICAGO. TORONTO EVERY YEAR HAS
ROUGHLY A DOZEN GUN DEATHS. THE CITY OF CHICAGO
WILL HAVE HUNDREDS.>>500 THIS YEAR, ALMOST.
>>YEAH–>>LAST YEAR.
>>THANK YOU. AND THERE’S TWO CITIES– RIGHT,
THEY HAVE SIMILAR POPULATIONS, THEY HAVE SIMILAR
SOCIOECONOMIC, RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY… THEY’RE VERY SIMILAR. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM, IN
TERMS OF GUN DEATH, IS PROFOUND. IT HAS NOTHING TO
DO WITH THE MEDIA.>>IF YOU TAKE A LOOK,
FOR EXAMPLE, AT THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE,
THERE IS NOT A SINGLE WAR BETWEEN TWO STATES GOING ON
RIGHT NOW IN THE WORLD… NO TWO STATES FIGHTING WAR
AGAINST EACH OTHER RIGHT NOW. NOTHING. IF YOU LOOK AT CIVIL WARS, WHICH
IS THE DOMINANT FORM OF CONFLICT IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD, THE NUMBER OF THE CIVIL WARS
AND THE DEATHS IS THE LOWEST
IN THE PAST 50 YEARS. SO, WE SOMEHOW,
THROUGH OUR HUMAN HISTORY, ARE SORT OF PROGRESSING TOWARDS
SOMEHOW CREATING SOCIAL ORDER. DOES IT MEAN THAT WE
WILL NOT SOON HAVE A WAR? TWO MAJOR– I MEAN, A MAJOR
WAR BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES? THERE IS A POSSIBILITY. ISRAEL AND IRAN, THE UNITED
STATES AND IRAN, RIGHT? BUT THIS ABSENCE OF WAR AND
THIS DECREASING VIOLENCE IN CIVIL CONFLICTS HAS BEEN
GOING ON FOR THE PAST, I WOULD SAY,
25 YEARS. SO, THERE’S SOME HOPE
THAT IT WILL (indistinct).>>ANYONE ELSE? YOU GUYS NEED TO
SIT CLOSER TOGETHER.>>THE FIRST SPEAKER ASKED
SOMETHING ABOUT INTERPRETING THE SECOND AMENDMENT, RIGHT? NOW, WOULDN’T THAT–
TO INTERPRET IT WOULD
BE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WRITERS
MEANT BY WRITING IT, BUT I FEEL LIKE
ALEXANDER HAMILTON,
WHO WAS A HUGE– VERY SIGNIFICANT IN WRITING
THAT SAID HIMSELF THAT THE CONSTITUTION
SHALL NEVER BE CONSTRUED TO STOP PEACEABLE CITIZENS
FROM BEARING ARMS. I GUESS THAT’S JUST A SIMPLISTIC
WAY TO THINK ABOUT IT, BUT I MEAN, WHAT DO
YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?>>I JUST WANT TO PAUSE A
MINUTE TO ORGANIZE A THOUGHT AROUND THAT. “TO STOP PEACEFUL CITIZENS
FROM BEARING ARMS.” OKAY, THAT’S WHAT IT SAYS. ALSO IT SAYS “WELL
REGULATED MILITIA,” ALL RIGHT– MY COLLEAGUES
SAID THE FOCUS ON “REGULATION.” BUT YEAH, IT SAYS “ARMS.” IT DOESN’T SAY “GUNS.” IT SAYS “ARMS,” AND THIS
IN ITSELF IS SIGNIFICANT. ALL RIGHT, AND OF COURSE, AT
THE TIME THAT THIS WAS WRITTEN, THE MOST POPULAR ARM
THAT WOULD’VE BEEN FOUND WITHIN A POTENTIAL
MILITIA MEMBER’S HOME IS A SMOOTHBORE
BLACK POWDER MUSKET, AND NOT AN AR-15. OKAY, NOT A BERETTA 92,
NOT A GLOCK 17. YOU KNOW,
TIMES HAVE CHANGED. REGULATION
CHANGES WITH THAT. ARMS ARE REGULATED
IN THIS COUNTRY. GUNS, NOT SO MUCH,
BUT CERTAINLY ARMS ARE. I CAN ONLY GUN AS
A CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY, BUT I CAN’T OWN AN
APACHE ATTACK HELICOPTER, TO THE BEST
OF MY KNOWLEDGE. I CAN’T OWN A BAZOOKA,
I CAN’T OWN WEAPONIZED ANTHRAX. OKAY, REGULATION OF ARMS IS
IMPLIED IN THE LANGUAGE OF THAT, AND THAT WOULD BE MY
THINKING ON THE ISSUE. THANKS FOR A GOOD QUESTION.>>FOR THE SECOND GUY–
YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT IT’S NOT
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEMS. BASICALLY IT’S A MEANS OF
CARRYING OUT THE VIOLENCE. SO, WOULDN’T YOU SAY THAT’S
KIND OF A TEMPORARY FIX FOR A PERMANENT PROBLEM, TO TAKE AWAY THE GUNS
FROM THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY VIOLENT?>>I GUESS IN TERMS OF SOME
OF THE DISCUSSION AROUND IT, AND I WOULD SORT OF LEAD
TOWARDS WHERE YOU’RE
GOING WITH THE QUESTION, BUT ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS
IS IF WE REGULATE IT AND A LOT OF GUN CRIMES
ARE CAUSED BY PEOPLE THAT HAVE ILLEGAL WEAPONS, THEN THAT REALLY DOESN’T
SOLVE THAT PARTICULAR PROBLEM AT THAT PARTICULAR POINT,
WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. AND SO, THAT’S WHY I’M
PARTICULARLY INTERESTED THAT WE DIRECT A LOT OF
ATTENTION TOWARDS, AGAIN, WHAT ARE THE UNDERLYING CAUSAL
FACTORS THAT LEAD TO VIOLENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE? THAT’S ONE DIRECTION
TO WORK AT IT. WITH THAT SAID, AND I’M
BASICALLY GOING TO REITERATE THE AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL
ASSOCIATION’S STATEMENT ON THIS ISSUE,
AS WELL, IS THAT WE NEED
A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF
RESEARCH TO FIGURE THAT OUT, AND PARTLY THAT’S GONE
ALONG WITH THE POLITICIZING OF THIS DEBATE HAS
REALLY BEEN THE RESTRICTION OF ACCOMPLISHING A GREAT DEAL
OF RESEARCH SURROUNDING IT. SO, THE CONCERN THEN IS THAT
IT’S ILLEGAL INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE HOLDING GUNS THAT
ARE COMMITTED A LOT OF CRIMES, AND THAT REGULATING
A LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN FOR DOING SO ISN’T GOING
TO CAUSE ANY PROBLEMS. WITH THAT SAID, WE REALLY HAVE
NO IDEA OF A LOT OF THE SUPPLY THAT THOSE TYPES OF
WEAPONS AND UP IN HANDS THAT THEY’RE GOING TO BE USED
IN VERY VIOLENT CONFLICTS. WE CAN TRACE GUNS BACK TO
THE SOURCE OF PURCHASE, BUT WE REALLY HAVE COMPARATIVELY
LITTLE INFORMATION IN TERMS OF THE CHANNELS THAT IT
GOES FROM THE POINT OF PURCHASE TO END UP IN AN
INDIVIDUAL’S HAND. AND SO, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A
GREAT DEAL MORE FOCUS ON THAT. SO, IF WE’RE GOING TO
DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE, ONE APPROACH WOULD BE
TO REGULATE ALL GUNS, SUCH AS
TAKE AUSTRALIA’S APPROACH
WHERE WE BAN ALL WEAPONS, AND THAT, IN A COMPLETE
TOTALITARIAN SENSE, HAS SOME DEGREE
OF WORK ON THAT. IT’S PROBABLY NOT POLITICALLY
FEASIBLE IN AMERICA, AND NOT CULTURALLY
FEASIBLE IN AMERICA. SO WITH THAT SAID,
WE NEED TO WORK ON ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES
OF VIOLENCES, AND THAT WILL HELP
CREATE THIS TREND TOWARDS LESS AND LESS
GUN DEATHS. AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT
WE’VE BEEN DOING POLICY-WIDE FOR A GREAT DEAL OF TIME, AND AS LISA POINTED OUT THAT
THOSE HAVE BEEN DECLINING. YET, IF WE REALLY WANT TO
BE EFFECTIVE ABOUT THIS, IF WE COMBINE VERY SMART
POLICY THAT REALLY RESTRICTS WHAT TYPES OF WEAPONS
INDIVIDUALS HAVE– AND REALLY, DOES EVERYONE
NEED AN ASSAULT RIFLE? OR CAN WE REGULATE TO THE POINT
WHERE EVERYBODY HAS A LEGITIMATE OR REGULATED
ACCESS TO ARMS, AND WE ARE REALLY WORKING AT
AN ISSUE FROM BOTH DIRECTIONS, AND WITHOUT STEPPING
ON EVERYBODY’S TOES AND COMPLETELY ABOLISHING
THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT, YOU CAN STILL GET
A PEACEABLE SOLUTION THAT CAN MORE EFFECTIVELY
DECLINE VIOLENCES. THAT’S PROBABLY THE BEST ANSWER
I HAVE FOR YOU IN THAT REGARD.>>OKAY.
>>OKAY, BALANCE OF POWER. LARGE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT,
POWER CORRUPTS, WHY SHOULD WE TRUST
THE GOVERNMENT AND
GIVE UP OUR DEFENSES?>>GO ASK ANYBODY FROM SUDAN
WHAT THE VALUE OF A STRONG CENTRAL
GOVERNMENT IS. THAT’S MY ANSWER.>>CAN I ASK YOU WHY WOULDN’T
YOU TRUST THE GOVERNMENT?>>AGAIN, I’LL KEEP IT SHORT. SOME OF US HAVE–
YEAH, WE’VE ALL BEEN AROUND– SOME OF US HAVE BEEN
AROUND A LONG TIME. I’VE HAD PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
WHERE I’VE SEEN HOW UGLY HUMAN NATURE GETS, ESPECIALLY WHERE THEY HAVE
MORE AUTHORITY THAN THEY SHOULD. WE’D LIKE TO THINK
THAT– THE PROBLEM IS, THE BIGGER THE GOVERNMENT
GETS, THE LESS WE CAN SEE. AND HUMAN NATURE
BEING WHAT IT IS… I BELIEVE WHAT
PEOPLE DO AND SAY. I SEE A LOT OF
THINGS THAT SCARE ME, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK
I’M CRAZY FOR THINKING THAT, BUT I THINK IT’S PRUDENT
TO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. THOMAS JEFFERSON HAD
ALL THE TREES CUT DOWN BETWEEN HIS MONUMENT
AND THE WHITE HOUSE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T
TRUST HUMAN NATURE.>>I CAN’T– I’M NOT ON THE
PANEL, BUT CAN I ANSWER?>>GO RIGHT AHEAD.
>>I TEACH U.S. HISTORY HERE. I’M CURIOUS ABOUT
THE CONVERSATION SURROUNDING
THE FOUNDING FATHERS. YOU GUYS REALIZE THAT
IF THE FOUNDING FATHERS
WALKED INTO THIS ROOM AND LOOKED AROUND AND SAW
US HAVING THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT WHETHER WE
SHOULD ALL HAVE GUNS, THEY WOULD SAY,
“FIRST OF ALL, MOST OF YOU “SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED IN
AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION. “MANY OF YOU ARE
NOT HUMAN BEINGS AND YOU
DON’T DESERVE ANY RIGHTS, “LET ALONE THE RIGHT
TO OWN A GUN. “AND IF I’M CONCERNED ABOUT
THE PERSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE, “IT’S BECAUSE I’M
EQUAL TO THAT PERSON, “BUT YOU ARE NOT
EQUAL TO ME.” SO, YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT
TRYING TO PROJECT THE PAST INTO THE PRESENT, JUST LIKE WE NEED
TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT PROJECTING THE PRESENT
INTO THE PAST, AND THE FOUNDING
FATHERS, THAT’S A TRICKY
CONVERSATION ALL THE TIME. THAT WOULD BE
MY TWO CENTS. (applause)>>THIS MAY BE MORE OF
A COMMENT THAN A QUESTION, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME– I’M VERY
GLAD THAT ALL FOUR OF YOU WERE PRESENTING ALL
OF YOUR PERSPECTIVES, BECAUSE IT TEARS DOWN
THIS HUGE CYCLICAL ISSUE THAT WE CONSTANTLY
GO THROUGH. WE WANT TO MAKE CHANGE, BUT WE
HAVE THE POLITICAL RESISTANCE, WE HAVE THE MEDIA THAT’S JUST
THRIVING ON MAKING US ALL ANGRY WITH EACH OTHER AND
PERPETUATING ALL THE CONFLICT THAT WE FEEL ABOUT EVERYTHING,
NOT JUST THIS ISSUE, BUT I GUESS IN EVALUATING
WHAT EACH OF YOU HAVE SAID, YOU HAVE TO ZONE IN AND FIND
ONE STARTING POINT IF YOUR GOAL IS TO DECREASE
GUN VIOLENCE. AND I THINK THAT THE
ONLY WAY TO DO THIS– I THINK THE ONLY THING
THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM
AND THE CULTURAL SPECTRUM AND THE ECONOMIC
SPECTRUM AGREE ON IS THAT THESE SEMI-AUTOMATIC
WEAPONS ARE NOT NECESSARY TO HAVE FOR
A PERSONAL REASON. SO, I THINK THAT PERHAPS THAT’S
WHERE WE OUGHT TO BE STARTING, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T–
YOU KNOW, DILLON, YOU SAID THAT YOU
DON’T HAVE STATISTICS. WELL, YOU CAN’T GET STATISTICS
UNLESS YOU HAVE AN ACTION THAT CREATES A CHANGE
THAT YOU CAN MEASURE. SO, UNLESS YOU SEGREGATE THESE
KILLER GUNS AND TAKE THEM BACK, ONCE YOU DO THAT,
YOU CAN START SEGREGATING– YOU CAN LOOK AT THE
PEOPLE WHO HAVE THEM WHO SHOULDN’T HAVE THEM, AND SORT OF SEGREGATE THAT
POPULATION AND FOCUS ON THAT. AND IN THE MEANTIME,
THAT IS A POSITIVE THAT– I WON’T EVEN SAY THAT
EVERYONE CAN AGREE ON, BECAUSE I THINK WE ARE
ALL INCORRIGIBLE IN THE UNITED STATES. WE WANT OUR FREEDOM, BUT WE WANT TO REGULATE
WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE DOES, AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT’S
AT THE HEART OF THE ISSUE. I DON’T KNOW IF YOU HAVE
A COMMENT ON THE FEASIBILITY, POLITICALLY AND SOCIALLY,
OF ACTUALLY MAKING POLICY TO GET THOSE SEMI-AUTOMATIC
WEAPONS AWAY.>>RIGHT AT THE END
OF MY LITTLE SEGMENT, AS I TALKED ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN A TOP-DOWN APPROACH AND A BOTTOM-UP APPROACH
IS THAT WHENEVER YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE EPISODES OF
LOCAL LEVEL RESISTANCE– AND I THINK IN THIS ISSUE,
HOWEVER YOU SHAKE THE DICE, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TREMENDOUS
RESISTANCE ON IT– IS THAT GENERALLY, WE’LL
END UP FAILING PRETTY MISERABLE IN THAT REGARD. AND SO, A LOT OF THE ATTENTION
IS FOCUSING ON SEMI-AUTOMATIC ASSAULT
RIFLES THEMSELVES, EVEN THOUGH MOST
OF GUN VIOLENCE THEMSELVES ARE CREATED
BY HANDGUNS, AND SO IT REALLY BECOMES
A VERY, VERY SECONDARY ISSUE IN THAT REGARD. YOU KNOW, SO SHOULD WE
BAN ALL ASSAULT RIFLES, OR SHOULD WE SIMPLY
CREATE A LAYER THAT WE WOULD HAVE
AN ACTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF WHO IS ACTUALLY
HAVING ACCESS TO THEM? OR CREATING SOME
DEGREE OF MAKING IT
A WELL-REGULATED THING? THAT BECOMES SORT
OF A DEBATABLE ISSUE. IF I WANT
ONE THING TO FOCUS ON, WHAT I WANT TO DO IS
I WANT TO DECREASE BARRIERS BETWEEN COMMUNITIES, BECAUSE THAT’S ULTIMATELY
GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT’S KEEPING THE DISCUSSION
FROM MOVING FORWARD IN A PRODUCTIVE MANNER,
AND THAT’S ALSO WHAT IS, IN MY REGARD, IS SEVERAL
OF THE UNDERLYING FACTORS
THAT LEAD TO INDIVIDUALS SORT OF DELVING THEMSELVES INTO
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CONDITIONS THAT WILL LEAD TO
VIOLENT RESPONSES. IF EVERYBODY HAS A GREATER
DEGREE OF BEING ABLE TO MOVE ACROSS THOSE
TYPES OF BOUNDARIES, THEN THERE TENDS TO BE
A GREATER SENSE OF UNITY, AND IF THERE’S A
GREATER SENSE OF UNITY, THEN YOU HAVE MUCH MORE
OF AN OVERALL POLITICAL WILL TO DO THINGS NECESSARY
AS A COMMUNITY. THAT SEEMS A BIT IDEALISTIC,
BUT I THINK ON THE GROUND, SORT OF PICKING AND
CHOOSING ONE AREA OF “WELL, “WE’RE JUST GOING TO
FOCUS ON THIS AND THAT’S
GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT,” WE’VE ALREADY ATTEMPTED THAT
ONCE WITH THE ASSAULT RIFLE BAN AND IT REALLY DIDN’T SOLVE
ANY OF THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS. A HANDGUN BAN TECHNICALLY
WOULD BE THE MUCH
MORE EFFECTIVE APPROACH, BUT THEN YOU GET TO THE PROBLEM
OF YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE WAY TOO MUCH RESISTANCE
AGAINST THAT TYPE OF THING TO MAKE ANY SITES OF POLITICAL
OR CULTURALLY FEASIBLE. SO, NOW YOU’RE IN A STUCK
POSITION OF WHAT TO DO, AND SO I THINK IF WE TABLE
THAT ASIDE AND LET POLITICS FOCUS ON THE SYMBOLISM
OF PASSING LAWS AND DOING THAT
KIND OF STUFF, AND INSTEAD FOCUS ON WHAT,
AT A COMMUNITY LEVEL, ARE WE ABLE TO DO TO
DECREASE VIOLENCE BETWEEN OURSELVES
AND OUR NEIGHBORS. THAT’S KIND OF ONE OF
THE POINTS THAT DR. CONNER
MADE RIGHT AT THE END IS THAT THE BEST WAY TO STOP
A POTENTIAL MASS MURDERER IS TO TALK TO THEM
AND INCLUDE THEM AND BREAK DOWN
THOSE BOUNDARIES, AND THAT ULTIMATELY
WILL DEAL WITH THAT ISSUE ON A GROUND-UP APPROACH. SO, I THINK
EVERYONE HAS AN INDIVIDUAL
RESPONSIBILITY TO DO THAT, AND THAT WOULD BE IRRESPECTIVE
OF BANNING A SINGLE GUN IN THAT REGARD.>>PROFESSOR VURUSIC, I WAS
WONDERING IF, IN YOUR RESEARCH–>>I WAS GONNA SAY SOMETHING!
>>OH, PARDON ME– GO RIGHT AHEAD!
(both laughing)>>NO, GO AHEAD.>>ALL RIGHT,
A NEW QUESTION THEN. SO, I WAS CURIOUS IN YOUR
RESEARCH ON AUSTRALIA IF THERE WAS ANY
COROLLARIES PARLAYED WITH
THE REDUCTION IN HOMICIDE TO THE STRICTER ENFORCEMENT,
STRICTER LAWS, IF PUNISHMENT WAS
SEEN TO COMPLETION, WAS THERE ANY RELATED SUGGESTION
THAT IT’S NOT JUST THE GUNS BUT IT MIGHT BE THE
CONSEQUENCES OF BEHAVIOR THAT WAS INAPPROPRIATE?>>YES, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS, BY FAR, THE HIGHEST RATE
OF GUN VIOLENCE AMONG THE DEVELOPED
COUNTRIES. IT ALSO HAS, BY FAR, THE HIGHEST
RATE OF GUN OWNERSHIP AMONG DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. THERE ARE 300 MILLION PEOPLE
IN THE UNITED STATES– A LITTLE BIT MORE, 310– AND THERE ARE AROUND
300 MILLION WEAPONS IN THE UNITED STATES. SO, ON AVERAGE, EVERY PERSON
OWNS A GUN, EVEN A CHILD. IN GERMANY, FOR EXAMPLE–
GERMANY HAS 85 MILLION PEOPLE, ONLY 5 MILLION GUNS. IN AUSTRALIA, ONLY 20 PERCENT
OF THE HOUSEHOLDS RIGHT NOW, AFTER THE LAW, HAVE GUNS. WHY IS THAT?
(laughing) WHAT IS DRIVING
THAT NOTION, RIGHT? I THINK IF YOU LOOK
AT SOME CORRELATIONS, ESPECIALLY ECONOMIC CORRELATION,
ONE OF THE THINGS I TEND TO LOOK AT IS
INCOME DISTRIBUTION. INCOME DISTRIBUTION IS
BASICALLY– THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE “HAVES” AND THE
“HAVE NOTS” IN THIS COUNTRY, THE GAP BETWEEN THE TWO GROUPS,
IS BY FAR THE DEEPEST AND MOST EXTENSIVE THAN IN
ANY OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, RIGHT? SO, THE COMMUNITARIAN SPIRIT–
THIS SPIRIT OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT PUTS PEOPLE TOGETHER, THE BASIC SOCIAL CONTRACT
IN WHICH PEOPLE FEEL A SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
TOWARDS EACH OTHER. ONE OF THE BIGGEST QUESTIONS
IN MANY SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES, WHICH PRIDE THEMSELVES IN
THE COMMUNITARIAN SPIRIT, IS, “WHAT DO WE OWE
TO EACH OTHER?” NOT “WHAT DO I OWE
TO MYSELF,” RIGHT? I THINK THESE ARE THE CAUSES
THAT NOT ONLY IN AUSTRALIA, BUT IN OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
BASICALLY CORRELATE WITH MUCH LOWER LEVELS– LOWER
RATES OF GUN VIOLENCE, RIGHT? IN ADDITION TO
THE ABSENCE OF GUNS. HOWEVER, THERE IS A STRUCTURE
OF POLITICAL SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES, ALSO,
THAT PREVENTS ANY MEANINGFUL LAW FOR GUN CONTROL
FROM BEING PASSED. SO, IF YOU LOOK AT THEM
NOW REPUBLICAN– THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
OF AMERICAN CONGRESS, WHICH HAS REPUBLICAN MAJORITY. OBVIOUSLY, REPUBLICANS
IN THE MAJORITY– I WOULD SAY ALMOST
ALL OF THEM– ARE AGAINST ANY
STRICTER GUN LAWS. WHEN THESE REPUBLICANS IN
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LOOK AT THEIR DISTRICTS
AT HOME, THEIR DISTRICTS ARE
NOT REALLY COMPETITIVE. THEY DO NOT HAVE A LEGITIMATE
DEMOCRATIC OPPONENT. THE ONLY PEOPLE THESE REPUBLICAN
REPRESENTATIVES ARE AFRAID OF ARE REPUBLICANS WHO ARE EVEN
MORE EXTREME THAN THEY ARE. SO, IN REPUBLICAN
POLITICAL DISTRICTS, REPUBLICANS ARE
NOT AFRAID OF POTENTIAL
DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGERS, BUT THEY’RE AFRAID
OF SOMEBODY WHO IS GOING
TO BE EVEN MORE EXTREME ON SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC
ISSUES THAN THEY ARE, RIGHT? SO, THAT BASICALLY– IN TERMS
OF PASSING STRICTER GUN LAWS AS PENNY WANTED TO KNOW, THAT BASICALLY MAKES
IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR SOME KIND
OF AN AGREEMENT TO BE REACHED BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS
IN THE HOUSE. THE SAME IS WITH
DEMOCRATIC DISTRICTS. THE DEMOCRATIC DISTRICTS ARE
ALSO STRUCTURED IN SUCH A WAY BECAUSE OF SO-CALLED
“GERRYMANDERING,” THAT THEY ARE NOT
COMPETITIVE AT ALL. SO, THERE IS NO POLITICAL
INCENTIVE FOR ANY POLITICIANS IN CONGRESS TO COMPROMISE
WITH EACH OTHER, BECAUSE THEY ARE
NOT AFRAID OF A CHALLENGE FROM THE OPPOSING PARTY. THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE PRIMARY
CHALLENGE FROM THEIR OWN PARTY, AND THUS, WE ARE
STUCK IN A LIMBO. I THINK THE ONLY WAY IN WHICH WE
CAN SOLVE THAT IS THE CREATION OF MORE THAN TWO
POLITICAL PARTIES… BECAUSE IF WE HAD MORE
THAN TWO POLITICAL PARTIES, THEN IN ORDER FOR THE
POLITICIANS TO BE ELECTED, THEY WOULD HAVE
TO COMPROMISE. SO, THE EXTREMIST
POLITICS ON BOTH SIDES WILL
BASICALLY BECOME MILDER, IT WILL
ALLEVIATE ITSELF. BUT IN ORDER FOR US TO HAVE
MORE THAN TWO POLITICAL
PARTIES IN CONGRESS, WE WOULD HAVE TO CHANGE
THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM FROM THE “WINNER TAKE ALL”
SYSTEM IN POLITICAL DISTRICTS TO SOME SORT OF
PROPORTIONAL SYSTEM, WHERE EVERY PARTY THAT GETS MORE
THAN FIVE PERCENT OF THE VOTES, GETS TO GO
TO CONGRESS. SO, INSTEAD OF JUST HAVING
TWO MAJOR PARTIES IN CONGRESS THAT ARE NOT CAPABLE
OF COMPROMISING BECAUSE THEY DO NOT
HAVE REAL OPPONENTS FROM THE OTHER
PARTY, RIGHT, THEY WOULD HAVE TO
COMPROMISE AND THEN WE WOULD
HAVE MUCH EASIER PATHS TO MORE RESTRICTIVE GUN LAWS
THAN WE WOULD HAVE MUCH LESS EXTREMIST RHETORIC
FROM BOTH SIDES. THEN, WE WOULD BE ABLE
TO COME TOGETHER MUCH
BETTER AS A SOCIETY, BECAUSE MOST AMERICANS,
IN TERMS OF SOCIAL ISSUES, IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC ISSUES,
ARE SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE. THEY’RE NOT EXTREME
ON EITHER SIDE, BUT THEY VOTE FOR
EXTREMISTS ON EITHER SIDE BECAUSE THEY DON’T
HAVE A CHOICE. WHAT IF WE GIVE THEM
A CHOICE? WHAT IF WE GIVE THEM A CHOICE–
THEN THE COMPROMISE WOULD JUST– I MEAN, THIS EXTREMISM
COULD MELT. THAT’S WHAT EUROPEAN
COUNTRIES DID, RIGHT? ALL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND MOST
OF OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD THAT HAVE DEMOCRATIC
ELECTIONS HAVE PROPORTIONAL
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS WHERE MORE THAN TWO
POLITICAL PARTIES BASICALLY ARE IN THEIR
REPRESENTATIVE BODIES, AND IN ORDER TO FORM A
FUNCTIONING GOVERNMENT, POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE
TO CREATE COALITIONS, AND IN ORDER
TO CREATE COALITIONS, THEY ARE FORCED TO COMPROMISE
IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE
UNITED STATES ARE NOT FORCED TO COMPROMISE IN
ORDER TO SURVIVE, THEREFORE THERE
IS NO COMPROMISE, THEREFORE THERE
IS NO AGREEMENT, THEREFORE WE HAVE PREVALENCE
OF EXTREMIST POSITIONS.>>I DO THINK ONE THING WE HAVE
TO ACKNOWLEDGE IS THE REASON FOR THE EXTREMIST POSITIONS ON
THIS ISSUE HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH MONEY AND THE INFLUENCE
OF THE N.R.A. IN ELECTIONS. AND SO, HOW CAN WE
COUNTERACT THAT? WELL, ALL WE HAVE
IS OUR VOTES. AND THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE
MIGHT NOT AGREE WITH THE N.R.A. ON SOME POSITIONS, BUT I DO
THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT THESE ISSUES
HONESTLY AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE
ARE TRADE-OFFS. SO, WE HAVE
A TRADE-OFF HERE. WE CAN HAVE MORE SAFETY OR
WE CAN HAVE AS MUCH FREEDOM AS WE WANT WITH OWNING WHATEVER
KIND OF WEAPONS WE WANT. AND AS WE GET–
AS WE TAKE AWAY WEAPONS, WE CAN GET MORE SAFETY… OR AS WE GIVE PEOPLE MORE
FREEDOM TO GET MORE WEAPONS, WE ARE GOING TO
LOSE SOME SAFETY. SO, ACKNOWLEDGING THESE
TRADE-OFFS AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THERE WILL BE A LOSS
OF ANY SORT OF POLICY HELPS US TO START HAVING
THIS CONVERSATION. AND I GET VERY NERVOUS
WHEN PEOPLE START SAYING, “BUT BE AFRAID
OF THE GOVERNMENT “OR THEY’RE GOING TO
TAKE AWAY OUR WEAPONS.” NO ONE IS ACTUALLY
SUGGESTING THAT ANYONE
TAKE AWAY ANY WEAPONS. THIS WAS A VERY DRAMATIC THING
IN AUSTRALIA THAT I THINK PROFESSOR VURUSIC
VERY CLEARLY SAID CANNOT HAPPEN HERE, AND HE GAVE A LOT OF REASONS WHY
THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE. SO, THE QUESTION THEN
IS, “WHAT WILL?” WHAT COULD HAPPEN HERE? SOMETHING OVER– I BELIEVE
IT’S OVER 90 PERCENT OF PEOPLE THINK UNIVERSAL
BACKGROUND CHECKS WHEN WE GET A WEAPON
MAKES SENSE. RIGHT NOW, THE N.R.A.
IS AGAINST THAT, WHICH MEANS NO REPUBLICANS IN
CONGRESS WILL VOTE FOR THAT. BUT IF 90 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE
IN THE UNITED STATES ACTUALLY THINKS THAT
THAT MAKES SENSE, AS WE WEIGH OUR SAFETY
VERSUS FREEDOMS, SAYING,
“WAIT A SECOND, “THAT WON’T TAKE
A WEAPON AWAY FROM ME, “SO THAT’S NOT A BIG COST,
BUT IT MIGHT HELP.” MAYBE THAT SORT OF
THING MAKES SENSE. BUT IT REALLY TAKES US BEING
INFORMED ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO
INFLUENCE OUR LAWMAKERS.>>YEAH, WELL I THINK THE UNITED
STATES HAS QUITE A FEW ISSUES BEYOND JUST GUNS,
AND YOU KNOW, RIGHT NOW, I JUST WANT TO MAKE
A COUPLE COMMENTS– I GOT HIT BY A
DRUNK DRIVER IN 2005. THE GUY WENT OFF THE ROAD AND
KILLED MY BEST DOG ON PURPOSE, AND THAT HIS COP BUDDY
SHOWED UP AN HOUR LATE AND FILLED OUT
A POLICE REPORT FOR HIM, OF WHICH I WENT
TO TWO ATTORNEY GENERALS AND COMPLAINED ABOUT
AND GOT NOWHERE. I’VE BEEN HUNTING
MY WHOLE LIFE. MY DOG THAT GOT KILLED
IS A HUNTING DOG. WHEN I HUNT, I LIKE A 16-GAUGE
SIDE BY SIDE– THAT’S TWO SHOTS. I DON’T NEED AN ASSAULT RIFLE,
I DON’T NEED ANYTHING FANCY. PEOPLE GET THIS STUFF
AND THEY THINK, “OH, WELL IF THE GOVERNMENT
DOES SOMETHING TO ME, “WE ARE JUST GOING
TO FIGHT BACK.” WELL, NO. YOU’RE GOING
TO GET PLOWED. YOU CAN’T WIN A FIGHT
WITH THE GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT
HAS THE MILITARY THAT
WILL TAKE OUT PROBABLY ANY– I DON’T THINK THERE’S
A COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT COULD TOUCH THE
AMERICAN MILITARY. WITH THE TECHNOLOGY THAT
WE HAVE, THERE’S NO WAY. IT WOULD EVEN BE
THE MILITARY, BUT… I GUESS WHAT I’M TRYING
TO SAY IS IN MY OPINION, THERE IS NO SUCH THING
AS GUN VIOLENCE BECAUSE GUNS CAN’T COMMIT VIOLENCE. PEOPLE COMMIT VIOLENCE. SO, THEREFORE, THERE
IS VIOLENCE WITH GUNS– IT’S KIND OF SAD THE PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES ACTUALLY MENTIONED
GUN VIOLENCE LIKE HE THOUGHT GUNS
WERE COMMITTING VIOLENCE. THERE’S A SUBLIMINAL THING
WHEN YOU SAY “GUNS” FIRST AND THEN “VIOLENCE,” WHERE IT
SHOULD BE “VIOLENCE WITH GUNS.” BUT THERE’S A LOT OF ISSUES
IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU KNOW, LIKE… ALL OF THE ALASKAN
OIL PIPELINE– THAT PRETTY MUCH
GOES RIGHT TO JAPAN. THERE’S ISSUES.
>>YEAH, THERE ARE ISSUES. DOES ANYBODY WANT
TO ANSWER THAT? ADDRESS THAT?
>>JUST VERY BRIEFLY. IN AMERICA, PEOPLE USE
GUNS TO KILL OTHER PEOPLE. THIS IS WHAT IS MEANT BY
THE PHRASE “GUN VIOLENCE.” I THINK THAT’S WHAT OUR
PRESIDENT WAS REFERRING TO. AMERICANS USE GUNS TO KILL
OTHER AMERICANS TO THE TUNE OF THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS
OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR. I THINK WE ARE ALL PRETTY
CLEAR ON WHAT THAT MEANS AND WHY WE’RE HERE.>>ALL RIGHT, WE’LL
DO ONE MORE QUESTION.>>KIND OF PLAYING OFF WHAT THIS
GENTLEMAN WAS TALKING ABOUT, PROFESSOR HENDERSHOT,
YOU MENTIONED THAT IN
TORONTO VERSUS CHICAGO, THERE’S A HUGE
DIFFERENCE IN VIOLENCE EVEN THOUGH THERE’S
SIMILAR MEDIA. WHY IS THAT? WHAT CULTURALLY IS SO DIFFERENT
THAT CAUSES THIS GUN VIOLENCE?>>THEY MADE A JOKE, BUT I DID
LIVED IN CANADA FOR TWO YEARS, BUT CANADIAN’S SEMANTIC DOMAIN
IS HOCKEY, NOT GUN SPEAK. (audience chuckling)>>IN THE INTEREST OF CONNECTING
THESE THREE NIGHTS, WHICH WAS OUR INTENTION TO BEGIN
WITH WHEN WE STARTED THIS… LAST NIGHT, DR. CONNER PRESENTED
SOME FASCINATING INFORMATION ABOUT THE VERY FACT THAT
THE PRESENCE OF A WEAPON ACTUALLY INCREASES–

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