The other day on Facebook, I had made a comment about March for Our Lives on a friend's feed. In response to that, someone wrote the following to me --
Robert Elisberg help me, a rational individual, understand how the most harshest gun control government... Illinois/Chicago... has one of the highest murder rates in our nation??? Does NOT compute!?? Your words are simply words not facts.??
I don't know this fellow, but though absent of vitriol (and syntax), it was clear that he wasn't actually asking for the "help" in understanding that he said he was. But I nonetheless decided to reply. Here's what I wrote -
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I'm happy to answer your question. I will not join here in a debate.
There are many responses. It's not a "single reason" issue. One is that as terrible as the problem is in Chicago, it would likely be even worse with less strict gun laws. Another is that the laws may not be as strict as you suggest or, because of conditions, as they need be. Further, the situation in Chicago may not be as much a "gun problem" as it is a gang problem and one that is far worse there than elsewhere, and so the resolution requires other solutions, as well, on top of the existing gun laws, Additionally, it may conceivably turn out that Chicago -- with a long history of violence going back to the days of Capone and the Haymarket Riots -- is just one of those sad exceptions in life and a situation out of control for economic, social, logistical, racial, political, historical, and more reasons, but that for most of the rest of the country the standards for gun control hold. Also, separate from laws is the issue of enforcement which is problematic. But In addition, and perhaps most of all --
Your question may not be valid. As bad as the gun situation is in Chicago, the population is also massively large, so the gun death rate is not nearly as bad as a great many other cities in the U.S., who *don't* have as strict gun laws. Indeed, Chicago is just 18th among U.S. cities.. Below Milwaukee. Chicago's rate is 16.4. On the other hand, New Orleans (which I'm guessing from your question does not have as strict gun laws) is #1 at 46.9. Here's the article with that data.
As I said, I would answer your question. You may not agree, but that's my answer. I won't have a Facebook debate on the subject.
And those were my words. Though they weren't the entire first draft. There were many things left out -- including that guns are also brought into Chicago across the state line, like from the aforementioned Milwaukee with a higher death rate, and from Mike Pence's Indiana, or Missouri, where St. Louis not only has a higher death rate, but in fact it's #3 in the country, or from Kentucky, or Iowa. Illinois has a long reach with many borders. Another reason, as has often been mentioned, that so many people call for stricter federal gun laws.
I also had another paragraph which I thought was spot-on to the point, because it addressed something he himself said, though I knew it was blunt and personal -- since his own comments I was referencing were about himself -- and therefore risked being the only thing he would "see" and respond to, blurring out everything else. And so, I left it out. What I had written, and then deleted was:
"I'll add that I don't know you, nor you me, so while you may be an impressively rational individual as you say, I have no idea how rational you are on the question of gun control. You might be spectacularly rational with that, as well, but I'm just noting that I've seen deeply-rational people get into irrational screaming matches over guns and abortion."
Of course, the reality is that I don't even know if he's rational in the slightest. After all, the answers I gave were pretty reasonable and basic, whether or not he accepted them. And the fact that he hadn't even considered them as remotely possible to the extent that any explanation "does NOT compute" for him makes me uncertain of his self-proclaimed rationality quotient. Then again, maybe he was just too lazy to consider possibilities. Or too close-minded to consider any explanations. But as I said, it doesn't matter if the was as rational as history's most beatific and centered Sensei Master. The mere mention of gun control could send him over the edge. Which, though that might not have been the case here, at least is possible.
I wanted to say that, too. But didn't.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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