Common ground, common language

I’m going to need help here, so feel free to jump in any time.

Looking over responses to my recent post on gun violence, both public and private, and general debate on the net and in the mass media, I am struck by a feature so obvious it seems to have been ignored. It’s this:

There is, between what we’ll call pro-gun people and anti-gun people a difference not only in conviction but — of equal importance — also in style. The two sides can not discuss issues because they do not speak each other’s language.

    Let’s be realistic. The pro-gun side of the argument has valid points to make, and the anti-gun side can be guilty of exaggeration and misrepresentation.

The stylistic difference? Pro-gun people are militant, defensive, assertive. Anti-gun people are low-key, solicitous, cautious. Anything like a dialogue between them is shouters and whisperers trying to converse. They might as well be speaking different languages. And in fact, they are.

We — those of us caught in the middle, thinking guns ought to be monitored but not forbidden — think we hear what is being said, but perhaps we misunderstand what is meant, what is argued.

Forceful voices in favor of gun control are out there, as are moderate ones opposed, but they get little attention. Are they not colorful or dramatic enough?

I have a few ideas, but none is fully formed, clearly articulated. Yet. So if you want to provide ideas, examples, suggestions, please jump in. Nothing good will happen until people begin to communicate.


One thought on “Common ground, common language

  1. I’m not so sure that the anti-gun folks are all that “low-key, solicitous, and cautious – but I would say that those adjectives are applicable to the in-between segment.

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