05 December 2015

If I Owned Gun Stocks, Should I Sell Them?

Mayor de Blasio of New York just called on "his" pensions systems “and others across the country” to sell their stocks in gun companies.  He sees this as an economic way to force gun manufacturers to quit selling “assault rifles” to civilians.

Maybe it will work.  Maybe it won’t.  Beats me.  Some people say that the economic sanctions against South Africa brought down apartheid.  Beats me.  

The New York pension systems have about $50 billion in stocks.  Of that, $2 million are in gun manufacturers.  Seems kind of a puny gesture.

But this is America and the Mayor has every right to pick up the phone and talk to the people who decide what stocks to buy.  And this is America and he has the right to prance boldly in a press conference, even when a phone call would be more targeted.  I'd like people with different ideas to calmly talk over a cup of coffee, but that's a very minority opinion.  The "grand gesture," the "oh, the humanity" approach makes good press.

Who knows, maybe the Mayor's idea is a good one.  Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

But everybody is not entitled to their own facts. (Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that years ago.)  If the Mayor and the pension people and everybody who thinks guns are the sole problem kicks back and says, Hey, I did good today, he, she and they are wrong.

If society decides to ban this gun or that gun or big magazines or what not - and enforces those limitations which, based on the last 50 years history, isn’t likely - some lives will be saved.  That’s what the pro-gun people ignore.  And some lives will be lost.  That’s what the anti-gun people ignore.  Violence is not a simple graph.  

Why?  Because the human heart and the human penchant for doing violence hasn’t changed a bit.  In every episode of violence, some person has decided that violence is the best choice.  Sometimes, it is.  Not often, but sometimes.  The San Bernardino shooters decided that killing was what God wanted them to do.  That is theologically unsound, but they acted on it.  Had someone else there been armed and able to think and act quickly, then violence would have been a good idea.  

Let’s leave for another day the likelihood that having an “good guy” armed there would have justified the social cost of having enough alleged “good guys” armed so that one or more would have been there.  We don’t debate guns.  We repeat fixed opinions and call the people who don’t agree with us vile names.  Some debate.

Humanity everywhere is afraid of critically discussing the human heart.  We get tied up in knots about who somebody is attracted to, what God they worship, whether they are Republican/ Democrat/ Green/ Socialist/ Labour/ Conservative/ Liberal/ and on and on. That's a lot easier than talking about what is good and justified behavior and what is bad and evil behavior.

Killing people for God, politics or because you’re just generally pissed, is bad behavior.  Shares of stock don't make you do it.  It starts in the heart and mind. 

That’s the ball that we should keep an eye on.



longhair75 said...

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that neither the pro nor the anti side of this issue are even remotely interested in honest dialog to arrive at what we need. Both sides take a scorched earth stance and will not give an inch towards any meaningful compromise.

J. Burton Hunter III said...

I respectfully, and I mean that, disagree with longhair75. I am fervently of the opinion that this multifaceted monstrous problem has to be attacked, and I am sure I could have a fine discussion with my friend Roger over that cup of coffee, or something more suited to "Miller time".
I am listening right now to a rational, moderate, articulate president in his CNN Town Hall meeting. All he gets in return is vituperation.
I know a few people who simple detest guns and thinks America should be essentially gun free. My experience is the people with that view are a tiny percentage of the folks on the right. My views are consistent with conservatives of ten years ago, and I am not accused of being a bleeding heart. I have the temerity to believe that gun ownership carries responsibility, to learn how to use and respect them. Concealed carry permits, I believe should require several pages of training and demonstration of competence to use them. I am shouted down on FB as if I were a communist or moslem. So, I do not believe that "both sides" are rigid.