Bubble Arguments: Avoiding the Cartooning of the Discussion on Guns

As of this week, the Vice President will meet with representatives from the NRA to discuss ideas on how the nation can re-evaluate its current laws on “gun control.” Given the tremendously awful school and public venue shootings that have taken place, it is only natural for folks of all political viewpoints to again ask the question, “How do we properly address these events?”

What may come harder is the ability to listen to arguments contrary to our own. Especially when we see the outcomes being decisions of life and death. We also tend to short-change and even demonize the moral motivation of others. Unfortunately, I believe we only hurt ourselves when we do it.


For example, I have already seen this very thing a few times in a fairly popular cartoon. Rather than trying to defeat the opposition by pointing out its logical flaws, it discredits the opposing argument by subtly demonizing the moral motivation of others. In this particular cartoon, there is a newspaper with the headlines of the most recent shootings. On one side of the cartoon, a fearful mother embraces her young child. On the other side of the cartoon, there is a fearful man embracing his rifle.

While cartoons are not sound sources of political discourse, the public speeches from many of our elected officials reflect this argument almost to a tee. Without question, is is an easier argument to make. Yet when we have future lives hanging in the balance, we do not need short-cuts to political victories that not only short changes opposing viewpoints, but may short change the very lives we seek to protect.The implication is simple: the fear of losing the right to possess a gun is inconsequential and even morally repulsive in comparison to protecting the life of an innocent young child.

A Georgia mom recently found herself and her 9 year old twins in danger as an an ex-convict proceeded to used a crowbar to break into her home. The mom hid herself and her children. The ex-convict then found her and was only stopped when she protected herself with a gun. We don’t know what that ex-convict would have done if she had not owned a gun, but thankfully we did not have to read about them becoming victims in the morning newspaper.

Do you think that Georgia mom was hugging her gun the morning of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings? Do you think she was hugging that gun even after using it to protect her twins? I can almost guarantee you after both those instances, the only things she was thinking about were those two precious children. I would hate to be the person who told that mother that her motives for owning a gun were misplaced.

One thought on “Bubble Arguments: Avoiding the Cartooning of the Discussion on Guns

  1. Paul, thanks for your thoughts here. What I appreciate is your point that the gun in the Georgia situation was a means to an end—the end being the mother’s ability to protect her children. Great post!

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