Squaring Up

I can empathize with someone who thinks that aborting a baby, at any time under any circumstances, is murder. I don’t agree with it, but I get it. It must be a really deep-rooted emotionally-fueled opinion that they can’t just shake. Even if they have some conflicting intellectual thoughts, like the well-being of the mother, they are shadowed by a foundational instinct that aborting the baby is murder.

What I can’t square is when a person like that is also pro-gun. I’m not trying to judge, I’m trying to understand it, and I come up short. So many guns are designed for murder. They have a single job and it’s the murder of humans. Pro-gun meaning against any sort of restriction or expanded limitation on what kind of guns can be bought and used and by whom.

If you are really deeply against murder, you’d think you’d also be really deeply against guns literally designed for mass murder. And yet that doesn’t seem the case. There is, it seems to me, a weird amount of overlap between pro-life and pro-gun.

That’s gotta be some of the fuel for this massive divide in people. It feels so disingenuous to hold both positions. Like hypocrisy with deadly results. Even if it’s unfair, it seems like perhaps the truth is really that they don’t really care about mothers or babies, they care about fitting in at church. Or perhaps more charitably, they feel that restricting guns won’t be an effective solution to preventing murder, despite all evidence to the contrary.

I do want to understand because I people don’t wake up and be like I’m gonna be a hypocrite today! They feel they are good, they are right, and they have reasons holding the opinions they do. So how is it done? How does one person look at a kid and say, yes, you can walk into a store and buy an AR-15 today, that’s fine, then look at another kid and say, no, you are not allowed to terminate your pregnancy, that is not OK.

I think I can see how they might think the hypocrisy actually works in the other direction. As in, how can someone think they have the right to terminate a pregnancy but not have the right to buy a gun. Like it is a contradiction in liberties. I don’t know, I don’t get it. I do think it’s weird that the isn’t more pro-life-anti-gun people, and more pro-choice-pro-gun people, as those seem to align more logically in my brain.

You could even wrap COVID up into this and make it even more divisive. The “logical” grouping would be pro-life-anti-gun-mandatory-masks (save all lives!) opposite pro-choice-pro-gun-optional-masks (ultimate freedom!) but that is definitely not how it shakes out.

3 responses to “Squaring Up”

  1. Bryan Hudson says:

    I think (!!!!!) the way of reasoning is that abortions are about the murder of innocent humans, and guns are about killing bad humans (thieves, robbers, terrorists, and so on). At least, that’s how I’ve perceived it from the pro-life-pro-gun people and I can sort of empathize with that (but like you, I disagree).

    I’m sure that if it was up to them, everyone should be able to have a gun (so we can all defend the good guys from the bad guys only, of course!), and no one should be able to abort a pregnancy (so nobody can kill an innocent human). The result is more good people, less bad people.

    Even when you bring up mass shootings to them (which is obviously made possible because that shooter had the right to buy a gun), they dismiss it as unfortunate, collateral, etc. and say “but how many -bad- guys were killed with guns, that we don’t hear about on the news????”

    Yeah, right.

  2. Brian Koser says:

    Chris, so rare to find empathetic people. Mostly we’re just yelling past each other. Major kudos to you and commenter Bryan.

    I’m pro-life. If a fetus isn’t a person, of course all the pro-choice arguments are correct (women should have control over their bodies, etc.) If it is a person, that would have to trump autonomy. Not sure when “personhood” starts; if it’s at conception, what about identical twins splitting? And abortion should be allowed when the life of the mother is threatened. What if a mother and a child were falling off a cliff and you can only grab one? It shouldn’t be illegal to grab the mother.

    I don’t know the answer for guns.

    Bryan is right on reasons pro-gun folks give. Others are distrust of government. Thinking gun owners could prevent a dystopian totalitarian takeover. Conservatives are more pragmatic and more willing to accept bad situations.

    But usually we believe something first, and come up with a reason why after. Are people pro-choice and anti-gun or vice versa because MSNBC or FOX News or reddit tells them to?

    Remember in 2020 we were initially told not to wear masks (you’re selfish and taking them from nurses if you do) then told later to wear them (you’re anti-science if you don’t)? I followed both instructions. I think of myself as a free-thinker but maybe I also just believe what I’m told to.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for years, Chris. Thanks for writing!

  3. Tim Miller says:

    This is not a good forum for this, but I think you might be surprised if you actually talked to someone that holds these views. The things you talk about here are caricatures of the truth: it’s not a question of legalizing ALL abortions vs none, just like it’s not a question of whether everyone should have guns or no one should. None of those options are possible, so the question is always where to draw the line. And that question is worthy of careful study and debate.

    The only ones who benefit from binary thinking like that are the politicians, sadly, the exact people who are encouraging this kind of binary “us vs them” thinking. But reasonable societies should (and do) draw the line somewhere in the middle.

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