I read and respond to every comment readers make on my blog posts, but occasionally a topic — like gun control — sparks an exchange of comments between readers directly, and I love that. In a Sunday post entitled “Talking with a Gun Enthusiast”, I made some points about having a conversation with a person I wouldn’t normally exchange views with: a gun enthusiast. That post sparked a lengthy comment from J., whose family hunted, taught her the basics of marksmanship and gun safety, had guns in the house. Now she is married to a policeman, who is responsible for his service weapon at all times, including when at home and off duty. They’ve taught their kids about the violence connected with guns, but also about the ways in which guns keep people safe.
J’s reflections prompted a response from Joyce, who identifies as anti-gun but says that J made her think.
That’s the point of exchanging views with people whose experience differs from ours — we are challenged to re-examine things we hold dear. The ability to learn from people who see things in a different way is, for me, a key ingredient of a healthy democracy and a sign of a mature life. We don’t have much of that kind of exchange these days — most of us stick pretty closely to people who think like we do. If the blog can help further greater openness, it’s all to the good.