Monday, June 30, 2008

On Gun Control...

It bothers me that the Supreme Court struck down the DC handgun ban. Putting aside the issues of constitutional interpretation, let's look at gun control's role in public safety.

As gun control opponents are so fond of saying, "if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns." They maintain a romanticized notion that the good guys with guns can fight the bad guys with guns in a self-reliant form of defense and vigilante justice. The problem is that it doesn't end up working that way. A person who obtains a handgun legally, with the best of intentions, has a better chance of winding up with an injured family member than an injured assailant. But the gun makes its owner feels safer, more self-reliant, and more capable of defending his family from the world's evils. The gun's benefit is psychological, not practical.

On the other hand, if we outlaw guns then only the outlaws have guns. This can only make law enforcement easier. It's hard for police to catch a gun-toting felon in the act of misbehaving, but when guns are illegal having one, or being seen with one, becomes probable cause for further investigation.

I'm not a proponent of the police state. I'm a fan of individual liberties. Gun control, as with any control, should only be as stringent as needed to fit the problem that it's intended to solve. In my opinion, DC's murder rate merits the banning of handguns. Public policy should be based on solutions that fit their problems, not blind psychological comfort.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thoughts on food and sustainability:

Ultimately, what sustainability requires of us is change in global society as a whole. We need the recovery and reconstitution of community generally, not simply in relation to food. But though we may be able to think like mountains, we must act as human beings. To begin the global task to which we are called, we need some particular place to begin, some particular place to stand, some particular place in which to initiate the small, reformist changes that we can only hope may some day become radically transformative.

We start with food. Given the centrality of food in our lives and its capacity to connect us materially and spiritually to each other and to the earth, we believe that it is a good place to start.

- Wisconsin Foodshed Research Project, Coming Into the Foodshed
Agriculture and Human Values 13:3 (Summer): 33-42, 1996
Jack Kloppenburg, Jr., John Hendrickson and G. W. Stevenson