I was just going to call this “the disconnect.” Then I saw the story about saving the Giant Panda. Should we or shouldn’t we? So why wouldn’t anyone be in favor of saving the Pandas? There are some pretty good reasons to look into this. You have to be pretty strong to even suggest that we may not want to spend that much money on saving Pandas. They are so cute; so, bite your tongue you heathen. We must save the Pandas at all costs! REALLY? Maybe not. As to the disconnect, I’ve often pondered, “Where is the area in our brain that helps us to throw out reason…where we become disconnected from facts and maintain our philosophical position regardless of the facts, or lack of them?
Example, when the seat belt laws were put in place I remember thinking, “Is this right?” Do they have the right to make me wear a seat belt inside my own car, my private property? Even though the law was enacted to save me from shooting through a very solid windshield made of glass, I was considering my rights as a private citizen while being defiant and wanting to drive around with no seat belt. SEAT BELTS save lives! Oh.
Today I have gotten over my great stand and I wear my seat belt, not because I was afraid my stance would turn into Ruby Ridge or even (I hate to say) save my life, but because I don’t want a ticket which is very costly, okay, and also because they save lives. I know smart people will say, “It’s just ignorance” but there is more to it than that because there are well-educated people that have ‘the disconnect’ and don’t wear their seatbelts. It may be as simple as upbringing. Yet, we humans have the ability to think rational thoughts, I think. So, shouldn’t we be able to fix some of our misguided upbringing easily with rational facts?
I’m working on this disconnect theory by asking co-workers why they believe in what they believe in?
For example, “(Red neck) Steve, I’m doing a survey so I want to ask you a question. You have a loaded pistol in your house, don’t you?”
Steve says, “Yes, two.”
“Okay, remind me not to visit… just kidding.”
“If I told you, Steve, that you have a significantly greater chance of shooting and killing a friend, neighbor, family member or loved one way before you will ever save anyone in the house from an intruder, wouldn’t you want to throw that gun away?”
Steve: “No. I like my guns”
“You like your guns as objects like you like your motorcycle.”
Steve: “Yes, and if someone comes in my house, I don’t mess around. I shoot to kill.”
“Okay, Steve. I will try this later. I need to go and have my hearing checked.”
Now, I know Steve and I come from different places (hopefully different planets); but he didn’t really understand what I was saying … some kind of disconnect.
Lets try Tony. He is college educated in computers and a devout Christian.
“Tony, I’m doing a survey. Can I ask you a question?”
Tony: “Sure, but I want to show you something.”
Earlier in the week Tony told me he wanted to start a tradition for his son with a present. His son was just turning one year old, so he shows me a picture of an assault weapon he had just bought in case they banned them. He says, “It’s bigger than my son. That’s his birthday gift. Now, what did you want to ask me?”
I said, “Oh, never mind. I’ll check with you later” and thought “I have to go home and stick my head in the oven.”
My study is not working out because there is a huge gap between peoples’ biases (a disconnect) and I am going to keep looking for the key that opens the door that has an answer to our differences.
Addendum: A study of 743 gunshot deaths by Dr. Arthur Kellermann and Dr. Donald Reay published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 84% of these homicides occurred during altercations in the home. Only two of the 743 gunshot deaths occurring in the home involved an intruder killed during an attempted entry, and [only nine of the deaths were determined by police/courts to be justified — (FE Zimring, “Firearms, violence, and public policy,” Scientific American, vol. 265, 1991, p. 48).
The evidence revealed in the Kellermann study is consistent with data reported by the FBI. In 1993, there were 24,526 people murdered, 13,980 with handguns, yet only 251 justifiable homicides by civilians using handguns. (FBI, Crime in the United States: Uniform Crime Reports 1994, 1995).