It’s truly sad to see Chicago had 762 murders in 2016. Compare that with Toronto’s 69. Both cities have roughly the same population.
— rjbrennan (@rjbrennan) January 2, 2017
This morning, I read the latest New York magazine cover story about guns and an experiment in “radical empathy.” I can’t recommend the piece strongly enough. I read the print edition, and I see now that the web version is augmented by video content which I hope to watch at some point. The story had me shaking my head, rolling my eyes, gasping, etc. I’m not sure there are many issues that really get at the political divide in our country more than guns do. Thus, the following passage from the piece really resonated:
The dividing factor wasn’t really beliefs about gun control; it was about fear and how you respond to it. There were those who held to their gun ownership as an instrument of power and security in a world that too often seemed unsafe and uncertain, and there were those who knew too well that nothing on earth can guarantee safety and certainty for the people you love.
The “experiment” or effort at reconciliation through radical empathy is really fascinating. I won’t spoil the outcome; go read it yourself.
I vividly remember hearing Michael Moore talk about the making of Bowling for Columbine and how he set out to make a movie about guns, but ended up making a movie about fear. He came to that conclusion after visiting Canada, where gun deaths are a tiny fraction of what they are in the U.S., and realizing that Canadian homeowners generally leave their front doors open or unlocked. They just don’t fear each other the way we do in the U.S.
As a result, we get the kinds of numbers Richard Brennan cites in his tweet, which is today’s tweet of the day.