8 thoughts on “Bereans VLOG (10/5/2017)”

  1. There seems to be agreement among the three of you that the US has a deeply ingrained gun culture. To some extent, the three of you seem to agree that this is not always a healthy or helpful culture. Do you all believe that there is any way to alter this deep seated gun culture in the US? Should the society seek to shift away from this gun culture, or is it too much a part of what makes the US what it is? How important is the gun culture to the greater purpose of the 2nd amendment, to protect the people from the government?

    1. Hi Carter,
      I think that changing the gun culture in the United States is a very long-run proposition. The household in which I grew up had guns – primarily rifles for hunting. But I do not have firearms in my home today. The reason is that I simply judged the marginal benefit of having the firearms lower than potential negative consequences. If I had had more time to hunt I might have very well come to a different conclusion. But, I do not think hunting rifles are really what we’re discussing. I do think that in order to have meaningful cultural change the people need to decide. I do not believe that owning handguns will protect us from the government. Soldiers are much better trained with greater firepower.

  2. Having taken classes from both Dr. Wheeler and Dr. Haymond, I have heard the idea from Adam Smith that people only have a certain, limited sympathy to project towards other people, and that this sympathy is usually limited to a short distance, such as the immediate family and closest friends. As a result, even large-scale disasters such as the shooting in Las Vegas leave most people only momentarily impacted, even fellow Americans. Do either of you think that, in the past, America’s national identity was strong enough to feel a deep loss and real sympathy for tragedies that applied to other Americans? Has this changed as polarization has increased? Can national unity increase the spread and expanse of human sympathy?

    1. Hi Stanley,

      Always glad to discuss a Smithian proposition!

      Do either of you think that, in the past, America’s national identity was strong enough to feel a deep loss and real sympathy for tragedies that applied to other Americans? Perhaps for a limited period of time, but not in a real meaningful way. As Smith believed, humans are simply not capable of bearing the pain of a large number of other people.

      Has this changed as polarization has increased? I do see a certain logic in what you are saying, but because we don’t really empathize with those we do not know well at all, I don’t know if our current polarization has really decreased our lack of sympathy.

      Can national unity increase the spread and expanse of human sympathy? Nationalism may be able to provide some sort of short-term patch. However, I’m not certain that’s really what we want. The negative effects of a strong nationalism that arises to fill the void that we have because of our fractured relationships from the fall has the potential to be much worse than the fragmentation itself – Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia. The spread in expanse of human sympathy is a post-redemption phenomenon. To attempt to legislate change in human nature may produce horrific results. Healthier functioning churches might give us a greater sense of community and thereby unity.

  3. You’ve appropriately said that there are no easy answers, but I think there is a basic truth we can extract from all the confusion. If humans desire to commit evil, they will find the means to do so. We can debate over some of the patches to cover this deep wound, but ultimately it’s a matter of the heart, and atrocities will occur from time to time. Policywise, it’s important at these times to consider the immediate AND long-run effects of a policy. Catastrophes like this welcome swift action, but I would caution against doing something rash.

  4. I like how this vlog addressed the fact that we need to take time to really process events, such as the Las Vegas shooting. In our technological age information is instantly accessible to people. Since we can acquire information so quickly, we also tend to form opinions and share them relatively quickly as well. I agree that it is important to take time to really reflect over what has happened and to make sure we have all the facts.

  5. I remember one of the first things I saw on social media the day of the shooting was Hillary Clinton politicizing the Las Vegas shooting and I agree with Dr. Wheeler that it was insensitive. Another thing I saw was the left side shaming news reports with titles that used words like, “The shooter was a local”, and “He was a grandfather”, and “The shooter had a clean record”, and so on. I can see how the left side would think news report titles were almost looking highly on the mass killer. However, in my opinion, I think the content in those same reports were expressing the shock and surprise everyone had when they found out how tied in the shooter was with who he killed. I think the article titles were a way of expressing rude awakening rather than praise for the shooter.

    I also find it interesting that in a DUI, it is the driver’s fault. When there is a bombing, it is the bomber’s fault. But when it is a shooter, it is the gun that needs to be taken away. Guns are not the issue, people are the issue. If a killer wants to kill, I am sure the killer will arrange a different means to fit if they cannot get a gun. I like what Dr. Haymond said about concealed carry – it is safer for everyone in an area to have even just one person conceal carry.

  6. During this sad time where families and friends are mourning and pulling themselves back together, no answer can truly heal some of the sorrow felt. It does make me wonder, however, if the quick and political responses by so many people are not just incentivizing people to do horrible things. I guess no one can truly know, however, it is incredibly sad when these tragedies do occur.

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