Charles Blow Won't Lie to Himself about Guns

"So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body."

This is an "in our faces" version of Ephesians 4:25, usually presented as a call to "put away falsehood" for the purpose of communal health and well-being.

"So stop telling lies" is from the New Living Translation. New ways of living are what we urgently need right now.

Charles Blow, writer at the New York Times, had this to say in 2022 about the vital need for truth-telling:

"I find that the gun safety debate lacks candor.

"People believe it is savvier to tell only part of the truth, to soft-pedal the sell in an effort to get something — anything — done.

"But lying will always lead to a trap.

"Let me explain: The truth that no one wants to tell — the one that opponents of gun safety laws understand and the reason so many of them resist new laws — is that no one law or single package of laws will be enough to solve America’s gun violence problem.

"The solution will have to be a nonstop parade of laws, with new ones passed as they are deemed necessary, ad infinitum.

"Individual laws, like federal universal background checks and bans on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, will most likely make a dent, but they cannot end gun violence. Invariably, more mass shootings will occur that none of those laws would have prevented.

"Opponents of gun safety will inevitably use those shootings to argue that the liberal efforts to prevent gun violence were ineffective. You can hear it now: 'They told us that all we needed to do was to pass these laws and the massacres would stop. They haven’t.'

That said, I understand the by-any-means-necessary approach that gun safety advocates are taking. They would do anything to make progress on this issue, to save even one life, one group of shoppers in a grocery store, one classroom full of children.

I share their exasperation.

"But I chose to view this issue soberly, with clear eyes, understanding the hurdle to getting anything done, but also not lying to myself about just how much would need to be done for more Americans to feel truly safe.

"...I am on the same page as (gun safety opponents) are on one point. They see the passage of gun safety laws as a slippery slope that could lead to more sweeping laws and even, one day, national gun registries, insurance requirements and bans. I see the same and I actively hope for it...

"We have to stop all the lies. We have to stop the lie that fewer gun restrictions make us safer.

"And we have to stop the lie that gun safety can be accomplished by one law or a few of them rather than an evolving slate of them."

--Charles Blow


These excerpts are from Charles Blow's New York Times essay, "The Hard Truth," May 29, 2022.