We recently held our third Web Forum in the Gun Violence series, Talking About Gun Violence, Changing the Conversation to Move Policy Forward. It was a tremendous success, in no small part because of the input that Linda Degutis gave us along the way. While we are consistently proud of and grateful towards the effort and time our panelists give us- Linda's devotion was even one step beyond. Her passion and wisdom on this subject is impressive and valuable. She took the time to answer some of the listener questions that came in during the Web Forum, that we didn't have time to get to during the event itself.
Here's an example of some of the delicate language questions that came up:
Q: Is "means restriction" an acceptable euphemism for gun violence prevention or gun control?
Linda Degutis: Means restriction is used to discuss the way in which preventing access to guns impacts the severity of the violence that occurs. However, it may be difficult to use this term broadly. There may be an automatic reaction to the use of the word "restriction," much as there is a reaction to the term "control." Generally, people who are doing work in the field of gun biolence prevention are not using the term gun control because it has very negative connotations.
And much more broad issues were handled too:
Q: I agree with the "framing" concept, but even in Dr. Gillian's presentation, all roads seemed to lead to pre-determined solutions such as registration, bans, etc. This seems to circumvent the discussion "how does policy address the problem?"
Linda Degutis: I don't think the roads all lead to pre-determined solutions. But what we need before we even get to a discussion of policy is the ability to have a discussion without one side (and there are sometimes more than two sides in the debate) shutting down, or one side threatening the other side. We need to find a way to talk to one another and have a debate about what might work without coming to a standoff or a stalemate. We need to not start out talking about a policy, or policies, but to talk about the problem we are all trying to address. The problems need to be broken down and understood, so that we can identify and discuss the risk factors that contribute, the ways in which those factors can be mitigated, and what policies might relate to that mitigation.
Thank you, Linda, for your time and wisdom. We invite the D4H community to submit their comments and ideas. Let's keep this conversation going til we can achieve some forward motion.