My Brush With Mr. Wisenheimer

There Are Times When You Are Simply Caught Off Guard By Smart Alec Remarks

But maybe not this time.

I was on the phone with a dear friend whom I have known since grade school. After the usual pleasantries of getting caught up on family, health, and work, the topic journeyed into current events. Even though it may or may not have been consciously placed in the forefront of our minds, the Las Vegas mass shooting incident would prove difficult to ignore. And even if you didn’t want to discuss such a heavy issue at length, or wasn’t in the right mood to talk about it at all, the magnitude of such a highly publicized event pretty much merits or demands some thought and or condolence for those who perished unfortunately.

My friend informed me that he read my article — but only got half way through it.

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I surmised at this point that there is something he was just itching to tell me. Something that would completely counter the opinions I expressed which would subsequently leave me gasped by his rebuttal, and stricken with silence — so that he has the last word of course. With a smug air and tone in his delivery he confidently stated, as if solving a riddle that so many, including and in particular myself are having trouble with…

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

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me

I paused and waited for the conclusion, but none came.

This was certainly intentional and I collected my thoughts by restating what he said. I then said that since your argument has no conclusion I am going to assume that gun control efforts are just futile in this regard.

And he said “Basically”.

My response.

Merely stating the obvious really isn’t substantial enough. I have heard this NRA slogan enough to know that it is a weak argument.

He said, “How so?”

Well I could easily say the same about cars. Cars don’t kill people, people kill people. They are both inanimate objects meant for specific use. Surely cars weren’t manufactured and intended to kill people. Yet, unlike guns, cars are apparently heavily regulated for their intended use. Think licenses or permits, sobriety tests, cellphone ban while driving, speed limits, emissions standards, and safety inspections — the consequence for not adhering could lead to privilege suspension, revocation or fine. These rules don’t seem to be interfering with our freedom (claim right) to have a car though. These regulations are more so in place so that you don’t misuse or are safely using that right. More importantly, because of these regulations, bystanders, pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants within the car apparently enjoy their rights too (passive right) to not be assaulted by the reckless use or maintenance of the vehicle even though in this example, it was not intended for such use.

Whatever is in parenthesis was not mentioned in the conversation.

His response.

“Hmm. I hear what you are saying. But they are not going to give up their guns though and you can’t expect them to. That’s just how it is.”

Pause.

Then he went onto another topic.

Frustrating enough deflection and changing the subject is key to feeling like you have made a winning argument. Its like getting that last word in.

After our conversation I started to lament about how I could have been more forceful with my arguments. Then I realized in that instance how that could have led to a really heated name-calling argument. I decided that I had done more than enough to provide my thoughts on the matter, it wasn’t a competition on who is right and who was wrong. It was matter of sharing a perspective.

There is a take away from this conversation.

After I decided to write about this and share it on Medium, I read over his words and got a mixed sense of defensive hopelessness. That somehow fate would spare him if he just went along with it and not question something he may feel powerless to.

And interestingly enough, my projecting this is how I must have felt when I decided not to challenge his rationale further.

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It appears the more that I write the better I perceive.

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