There’s a startling lack of nuance in today’s culture. Folks pick a side — left or right — and use data, studies, articles, posts and opinions, whether they’re legitimate or not, to support their views. Why do they do it? I have no idea.

Maybe it’s always been that way and user-generated content has simply brought it to the fore. More likely, the social Web has reinforced conformity around certain popular viewpoints, pro or con, via the spiral of silence, which I also discuss at length in Chapter 3 of Real Leaders Don’t Follow.

Take the whole debate over how to handle our growing radical Islamic terrorism and gang violence problems. I’m a big fan of the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms – but there are a handful of things that can and should be done to help minimize the fallout and make us all safer.

Unfortunately, our political leaders are far too busy attacking each other to offer any sane solutions.

While I plan to cover this in an upcoming Fox Business column, here’s just a quick preview list. As you can see, these proposals don’t necessarily fall on one side of the heated debate or the other:

It is too easy to obtain a firearm and, to the extent that there are loopholes, they should be plugged. There’s no reason why someone known to have radical terrorist ties or leanings should be allowed to legally own a firearm.

Those found guilty of committing a felony with a firearm should suffer stiff mandatory sentences depending on the severity of the crime.

I’ll probably take a lot of heat for this, but I also favor a ban on assault weapons — an updated version of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004.

Anti-police rhetoric, lack of support, criminal indictments and instructions to stand down in the face of violent illegal acts in Baltimore and other cities (backed by the Justice Department) are hamstringing law enforcement efforts. Can you imagine trying to do your job, knowing that if you make a mistake, you may go to prison?

Political correctness that prevents law enforcement from profiling — identifying and targeting people by various criteria — likewise has a chilling effect on crime prevention. Profiling is the primary strategic tool used by law enforcement and the intelligence community to prevent criminal acts before they happen.

I can go on, but I’m sure you get the point. We owe it to ourselves, our families, our communities and all our fellow men and women to make informed decisions that make sense, not simply because they support a right or left-wing political agenda. Simply put, our culture is far too divisive. Yes, it’s a leadership problem, but it’s up to you and me to solve it.

Note: Paragraph 8 was updated, June 16, 2016 12:50PM PST

Image credit Aftab Uzzaman Flickr

  • Steve Eckhardt

    If you want backup on point #4, try this: The number of deaths caused by the Black Lives Matter movement is horrible.

  • phaedrus

    There is no middle ground anymore

  • Eric

    I live in Canada where our gun laws are a bit more rigorous having to apply for an acquisition license to enable the purchase of un-restricted firearms like hunting rifles. There is another level of acquisition license called the Restricted Possession and Acquisition license which enables you to purchase things like hand guns and assault rifle type firearms. But there is a catch, under no circumstances is anyone allowed to carry a weapon on them concealed or not. And no weapon can be fully automatic. Restricted weapons can only be transported from the place of storage (storage is strictly governed as well) a a range. It is illegal to discharge a restricted weapon outside of a range. One other level of weapon is what’s categorized as Prohibited. Weapons such as uzi’s and other fully automatic weapons fall in this category. The only way to have a prohibited license is to have been grandfathered in. No new licenses are issued and even if you do own one, it’s illegal to discharge it, ever. In fact registered prohibited weapons go for almost nothing here because they are effectively cool paperweights. I live in a city of 250,000 and there are 3 people with prohibited licenses. I think we have a good balance and I’d suggest that the fact we have 1/5 the gun crime per capita that our southern neighbours have the data backs me up. There’s just no reason for anyone not fighting a war to have fully automatic weapons.

  • justinhohn

    Automatic weapons– which you indicated you accept a ban on, are largely irrelevant. Nobody uses them to commit crimes because they are so rare (and expensive) to own, with the onerous National Firearms Act class III designation and the closure of the registration in 1986. An automatic weapon cannot easily or widely be purchased, and the price would exceed $15,000 when a transaction did occur. Most are owned by large shooting facilities that rent them out to sell the experience of having fired one.

    Now Steve, if you are one of the myriad people opinion about weapons and don’t even know the difference between semi automatic and fully automatic, then it’s hard to take your opinion seriously. I hope this isn’t the case and you really do mean just so called ‘automatic assault rifles.’

    But then you should recognize just how pointless such a ban would be– they are, for all practical purposes– already banned. And they aren’t even on the radar as far as being associated with crimes.

    And– could you please define “assault rifle”? Too many people using this term and nobody agrees what it is.

    • Steve Tobak

      Updated the relevant graph to clarify; thanks.
      – ST

      • justinhohn

        Thank you for clarifying. Can you please define what it is you propose to ban? How would you amend the 1994 AWB? You do realize, of course, that the 1994 bill defined an “assault weapon” by cosmetic features, right?

        This is a very old video that is very useful for illustrated the challenge– and the mootness– of such a ban.

        And then there’s also the fact that government officials have testified to Congress that the AWB of 1994 was utterly irrelevant with respect to crime.

        • Bud Farmer

          Brilliant – Should be required to watch this before voting.

  • justinhohn

    Some follow up to your other bullet points (pun intended? unavoidable?):
    I do not think it is too easy to obtain a firearm at all. I would like to remind you that alcohol was illegal during Prohibition. And it created more crime while doing almost nothing to slow alcohol consumption. The Orlando shooter’s lawful acquisition of firearms is largely irrelevant. He used them for unlawful purposes. You aren’t arguing that it’s too hard to buy a car, even though some people drive drunk.

    You are on solid ground with your comments on anti-police rhetoric and PC. We cannot create a culture that disdains the rule of law and those charged to preserve it without encouraging lawlessness. Prohibition didn’t just create criminals from regular citizens, but it created scofflaws as well.

    Profiling is not a violation of due process, it is an essential requirement for effective law enforcement. It failing to do so is why TSA and so many government “security” actions are a dangerous farce.