Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Making of a Podcast--Breaking the Rules

As many of you are aware, one of the big projects for The Montana Dream this past year was producing a podcast. We've had some ups and downs over the first year but I think it's going well and we've been receiving some great feedback. We're also having a lot of fun doing it so that says something. The inherent problem with producing something like The Montana Dream Cast, is finding topics and discussing things that are both interesting to those of us that are involved in the production as well as those folks listening. What Scott Hirschi and I try to do, is talk about things that guys and gals sitting around having a beer would want to talk about out here in Montana, which includes fishing, hunting, music, sports, beer, health, and yes; sometimes even politics and policies that impact our livelihoods and lifestyles.

This past week, Scott and I got into some topics, along with the everyday fun stuff like music and hunting, etc. etc., that can be quite controversial as we brought up legislation that has been proposed in this years Montana Legislative session. One of those proposals would eliminate the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. From that, the topic went into a more general conversation about gun control and gun violence and even this push to have guns in our schools. You can check it out by clicking the link below.

Breaking the Rules--Part A

It's definitely not my intention to use the blog as a way to defend myself after the fact but I do think there is an opportunity to share some of the resources and links that contributed to the discussion. That way, you guys can read for yourselves and come up with your own conclusions and maybe even decide to join the discussion, so here you go.

My stance has always been the more guns you have out there, the more likely bad things can happen. If you look at the studies that have been done, there is definitely support for this argument and in the podcast, I kept coming back to the fact that in the U.S., children from the age of 5 to 14 are eleven times more likely to either be killed or injured by a gun than any other developed country.
Here's where that came from:

It turns out, I miss-spoke. Children in this country are 17 times more likely to be murdered by a gun than in other developed countries...

Here are some of the other resources:

I referenced some of this article in the podcast about the NRA as well.

There are some more current articles if you're interested.

Now I know, you're probably thinking that all The Montana Dream is, is some liberal dude that is trying to take down the NRA. The reality is, is I don't have that much power and what I would really rather do is to bring up the discussion of how to make our country safer for our children and for ourselves. I do lean a little left and Scott, my partner in the podcast, leans to the right. We both hunt and fish and own guns and we both have children living in our homes. We both care about protecting them so when these discussions come up, we are both just looking for solutions and we both have an appreciation for the facts and for what the numbers show. We have a problem in this country and we need to be part of the solution as sportsmen and women and that's how we discuss these topics.

As for criticizing the NRA, my biggest problem with them is that they don't participate in any discussion for a solution other than what they feel is appropriate, i.e., educating and promoting gun ownership to kids, and pushing agendas that would put more guns on the street and into schools. Some might argue that's not their role but I feel by taking the stance they do, they definitely contribute to the problem.

One of the policy issues on the Federal level that came up on the podcast was the rolling back of legislation that was pushed through by Obama. That legislation prohibited the sale of guns to folks that were put on a list as a result of being determined to not have the capacity to pick up their social security checks on their own. The argument was if they were deemed unable to handle the responsibility to manage their social security money than they also didn't have the mental capacity or weren't on a developmental level to practice safe handling of guns. Obviously, the NRA opposes this and thus, so does Trump even though according to polls, the vast majority of folks think this is a reasonable provision.

The discussion led to a more general discussion of the root of the problem, which to be honest, we don't really have a good answer for and is where you all can help with your ideas. Our culture is a violent culture. According to the statistics, we have way more violent crimes than most other developed countries. Our rates of gun violence is off the charts. Why?

Is it fair to compare the U.S. with other countries? At first we decided that Canada was the only country similar enough to make some comparisons but now I'd say yes, it is fair to compare other countries because what we are doing is trying to figure out what the differences are that make's us more violent. We know we are different on many levels. We have a way more diverse population than most other countries including Canada and we talked about that. The numbers also support that.

One of the other differences, however, is we also have the highest rate of gun ownership in this country--nearly 90 guns per hundred residence in the U.S. versus the next highest country of Serbia with 58.2. It is not true that the more guns that are out there, the safer we are. It just isn't. The U.S. has a murder rate 23 times higher than Canada and a gun ownership rate of three times theirs.

I did do some more research on some comparisons with Canada and came up with a few interesting articles:

In the article talking about immigration and comparing the U.S. to Canada, it is evident that Canada is way more accepting in policy and in public opinion for allowing immigration and seeing that as a benefit to their country. Although some people would like to tell you we are just letting anybody into our country, including terrorists, at a rate higher than any other country, that is just not true. And what I really want to point out here, is that it doesn't seem like diversity is determining factor but more how we view diversity and how we treat minorities because of that. There is a lot of anger in this country. There is animosity between racial groups and even between generations within racial groups that definitely contributes to a culture of violence. But can we really say it's because of cultural differences or is it our treatment of people that are different or don't share the same beliefs?

I know, this gets a little heavy and believe me, I don't want you to think that's all we focus on in the podcast or on this blog but it is pertinent to how we live out here in Montana and just in general, across the country. We know we aren't going to solve the world's problems but maybe we can incite some rational discussion over some of the things that really matter.

What I'd like to leave you with is a question I asked on the podcast. As a culture, are we ok with fighting so hard, this all or nothing sum to preserving our perceived Second Amendment Rights, knowing the risk that we are putting ourselves and our children in or can we come up with some reasonable and responsible solutions to addressing the problem that is actually based on truths?

Keep 'em where they live...

P.S. I forgot to mention the rule we broke. Scott and I were banned from talking politics on the podcast. Sorry Jill.

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