Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Why Arlington Needs a Gun Store

Arlingtonians are freaking out. There's talk of a gun store opening up in the community and people have gone downright apoplectic. Over 2000 of my neighbors have called on the building and gun store owner to cease and desist. I think they're wrong to do so, and more importantly, my guess is that they think they're wrong, too.

Allow me to explain.

Imagine for a second that you get a call from your Aunt Louise down in Real Virginia. She's absolutely furious. She explains: "they want to open up a Planned Parenthood next to a children's school. How can they be so brazen as to put this factory of death next to our children?! The people who run this Planned Parenthood don't share the same values as the community, the building owner should refuse to provide them with a lease!"

You take a deep breath and try to calm good old Aunt Louise down. First off, you explain she doesn't really know what goes on at Planned Parenthood, she only knows to repeat the same talking points as her uninformed friends. In fact, you wouldn't be surprised if given time, the community would embrace the Planned Parenthood. Besides, it's effectively a business: if people don't go to Planned Parenthood, it will close up on its own. Supply and demand is the ultimate equalizer.

You'd agree with her that the optics of having a Planned Parenthood next to a school was unfortunate, but abortions don't just jump off the shelf, do they? People who want to find Planned Parenthood's services will find them. Those that want to walk on by, will do just that.

When that line of reasoning gets you nowhere, you'd try a different tact: operating a Planned Parenthood is completely legal. In fact, the person that's being disruptive is Aunt Louise and her friends; they're the ones that are putting a stumbling block in front of a perfectly valid business.

Aunt Louise, you'd gently say, you're being prejudice; as in you've pre-judged this business and the people that work there. Perhaps the doctors and staff at the Planned Parenthood are jerks, or worse. However, it's far more likely they're just like you and your friends, they're your neighbors after all. And besides, you might a learn a thing or two about hot button issues by talking to people who share a different view, rather than listening to the same voices. By being closed minded, you're hurting your community and passing on a chance to grow as a person.

When none of that worked, you'd pull out the ultimate card: America. Aunt Louise, you'd explain, we live in this remarkable country where individuals live side by side with those who dress, look, believe, speak, pray, eat, love, work and do just about everything else differently. As Americans we firmly hold our own beliefs, yet just as importantly, leave space for others to hold theirs. Every day we live the motto: E pluribus unum, Out of many, one. Every once in awhile our community gets tested: do we truly believe in allowing the many to thrive? It's tempting to go the easy route and reject what we're not comfortable with. But that's not America. American needs the many. If this establishment isn't breaking the law, then you need to let them be. Hold fast to your beliefs, and at the same time, fight to allow others to do the same. It's the American thing to do.

Do you think Aunt Louise is convinced? Probably not. But replace Planned Parenthood with Gun Store and you see, it's not such a crazy argument to suggest that a business, even one you're not comfortable with, should be aloud to set up shop in Arlington.

Do it for America.

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