There are many ways the ideas from Chapter 13 apply to our interpersonal conflicts and how we manage them. Quite often, disagreements between people concern issues reflecting societal conflicts. Currently, American society is engaged in numerous conflicts focusing on “gun control” legislation at state and federal levels. These issues may permeate down to neighborhoods, and even families, where differences of opinion exist on the availability of guns. Societal conflicts that exist at the interpersonal level involve social, religious, political, and economic issues. In the following essay, our narrator wrestles with the implications of guns in her home and how she thinks it should be handled.
It is not our purpose to take sides on the controversial issue of gun control. Tthis case study shows how intractable issues and social conflict affect people in their everyday lives.The purpose of this activity is to apply correctly the key concepts, principles, and suggestions from Chapter 13 to the case study.
Read the following case study and the instructions that follow it.
“Jared and I have been married for 6 years and have two boys age 4 and 5 ½ . Jared likes to own a lot of guns — pistols, shotguns, and rifles. He is very proud of an assault rifle he bought last year at a gun show. When I first met Jared, I thought his interest in guns was just a guy thing, and I knew he liked hunting, which his father used to do with him when he was young. I even thought it was true when he said we needed some protection in case anyone tried to break into our home and harm us. He also likes to remind me of the fact that we Americans have a right to bear arms. He says ‘To tell you the truth, my buddies at work and I are all concerned that the government could become a serious problem and citizens need to have the means to protect themselves. Just look at the countries in the Middle East where common folks are fighting tyrants.’ So, he says, ‘Trust me, you don’t want the government telling us what we can and cannot do with our own guns.’
I was brought up in a very different family, where there were no guns in the house at all. My father was an ordained minister and always taught us to seek forgiveness rather than revenge and to avoid fights. My parents always believed that the police would take care of any situation we might get into. My father still says, ‘Just call 911: The police are trained in dealing with potentially life-threatening situations. Let them handle it.’
And now we have our two boys who are at an age where they like to explore all areas of the house, and of course, they also like guns. The other day, I happened to walk into our bedroom and saw the two boys standing by the night stand with the drawer open and staring at Jared’s pistol, which he likes to keep loaded by the bed at night. When I told Jared about it, he got quite upset and said he wasn’t spending one night without some way to defend himself if need be. He said he would start training the boys on unloaded guns and explain our house rules and how to handle guns safely. He also said he wanted to start taking the boys to paint-shooting classes and games.
Still, there are other ways the guns could become a problem. A few weeks ago, Jared left an unloaded .22 rifle behind the living room door, which was open and concealed the gun behind it. We were with friends on the deck, and their 4-year-old came out carrying the rifle. Both our friends were upset that their child got his hands on a real gun, but Jared assured them that it was not loaded, and he usually has them well hidden or locked up and had just happened to forget this one time. But our oldest son told me today that some of his friends can’t come over and play at our home because their parents are concerned about us having guns lying around the house.
That night, when I tried to discuss the incident with Jared, he said he used the .22 for target practice earlier in the day, and hadn’t had time yet to put it where he usually keeps it safe. He claimed it wouldn’t happen again. He said he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
I really want him to take the situation a lot more seriously. So far we have been lucky that no one has been injured. I want him to either come up with a foolproof way to keep the guns safe from the boys or get rid of them altogether. When I told him this, he said I was just paranoid and should be more concerned about our safety both at home and as freedom-loving Americans.”
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