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Gun Control Is About the Silent Majority
Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, a minority issue has come before the majority. In a democracy the majority passes the laws. In a democracy dedicated to justice, the majority is careful when passing these laws to protect the rights of the minority. Gun control, now as in the past, defies democratic rule. An intransigent minority has a stranglehold on making the law and blocking reform.

It's worth making such basic points, which everyone knows, because a silent majority has been acquiescent in the culture of violence that everyone is decrying now. The phrase "silent majority" was invented in the Nixon era to ignite widespread resentment against the anti-war movement, a rise in crime and drug use, and general permissiveness. It gave permission for scattered, unfocused anger and resentment to come together. For anyone on the left, this was moral chicanery, a way for right-wing politicians to exploit the underside of social antagonism while wearing a mask of pious rectitude.

It's time to test if there is a silent majority that is willing to come together for issues that stand for a healthy moral sense - not social resentment and "values" issues that revolve around prejudice and reactionary religion. In his speech last week on gun safety, President Obama rightly said that incidents like Newtown reveal a complex issue, where guns are entangled with issues over mental health, the Second Amendment, police safety, school security, and more. But he was also right in saying that complexity isn't an excuse for not acting.

The public has become lax over the past thirty years. The shock of the Newtown shootings has suddenly created a shift. According to the latest CNN poll, 62% of respondents favor a reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons, and the same majority would support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips. But opinions don't create action when an entrenched minority wields political power. The NRA is doing what it has always done when the public gets aroused by a mass killing - they lie low for a while, wait for the outcry to die down, and then move in to make sure that Congress is still under their control.

We need to strip away us-versus-them thinking on guns, which only leads into endless arguments over persona values. The gun culture in this country is implacable. They have no interest in compromise. Sensible gun laws galvanize their paranoia. On TV one hears the prevailing conspiracy theories: guns are needed so that individual citizens can protect themselves when an oppressive government turns on its citizens. Take away assault weapons, and it's a slippery slope to taking away all guns. And so it goes. Guns don't kill, people do. Every family needs a gun to protect itself from home invasion. A majority of Americans don't buy into these arguments, but they silently acquiesce to them.

Grief and shock should lead to an aroused majority that doesn't aim to change gun culture but simply to exert the will of the country. In 1996, Australia reacted to the crazed killing of 35 people in Tasmania by passing stiff gun control that included buying back semi-automatic weapons. Australia has a Wild West culture that dates back to its frontier days, and so there were plenty of semi-automatic weapons out there. The buy-back amounted to 600,000 weapons. The same thing needs to happen here. We can't shrug our shoulders once more, using "culture of violence" as an excuse for doing nothing. The rights of the minority have been tolerated too far when that minority stands for intractable intolerance itself.

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Sorry Deepak, no support here this time. I have read and listened to your books time and again and found great value in them. I know your intention is one of peace and unity. Mine are as well as I see that as the true reality of life. Our government is not of a peaceful united intention however. I see them as wanting to accumulate power and control via deception and violence. Sometimes we must as the village idiot from Texas, George W. Bush said, fight for peace. I typically love your message Deepak, but your words are not enough to defend ourselves from sociopaths in society or the govt. \n I know society is in a sick type of love with ego and violence in mainstream culture, but you must separate the necessity for an armed society from that cultural sickness. They are not inherently intertwined.
Joby - January 21, 2013
good afternoon, i have been reading the comments,and i think we the people are free to use or don`t use weapon, and as is logical the question is why we have to use weapons, and really we don`t need the weapons, if we have the love in own hearts,if we have mind,spirit,body healthy,THE LOVE and the FAITH is the power, it sound fantastical because many people define the love like only a feeling and the faith as a dream, they ignore the other part of these both issues . them we can not change the mind of the peoples but we can cooperate to disappear all the things unnecessary
portlight - January 2, 2013
Thank you Deepak for your words. \nWe, as a peaceful and free society must find the courage to change and break the American gun culture which is glamorized by media and taught to our children on a daily basis. Secondly, we must stop the flow of these weapons into our society by adopting strict gun laws and hopefully repealing the 2nd amendment. To say the right to own a gun gives you freedom is a deception. The purpose of a gun is to end life and owning such a thing will only keep you bound to a life of fear and violence. Only by giving up such things can people find true freedom and peace.
David - January 2, 2013
It begins with balance! I believe I am among the current ‘silent majority’ that you are calling upon. I admire your work and see you as one of our generation’s spiritual leaders. I was surprised to find that it appeared I couldn’t agree with this article.\nI would be among 62% that would support a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. To support these changes, would be a willingness to be reasonable, responsible and in good-faith to achieve compromise. The NRA is a difficult one; they represent an extreme point of view that protects my husband’s right to bear arms. My husband has been a hunter for 26 years, I am not. However, I respect his rights. Also, we personally don’t arm ourselves against the government. We arm ourselves against the citizens that are NOT law abiding and the ones that tend to overreact. Isn’t it reasonable to assume, if law abiding citizens surrender their guns to meet some new law, then the only people retaining their rights to bear arms, would be the ones posing the greatest risk to our society? Where is the balance in that? Perhaps we are resistant because of a fear of “all or nothing”, rather than seeing it as an evolution of gun ownership. With that said, my husband and I are law abiding citizens that would NEVER harm another human being, without an extreme situation, except as an act of self-defense. \nI totally agree that “We need to strip away us-versus-them thinking”. Too much energy is wasted on the push and pull strategies. Thanks to Newton’s discovery we know, “Law III: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.” I find that this applies to our government, Republican vs. Democrats. Isn’t this also reflected, in the reactions to the tragedies that we experience all around us? The harder one side pushes, the harder the other side must push back. Isn’t it also reflected in symbols of balance, such as yin-yang? The Constitution begins with “We the people…” not me, not you, not I. I don’t understand why there is so much separateness in our world. Daily, I question if it’s just different personalities or perhaps a reflection of the unenlightened and/or unaware. What is the source of our separateness? Is resistance a natural force created by nature? Perhaps when we achieve more unity, there will be less need for knee jerk reactions and less resistance to change; less “us-versus-them”.\nMy heart aches for the families of Newtown, CT and it aches for Adam’s family. I had to quit watching the news reports covering what happened. However, I am confident that the majority of the cause of this tragedy needs to be directed toward mental health issues. It wasn’t the guns, it was the individual. More gun control may have lessened his impact, however it would not have changed his intentions and reasons for it. If we want to fix something, we need to figure out what is causing SO many mental issues. If we can’t cure it, we need to provide the most unbelievable love and support for these people struggling with it and for the families that are trying to love them. I don’t know anything about Adam’s mother, but I would like to imagine she was the one person in his life, that wasn’t willing to give up on him. Our world needs more love, resulting in less need for laws. We need more health and support, not reactionary people that want to point fingers or label sad tragedies as an act of “evil”. I keep wondering, where are people’s hearts? Sometimes we need to think with our hearts, not our minds. I truly believe change begins with our children. If every child was loved and protected; encouraged and supported; raised out of abuse and poverty; this would lead to the changes we desire. We could begin to transform our society within one generation. I lay my faith at the feet of my children.\nI’ve reread you article a number of times while writing this and it’s possible that I do agree, but I’m not sure I’m clear what you’re moving towards or what it is you support. I believe it’s a fact that the majority of us support change; we just aren’t sure how to achieve it and honestly, I’m not willing to become part of the fight. Aside from sharing my thoughts and creating change within my small family, I will probably continue to be among the ‘silent majority’ seeking peace, creating change within and having faith that all is as it’s meant to be, while praying and meditating; that as a collective conscious we will create the change that is desired.
TJones - January 2, 2013
I agree with Chopra and also the comments concerning mental health care and healing people before they explode. You are not the silent majority if you are replying to Chopra`s commentary...and I believe he is thrilled about that. How many people do you hear speaking out about mental healthcare in this nation...the \"silent majority\". So, therefore, Chopra`s point exactly. It can apply to many issues so many tend to ignore out of fear. So be fearless and speak out for change....thanks for listening.....
k Lowe - January 2, 2013
I am surprised by the reaction of the comments that you have gotten on this. The arguments they use are not rational. One said someone killed with gas so should we ban gas, while another mentioned all the deaths related to cars and should we ban cars. Guns are created to hurt and kill. Most of us aren`t keeping a gas can under our bed in case of home invasion. I don`t understand the reluctance to even look at finding compromise here. What are folks afraid of? Yes we have severe mental illness and societal issues to talk about. And yes we want to preserve the rights of people who legitimately want to hunt or target shoot. The idea that assault weapons and large capacity clips make any of us safer is really hard for me to get my arms around. I am not a huge fan of using legislation to \"cure\" our problems, but common sense tells me that this must be part of the overall approach. I am an American who has been silent. I believe that we need to work at all levels to end this culture of violence and as part of that I say no to guns.
jaya deb - January 2, 2013
I completely agree with Deepak. The gun advocates talk about freedom. Those of us who are in favor of gun control in the form of banning assault weapons and clips that can fire multiple rounds are talking about democracy. The views of the majority should not be overruled by the demands of the minority. We as a democratic country cannot stay silent and let the cries of the few be louder than the voice of the many.
Florence McReynolds - January 2, 2013
Well Love is the answer, so is peace. The media spends more time on violence, rather stories of people being compationate or caring or even Loving, wish the media would pick up on this cridical piece, now is the time more then ever. Thank you for article Deepak, very interesting viewpoint, we all need to be challenged, especially our thoughts and the things we overlook.
nando - January 2, 2013