I have really come to love Chicago, that endlessly bustling city next to an endlessly stretching lake, but I do have to admit more than the occasional pang of longing for the city I grew up in. Minneapolis and St. Paul are like toddler cousins compared to Chicago but they do share some great commonalities with their diverse and expansive fields of art, cuisine, music, and a distinctly Midwestern urban beauty. Unfortunately, these cities also share a struggle with violence that is becoming increasingly common in American cities of all sizes and localities.
Just this past weekend my parents passed on a letter to the editor from the laudable Minneapolis rag the Star Tribune. I can’t help but feel that the experience of this European sums up a perspective that we Americans may be too close to see. Something about our history and culture has tied us too closely with guns to really have an accurate perspective on their influence in our lives. Perhaps it is time to lay aside some of our American self-confidence and give a patient ear to the perspective of countries that have very little problems with hand-gun homicides. Are we really that afraid of what we’ll hear that we refuse to listen?