Lance Scranton: Control should describe virtue
Students are walking out of school demanding gun control, the President wants to get our borders under control and the latest budget passed by Republicans and Democrats seemed to avoid any measure of fiscal control.
Growing up, I was constantly reminded to exercise some self control, especially by coaches who were doing their best to promote the idea that we should focus on effort level when we were working through a tough game.
Back in the day, coaches embraced the idea of control as a process for working on the skills that would eventually serve to make the athlete a better person and a more disciplined competitor.
In school, where control can be an issue with respect to academics, it wasn’t uncommon to hear teachers talk about how it was best to control how we approached a subject when we analyzed a problem or how we crafted a written response in a particular subject.
The word is not being used the same way anymore. Control used to be about how we could make ourselves better by practicing discipline, making better decisions or working through a process for solving problems; the onus was on the person. But, these days, control seems to be all about the avoidance of personal responsibility. Birth control isn’t about practicing delayed gratification in the interest of love and commitment, but about being able to do whatever you feel like doing without a particular consequence.
Gun control isn’t about the personal responsibility of our society to use guns for their proper and preferred purpose, but about the false narrative that guns are somehow being used to kill people by other people who would not choose such a deviant action if guns weren’t available.
Now, our friends from across the pond, in London, have a mayor who want to control knives! He sees absolutely no good reason for people to be carrying knives. What he neglects to manifest in his logical function is that knife killings have been on the rise in his city, because people can’t buy guns, and if people can’t buy guns, then knives will do, and if all the knives are outlawed, then sticks will be next, and then, on to anything else that might pose a risk to the good citizens of London.
The problem with trying to control people by controlling their liberty is that it doesn’t work. People who aren’t influenced by their culture to behave according to a measure of personal responsibility will never be willing to accept responsibility, and no matter how much control a government attempts to exercise over the populace, it ends up a disaster.
Control should be a word that describes a virtue belonging to people who want to enjoy freedom and liberty. Control meant to take inalienable rights away from the citizenry in the name of safety looks very much like tyranny.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.