Better parenting or better gun control?

BY: Scott Hiley| March 13, 2018
Better parenting or better gun control?
QI believe in 99% of what the CPUSA is all about. But I also believe in my right to practice marksmanship, peacefully, with whatever gun I so choose, which runs contrary to CPUSA's views on a so-called assault weapon ban. I also believe that the ONLY answer to stop mass shootings is for parents to properly do their job again. These mass shootings are a recent phenomenon. Does this view bar me from CPUSA membership? Let me know. -- Nathan L.
AHi Nathan,

I don't know whether your commitment to 'modern sporting rifles' disqualifies you from membership in the CPUSA.  That's a question for our membership committee, whom you can contact at  I will say that it puts you at odd with the progressive and democratic currents of our country, who have long advocated for treating guns like any of the other potentially dangerous items and substances that we regulate in the interest of public safety.

I want to take a look, though, at your claim that better parenting is the only solution to mass shootings.

In our view, capitalism has a toxic effect on families. Reforms like shortening the work day and the work week and providing a strong social safety net with abundant public services would strengthen working-class families and allow parents to spend more time with their children.  That would be a great achievement--but there's no guarantee that it would turn everyone into great and effective parents. Even if we could come up with scientific evidence for what 'good parenting' is, how could we make people do it without constant, intensive intrusion into private life?  I assume that people who oppose gun control would also oppose mandatory weekly visits from a social worker to make sure parenting is being done appropriately...

It's impossible to enforce, or even define, good parenting--and that's why the NRA and Republicans love the parenting excuse.  Blaming parents is a terrific deflection from having to take responsibility for something and figure out an answer (especially an answer that might impinge on the ability of businesses to make a profit).

They've been using that deflection for a long time. Teen pregnancy?  Don't worry about effective, science-based sex ed, just blame bad parenting! Poverty? We don't need welfare, we just need better parents! Substance abuse? Why bother with expanding access to medical care, when you could just demand that parents do their job?

Republicans don't care about preventing unwanted pregnancies, or alleviating poverty, or preventing substance abuse--any more than they care about mass shootings.  If they did, they would offer action rather than thoughts and prayers, and real solutions rather than the parenting excuse.

We're glad to hear that you share most of our views.  But the most basic part of being a communist is looking reality in the face, diagnosing the problems, and setting out a real strategy to fix them.  It's possible to disagree on what the limits of the Second Amendment are, or on what gun policy would be most beneficial to the working class, but blaming parents is a cop out rather than a solution.

Photo by Lorie Shaull, taken at a protest organized by Teens for Gun Reform.
    Scott Hiley has taught French, literature, history, and philosophy at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels.  A member of CPUSA since 2010, he is active in struggles against austerity and for education justice and labor rights. His articles have appeared in the People's World (US), the Morning Star (UK), and l'Humanité (France). He lives in a rural town in upstate NY.

Comments (3)

Drew P. Balz | March 19, 2018 at 10:46 PM

“without constant, intensive intrusion into private life”, isn’t communism meant to eradicate the belief of private property, and eliminate the thought of oneself, and instead to think of “We”, so therefore, there would be no private life, as long as it is bettering “Us”.

    Scott Hiley | March 20, 2018 at 9:34 PM

    You know what my absolute favorite thing is, as a communist? When people write in to tell me that what I write isn’t real communism, because it doesn’t match up to the lies they’ve heard about communism. Want to know what communists think? Ask us, rather than trying to tell us what we really believe.

    Scott Hiley | March 20, 2018 at 9:39 PM

    We want to eliminate private property in the means of production–that is, ownership of property that can be used to make money from someone else’s work. We are working for a society based on collective control of the means of production, and collective, democratic decision-making. For us, collective freedom from exploitation goes hand in hand with individual freedom to develop as a human being. As Marx said, “we want a society where the free development of each, is the condition for the free development of all.”

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