Me: What do you feel is the appropriate response to a mass shooting?
Joshua: There has to be….complete….grief, loss. There shouldn’t be this – this standoffish, this we have a, we have something to cry about, we have something to be outraged and grieved over. So…I mean that’s what we should do. But the question is…what do we really feel? Is that right? And…I think we’re…this has become a custom of our culture. Therefore, our feelings are comprised. And it’s…it’s just…that’s the reality. Does that make sense?
Me: What would your ideal gun control policy look like…if you support one? (I meant to say federal policy whoops.)
Joshua: (laughs.) That’s really interesting. In what sense, in what place, I mean…and what do I know? I mean without denying my responsibilities…if you’re putting me in a position where I would be legislating something, I’d probably say it has to do with population density and how…you should never have guns around people! That’s ridiculous! (Laughs.) Ya know? Like what are they for? And what are you doing if you’re allowing them to be around people? So shouldn’t there be some laws about not…about not allowing guns around…people? That’s my thought.
Me: Do you think there’s a world in which the right to keep and bear arms wouldn’t result in these tragedies with certain regulations? Or is the right in itself inherently a threat to national security?
Joshua: There’s only one world. There only ever has been. And that world is the world we have to figure out how to live in and…if laws are meant to control freedoms, or protect freedoms…uh…to protect freedoms, I think the right that’s being overlooked is the freedom to…live. And peace and security. And therefore we should protect that as the inviolable right. And the fact that the rhetoric and the argument has turned into protecting the inviolable right of owning weapons of destruction seems to be very…seems to be missing the fundamental premise of things.
Me: Do you think it’s ethical for organizations like the NRA to contribute to political campaigns?
Joshua: Well that gets back to the Supreme Court case. Ya know, where corporations are people and you know Citizens United? Do you know this?
Joshua: I don’t know…I think again, the premise is: ought corporations be invested in politics like this? Whose interest does this serve? Is this about profit? I think it’s more interesting to say…the NRA has shaped the conversation so that this is about individual freedoms, individual rights. You look at the industries that they are attached to and that they significantly support. Where does that money actually go? How many billions of dollars every year…that’s an important question.
Me: Do you take action when you hear about an event like Las Vegas?
Joshua: What do you mean when you say action?
Me: Do you…start a conversation with someone, donate to a victim relief fund, look into the state’s gun policies…
Joshua: Well if I just say yes…that answers the question but I don’t think that provides you with the information you’re looking for…
Me: (Laughs) What kind of action?
Joshua: What action do you take…it entrenches my resolve to support political candidates who are willing to speak against the culture of violence.