I don’t even know where to approach this from. There just isn’t
any logical place to start with. What do you do when someone shoots up a garlic
festival or a Wal-Mart? That’s where my thoughts end because there doesn’t seem
to be anyway to stop it that is acceptable to half the population.
Take Guns Away
We don’t want to take away guns because they are a God given
right. It says so in the Bible and is confirmed in the 2nd Amendment,
which is more revered than the 1st Amendment, and which ignores the
whole “well-regulated militia” part of the text. Besides, taking guns away won’t
keep them out of criminal hands.
In school when a kid did something bad and the teacher couldn’t
tell who it was, she punished the whole class. Everyone lost their recess
privileges. Still, recess isn’t a part of the Constitution, so we’re back to
where we started.
Get Better Mental Health
So, if “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” then we
should get people serious mental help. Psychologists and psychiatrists should
be a free resource that anyone should be able to avail themselves of. There
should be no barrier, money- or perspective-wise, to getting mental health. But
we can’t do that because it isn’t society’s responsibility to care for its own
citizens. Besides, paying for mental health care sounds even worse than paying
for everyone’s physical healthcare. At least, physical problems we can see and
make sure people aren’t faking. What would we do with socialist mental health
Clean Up Hate Speech
We could try to stop hate speech at the highest levels. By
blaming the “other” and making them “rapists and murderers” intent on taking
our jobs and causing the economic collapse of the American capitalist system,
certain persons have created a boogeyman that is both nebulous and specific. It’s
the Hispanics, the Latinos, the Muslims, those with brown-skin are at fault,
and white males are ready to take out their guns to shoot whoever happens to be
in the way. Bonus, if you’re a white shooter, you’re less likely to be killed
than a member of another race, unless you take your own life. These factors are
repeated ad infinitum until some crazy people (who can’t or won’t get mental
health help) go ballistic. Unless we can see every race, religion, gender-identity,
pick a trait, as human, we will continue to churn out people who are willing to
kill the “pests” in our society as they are named by our leaders.
If we take away a person’s right to call other people names,
then we are taking away their freedom. They have a right to assert that brown
people are at the core of all our problems, and we’re just being intolerant of
a point of view that is protected under the Constitution. The Constitution
gives us rights. With those rights come great power, and with great power comes
great responsibility. You can say racist, hurtful, ignorant things, but you
shouldn’t – even if you think them, even if you believe they’re true. “Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you” doesn’t exclude any person on this
planet. Basing your actions on a person’s appearance is ignorant and idiotic.
Ted Bundy was reportedly attractive.
It’s our duty to be intolerant of points of view that are
advocate diminishing the personhood of any human being. It’s our duty to stand
up to those who would abuse their rights and use them for evil. It’s our duty
to make sure that people understand the difference between facts and stupid
opinion and feigned outrage positioned as pseudo-supported editorializing. If
someone is shouting “the truth” at you and you’re getting angry because it
sounds like you’re being taken advantage of, it’s not the truth. Not all anger
is righteous, and much of righteous anger isn’t accompanied by shouting into a
No Single Solution
Even if any of these were enacted, none of these alone will
do the necessary work. Worse, these are the first things that people rally against,
even before the barrel of the gun is cold. They don’t offer solutions first,
they just say what we cannot do, as if the Constitution has never been altered –
as if the Bill of Rights itself wasn’t an alteration. But they do not offer
Thoughts and Prayers
Instead, they offer their useless thoughts and prayers. Thoughts
and prayers about what? How do they help the dead 6-year-old and 13-year-old?
How have they helped over the past 6 years or longer. Thoughts and prayers don’t
do shit. But they are the last refuge of the person too enthralled in the NRA,
too enthralled with his or her own wealth, or too stupid to see what’s going
on. Thoughts and prayers without action are dead – just like the victims of the
gun violence that brought them on and the souls of those who are decidedly
against protecting the lives of those who they have sworn to protect.
Everyone Should Have a Gun
Some advocate for giving everyone a gun. Society was much
more polite when people could meet out on the street at high noon and shoot
each other because of a perceived slight or because they wanted to see who was
the fastest draw. They fail to recognize that in the shooting of a suspect in
New York, eight bystanders were injured – all of them by the police officers
who are supposed to be trained with the weapons they use. The criminal didn’t
Everyone Should Be Educated
Alternatively, they say there should be gun training in
schools. This would be great. It might only be a partial solution, but if every
child knew what a gun was, how it worked, and what it could do to other people,
animals, targets, an argument could be made that there would be fewer
accidental deaths in the homes that have guns. It might even work later in life
for these young, white men who perpetrate these horrible crimes. But we can’t
even get schools enough funding to take care of the core elements, like math,
science and English. How are we going to afford gun education for every child
in the U.S.? More importantly, when will it fit into the day?
Still No Solution
Education is not a panacea. It doesn’t cure everything.
There are plenty of educated people who have subverted their education and
decided to support the cigarette industry by denying the danger of smoking.
There are plenty of educated people who have embraced tenets that are
reprehensible in light of their education. Educated people can be racist,
elitist, and dumb. They can choose to see poverty as a choice rather than as
the systemic problem it is. Maybe, it can be a part of the solution, but by
itself, unless it changes behavior, education isn’t the be-all, cure-all.
Back to the Beginning
So, what’s the solution? Until the two sides of the issue
are willing to come together and discuss the issue without taking possible
solutions off the table, we’ll always be where we are now. People getting shot
and killed every day; some of those shootings will be mass shootings that will
allow politicians to send their thoughts and prayers and 14 minutes later they
can tweet well wishes to their favorite fighter. So, sit back on your couch,
turn up the noise on the TV and shut your heart to the hurt of your fellow
Americans. Once we’re all dead, God will sort us out. And He’ll probably wonder
what we found so hard about loving our neighbor, and what was so hard about
knowing He is Love and we were created in His own image.