A Train Wreck in Progress
“There’s been another shooting…” We are growing almost numb to the horror now. Columbine, Virginia Tech, movie theaters, churches—there is no place safe and sacred anymore. Shopping malls, even driving down the highway, everyone is at risk. Shocking? Yes. Preventable? Perhaps, although there can be only a long term fix.
|Fall of 1947|
For a start, it is not realistic or possible to go around the world and remove and destroy every single gun. And, if that is not done, it is almost a sure bet that a firearm will get into the “wrong” hands and be used in ways we all cannot condone or accept. So what is the answer?
I think, and this is just my not-so-humble opinion, we are tackling this issue from the wrong end. Guns do not kill; people kill. And without guns there are a whole raft of other creative, nasty and horrible ways to do it! I recently read a somewhat Swiftian essay about a man who left a rifle, a shotgun and a sidearm inside his front door and on went about his business. Lo and behold, weeks later they were still there but not one dead body to be seen in the area. Yep—I have had weapons at my disposal since I was about thirteen and carried a sidearm both openly and concealed with a permit for a good part of my life. I have never shot anyone and do not intend to!
So, can we admit, for the sake of argument here, that people, not guns, kill? We have far too many groups and individuals who feel disenfranchised, threatened, mistreated and ‘dissed,’ in the vernacular of our times. On the one hand, we have various minorities—mostly young men, and they seem to be the ones committing thee bulk of the ‘drive by’ shootings, the cop killings and individual one-on-one kinds of violence. Then we have the non-minority people, again mostly young men, who feel threatened by the economy, the influx of immigrants, their own personal misfit state and life in general. They are the ones who commit the mass shootings. My overall impression? We need to fix our society!!
Somehow these people including some with major mental health issues, are not having their needs met and although it may not be the true responsibility of “the government” to make it right, it is the responsibility of each and every adult citizen to give their small bit to such an effort. I have a few theories here, too.
We have a generation or now even close to two many of whom have never learned responsibility, moral values or the fact you have to earn things rather than being entitled to them simply because you exist. There are no rights without the reverse side of the coin: responsibility. The family structure has broken down and we have many young men of every race and creed who've lacked a father figure in their lives. No one has really shown them how to be a man.
Meanwhile they have also been shoved aside by the various aspects of the women’s movement that has accidentally or even intentionally made masculinity a borderline crime against the feminine. We do not encourage our boys to “be boys;” such behavior is considered disruptive and likely to be treated as delinquent, suppressed with ADHD drugs, or otherwise pushed underground. Why then are we surprised that it pops out in random violence, domestic brutality and other very negative ways? Nature doesn't give up without a fight!
While both our major political parties are busy pointing fingers at one another and committing virtual individual and collective suicide, matters continue to get worse. Simply taking the GNP and dividing it equally among every living citizen—or even non-citizens for that matter—would not fix things for five minutes. Immediately, the fight would be on as about ten percent of the population jumped feet first to get theirs away from the other ninety percent. The crooks and connivers would come out on top once again and very quickly, at that.
Beyond this, I am not sure I have ‘answers’ because if I did I would be running for President on the Libertarian or some other ticket with such a powerful message that I am sure everyone would vote for me (NOT!!) but we need to collect all our great thinkers of all persuasions into a room, set aside our extreme views from either the Right or the Left ideology, and start to deal with real issues, not vote buying and power mongering.We need–in the capitalist environment— to lift our sights above and beyond the next quarter’s bottom line and what rewards the top dogs may collect from making it appear better in the short term to the good of everyone and the sustenance of industry and infrastructure in the country. Such an approach will create more jobs and better economic opportunities for the middle class which is sinking rapidly into the cesspool of the downtrodden--spawning a lot of the malcontents who turn to violence. We need to quit offering hand outs and provide more hands up. Otherwise we are doomed to an accelerating world-wide decline into a new dark age of barbarism and horrors such as we can barely comprehend today. I will probably be gone before it hits full force but do we really want to wish this on our children and grandchildren?
In short, the epidemic of gun and other violence is a symptom rather than the disease mistakenly identified It's the rash, the fever, the terrible pain manifest in a what should be the most vivid and vital clue. Our society is badly broken and unless we can pull together to repair it, we are doomed before even climate change or any other matter can force mass extinction of humanity. Any that are left well be subhuman or anti-human since that will be the only way to survive.