I wrote this last night but delayed the posting until today. I wanted to make sure my mind and thoughts were less cluttered and put some time between the event and sharing my thoughts. There are differing opinions on when it is appropriate to dive into an analysis and I don’t believe there is an objective truth, I simply feel that enough time has passed for me. My intent with this post is not to offend but to act as an opportunity for personal reflection, growth, and healing. The words are more abrasive than other posts of mine but it is what I needed at the time of writing.
As we all know tragedy has struck an elementary school in Connecticut. I don’t know the details and for me they are not important. Children lost their lives senselessly and needlessly, families are broken with despair, this is a difficult time for all who are even remotely involved. It is also a time of reflection on our society and what we will do moving forward. Sadly, I don’t think society is handling it very well. Already the political posturing has begun that has little to do with reality and nearly everything to do with supporting an ideology. I don’t think my network has bad intentions but I think most of them are retreating to tired arguments that do not reflect is happening in today’s world or what will realistically happen moving forward.
My friends on the right have lost their heart. I wish they would stop worrying about an imaginary attack on their gun rights and showing some compassion. Obama is not going to take away anyone’s guns… he doesn’t have the legal authority, the political will, or the physical power. By and large gun owners are conservatives and this includes police, military, hunters, and collectors. No police force is going to be coming from the local state or national level to round up weapons. These officers aren’t stupid, they would be slaughtered.
Your guns are safe, so instead of worrying about that how about worry about the personal responsibility that is supposed to accompany personal liberty. Many conservatives claim a need to return to community support, well I hope they are living up to that mantra because my non-statistical analysis of Facebook shows otherwise. There is much ranting about gun rights but little about mobilizing resources via personal connections, churches, and non-profits to provide support for the victims or help prevent it from happening again. Conservatives also need to recognize that mental illnesses exist and that the failed War on Drugs (which they tend to more often support) is preventing doctors from providing real medicine and researchers from developing new prescriptions. It is tyrannical to prevent a sick person from receiving medicine.
Now my friends on the left need to grow a brain. This was not caused by America having lax gun laws. Violent crime is down across the board and access to weapons is easier now that in has been in generations. Banning guns will not create a utopia, it will simply create an unarmed populace where only criminals own weapons (either because law-abiding citizens become criminals or established criminals ignore the law). Regardless, it isn’t going to happen. Politically and legally it is impossible. The Judicial Branch has continued to loosen gun laws, the House is run by the Republicans, and the Senate is not filibuster proof.
Progressives need to actually formulate real fact-based arguments if they want to reform gun laws. The vast majority of my left-leaning friends did not present any real discussion, they simply said variations of “fucking gun owners!!!”, “THIS IS WHY WE SHOULD BAN GUNS!”, or one-line straw men arguments like “only in america is gun ownership a right and healthcare a privilege” that doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny. Guns are banned on school grounds and that didn’t stop this because a criminal or someone with mental health issues are not going to be deterred by a law if they are willing to kill children. Prohibition does not work. Period.
Both sides are guilty of being incredibly hypocritical when it comes to the death of children though. They are both outraged at this tragedy but turn a blind eye to the needless bombing and killing of children by the military across the globe. The same people that seem so shocked by this tragedy, and it is a huge tragedy, have no problem with drones killing people in far off lands. The parent of a dead child does not care if we see the killing as “legitimate” because the government did it, he only knows that his child is dead.
So what do we do to move on? I don’t really know… but I think there are things that could help. A change in culture and a change in policy are both necessary in my opinion. Culture must stop glorifying violence and shunning public intimacy and love. We have become a society that feels weird hugging but feels fine punching. We need to rebuild our communities and turn to each other instead of the state when there are problems. We should know our neighbors, know their children, and help in any way we can.
There are also practical solutions that I think could help prevent these things, or at least minimize the damage. There will always be sick people and there will always be guns. Violence will always happen and I believe precautions can be taken to help. I think a good start would be to allow teachers who are willing and able to keep a weapon secured in their classroom. The police are a response force at best, and that response time is slow due to lack of information. Capable adults who are educated in firearm safety and use can act as guardians to children.
I don’t have really have answers though… this was more just to get my thoughts out there and clear my own head. It has helped in one big way though, I want to hug people and let my friends know I care. There is so much love around and so little expressed, it would be silly not to tell someone that they are important to you just because of societal norms. Love may save a life.