Dying to Learn
There is no problem in the world that doesn't also have a solution. When people wanted to travel by air they worked so hard at it they were soon on the moon. They wanted to end a war, and they conceived of and built an atomic bomb. There was a need for greater and faster access to information and today people walk around with the equivalent of thousands of warehouses of human wisdom right in their pockets.
So why then is it impossible to solve the uniquely American problem of gun proliferation and gun-related deaths?
Is the problem the 2nd amendment from our sacred Bill of Rights? So many progressives disdainfully regard it as a shibboleth. Maybe the issue is an ignorant, fresh-water state electorate who, as it was once said, 'cling to their guns and religion?' Or maybe it's the NRA because it so successfully preys on our venal politicians?
I believe that in this coarsening culture the problem is with the people, the citizens. If I could I would indict them for a number of felonies.
The most damning charge against American voters is that they elect amateurs. In recent years we have had businesspeople, a professional wrestler, comedy writers, community organizers, reality show hosts, and politicians wives ascend to important positions. Those choices have clearly degraded American democracy.
While the rise of laypeople might suggest that we have become less political as a people, it's obvious we have become far more political. So many of us tend to see every problem and potential solution through the lens of political affiliation now, which is of course to the detriment of nuanced thought.
The education of the country has plummeted. Daily newspapers and periodicals were the textbooks of self-rule but they have been replaced by the comic books of social media.
We need serious ideas posited in the most civilized fashion to figure out how to keep our children from being mowed down like Chicago gangsters on St. Valentines Day. Instead what most of us see is our 'friends,' telling each other off in the most indecent language imaginable.
Although such 'dialogue' was once considered democratic and egalitarian, it has devolved into didactic parties lecturing each other before deploying the F-bomb and departing company, often for good.
Usually, with proper rage vented, everyone moves on with his or her day until the cycle repeats.
What is it so hard to prevent kids at school from getting shot? Is it because the right to bear arms is supposedly embedded in the Bill of Rights? The right to free speech is in the Bill of Rights, too, but it's hard to imagine that if filthy movies (protected free speech) were suddenly being projected onto school-house screens that there wouldn't immediately be a bipartisan effort to prevent it, everybody from preachers to postmasters would be on the case and it would end immediately.
What we are seeing in our blood spattered schools today, children with decades of life and infinite promise ahead of them lying dead in puddles of their own blood is far more obscene, indecent, and profane than even the most hardcore pornography.
Yet there is little substantive debate or cooperation about the renewable mass slaughter of the kids.
So what is the solution?
Maybe the answer is for neighbors to talk and to stop blaming each other for their ideological disagreements. Certainly common ground can be found in ending the phenomenon of our own kids being executed.
A change in paradigm is required to end this cancer-like problem. It requires people to stop spouting political platitudes and instead band together to discover all the possible avenues of change.
Voters have to take their jobs more seriously, of course. The citizens need to demand and use better news sources. They need to stop watching TV long enough to read a few books. Most of all, they need to rediscover the ability to discuss issues in a civilized manner.
Americans need better access to mental health care that is supported by insurance. Lawyers need to be creative and devise new strategies for attacking the gun industry and its lobbyists and associations. The clergy of any and every persuasion needs to band together and utilize their moral position to demand concessions from the political class. Communities must pay for secure schools.
All of us must ask ourselves whether we truly value our children? A few years ago little boys were being raped in the football locker room and the most famous coach in the country and his academic overseers turned the other way. After some perfunctory sanctions the school was quickly back on the gridiron as though nothing had happened. Talented young female athletes in Michigan were also sexually assaulted and similarly ignored.
You have to wonder if American wallets were as vulnerable and abused as American children what we wouldn't stop at to end that carnage.
Americans must reconcile their radical founders and their fundamental rights with their desire to protect their own babies.
We all know that the gun violence needs to be stopped, we just need to understand that it can be stopped. It's up to us to have the energy, the attention span, the creativity, and the resolve.
We can find the issues and problems too difficult to fix and continue to fight and scream and blame while the carnage repeats itself forever. But they're our kids. If we don't have the courage to work together to nurture and protect them who will?