It seems as if these shootings, bursts of violence are becoming more common. The first inclination is to blame the abundance of guns in this country. This opinion is not without merit, however I don’t think this is the whole story.
So what gives?
On one side, people will claim that guns don’t kill people, but people kill people. This is true. Guns don’t pull themselves out, nor do the triggers move themselves. People will always be there to aim and shoot. A gun sitting on a table in my house may very well be scary to me and my family, but it is quite harmless if nobody is there to activate it. People will also claim that we have the rights to bear arms. This is true, however I hardly envision our founding fathers looking at our current predicament with anything but puzzlement at how we got here.
On the other side, people will claim that if it weren’t for the abundance of guns, we wouldn’t have the problems that we have today. The argument is even more effective when you think that lives would be spared if these people who fly off the handle didn’t have access to such a quick and convenient weapon. Guns are pretty easy to use once you have them, which is why I would never want a gun in my house. While I don’t agree to a national ban of guns, I do agree with a ban of guns in my house. Gun ownership takes a large amount of responsibility, and frankly, I don’t want that.
So what is the exact problem here? Is it the people, or the guns?
When my son was 4 years old, we got a phone call from his nursery school. We were told that he had bitten a child in his class, and that we would have to pick him up. We were horrified at the idea that he resorted to biting another child. Who taught him this? It was only later, that we found out the reason he had bitten the other child, and it wasn’t because he was hungry. He had bitten the other child because he had no other way of expressing his anger. He had a tough time communicating his feelings and the only way he could express himself was through biting another child. We were told that if we just helped him communicate his feelings, the violent behavior would cease. Years later, and we are glad to say that our son is no longer munching on his classmates.
In my opinion, Americans have lost our way. Growing up, I remember fondly that there was an abundance of respect for other people’s opinions. While we may not agree on things, we were always taught to verbalize or opinions, and when all else fails, move on. I vividly remember watching politicians in the 70s and 80s who didn’t agree with each other. While they didn’t agree, they were always civil. I believe in my heart that we lost our civility towards each other, whether it is in politics, religion, and even in sports. We just don’t understand how to deal with people on the other side of the fence.
So, what is the solution?
- We must understand that we need to teach conflict resolution better in this country.Whether it is teaching children in the school how to cope with difficulties, or using our legal/police assets in a more constructive manner, things have to change.
- Our politicians also need to understand that the rhetoric needs to cease.Watching this election cycle through social media tells me that the more polarizing these politicians get, the more crazy people respond.I have seen seemingly normal people go bat-shit crazy on social media due to the fact that they don’t agree with a different political opinion.
- We need to find a way to limit the availability of guns to the most at risk people.This is the hardest, as only a complete ban on firearms is the most effective way, and there is absolutely no possibility that this could occur.Mental health in this country needs to be a priority.If this means that we spend more money on making sure that the mentally ill members of our society get more care, thus increasing our taxes, I am all for it.
- We have to realize that unfortunately, these things happen in a free society.With these freedoms come responsibilities.If we do not act responsibly with these freedoms, then we must be punished.
- The solution to this doesn’t happen overnight, however if we sit and do nothing, things will only get worse.