One of the signs of greatness is the ability to evolve.
Probably because in true Darwinian fashion, only those that evolve and adapt to the condition and reality of their existence prove to be successful in their survival. It applies to everything. It's as true for animals and plants as it is for viruses. The same can be said for things as divergent as phones, social media and nations.
Sandy Hook, in it's tragic scope and circumstances is an invitation for all of us decide some important things about ourselves and our country-- or to resign to a lifetime of shaking our heads, tossing out a few platitudes and continuing to lie to ourselves about being shocked when someone else's 6 year old ends up in a unnaturally tiny white casket.
We need to be honest about what is our current reality in terms of gun violence.
We need to acknowledge that our gun violence problems aren't caused by a lack of God in schools. How can the lay person recognize that that's a lie?
A: Facts. To believe that God is smiting us as Americans for exercising the audacity of running secular public schools, would by extension lead one to believe that God would also find a secular education provided in other first world countries worthy of bestowing great tragedy in classrooms around the globe. But we never really hear of school shootings outside of the U.S. Not because we just don't hear about them, but because they are practically non-existent, globally. In fact, of the 77 school shootings worldwide, only 17 happened outside of America. (Germany and Canada are the only two nations who have experienced more than one school shooting.) For those
With that said, it would make me a complete idiot to contend that easy access to guns isn't a contributing factor to the gun violence problems we have in our country. It would be like saying, 'nooooo, cyanide isn't dangerous. It's the people who make it dangerous once they use it'. True on principal and in theory, but false in reality and practice. Can you imagine people stamping their feet trying to keep the easiest access possible for cyanide because it itself alone in a vile isn't dangerous? Of course not, that would be preposterous. Yet, many of us think nothing of using the same preposterous approach to gun law reform.
An often cited reason for resistance to engage in a meaningful dialogue is the 'criminals don't follow the law' mantra. Which always brings that ol' quote; "do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" to mind. Sure. It's accurate to acknowledge that crims aren't known for being a particularly law abiding group of citizens. However, it poses two questions: 1) How's that workin' out? And in this case, B) is being right an adequate excuse not to engage in supporting strengthening our gun laws? Clearly as the graph below illustrates, the current plan isn't working. It's not helping enough to keep our
|Data Source: United Nations, The Washington Post/Max Fisher|
- 11 times for completed and attempted suicides
- 7 times in criminal assaults and homicides, and
- 4 times in unintentional shooting deaths or injuries
We like to tell ourselves that being a 'responsible gun owner' is all about knowing which situations require drawin' down on someone, or not shooting your hunting partner in the face
It is my hope that sooner rather than later we opt to acknowledge the ways we fib to ourselves about our gun violence situation and get truth-y-ier with each other. That we stop wasting time being shocked and start getting involved and participating in creating fewer opportunities for madmen to shock us, as seriously as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.