Gunfire should focus the mind. It just doesn’t anymore. To this date in 2019 we have averaged more than one mass shooting per day in the United States.
Gunfire should focus the mind. It just doesn’t anymore. To this date in 2019 we have averaged more than one mass shooting per day in the United States. Social media remains awash with uninformed opinions, knee-jerk re-posts, and genuine anguish. Cable news continues to entertain dueling experts without enlightening viewers. And the beat goes on.
Repeated heart-felt posts lament the fact that parents will never watch their children grow up. Friends and neighbors, husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, will not come home tonight. Valued employees will not return to work tomorrow. After the obligatory “thoughts and prayers,” after the national conversation sinks into the quicksand of opposing viewpoints, we still have safely done nothing painful such as solving the problem. Most solutions being offered would never solve anything. And those offering them are devastated that everyone fails to see the elegance of their solutions.
We bog down in bump stocks and bullet counts. We wail about weapons of war in civilian hands. We count on criminal history checks. None of these will provide a long-term solution. These are distractions which guarantee we will never upset the status quo. We hear opinions about arming teachers in schools and clerks in stores offered by those who know nothing about shooting or training or teaching or police procedure in an active-shooter scenario. Those rendering such opinions seem to believe the stuff they see in movies and TV westerns.
Magazine capacity is a body count argument. When we suggest that reducing the number of bullets in a magazine to five, we are agreeing that five dead people is an acceptable number. When we march and protest about a powerful assault style rifle, we ignore hundreds of more traditionally designed rifles which are no different in functionality or capability or cartridge choice.
The Las Vegas shooter used a modified rifle capable of a faster rate of fire. The Gilroy festival shooter used an assault type rifle. However, the Sante Fe, Texas school shooter used a shotgun holding no more than eight shells and a revolver holding six shells resulting in ten dead and ten wounded.
When we debate “common- sense solutions” and we seek “middle ground that both sides will agree on” we fall into the trap that allows the world to watch while we do nothing. When we hang our hopes on a criminal history check, we are ignoring the fact that many mass-killing shooters had no disqualifying criminal event in their past. When we suggest arming the staff, we are assuming a person with very little training or sustained practice will not endanger innocent bystanders when real police officers engaged in real gunfights miss their intended targets more often than they hit them. By arguing about these solutions, we are ignoring the threat of any gun in the wrong hands and arguing endlessly about the wrong gun in anyone’s hands.
It does not matter if we issue a pistol and ammunition to every U.S. citizen at birth and demand proficiency tested by actual firearms instructors. It does not matter if we repeal the 2nd Amendment. It does not matter if we conscript every American citizen into the United States Army where we can administer a battery of psychological tests to determine fitness to possess a weapon, issue a weapon, and schedule firing range training and testing. But it does matter that we do not sink into the quicksand of meaningless distractions which only sound good to the side offering that point of view. We must be willing to do the hard work of actually solving this problem.
This is a difficult task to accomplish. But we owe it to ourselves, our children, our nation, our future. This may be an impossible dream. But is it any more impossible to accomplish than the birth of a nation carved out of a strange and hostile continent, against the will of the most powerful military force the world had ever known, as we violently tore ourselves apart from Britton by creating a living document which we still find sufficient to bind us together? Or, are we now willing to stand up, look the world community in the eye, and admit we are just not up to such a task any longer?