When you’re feeling helpless, help someone.
That’s the whole premise of this blog, and that is the only solution I can think of for… well… everything.
Today is just any other day in America. We’ve barely removed the crime scene tape from the site of one mass shooting when another has been reported (14 dead in San Bernardino, and an active shooting in Savannah now). I’ve spent the better part of the day reading article after article about gun control, election reform, mental health, and any number of other issues that combined – could justmaybepossibly reduce the number of gun deaths in this country. And as my mind wanders I start to think about Wayne LaPierre, and what kind of morally bankrupt person would continue to get out of bed in the morning to try to protect a Constitutional Amendment that has been responsible for the deaths of so many US citizens. I can’t believe the Founding Fathers wanted that.
Speaking of whom, didn’t they themselves believe in an evolving government. Didn’t Thomas Jefferson himself say “I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
Then I think about repealing the Second Amendment, and what that would require. I think about all the politicians who would have to sack up and risk losing elections to stand up to – not only the gun lobby – but to their constituency who – let’s be honest – is full of people who are too navel-gazing to consider that their Constitutionally held right is at least partially responsible for mass carnage EVERY. GODDAMN. DAY.
I think about the hypocrisy of people who support gun ownership in the morning, and picket Planned Parenthood in the afternoon. I read status updates on Facebook written by Republican friends and my heart starts pounding in my ears and I start thinking thoughts like “Wouldn’t it be great if some nutjob rolled into a gun show/NRA meeting/Republican convention and started shooting up the place? I wonder how many good guys with guns it would take to bring him down?”
That’s the moment I realized that none of my reading, my Facebook ranting, my calls/emails to my Senators mattered. What we as a nation (and a world quite fucking frankly) are suffering from isn’t a legislative problem. It’s a sickness in the soul. The fact that this situation has driven me – a very peaceful person – to even consider that the solution to mass shootings is another mass shooting, it means that something within me is broken. I don’t know what it is, but I HAVE TO work on finding out and becoming a better person. Why? Because WE. ARE. NEVER. GOING. TO. SOLVE. THIS. PROBLEM.
Our children are.
They’re going to solve it by growing up in a world where mass shootings are commonplace. But more important than the shootings is the response. If our response to shootings is anger, fear, blame, and violence, then that is what our children will learn. And they will grow up learning to respond to injustice and violence with more injustice and violence. I can no longer allow myself to get upset when this shit happens. All I can do – all any of us can do – is wake up, try to be a better person than we were the day before, and do good deeds. That’s it. That’s the ballgame. Because we can’t change other people – politicians, potential gunmen, law abiding gun carrying citizens. We CAN, however, influence the next generation to want to create a world where they love their neighbors, not fear them. Where the mentally ill are cared for, not shunned. Where they not only have no need for guns, they have no desire either. And where no matter what horrible thing happens, their instinct isn’t to solve it with another horrible thing.