Welcome to my blog and I hope this writing finds you safe and content, if possible. For anyone who knows me, they typically know that I try to be logical, open to discussion and passionate about the things. I say things as it covers all manner of sins from baseball to love of companion animals and so on and so forth. Right now in this country the judicial system seems to have been retired and everything of debate is settled in the arena of social media. Allegations surface and a person of interest is automatically condemned as guilty based on the title of the post or tweet. Same goes for natural or man-made disasters and the deluge of social media out-crying: hurricane damage, public mass shootings, earthquake fallout, plane crashes, Tide pod eaters, foreign border skirmishes, disease outbreaks, cigarette smoking related illnesses, drunk driving and the list goes on and on.
What am I driving at here? When some socially terrible event transpires, the masses take to social media to offer their two cents worth of perspective. For many, it’s a chance to throw shade at a company or some political figure for their own person vendetta/agenda even though there is no logical connection. Take the Tide Pod Challenge for example. After kids started dying from ingesting this cleaning product, people took to social media to condemn the company making the product, the politicians who did not do enough to protect the children and six more degrees of Kevin Bacon of culpable perpetrators to this sad situation. First off, the fault lies with none of the parties I listed. The fault lies with the kids who knowingly ingested a cleaning product. Now if a few of those who died were tiny children who couldn’t read and just thought the product looked cool enough to stick in their mouths (because let’s face it, that’s what very young children do with everything they find of interest), then yes, that is tragic and by default those kids are blameless. But to the teenagers and others who were dared or whatever into nom-nom-nom on a Tide pod – that is 100% completely on them for their decision. For those getting ready to rabble that I am blaming the victim, which is a pretty vicious sword swung in social media circles these days, yes, in this instance I am blaming those victims. Sometimes people just have to be accountable for their own actions. It’s a crazy concept in today’s society, I know.
OK now that I’ve circled the landing pad a bit, I want to touch on the school shooting and the related war cry of ‘Gun Control’ and ‘Gun Reform’. I shall try to be tactful and the least amount of insensitive as possible. Let me start with a scenario.
This average American family has a 30-something father, 30-something mother and two pre-teen children with hamsters and fish. One day after reading about crime in their city, the 30-something mom (with no family history of mental disorders) applies for and is approved for legally processed and registered firearms. After an initial firearm purchase for home security, the 30-something father decides he would also like a firearm but for recreational shooting at the local gun range. He, of clean bill of health on the mental side, goes through the same legal process to obtain his firearm as his wife. After a few years of having those items in their home and noticing some gun products in a popular gun publication, they decide to purchase ‘upgrades’ for recreational shooting at the local gun range and weekend hunting trips. They decide to keep their original firearms, now securely concealed for home protection, but augment their gun inventory with two new handguns and two rifles for hunting purposes. Now the household has 6 guns under their roof: four hand guns and two rifles. One day while the family is on a family vacation and a neighbor is taking care of feeding the fish and hamsters, the neighbor accidentally forgets to lock the door upon exit. A diligently creeping neighbor, in dispute with the home owners, enters the home and carefully removes some small ticket personal property and all of the mentioned firearms. The family upon returning from their trip does not notice the thefts at first. But weeks later the stolen items are discovered missing. Doing the responsible thing, the family reports the thefts to the police but without knowing when the thefts occurred or any definitive suspects, the missing items are pretty much gone for good. Fast forward five years, the thief has moved to a different neighborhood and meets a single mom with an early teenage son. The thief and the single mom fall in love, get married and combine households. After convincing his new bride that guns are necessary for safety, he brings his stolen guns into their household in a protective safe under the guise that they are legally registered guns. To cover his own behind, he registers to become a gun owner. With no criminal activity on his record and no other red flags in the system, he is approved for a gun permit.
Notice I did not give any modifier such as race or geographical areas? This example is as plain-Jane generic as you can get and could realistically apply to millions of Americans. With me so far? OK, let’s proceed.
Two years after his mom married the gun thief; the son is progressing through high school but is distancing himself from friends and constantly at odds with his peers over a variety of peer specific and age-related problems. To compound his frustrations with his alienated social system, the son does not embrace a relationship with his new step-father who he feels is too strict and impossible to communicate with about anything. Painted into a corner emotionally and feeling powerless to get anyone on his side, he one day notices that the lock for his step father’s gun safe is broken and he can physically put hands on real guns. Feeling the power residing in that weapon, he feels more able to mentally level the playing field with those around him who do not see things his way. With this gun he can take away their snide comments and mocking condemnation. The consequences and ripple effects from his fantasy are a distant concern. From there you can guess what might occur in his mind and consequential actions to follow.
Let’s press pause for a second. Everyone who is spouting gun control and gun reform, please tell me how those virtual pieces of paper are going to stop this scenario from unfolding further? Yes this was a hypothetical scenario, but I guarantee there are dozens more scenarios (at least) where existing guns find their way into the hands of someone who is Hell bent on doing mayhem with them. Yes in theory those bills in government would control gun movement and usage in a perfect world…but we don’t live in that perfect world. And this is only taking into consideration those guns ‘on the books’. What about people who sneak them into the country by the hundreds or (gulp) thousands? Is there a right/wrong solution that will work universally and without exception? Sadly the answer there is no. No matter what we do as a society, these things will continue to occur and politicians are powerless to stop it. If the powers that be can create a special gun repellant device the size of the United States (continental and to cover Hawaii and Alaska) that is powered on 24/7 this may be one solution to prevent shootings. This fairy tale device will need to locate and attract all the guns and convey them up to the gun ‘cloud’ so no one has any guns. This device will also repel any entity trying to cross any U.S. border with a gun on their person or vehicle (planes included). So what about the police? Don’t they need guns? What about the peaceful citizens who are responsibly owning and using guns to rec shoot, hunt or only pulling them out when there is a bump in the night to investigate? What if terrorists knock out the power generator for the gun repellent device and John McClane is unavailable to save the day when they invade with all their guns?
Back on planet reality now, see how crazy this is? I get how upsetting these things are and the natural need to want to stop them but the solutions have to come from a place of reason and logic, not emotion and addiction to blame. As someone who has a child in the house, I cannot imagine the life-long fallout for those families affected by the Florida school shooting this week. It is deeply saddening that all those families are forever damaged and those communities now have to live in fear that it will happen again. I don’t claim to have the all answers and anyone who does is foolish. Unless we can colonize the moon and only let people who pinky swear to love and be kind to one another go there, we have to live in our own now.
Mental illness, anger and hatred will always exist. It’s a cold shower of reality but it’s a fact. All we can do as individuals is try to lead a good life by example and strive to positively impact as many people as we possibly can. When bad things do happen, let’s try to heal the situation instead of inflaming it further for our own selfish agendas. WWGD? What Would Gandhi Do? And if you don’t know who Mahatma Gandhi is, please Google him. I could also have said WWDMLKD (What Would Dr Martin Luther King Do) as he was also a great man who preached peaceful resolution to problems.
Obviously this topic could wrap around the Earth in words and still have plenty of steam to continue on the different points of view but please take into consideration as much information as possible before running with the masses on impractical solutions to problems that do not have an easy button fix.
Hopefully I have not alienated you my reader too badly on the topic. Have a great post Valentine’s Day.