The words of President Barack Obama at the memorial service for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.
This isn’t about guns. And it’s not entirely about mental illness. It’s about numbness…routine. And it’s about will.
If we don’t act now in a responsible manner to evaluate the causes and conditions of these tragedies, in a realistic and brutally honest way, we will become numb to them again…and they will fall into the chasm of the routine.
First…guns. I own them and I’ve discussed my thoughts on gun control in other posts. Guns are not the problem. Guns are tools, inanimate objects used by humans. I’ll say this: if I thought for a second a ban of “assault” weapons would stop these mass shootings, I’d be the first person sounding the Klaxons. It will not. In fact, the majority of deaths caused in these shootings, by a two to one margin, were the result of handguns. I’m not going to get into the semantics of what constitutes an “assault” weapon, but suffice it to say, that banning them will do nothing unless we are willing, as a nation, to ban all firearms. An “assault” weapon is no more deadly than a Glock handgun or Barney Fife’s six-gun. That is a fact. The velocity created by rifles are deadlier, but simply because a weapon is called an “assault” rifle, does NOT change the core characteristics or end stage results of the projectile. It’s smoke and mirrors created by honest and good people who are simply misinformed about firearms and who have chosen to vilify guns as the cause of these horrors. I am a former NRA member who quit specifically because of their fanatical devotion to the second amendment and demonization of our current President. I would sacrifice all of my weapons today if you can guarantee that ALL weapons will be destroyed. No one can do that and as such I will continue to support efforts for law abiding, responsible citizens to own handguns and long guns. The NRA is an antiquated political machine that has been hoisted on it’s own petard. At the end of the day, I’m just tired of the debate, on both sides. There is too much misinformation and paranoia. And again, it will not solve the problem.
Second…mental illness. At the root of all evil is an inherent dysfunction of the psyche of the individual that perpetuates these horrific acts, and yet as a nation, we continue to place profits and personal gain ahead of the will to fund mental health issues. And then little kids are slaughtered and we cry that taking God out of schools is the problem. We, collectively, are suffering from a mental illness called delusion. We continue to turn our heads at the polling place when we are asked to fund mental health research and treatment, but are completely willing to vote for no more taxes. We have lost the political will to take the action that can actually treat the maladies that cause these pathologic social issues. And they continue. And we become numb to them. Routine.
Finally…will. We have an opportunity to mourn now and to feel the pain at our core that another human being could so mercilessly gun down children and the immensely brave adults that lost their lives trying to save them. We have the opportunity to cry and feel shame. Shame that we have for so long turned our backs on these children and brave adults by forgoing the will to do the right things and make the hard financial decisions. Now is the time. If we do not act, these tragedies will become more frequent and more horrific. That is not prognostication, that is fate. Fate that we are creating through our numbness…through our own lack of will…through our commitment to the routine…