My Reaction to Another Mass Shooting in the U.S.

I’m pretty tired of gun violence. In light of the most recent mass shooting in Oregon, I decided to throw in my ideas for solutions. I decided to write a note because really difficult problems can’t be solved in the maelstrom that Twitter becomes after these things. Hang in for some nuance.

Violence is a spectrum. We’re all upset about shootings when they happen but will gladly cheer when the opposing team’s quarterback gets steamrolled. Two kinds of violence, obviously separated by many degrees, but still violent. Even if we look at the violent act of punching someone. We (society) deem it bad when a bully strikes someone who is unable or unwilling to defend themselves, but condone the person who steps in and pummels the bully. We don’t have a clear steadfast rule on how to evaluate these things as they happen. An unfortunate byproduct of Language’s limitations.

The things we’ll hear over the next few days about guns are most likely going to distract us from the solutions at hand. There is no single way to relieve our country of this burden. It is going to take a great amount of things we don’t seem to have much of, namely: patience, willpower, and quiet.

You want gun violence to subside? Great. Let’s start with making sure everyone in the U.S. has adequate nutrition and shelter. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Our government could subsidize global hunger with less than a percent of its budget. Healthy people tend to be less irrational and more civically engaged. So start there.

You want gun violence to end? Nice! Start teaching children how to meditate. Let’s start teaching them that feelings are natural, including anger and loneliness. From now on though, let’s tell and provide them with acceptable outlets for those feelings. Teach children about the biology, psychology, and physiology so they’re more likely to respond to feelings in an appropriate way.

You want people to stop shooting each other? Ok. Then we’re going to need to stop pretending that a 9mm is there to take care of our deer population. Let’s treat these weapons like what they are, deadly. Teach people about weapons, and the laws that pertain to them. Maybe I’m naive. Given the chance, I like to think that most people will do what’s fair and right.

I find it hard to believe that I live in a country that has bacon-flavored-anything, more cars than people, three sports that are only played here (but best teams are still considered World Champions), and was home to some of the greatest innovators the Blue-Space-Marble has ever seen; yet we can’t find an intelligent way to resolve this. I’m sure you picked up where “patience” and “willpower” fit into my proposed solutions, but here is where “quiet” catches up. We need to stop clamoring. Shut up. Take a breath. Think things over. And only speak up when we’re ready to say, “I want this to end. How can I help?”

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