Now is not a time for an <insert applicable topic here> debate! Or at least that is the common mantra of those who wish to ignore a debate without having to appear cold, calloused, or just selfish.
It is said that “the truth shall set you free” but if that were true–why aren’t we already free of many our societal ills? Oh, because narratives matter more than the truth ever did or probably ever will. The context of this article might not be popular–but it may be the greatest truth one reads today. The topic of non-debate for today–gun control.
First truth, every time a historical tragedy of gun violence occurs, some are so outraged or concerned that they try to initiate a responsible gun control debate. After all the violence and death is thrust right into your face. It is everywhere; the TV coverage tells us stories of the victims, the survivors, the brave, and the perpetrator(s).
The conventional narratives are often “thoughts and prayers, now is a time to come together, when will the senseless violence stop, etc.”
After a day or two, it will be our collective time to “move on” and we collectively live our lives as though nothing ever happened. Then organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) will push their agenda, and responsible debate will be labeled as a “socialist, globalist, over-reaching government, Obama trying to take yer gurns” movement. Besides, the Second Amendment*.
(*Ironically, those that seem to love the Second Amendment the most–hate the First Amendment Rights of others.)
After this predictable cycle is finished, the American society as a whole will move on to the next “biggest” tragedy and the cycle repeats. However, all will feel personally exonerated because they got to provide their “thoughts and prayers” and other pretentious words to show how moral their outrage was, and how compassionate they are–without any of the hassle of actually doing anything useful.
Face it; we are a voyeur nation. The death of a few is an abhorrent tragedy, the death of many becomes a statistic. We love our scapegoating too. Perhaps, the latest tragedy of the day will fall on someone who is easy to blame. If we are lucky–it will be ISIS. Otherwise, we will keep looking, until we find the “truly” culpable. Maybe the gunman had a couple of Marilyn Manson albums (Manson as a scapegoat even has a Wikipedia page), voted for Bernie, or spewed some words of radicalism on social media directed as his hatred toward cats. Does it matter?
The tragedy at Columbine–did not matter. Columbine. What can one say? Way too many young people died before they ever had a chance to live. Somehow, we blame Marilyn Manson, protest the guy, and move on. Michael Moore makes an interesting movie, it makes a lot of money, and nothing changes.
The tragedy at Virginia Tech–did not matter. As an avid West Virginia football fan, it is my pleasure to dislike those Hokies on the football field. Off the field, the Hokies are some of the finest people one could ever hope to meet. That was a truly sad moment for the community and all that know, love our Hokie brethren.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook–did not matter. These were children. If Columbine or Virginia Tech did not wake America up, then Sandy Hook would. Wrong. Instead, it became a conspiracy promoted by guys like Alex Jones and followed by too many others. In fact, this remains one of the most disgusting conspiracies ever promoted. In my book, Sandy Hook changed everything. It was Sandy Hook that busted any and all illusions. The current generation of Americans will never have a reasonable gun control debate.
Collectively, we make agreements to look for the easy mark of blame, careful to avoid blame on the parents, the community, and especially not the weapons–blame anything, anyone but not the guns. Leave them alone–for they are innocent.
Ok, now is the time for the responsible gun debate, right?
Wrong. The first rule of gun debate–without a willingness to examine the ease of access, manufacturer culpability, and perhaps the weapon itself–any *debate is pointless. (*Please stop blaming everything else. Ironically, most of the blame tends to fall toward things that the gun community does not like.)
As stated previously, the gun debate is pointless. The right debate might be to examine our hypocrisy. If gun deaths are a mental health issue–then, why do politicians (notably Trump and the Republicans) constantly try to undermine funding and treatment options available to those that need it? One either believes something or one doesn’t. As it stands now, these politicians will only use the mental health scapegoat–then cut funding to help those in need–and kick the can down the road until the next tragedy.
But wait–there’s more!
Let us examine the mixed messages of hypocrisy that we bestow upon the children. On the one hand, society agrees that bullying is wrong. No child should be bullied. However, as that claim is made, we celebrate a bully-like President Trump. Collectively we have no problem going into North Korea–killing ’em all and let God sort them out, now do we? How can society not expect a confused youth who grows to produce the next wave of would-be psycho or sociopaths?
Reasonable folks can talk all day long on TV or write all the articles they want, but they don’t know the pulse of America. The real “heartbeat” of America is located in every Walmart, in every town across these here great United States of ‘Merica.
Earlier today, I went to my local Walmart with a particular purpose–to analyze the crowd. Soon as I walked through the automatic doors, as “Welcome to the Jungle” would seemingly begin to play within the minds behind all the greeting eyes that turned to acknowledge a new presence. The place was packed, a potpourri of young, old, some pushing carts, some driving carts, and others like myself who did not require such a cart. The “vibe” was a powder keg ready to be ignited–it silently hinted to “just go on, cut me off, try to get in front of me. Go on, keep on standing in the way and you will soon discover how fast this Walmart auto-cart can go, sonny.” After a brief time, it was clear that reason would fall on deaf ears. Then it hit me. This crowd was mostly comprised of mid-age to older people. The youth was still in school.
The thought of the schooled youth provided a fleeting moment of hope. It brought a song into my head, a song of my youth (that I hated at the time). The lyrics brought a smile to my face, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well, and let them lead the way…” That is the key to the future of a reasonable gun debate–the youth.
It is now time for the young generation of Americans to push out the old politicians, the old ideas, and the old broken debates. Young America–it is now time to step up and stake claim to your power. Please be responsible, use it well–and be smarter than those that you shall replace.
That is today’s greatest truth.