Thursday, May 16, 2013

New questions

Posted on Thu, May 16, 2013 at 4:00 AM

It is really alarming to me that the focus of the recent mass shootings has been on gun control instead of the broader and more relevant subject of “What the hell is wrong with people?” And I don’t mean the people pulling the triggers. I mean the people arguing about what to do and holding everyone and everything, including inanimate objects, responsible while not removing the beams from their own eyes.

Each time I hear about another one of these tragedies my first thought is always, “What drove this person to such a tragic desperate act?” and, “What is going on? Why is there so much violence in our country?” Focusing on the instrument that was used to commit a crime instead of focusing on the person who committed it makes no sense. Focusing on laws to regulate inanimate objects instead of focusing on all the human factors that contributed to and led up to the person’s actions does not help solve this problem.

A gun doesn’t decide to hurt and kill people. A person decides that. Only a desperate, alienated, deeply hurt person who feels powerless to change their life and who believes they have nothing to lose would commit such atrocities. Each one of these tragedies should be a wake-up call for all of us. None of us are excluded from this problem. We need to stop reacting with anger, blame and frenzied debates about laws. Instead, we should be asking, “What are the messages in these desperate acts? What are we, as a society, missing? What are the factors that come together and congeal within someone to motivate them to make that kind of horrifying decision? What are the signs and symptoms of a person who feels that desperate and that alone? And how can we intervene in that process? How can we help desperate people before they reach the point of carrying out horrifying tragedies?”

The National Rifle Association, gun manufacturers and gun rights activists need to stop going into defensive modes and start having heart-to-heart conversations about the bigger picture of what is going on and asking sincerely, “What can we do to stem this tragic tide?” Those who line up on the other side of the debate and automatically start demanding stricter gun control laws need to let go of their reactionary anger and their need to blame someone or something else (guns, faulty gun laws, the gun industry and the NRA) and their simple-minded Band-Aid level solutions that simply keep them in a frenzy of “do-good-ed-ness” and prevent them from looking at the root of the problem.

All the ridiculous statistics that people throw around to support their side of the gun debate only make both sides even guiltier of distracting everyone from the real problem, and hence the real solution.

We are spending far too much energy focused on the completely wrong thing! We are spending too much time blaming each other (gun rights groups versus gun control groups) and not enough time really talking about the human factor and about the solutions that might really work to help reduce gun violence in America.

Wendy Mair


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