On Friday, as I came down from what I considered fairly level-headed discussion, extra reading on the subject, and ACTUAL thoughts and prayers for the victims of the school shooting, I felt like writing a blog post on the subject.
Friday was a good time to think about this because Tyler was stuck with me in a car for two hours, unable to run away from my thoughts and discussion. After two hours my thoughts were occupied with things more along the lines of checking into a hotel, changing swim diapers, eating nachos, wondering how many moms in the kiddie area were judging me for not wearing a cover-up over my swimsuit…
Then, after our whole, water park/unplanned snow storm/staying in the Bates Motel experience, I felt like blogging thoughts about the school tragedy would come across as one of those “late to the party, we’re over it” deals. Or was my blog becoming too political or controversial? Maybe I should just stick to face masks and baby pictures.
But the thoughts haven’t gone away. And you know what, I know what it’s like when someone close to you dies. It’s a really big deal. And it doesn’t just go away in a weekend. While everyone else can easily go about their lives, you’re left sitting on the floor wondering why they don’t realize life is supposed to be frozen.
And I didn’t even have to deal with violence when I lost my loved one. I didn’t have to worry people on Twitter were telling me I was faking my sorrow. Or have men, powerful enough for their own talk show, to publicly say that because of my age I should be ignored if I try to do something to prevent what happened to my loved one from happening to others.
I read a comment over the weekend where someone apologized for their sad emotions coming across as anger. To be honest, I felt like apologies were more necessary if you weren’t emotional about 17 people dying, 14 other wounded, and thousands left to live a life with that trauma etched into their memory.
So here’s the thing. We’re all emotional. We all have rights, we all know people on the other side, we all have an idea, or no idea; are overly-knowledgable about guns, or only know what came up on Facebook Friday.
The best thing I’ve seen through this (maybe because I’ve deleted the real nutters from my Facebook page long ago) is civilized conversations! There’s no one solution, we all know that. There will always be crazy people out there. But if we can’t stand for something, we’ll fall for everything. Does that quote work? It just came out.
Anyway, here’s my ideas on how to mitigate future “thoughts and prayers”:
- Humility. Increased humility has been a personal goal of mine for about a year now. The more I learn about humility, the more I believe it’s the key to solving so many problems. It’s not about being weak or losing self confidence. It’s about realizing you aren’t the end-all, smartest person; or that you alone could ever have all the experience or viewpoints. Humility means everyone that comes to the table realizes they have information gaps that another person could fill.
- Compromise. I will be honest that although I technically own a gun (it’s currently states away from me), and I like shooting them, I don’t really care to keep it nor do I think they’re necessary. But, I do know a lot of people who love them, and I’m wise enough to realize they feel very differently than me. But let’s meet in the middle! A compromise isn’t a debate. It’s not convincing someone of your way of thinking. A compromise is listening to the other side, and letting them have some of what they want at the expense of what you want.
- Real Politics. By this I mean bring politics back to the people. Ever since I learned about lobbyists and how they are frequently funded, or thought how I’d feel if someone gave me money to support my election, I’ve hated the feeling that big businesses and money-hungry industries rule so much of my country. How about we work together without listening to the lobbyists who have money to gain? What’s wrong with knowing that politicians have benefitted monetarily from companies their votes help? Let’s inform ourselves, talk amongst ourselves, and vote for what benefits us. Those who gain from one side cannot remain impartial, so of course their arguments are going to seem positive one way. Stop listening to them.
- Accountability. Why can’t gun companies be held partially responsible? I know they don’t pull the trigger, I’m going to assume they don’t hope their guns kill innocent people. But what do they hope their guns do? If they really want to make their guns safer, why are manufacturers who try make safer guns threatened and shut down? We’ve held car companies responsible for car accidents and deaths. The tobacco company has been given a lot of blame for causing health problems. Ikea was blamed for furniture falling over. And all of these places responded by putting money into research and solutions to help the problem, even though technically it may have been human error and choices that caused the negative consequences. No, I don’t have the answer to how to make them safer, but I bet some of that gun lobby money could help find some.
- Education. I think guns are a problem in mass shootings. But I understand people that do not have this opinion would want other solutions besides more gun control measures. I say, “Why not try it and see?” But that’s easy for me to say because I’m not giving up anything I love. (Would I feel the same if someone said I had to give up ramen? Ok, probably, but mostly because I know there’s still pho.) But the point is, I get it, we’d should all want to know if it’s going to help rather than just be grabbing for random ideas. So why not research it? You know why not? Because government research is currently blocked by the Dicky Amendment. DID YOU KNOW THAT? As a country we’ve blocked the ability to completely research gun violence. Wouldn’t that be something that’s good to know if we’re trying to link it to other problems like metal illness, or how the media’s portrayal affects children, or any number of things I keep hearing people conjecture about.
- Actions. Put your money where your mouth is. Practice what you preach. Name your idiom… If I think guns are a problem and more gun restrictions will help, I’m happy to vote for laws that I believe can curtain the problem. Or I’m ok seeing my taxes go up because we have more federal and local authorities spending time on prevention. If you think the community is to blame, tell me what you’re willing to give to solve that problem. Organize us and show us where to support and what we can do to help the people in need.
I am just one person. Without all the answers, but with lots of hope for small changes. I’m not really here to debate my personal opinions, or argue about who is more right or wrong. But I am here to learn and to solve. I’d appreciate any thoughts, and any new ideas I haven’t considered. (So far this one seems pretty good, but I’d like to learn more about it.)
I’d love to hear, from all sides, what you’re willing to compromise to save lives.