There is no answer.

December 20, 2012 on 2:14 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments

This past week I keep hearing everyone talk about their ideas to stop the gun violence in America. I am here to say that there is no answer to this problem. It cannot be solved, at best it can only be reduced. The reason that stopping the problem is impossible is that there are so many pieces to the puzzle and too many variables.

Life is a numbers game and when the numbers are put into an equation we can get our answers. The problem is that the formula changes in every shooting. The reasons for selecting the target, the mindset of the perpetrator, the access to the crime scene, the weapons used and the way the weapons were obtained are all parts to the equation and it changes every time. We will always leave a hole in our plans to stop the next person and someone will always either find it intentionally or just fall assbackwards into it.

In a perfect world getting rid of all guns would be the best thing to do. This is not a perfect world and that will not work. Arming all citizens is equally unworkable but for a completely different set of reasons. Neither of these two options is truly worth our time discussing so we shall move on.

We do need gun control laws in this country that make sense. We need to be patient as the actual impact might not be felt for several years. Patience is a virtue and America seems to have lost its virtue. We also need to keep in mind that we will never end the violence but we can still try to reduce it every chance we get.

Driving while intoxicated still happens but we have written and passed laws that have reduced this problem. We still have car accidents in this country but we have reduced accidents by making both cars and roads safer. People still die every day in auto accidents but seat belts and air bags have reduced the deaths and injuries.

Cars are an important part of the American lifestyle just like guns but not every American is allowed to drive a car and we also have regulations on what types of vehicles are allowed to be driven on our roads. If a person can lose their right to drive a car because they have proven to be irresponsible then we can take away the right to own a firearm for the same reason. Some cars are not safe to be driven on our roads and it is illegal to do so. Not every gun is safe to be in the hands of ordinary citizens and it should be illegal to own some of these weapons and ammunition.

The latest gun incident that has gotten us all in a stir happened at a school and killed our most precious of resources, our children. In the days since I keep hearing about arming teachers. Let me just say, no. Allow me to repeat that for the slow of reading, NO! Teachers chose their profession because they wanted to be educators, not police officers. Teacher’s training does not include firearms safety nor how to disarm a suspect. We do not have the right to ask teachers to put themselves in a position where they might have to take another human’s life. If we are going to be putting guns in schools it better be highly trained police officers.

I truly believe that any person who would willingly kill another person, when they are not defending their own life or the life of another person, has to be mentally unstable. It amazes me when a mass shooting occurs the friends and family of the shooter always say there were no warning signs. As the weeks go on and we hear more about the situation the list of warning signs can get rather long. Perhaps we all need to do a better job of paying attention. There is something to be said for minding our own business but helping others should be our business. Communication is the key. Take interest in other people’s lives and listen to what they are saying. Know your friends, family and neighbors and let them know you. If the slogan to stop drunk driving can be “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”, then the slogan for ending the violence can be friends don’t let friends shoot at innocent people.

There is no way to make every place in America safe so a certain amount of safety does fall on us as individuals. Does carrying a gun in public really make a person safer? I would imagine sometimes it does, however, in other instances it might just make us less safe. What weapon can be carried at all times that is going to be adequate protection against a person wearing full body armor and wielding a rapid fire rifle with a large capacity magazine? Keep in mind that even the best shooter at the gun range is going to lose accuracy when someone is shooting back. Police officers and soldiers train long and hard so that they can be ready for these situations and they are not 100% perfect. The people I worry about the most are the people that are just too anxious to find their self in a situation where they get to use their weapon. The people that usually wind up being the hero are the people that are reluctant to be in a situation where they have to be a hero.

In the coming weeks we are going to be bombarded with ideas of how to solve America’s violence problem. I am sure there will be some really good ideas just as there will be some truly lousy ideas. The people on both sides will argue and fight about the best solution and in the end what will we accomplish? I am willing to bet we will not accomplish much. We better take what we can get but keep in mind that it is not perfect and we can do more. It is unfortunate that it will take another national outrage to make the next little dent.

How can this be?

December 15, 2012 on 10:52 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

How can a young person walk into a classroom and shoot children? Half of the people I know say it is because we have too many guns. The other half say it is because we do not have enough guns. This leads me to believe that it is not the guns.

It has been reported that in this latest case this man was mentally unstable. Do these things happen because Americans are either ignorant to the symptoms of mental problems or is it that we are insensitive to the needs of people that want help? Maybe it is because we take shortcuts to mental health. Today it seems that when we have troubles we go to a doctor and they give us a pill.

I would imagine that it would take a psychiatrist years to help some people overcome certain problems. However, heavy medication can make a person stop feeling the pain of being trapped within their own mind. One of the problems with this is that it stops the person from feeling. When they can no longer deal with their vacant soul they stop taking the medication. Maybe they get talked back into taking it but soon enough they are sure to stop. The roller coaster goes on and every time they stop and start they make the problem worse.

The more opinions that I read online the more I come to understand who is to blame for the violent attacks. If you are in a room with a group of people, look around. All of you are to blame. Go outside and look down the street. Everyone that lives in all of those homes is to blame. When you go to the store everyone in that store is to blame as are every person you see in every car on the way there and on the way home. That is right, you guessed it, we are all to blame.

The apathy of Americans is killing America. Each of us is guilty of watching something and saying to ourselves, this is none of my business, I will not get involved. We should stay out of the affairs of other people and let them live their lives. These are the things we are taught from a young age and we then teach these things to our children.

I do believe in live and let live. I also believe that we should allow all people to be who they want to be. There is no reason we cannot mind our own business and try to help others and keep an eye out for problems. I am sure I am not the first person to get caught up in one of these stories and the first reports are that there were no warning signs of a potential problem. In the coming weeks all we hear about is the warning signs that went on ignored by all.

It is not what we say to another person that is the problem, it is how we say it. If I see that another person needs help I offer them help instead of criticism. Even is all I can do is offer advice I am careful that my words are not misunderstood as judgement. When I am in a situation where I can say something to another person I think of how I can shape my message so that it is positive. Believe it or not, I have made myself a happier person by trying to help others to be happy.

Now let us move on to those pesky guns. If this were a perfect world I would ask that everyone take their guns and we would melt them down and make some thin useful of the steel. This is not a perfect world and we would never get all of the guns so I am going to rule out gun confiscation as a way to solve our problem.

If we passed laws forcing every person to carry a weapon at all times I would not carry a gun. Many of the people I know would not carry guns. We cannot make a problem better by making it worse. More guns would only escalate the violence. I am not going to quote statistics but I urge everyone to look into the chances of getting killed in a house with a gun as opposed to getting killed in a house without a gun. Guns do not kill people. People with guns kill people. The guns just make it more convenient, easier and more likely.

The middle ground on controlling gun violence is in enacting gun laws that make sense. Laws that punish people for not only gun violence but irresponsible gun ownership. I hate government regulation but I understand why we need it. We need it because we have people in this world that refuse to be responsible for their actions.

A person that leaves their gun in a car to get stolen and used in a crime should be punished for careless storage of a weapon. A person that allows their gun to be found in their house by a child and an innocent person is accidentally shot should be punished for the same thing as well as child abuse for leaving a loaded weapon where a child can get it.

If I am in a car accident and a person is injured or killed, I will be punished. How and why that accident happened will determine the severity of my punishment. The same should go for guns. Responsible gun owners should have no problem with these laws as they surely keep their guns in places that cannot be stolen or found to be used in a crime or accidentally kill.

Now for the toughest part of all. We need to examine the culture of violence we have in this country. We have people that collect guns as though they were harmless toys. We play games were we win by killing as many people as we can. We insist that there are culture wars and we have this need to fight a war on drugs. Our athletes equate themselves to soldiers doing battle and our politicians put bulls eyes on their opponents. If this is not enough then we look for every opportunity to go to war with another country to inflict our will upon their citizens.

We have tried to combat hate and violence with hate and violence since the beginning of humankind. For those not paying attention, it has not worked and it will not work. If we choose to live in a civilization we need to become civilized. When a person demonstrates a negative attitude it is common to fight back and defend with a stronger attitude. This will usually result in an escalation until one person backs down or they come to violence.

I guess it starts by stopping. We need to stop teaching children that violence solves problems. Simply telling them this will not make a difference, we need to show them. Mothers and Fathers need to stop arguing and fighting when they disagree. Parents need to stop beating up coaches and officials at their children’s athletic competitions. Maybe if we stop watching violent movies and listening to violent music in the presence of our children. We could also adhere to the violence warnings on video games and not let young children play them until they are old enough. Of course it would be better to just stop watching and listening to violence and quit pretending that it is just a game to be played.

The most important thing we need to teach our children is respect. It begins with respecting their self. A person with self respect is less likely to disrespect others. Being as we are going to live in a world filled with guns we better teach a healthy respect for these guns. Guns are not toys to be played with, they are a tool to be used for a specific purpose. Most important we need to learn respect for others. Respect the people around us enough to know them and understand them and want to help them when they hurt. Maybe they will turn around and help us when we hurt.

There is nothing we can do that will keep us completely safe but we can certainly reduce our risk of being attacked. Go through life being observant and aware and mix that with a little bit of nice. Stop with the un-approving glares and judgmental comments. When met by others with these things respond with a smile on your lips, a twinkle in your eye and love in your heart. The other person might not be affected by your actions but I guarantee you will.

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