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The Root of the Problem (Gun Control)

May 18, 2018.  Another school shooting.  Guns involved.  Bad thing. Let’s ban firearms. Problem solved.  How simple.  We can fix the entire problem of violence with one piece of legislation.  Really? Once again, we fail to acknowledge the most basic principle of problem solving: identify the root cause.  I grew up in a small town in north Texas.  Some of the people on this Facebook page were my friends and classmates.  In Junior High nearly every young boy carried a pocketknife to school.  At recess we whittled or played “splits”.  Virtually every high school boy who had a pickup truck had at least one rifle or shotgun mounted on a gun rack in the back seat of his truck. This was the way it was in almost every rural community in America. Guns were everywhere. If there ever was a time when mass shootings were possible and probable, it was then.  But there weren’t any.  In fact, nationwide there weren’t a lot of people shot back then. And yet, guns were extremely easy to get and nearly every family had at least one. What happened between then and now?  Have guns changed and become more violent?  Can an inanimate object be violent?  While the technology of firearms has changed, guns are no more deadly today then they were back then. So what’s different?  WE are. WE have changed. It would be so simple to blame one object for all of the violence in America but to believe that is an act of ignorance; ignorance of the real cause of the problem, or it is simply an attempt to pass along the responsibility from the real cause to something that is easier to identify and fix. So what has changed that has made these young people so violent? Are families to blame for spending less time with their children so they can work harder to buy the things they want but don’t need?  Sure they are.  Is the educational system to blame for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic but neglecting to discuss such things as action and consequence? Sure it is. Is religion to blame for not stressing the value of life while on this earth but instead teaches that “this world is not our home” and we are better off in heaven? Sure it is.  Is society to blame for being too politically correct to identify those who need help for fear they will offend someone? Sure it is. Is it the news media’s fault for giving the murderer their 15 minutes of fame? Sure it is.  Is it the fault of the broadcast media for making us calloused to killing and inflicting pain on others? Sure it is. Is the internet to blame with its social media capabilities that provide a place for gossip and bullying? Sure it is. And the list goes on and on. This problem of violence has no simple solution and the claim that guns are the problem is no more than a diversion from identifying the real cause.  We are convicting an innocent man while the murderer is still at large. Remove every gun in the U.S. and the violence will continue and maybe even worsen. One day a student will walk into class with a backpack that conceals a homemade bomb built from directions available on the internet and an entire classroom and everyone in it will be obliterated.  A student will get behind the wheel of an automobile and run through a playground.  What will we blame then?  Violence is not the product of a tool, it is the product of a generation of kids, and, yes, adults who are angry, depressed and trapped by life.  How can we make it better?  How can we heal the minds of those who feel that they have no choice in life but to kill? How do we teach the value of life…all life? How can we go back to a time when people felt safe in their homes, at school and at the shopping mall?  It goes far beyond gun control and we need to shift our focus from superficial diversions and begin to systematically examine the problem in order to identify the real causes of this horrific problem. Until we do, the violence will continue—guns are not.


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