I own guns, and I think they are super awesome.
I also think women are equal or better than men in just about every way.
I work constantly, I’ve never taken a hand out from the government, and I haven’t drawn unemployment in hard times — even though it has come out of my paycheck for two decades.
I also think we can afford to provide base level of health care to everyone, and drug testing people receiving benefits is a waste of time.
I believe that it’s in our interest to have the largest military in the world.
I also believe we created much of the mess in the middle east ourselves by letting some idiots randomly redraw borders at the end of World War I.
I bet you share some of these views, but not all of them. We’re all complicated self contradictory imperfect people with nuanced world views that should change over time as we mature. That’s the only absolute truth I know.
Today’s news from Roseburg is both heart wrenching, yet par for the course all at once. We’ve all become weary of these stories of a lost soul taking their pain out on society with a firearm. Even our “no fucks to give” leader has the befuddled weariness of a parent whose teenager just can’t get their shit together.
Already people are running to their political camps of simple answers and finger pointing. While prayers and well wishes abound, empathy and open minds towards solutions seem to be out of the question. This is not the other teams fault. This also isn’t “just sad and the way it has to be.” This IS your fault. This IS my fault.
This is my fault because I belittled the effort to make extended clips illegal last year — it’s not like it’s hard to reload, right?
This is my fault because I brushed off the desire to make assault rifles harder to get — is it better to die by shotgun?
This is my fault for all the times I’ve snorted “get yer shit together” under my breath at someone’s mental challenges, while pouring myself another drink.
Every time you and I have half listened to someone else’s solution while pointing out why that wouldn’t have helped this particular situation, we take on responsibility for the next problem.
When we put suicide hotline signs on tall bridges, no one points out that someone still might jump. When was the last time you actually yearned for your lost days of liberty when you had to buckle up your seatbelt? Did anyone seriously argue that we shouldn’t pass seatbelt laws because people might still die in car crashes? There is no other issue where we throw up our hands and walk away from any solution that doesn’t guarantee 100% success. Instead of pointing out why a solution might not save everyone, ask yourself if it MIGHT have saved ONE person.
Would a 24 hour wait period give someone, somewhere a chance to calm down and send a nasty letter instead of mowing down a room of innocent people? Seems like it could. Can you make a compelling list of believable reasons why someone needs to walk out of a Walmart with a gun right now?
Would having 9 bullets in a clip instead of 30 save 21 lives? Instead of pointing out why it might not, perhaps we should wonder if it would save one life, and why you need those extra 21 without reloading anyway?
Would better mental health services help every angry person find themselves? Of course not. Might it keep one kid in school and out of an early grave?
These are simple things we know we can do. They’re not giving ground to the other team. They’re not a slippery slope and erosion of your rights. They are no-brainer things that would still let me go shoot watermelons in the woods and protect my girls in the zombie apocalypse. If they save one person from the psychotic wrath of a tortured soul here in the real world, they’re worth pursuing. There are plenty more good ideas like this out there.
Good ideas with low risk should be pursued individually with the spirit that something done is better than nothing happening. Throwing up our hands and blaming the other team for being idiots is how things get worse, not better. Progress isn’t made by people saying “no” to others and yelling defensive nonsense. It’s made by people quietly picking a cause and doggedly pursuing it towards making the world an inch better.
Miles will come.