November 13, 2018

America, your gun problem has no solution

Another week. Another mass shooting. This time, a 28-year-old Marine veteran, a gun professional, who swore to defend his compatriots against all threats, foreign and domestic, decided his only remaining option in life was to end other people's and his own.

Then came the loud voices of politicians paid by pro-gun control (and against) lobbyists, pundits, journalism representatives (I have a hard time calling them journalists), victims' families, actors, parents, social media influencers, students and your friends. Everyone is "saddened" and "heartbroken", and everyone knows how to help, as suggestions fly left and right. We need gun safety laws to make the process of acquiring guns a difficult process, says one. We need to prohibit certain types of guns, says another. It's all the same soundbites: do background checks, do psychological tests, take money out of politics, identify a problem before it becomes one. Access to guns. Laws on guns. Ban on guns.

In other words, nothing of value. Nothing we didn't hear before. Nothing these loud voices would commit to doing anything about. All calls to action are going to be forgotten until the next mass murder, or until the next meal requires a social shoutout on scrolling media.

The point is not to say all these suggestions are unimportant or inapplicable. They are important, although redundant, and they are even actionable. But none are transformative, save calls for blood donation.

Rise in crime and any form of domestic terror can be directly linked to economical and social well being of a country. When government fails, chaos begins. This is true for every country and territory around the world, and the United States is not immune to this relationship. Violent crime has been on the rise in many of the largest cities, according to 2016 statistics from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which tracks data from 61 metropolitan police agencies in the U.S.

So no, you cannot legislate your way out of this. You cannot spy on every psychologically unstable or depressed person out there. You cannot vote everyone out of Congress, every time. You cannot solve the gun issue even if you threw an obscene amount of money at it. No amount of screaming, crying or cursing is going to make a dent. You cannot prevent the inevitable. Even if you rid the United States of every gun, legal and not, there are a lot of other things you can kill a person with. As one of my favorite comedic writers George Carlin used to say, you can probably beat a guy to death with a Sunday edition of The New York Times.

Instead — accept it. Accept the fact that the gun problem in the U.S. has no solution that you speak of.

If there is a way, it should be looked for within fundamental shifts as a country, as a people, as a society bound by a set of principles that places each countryman, rich or poor, in the center of its value system. It will take heavy domestic and foreign policy changes, reformed thinking and lots of sacrifices. Then maybe generations later life will improve for all and people will be kinder, more tolerant, more socially mindful of other people's problems and more willing to foot the bill to make sure the weak and needy are always taken care of. Then maybe, as a consequence, people will get happier. And as Reese Witherspoon's character Elle Woods once said in the 2001 classic Legally Blonde: "happy people just don't shoot [other people]. They just don't."

Something tells me there is a lot of truth in that today.