Deaths by gun violence is at an unacceptable rate in our country and although it is a complex, multi-faceted problem, the answer is right in front of us, and we’re too busy fighting to see it. The solution to mass killings is that everyone is right. Simple as that.
Let me explain:
As a teacher of students with special needs, I often find myself in meetings with parents and other professionals to make a plan for a student. In the meetings the speech therapist has one idea, the transition coordinator has another, the general education teacher has one idea and the case worker has another. We go around the table discussing what might work for the student, then we implement all the ideas. For each student the success of each part of the plan will be different and that's okay. Some parts of the plan might be a flop for one student and that's okay too. We do everything we can because we care about the success of the program for that student. How dumb would it be for us to sit there and argue telling everyone who had a different idea than we had that they were stupid, delusional, disconnected, or wrong?
Nothing would get done and the student would suffer.
Same is true here.
We need to stop fighting with each other and instead agree with each other. We need to realize that this is a problem and move forward in every possible way to stop it. That requires work, change and being uncomfortable.
To my liberal/progressive friends: You are right.
We do need to catch up with the rest of the developed countries of the world. We need to follow the examples of European countries, Australia and Canada in making laws that protect our families. Do you want to know who else agrees with you? You're going to hate this, but Fox News personalities Bill O'Reilly and Gretchen Carlson have said similar things back in 2016 after the Orlando shooting.
"My solution to the gun problem is this: Congress debates which guns are allowed. You can't have a bazooka, you can't have hand grenades, no, you can't. It's perfectly legitimate for congress to say, "What kind of rifles should people be able to buy?"" Bill O'Reilly June 14 2016 Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
"Do we need AF-15s to hunt and kill deer? Do we need them to protect our families? I'm in favor of people being able to carry... But I'm also with the majority today, taking a stand. Can't we hold true to the sanctity of the Second Amendment while still having common sense?" Gretchen Carlson June 2016.
To my conservative friends: You are right!
There is a huge problem in our country with mental health. We need to look into that and give resources to help find solutions. There is more violence in television, video games, music and literature than ever before. People are desensitized to violence and that is a huge problem.
The home is the central building block of society and we need to strengthen homes and families. Parents need to do their part to educate and protect their children. Respect for authority is deteriorating and needs to be brought back.
Many of my conservative friends often tell me of making our country safer by extreme vetting and common sense regulations when it comes to immigration. I completely agree with you, now let's apply that to gun control.
Why can't we all agree and move forward on all fronts?
Next time someone posts something you don't agree with, instead of insulting them or engaging in a pointless fight, try to remember something. You're seeing their post because you are their friend, or you chose to follow them. I have been shocked at how mean friends and family have been to each other because they have different ideas on how to solve this problem. We need to unite and move forward in every possible way.
When a person says "Guns don't kill people. People kill people!" you can respond: I agree that people kill people. That is a huge part of the problem. What can we do today to stop people from killing other people?"
When another friend says "We need gun control laws!" You can respond: I agree that some guns should be kept away from civilians, that is part of the problem. How can we do that while still upholding our rights?
The only time you can be wrong!
The one thing that frustrates me most about the debates that follow a mass shooting is how people always point fingers at others to solve the problem.
I know I'm generalizing but here goes:
Old white people watching Fox news: "There is no respect these days! People raising children are the problem. We didn't have these problems when I was growing up with guns in our trucks at school. People raising families now need to step up and fix this problem.
Young people watching CNN: "The problem is all the old white people in congress. They need to fix the laws."
Do you see how this is not going anywhere? If we point the finger at someone else and say it is their responsibility to fix the problem, nobody acts. Nobody listens. Nothing changes!
Call to Action
Conservatives: Our country needs you! You have a voice and a power that no amount of liberal picket lines can match. If you contact your congress person and say, like Gretchen Carlson, "Can't we hold true to the sanctity of the Second Amendment while still having common sense?" You can change the world! They will listen to you because you voted them in. It's not going to be easy, but controlling guns is one part of the solution of gun violence.
Parents and families: Our country needs you! You have a power of youth and energy. While being progressive, there are some things that are being lost. Never forget or diminish the importance of family. Restrict violence in the things your children view. What they see, forms who they are. You can change the world! They will listen to you because you are their parent. It's not always easy, but reducing violence in media in our homes is one part of the solution of gun violence.
I know those examples are very narrow, and I hope you don't get distracted by their limited scope. Can you see the point I am trying to make? This is a group effort, and every voice matters.
When we move outside of our comfort zone we can all be powerful in making change! Whatever solution you feel will work in solving the problem with gun violence, is part of the solution. We need to move forward on that. But we also need to move forward on ideas you don't necessarily agree with so we are covered on all fronts. Just like a team of teachers trying to help a single student excel. We're a team. It's our country. Let's work together!
God Bless America!