Friday, December 14, 2012

Can we please get uncomfortable?

Sadly, we will demand and be horrified by the images of the CT shootings for a few days and invest incredible emotional and psychic capital in being upset and offended and wringing our hands while asking "How?" and "Why?", then after a few days we will totally forget about it because it might lead to an actual - and uncomfortable - conversation about those questions, and 10,000 gun murders a year just isn't enough death to make us willing to that uncomfortable.
I'm a gun guy. I like guns, I own many guns. Though I have not hunted in a long time, I kind of enjoy it. Sort of. I like target practice. I have nothing against guns. But to all the rabidly pro-gun folk who refuse to even entertain the idea of having a national dialogue and who proclaim "It's too soon!" to raise the issue after a mass shooting: it is not too soon. It is, in fact, way too late. Way, way, way too late. Multiple dead kids in CT late, multiple dead Sikhs in Milwaukee late, multiple dead movie goers in CO late, not to mention the other 10000 or so people who will be murdered with guns this year late.

We need a very serious discussion about our addiction to violence as a tool of diplomacy (between nations and neighbors and all the way down to between friends and family members), our lack of care for the mentally ill, our lack of resources to help and/or target those who are troubled (financially, mentally, emotionally, etc.), our disregard for the poor, and whatever else it might be that we need to deal with. And I don't even know what that is, because every time someone raises the idea of JUST HAVING THE DISCUSSION, the NRA and those at the extremist end of the gun-liking population shut down the conversation out of fear that the discussion might mention the word "gun" and who say that guns are absolutely not in any way whatsoever part of the problem. And to those who want to say that the only problem is guns, that also is far too simple an answer. It is far more complex than guns or not guns. And we need to start the conversation in a serious, deliberate, life-respecting and liberty-respecting way.

People are hurting - hurting from violence, and hurting from other things that lead them to do violence. It's almost Christmas - can we not come to the manger, at least, and see that there is a better option and talk about what it might be?

How many have to die, how many have to grieve over the senseless deaths of loved ones, how many parents have to bury their children, and how many have to suffer in silent, boiling anger before it is no longer "too soon"?