Dying to Learn

There is no problem in the world that doesn't also have a solution.  When people wanted to travel by air they worked so hard at it they were soon on the moon.  They wanted to end a war, and they conceived of and built an atomic bomb.  We had a need for greater and faster access to information and now people basically walk around with thousands of warehouses of human wisdom right in their pockets.

So why then is it impossible to solve the uniquely American problem of gun proliferation and gun-related deaths, especially in schools?

Maybe the problem is the 2nd amendment from our sacred Bill of Rights?  It protects our right to "bear arms," yet so many progressives disdainfully regard it as a shibboleth.   Perhaps the issue is an ignorant, fresh-water state electorate who, as it was once said, 'cling to their guns and religion?'  Or maybe it's the NRA because it so successfully preys on our venal politicians?

I believe that in this coarsening culture the problem is with the people, the citizens, all of them.  If I could I would indict them for a number of felonies. 

For one thing, American voters elect amateurs.  In recent years they have elevated businesspeople, a professional wrestler, comedy writers, community organizers, reality show hosts, and politicians' wives to important positions.  Those choices have clearly degraded American democracy. 

While the rise of laypeople might suggest that we have become a less political country, it's obvious we have become far more political.  So many of us now tend to see every problem and its potential solution through the lens of political affiliation which is, of course, to the detriment of nuanced thought. 

The education of the country has plummeted.  Daily newspapers and periodicals were the textbooks of self-rule but they have been replaced by the comic books of social media.

We need serious ideas posited in the most civilized fashion to figure out how to keep our children from being mowed down like gangsters on St. Valentines Day.  Instead what we usually see is our 'friends,' telling each other off in the most indecent language imaginable. 

Although such 'dialogue' was once considered democratic and egalitarian, it has devolved into didactic parties lecturing each other before deploying the F-bomb and departing company.  With proper rage vented, everyone moves on from the topic until the cycle repeats.

Why is it so hard to prevent kids at school from getting shot? Is it because the right to bear arms is supposedly embedded in the Bill of Rights?  The right to free speech is in the Bill of Rights, too, but it's hard to imagine that if filthy movies (protected free speech) were suddenly being projected onto school-house screens that there wouldn't immediately be a bipartisan effort to prevent it.  Everybody from preachers to postmasters would be on the case, and the practice would end immediately.

What we are seeing in our blood spattered schools today -- children with decades of life and infinite promise ahead of them lying dead in puddles of their own blood -- is far more obscene, indecent, and profane than even the most hardcore pornography. 

Yet there is little substantive debate or cooperation about the renewable mass slaughter of the kids.

So what is the solution?

A change in paradigm is required to end this cancer-like problem.  It requires people to stop spouting political platitudes and instead band together to discover all the possible avenues of change.  Certainly common ground can be found in ending the phenomenon of our own kids being executed.

Voters have to take their jobs more seriously, of course.  We need to recognize statecraft is a job like any other that requires talent, skill and experience.  Citizens also need to demand and use (and pay for) better news sources.  Americans also need to stop watching reality TV long enough read a few books.  We need to rediscover the ability to discuss issues in a civilized manner.

Americans need better access to mental health care that is supported by insurance.  We need lawyers who are creative enough to devise new strategies for attacking the gun industry and its lobbyists and associations and make them pay for their liabilities.  The clergy of every persuasion needs to band together and utilize their moral position to demand concessions from the political class.  And of course we need secure schools since we no longer live in an idealized past.

It is also worth asking as a society if we truly love and value our children? 

A few years ago little boys were being raped in the football locker room of Penn State University and the most famous coach in the country and his academic overseers turned the other way.  After some perfunctory sanctions the school was quickly back on the gridiron as though nothing had happened.  More recently it was discovered that talented young female athletes in Michigan were also being sexually assaulted -- and ignored.

You better believe that if American wallets were as vulnerable and abused as American children that we would stop at nothing to get at the perpetrators.

We all know that the gun violence needs to be stopped, we just need to understand that it can be stopped.   It's up to us to have the energy, the attention span, the creativity, and the resolve. 

Because they're our kids.

We can nurture and protect them, or we can just sit back and watch them die.