Monday, February 26, 2018

Knee Jerk Gun Control?

I guess I'm getting cantankerous in my old age. I want to solve the real problems, not just the symptoms.

And the spate of "Oh! NO! WE MUST HAVE GUN CONTROL!" posts, articles, letters to the editor, and on and on gets to me.

What has changed?

What will change if we enact gun control legislation? Seriously.

Some kids somewhere whose parents want them to get an early start in flash-mob politics say, "Let's walk out of school! Yeah! That'll fix the problem!"

Actually, it might. Schools are a part of the system that heats the pot that boils over in violence.

(I've got nothing against Armalite shutting down production of the AR-16, by the way, and I have nothing against lots of people asking them to do so. But the guns are not the real source of the problem, they just exarcerbate the problems.)

I was gratified that there were students responding with, "Let's make a real change. Instead of walking out of school, let's remember 17 children who were victims of violence by reaching out to 17 children who need a friend."

That's a better approach.

Remember the 17 children sacrificed to the violent society by reaching out to 17 children who need a friend. Or even just one, if you and all your friends will pick different children to reach out to.

Make new friends. Don't ask them to be the same as you. Don't ask them to play the same games, go to the same parties, were the same clothes, listen to the same songs, put the same posters on their bedroom walls.

Talk to them anyway. Maybe listen to a song they like. Maybe tell them their clothes are just fine. Maybe play their games sometimes.

Remember the victims of violence by reaching out to 17 teenagers who aren't figuring out how to make good enough grades to get into college. Offer to help even one student who's having a problem with a subject you know.

But don't be too proud to make sure your help doesn't just confuse them. It's okay to discover that different schools and different generations sometimes teach to different standards.

Remember the victims of violence by reaching out to 17 adults who are having trouble finding work they can do to support themselves, and any children who depend on them. Talk to the homeless, the unemployed, the hungry, and listen.

Even just one.

If you run a business and make over $100,000 a year, you can forego that new yacht you want to buy, to hire one more employee. Or you might have a friend who knows a friend that could use an employee.

Maybe you have a friend who is good at paiting pictures but not so good at sacking groceries. You could buy one of her pictures and she could put food on the table for a week or a month. And you could get your friends to help, too. The more she sells, the more people know of her work, and the more people can reach out to help her.

Or if you can't find anyone nearby who needs help, go to the crowd-sourcing sites and help fund a project that isn't making it yet.

You don't want people to convert to a radical religion or other philosophy that teaches them to react to hidden oppression with open violence? Those philosophies and religions aren't new. Been around for a long time. What's the problem?

This current society has more people who face problems they can't solve on their own.

So. Reach out.

Find the people who need help. Don't make them be just like you before you help them.

Help them find solutions before the purveyors of crime and violence find them.

That's how to put a real end to the violence.

Burying your own weapons of war is okay.

Forcing others to bury theirs and at the same time refusing to help them feed their families is not.

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