There are politicians and special interests and party affiliates that will tell you the answer to the problem of gun violence in America is simple. And they are lying. They are telling you what you want to hear. Because what we as Americans want is for something to happen. We want action in one direction or the other, and so to look like they’re doing something–anything–they talk. But they rarely, if ever, say anything that matters. Following such tragedy, they act out in grand gestures like sit ins and protests. But they rarely, if ever, do anything that matters.
The policy process was designed to put proposals and laws and regulations through the gauntlet. Why? Because once a policy becomes law, it is terribly difficult to get rid of it. So we want to make sure that the policies that are put in action are the best, the brightest, and the fairest.
Even in times of crisis and sorrow. Perhaps especially in times of crisis and sorrow–we rely on Democracy to keep us safe–to keep us fair–to keep us American.
But following a tragedy like the one in Orlando, following the senseless deaths of our fellow Americans, we feel a deep fire in our souls to DO something. To change something.
I encourage you first to pause.
I encourage our Congress to first pause.
Because a solution that is not the very best solution doesn’t fix anything. We need conversation, we need public discourse, we need Conservative narratives and Liberal narratives. Because we need to find answers, and those answers aren’t going to come in hours or days or maybe even weeks or from only one group.
I don’t pretend to know what the right answer is.
But I will say this: to my left-leaning friends: remember this–criminals that are heinous enough to take the life of a fellow human will not abide by any law, no matter how well intentioned. The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.
“False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.”
And to my right-leaning friends: remember this–your fellow Americans are being gunned down. Their bright futures and all of that shining possibility–gone in a blast. The first response should always, ALWAYS be compassion and understanding to those loved ones that are left behind. They don’t want your guns. This isn’t personal. They want to prevent other mothers from being forced to bury their child’s bullet riddled body. Obviously there are people dying from gun violence, you can’t argue that very solid fact. If there’s an answer out there that doesn’t step on your own liberties, don’t you want to find it?
At the end of the day, there is this single truth: we have to try. It’s not going to be easy. But the greatest things never are.
“Usually when tragedy occurs, we see our nation come together. I was saddened to see far too many retreating to their over-worn policy corners and demagoguery. Let me be clear, there are no simple policy answers to this tragedy. Beware of anyone who tells you that they have the easy solution. It doesn’t exist. And I can assure you this — that calling people idiots, communists, fascists or bigots on Facebook is not going to change any hearts or minds. Today we need fewer Republicans and fewer Democrats. Today we need more Americans.”
I’ll finish by quoting one of my least favorite Democrats, because everybody gets it right sometimes: “Our enemies have always made the same mistake. In my lifetime — in depression and in war — they have awaited our defeat. Each time, from the secret places of the American heart, came forth the faith they could not see or that they could not even imagine. It brought us victory. And it will again. For this is what America is all about.”
I could write a book on what’s wrong with America today. But you know what? I could write an even longer one on what’s right. America today. America forever.
Love and Other drugs,
E. Hunter W.