Half Mast

cartooncandleSo now we must add the Los Angeles airport and the mall in New Jersey to the list. Thoughts and prayers to anyone who was involved or has family involved. Yet another senseless tragedy we aren’t really prepared to deal with but have become accustomed to their almost regular occurrence.

I was on Facebook reading the comments. One friend was trying to get a clearer picture of what happened, and another person on the thread was talking about how he generally doesn’t try to dig deeper for the truth for a few days, when the sensational reporting subsides.

That seems a terrible tragedy in itself. We have become so complacent about these terrible events that we are able to formulate and recognize a regular protocol for how we individually process the information. Does this bother anyone else?

I’ve read the constitution, I’ve heard the arguments on both sides. I don’t have an answer and I won’t pretend I do. But it seems to be something we at least have to talk about. I don’t want to take away anyone’s rights, and I don’t want to enable anyone to come after your guns; but I also don’t think this is something we should accept as just another regular part of our lives.

How long is it going to be before we can discuss these things, how much more does it take to spark a dialogue. We are not too far off from our flag being flown permanently half-mast.

I hear the argument that says that any sort of regulation would only punish the law-abiding gun owners. The criminals will always find a way to get a weapon, we will only make it harder for citizens who only wish to protect their homes and families. I understand the point and to some extent I can see the point; But why is this same mentality not applied to anything else? Millions are spent every year on this out-dated notion of the War on Drugs, even though by the logic of this argument, criminals will always find a way to get their drugs, we know we can’t stop them all, so why do we try?

candleSome will argue that any law requiring background checks or any stipulation of what and how much we can own is a violation of the second amendment. I see where they are coming from but I do not agree. The right to bear arms is listed in the Constitution but there is nothing stating that no qualifications could not be employed. By that argument isn’t also a violation of our rights to deny gun ownership to felons, the mentally ill, and minors.

I don’t know the answer, as I said. But we need to have an adult discussion about this. This is a terrible thing to get used to, to accept as a part of our lives from now on. We don’t hear of shootings on a regular basis happening in Australia or Europe or even Canada.

And I know guns aren’t the only issue. Too many in this country are suffering and struggling with mental illness. The cultural and social divide becomes an ever-widening chasm. People react with drastic actions when the legal options offer no path to freedom and no satisfaction.

This is not something we should grow accustomed to, this is not a natural part of our lives that we might as well accept because there no way of avoiding them. We cannot afford to be complacent, and we shouldn’t sweep the conversation under the rug and say now is not the time to discuss these things. When then? What will it take for us to look at this problem and try to find a solution?

I don’t think we can afford to put it off any longer, and if the patterns continue, it will be less than a month, maybe less than a week, before we hear about the next event. Another terrible senseless action taking more innocents from us, and then another impetus to look at this phenomenon in a somber and sober light.

© Robert Emmett McWhorter

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