In our MSW macro class, Professor Hymowitz was always clear about the first steps in starting a new organization; what is you mission and what is your vision? These are the sort of critical questions that have a bearing on all aspects of life, micro and macro. I was reminded of this as the circus that is American policy brought the NRA’s executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, into the center ring. He called for a “nation school shield safety program” in every school in America. This has set of a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
I find it disturbing that Mr. LaPierre thinks American schools, and their students, should be treated in the same way that America handled Russia during the Cold War Era; nothing solves American problems better then a good ole` arms race. Let me say that again, his solution is an arms race with children and young adults. Mr. Pierre choose to ignore the ease by which a semi-automatic weapon, designed for combat in war, was taken into a quiet school. In fact, he ignored the discussion of guns in general, except by default in his brilliant arms race idea.
Safety is not the only issue with gun control, yet the discussion always seems to revolve around it. In our obsessive need to control our environment, and the danger therein, we have forgotten to ask, is this what we want for our lives and society? Back to my original question, what exactly is our mission and vision in America. We already lock up more citizens, by far, than any other nations, do we truly want to turn our schools into prisons as well. Mr. Pierre vision a is society where an undercurrent of confrontation is always in the air.
I have no problem with gun control, and I have no problems with the rights to bear arms, but conceptualizing the issue as all or nothing is a clear sign of a national mental illness. This might sound ridiculous, but perhaps we should weigh causes and conditions when we make decisions, and maybe sometimes those choices will change depending on circumstances. Are we a nation of borderline personalities left without the ability to use discourse and reasons to chart a middle course?
The choice is simple, we can continue to allow semi-automatic weapons to be left in the hands of those who disregard human life, and we will continue to get the same results. However, this is one of this times in the course of history where withholding ones voice is akin to passively supporting the undesirable outcome; there are no innocents on this issue. The more voices we have, the more likely that the outcome will be fair and reasonable. The less voices we have, the more likely a “Gun Nut”, as the New York Post aptly published on their front page, will make those decisions for you. As President Obama said during his speech at the school, the nation’s children are all our responsibility, if one more child dies like this, we must all be held accountable.
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