My soul weeps at every senseless death, and stands horrified if that death is intentional at the hands of another person.
Period. Nothing I say after this has any influence on what I just said. I will draw a line in the sand and make sure that everyone knows what they are responding to.
I want to make sure that I am heard, and what I say is understood. I want to make sure that no one can accuse me of placing my belief and understanding in the 2nd Amendment above human life. I want to make sure that everyone understands that my shotgun is not being placed above the effects of tragedies like the one Umpqua Community College. I want everyone who reads this to know that I am in shocked horror that yet another senseless mass murder has happened.
I stand in horror and mourning, and yet I was told I’m not allowed to mourn, at least not with that person. Not that I would consider myself a great “gun lover” but rather a hobbyist who enjoys hunting and killing pieces of paper. But having any sort of belief in the second amendment is evil, so I have been lead to believe today.
There are two things about me that should be readily known and accepted as I write it that I am a vocal moderate – not luke-warm but vocally and passionately in the middle of most everything – and that, in times is crisis, I value logic and rationality over emotion.
And if everything that I have read is true, then we are in a crisis of mass murders in our country. This is an active crisis, current and ongoing, and we, as a nation, have not entered into the post-crisis part where emotions are addressed and mourning, as a nation, can happen.
(To all those directly effected by the events, this does not apply to you. Personal crisis trumps national crisis, and you should be in a state of mourning.)
We need a cold, thought out, rational course of action to stop mass murders from happening. We cannot dive head-first using our sadness, our anger, or our frustration as our guide. Emotional responses as not going to fix the problem, no matter how much we want them to.
What we first must do is stop tearing each other down. We cannot fix anything if we refuse to work together. Stop telling me about conservatives valuing guns over human life or liberals trying to destroy the second amendment. Stop telling me that people I love are responsible for this tragedy, both those who believe in gun ownership and carry and those who believe in gun-free zones. Stop telling me that someone is evil because they disagree with your, or a particular political party is responsible. All you are doing is stopping the conversation.
We must approach this as a problem with a solution, not a horror to be stopped. We must detach ourselves from the horrors emotionally and look at facts and figures. Not all of us are called to be the emotional strength and comforter of those who have directly experienced this tragedy, especially including our elected officials.
We must approach this issue with humility, accepting that we may be wrong. Both sides need to stop placing themselves on a moral high ground and demonizing each other. Because both sides of this debate have the same goal: stopping senseless tragedy.
And no, no gun owner I have ever known – and I have known a lot, including gun shop owners and political activists who work towards increasing gun rights – would ever place their gun above innocent human life.
The problem is that their resistance of change is not placing guns above innocent life; it’s that they believe that their guns and their rights changing would have no effect on the innocent life. Period.
Everyone involved in this discussion needs to put their emotions aside. Period. Much the same way a doctor cannot save a life if overwhelmed by emotion, we cannot prevent these deaths if we act on our emotions. We need cold though, period.
Can you do that? Because if you can, absolutely you should be suggesting ideas and thinking about how the laws and funding can be worked out to prevent these senseless deaths.
But if you can’t, if you can only think emotionally or selfishly politically when a tragedy strikes, you need to remove yourself from the conversation. Mourn, even publicly mourn, but rash, emotional responses – especially those condemning others that are not responsible – are as useless to national tragedy as they are to surgery.
I wrote out a plan to fix the problem, but it doesn’t work, either The other half of this crisis is that no solution can be written in the days after a tragedy. This is going to be a long and painful process, one that will not win any political points and will absolutely make people mad. It will either go too far or not far enough, depending on who you ask, and it will slowly fix the problem, not instantly. But if we have a serious national crisis, serious long-term repairs to the very fabric of our nation are necessary, not just sweeping and quick changes that ignore the law-abiding half of the country that, again, is not responsible for this tragedy.
No one gets to be on a moral high ground today, no one gets a soapbox, no one gets to claim they have the answer and that everyone who disagrees with them is wrong and/or evil. You don’t get that right today.
I am mourning, and no one can tell me I am and those whom I love are responsible for this, because they aren’t. So instead of demonizing me, let’s mourn the senseless taking of life, and mourn that someone’s mental health was so ignored that they came to a point that they could commit such evil.
Let’s not throw stones at each other today; let’s mourn together. Maybe if we can find a common ground – humbly find a common ground – we can solve this crisis and finally truly mourn a dark part of our history.