Blog,  Health

We Don’t Have a Gun Problem. We Have a People Problem

Hoosiers now belong to a club we never wanted to be part: the list of school shootings in the U.S. On May 25, 2018, a student at Noblesville Middle School left the classroom and came back with two handguns. The teacher, 29-year-old Jason Seaman, overtook him and sustained three gunshot wounds. Another student was shot as well. Both are in the hospital in critical condition (IndyStar, 5/25/2018)

Tragically, shootings are happening in rapid succession and I’m sick of our society’s response. Stop blaming the NRA, politicians, social media, violence on T.V., video games, etc.

We don’t have a gun problem. We have a people problem.

These mass shootings have become so political; we aren’t getting to the root of the problem: our society does not value human life. Our society is so deeply divided on all the important issues and we’re crumbling beneath our anger and terror.

Politicization of Shootings

Let me first be clear, I point out Presidential reactions to in no way criticize or villainize them. I do truly believe these men do the best they can with what they have to work within their cabinets, House and Senate.

No other politicians have been criticized the way President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been. They say the victims and their families are in “their thoughts and prayers” and people go into a rage because their words have no weight. They want further gun control.

No one made these demands when President Bill Clinton enacted nothing after Columbine in 1999. He made calls for more gun control, but nothing happened. Do the words from the president bring comfort even if they don’t bring security?

President George W. Bush mourned with the survivors of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. He essentially offered the same condolences as Trump and Pence, and he wasn’t faced with a social media-laden lynch mob.

Twenty-six of our beautiful children were lost in Sandy Hook Elementary in 2017, and reporters are running photos of President Barack Obama’s expression when hear learned about the devastation. (Business Insider, 12/14/17)

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How is this perfectly posed photograph relevant, helpful or enacting change in our community? 49 people also died during the Orlando shooting at the Pulse Nightclub during his term in office.

In fact, Obama-White House appointee Andrew Weinstein, tweeted out the number of days between some mass shootings in the U.S. since Columbine. He wanted to know when it was going to be okay to talk about gun control (Twitter, 5/25/18)

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It’s also worth mentioning the shootings making up the headlines – and the ones that aren’t. People are dying every day in Chicago from gun violence and NO ONE is making a big deal about it. The Chicago Tribune wrote an article May 20, 2018, saying 935 people have died so far this year. That’s 326 fewer than 2017. This city is well on track to surpass last year’s death total and we aren’t talking about it! Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, however, it has one of the highest rate of homicides by guns.

Why aren’t these gun deaths being reported all over the news? Why aren’t people up in arms about these deaths? These people are just as relevant and these crimes are just as important to the makeup of our society.

Celebrities keep coming out asking for “common sense gun control.” I don’t even know what that means. Clearly, no one has common sense, therefore this word is not useful or helpful in stopping the problem.

Further, people keep talking about how assault rifles are the problem. AR15s are semi-automatic guns. Assault rifles are selective fire both semi and full automatic. A BBC report shows handguns make up the vast majority of gun violence in the U.S. Two handguns were used in the shooting in Noblesville, IN.

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The Real Problem Plaguing Our Society

We know politicians are not known for making quick or effective change in our society. If we want a change, WE THE PEOPLE must do something about it.

Stop blaming. Start acting.

I have so much respect for the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They are taking a stand and doing their part to work to enact change. I don’t agree with all their tactics, but they are having the conversation and asking the tough questions and letting people know this is NOT OKAY.

Let’s look at some other factors in these shootings we’re not considering.

These are all male shooters.
Many have mental health issues.
We still have not learned any motives or background of the Noblesville shooter. (5/26/18)

Questions I’d like answered because I believe these answers are fundamentally important pieces of a person’s life:

Do they have faith or believe in God?
Are they connected with their family?

What other issues drove them to senseless violence?

Michael Ian Black wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece, he believes America’s boys are broken.

“Too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured in strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others. They are trapped, and they don’t even have the language to talk about how they feel about being trapped, because the language that exists to discuss the full range of human emotion is still viewed as sensitive and feminine.”

They aren’t getting the time, attention or help they need and therefore are using their strength and aggression in a violent manner.

“To be clear, most men will never turn violent. Most men will turn out fine. Most will learn to navigate the deep waters of their feelings without ever engaging in any form of destruction. Most will grow up to be kind. But many will not.

We will probably never understand why any one young man decides to end the lives of others. But we can see at least one pattern and that pattern is glaringly obvious. It’s boys.”

The bottom line: this is a nuanced problem. One that will not be solved quickly or easily.

Now for the really tough question: what are you willing to do to stop gun violence in our country?