Tag Archives: guns

The Solution Starts with the Media

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If there is one thing the majority of people opining since last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Ct., myself included  have in common, is that we have said a lot, spoken of what we like and don’t like about the current situation, and have offered no solution to the problem.  Part of this is due to the fact that many of the responses are emotional, so in essence the comments are reactions and expressions of how we feel, and since the tragedy caused so many to feel strong emotions, it is easy to understand why this is happening.  In this post however, I offer my solution, conceptually if nothing else.  Where does the solution lie?  It lies in the middle.

Let me start by saying something that may shock those who know me well.  My views have somewhat changed in the past week.  As a result of speaking with people, reading articles and posts, and watching news programs, I have moved somewhat away from my extreme view of wanting to ban guns from the common citizen.  I have spoken with some very good people who own guns.  The country does not become a better place by taking away their guns.  I have read posts on social media outlets and articles in news agencies from people who are not angry or hateful people, who feel owning a gun is important to them and give every indication of being thoughtful people who know that guns are dangerous if misused or unaccounted for.  The country does not get better by taking away their guns.  I watched Bill O’Reilly a few days ago, and was impressed by the insistence of a well-known Republican celebrity and gun owner admitting that there is a problem and that something needs to be done.  So now there is me, someone who has in the past made the statement that I question if the American people have lost their right to bear arms, thinking that the best answer may very well be one that allows people to continue to have that right.  However, they may need to make some sacrifices to help improve the chances that others don’t end up making the ultimate sacrifice.  I make no claim to know the technicalities of the current gun laws, but this post will not be dealing with technicalities, instead it will be dealing with a concept that I feel is critical to our civilizations survival.

I came up with my “solution” after going through a thought process brought on by a combination of factors.  One factor was the attempt by lunatic organizations and the Iranian government to somehow connect Jews and even Israeli military to the shootings in Newton, Ct.  It’s so insane that it’s gotten very little play outside the inner circles of those who fabricated the stories, but enough that many of us have heard it.

The next thing I considered was the situation between Israel, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world.  All reports indicate that tensions are now rising in the West Bank and that radical organizations are trying to get another Intifada started.  The key and extremely important word there is “radical”.

I also read about those so-called religious leaders and organizations that blame the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary on the lack of God in the school and in our society, implying, sometimes saying outright that it is our behavior as people going away from God that caused this and other tragedies to happen, even those not caused by man directly, such as Hurricane Sandy.

The final thing that helped me come to my conclusion was the frustration of a good friend who, after looking at many of these issues, concluded that there appears to be no way to solve any of them.  This was coming from an otherwise positive individual who was feeling tremendous frustration at the apparent futility of any of the answers provided by anyone out there with any influence.

So what is the answer?  The answer lies in marginalizing extremists.  Over the past week I have seen a very clear distinction, on both sides of the political spectrum, between those who attack policy and those who attack people.  Those who without provocation attack the people who do not agree with them are always extremists in one way or another, while those who attack the issues are sometimes extremists, often not extremists, and generally not the problem.  Although I believe that the influence by their leadership has caused a large percentage of Muslims to at best dislike Jews and Israel and be people who would not mourn the loss of Jewish life, I absolutely believe that the majority do not want to murder anyone, including Jews.  I am confident that the majority of gun enthusiasts find making America a safer place to live just as important an issue as those who push for stricter gun laws.  In fact, it needs to be said, in fairness, that many gun owners feel this way because they in fact do not feel safe without one.  This means that although stricter gun laws may be important, they need to go hand in hand with finding ways to make citizens feel safer.

So how do we go about marginalizing extremists?  We call on, actually we demand help from the media.  The Mayans may or not be correct about the date, but unless we do something dramatic, they have a really good chance at being correct about the outcome.  Except at this rate the world is headed more towards catastrophic implosions than cosmic explosions.   Here is my call to the media and why I feel the answer lies in the major media outlets working together.  Most people hold views that fall in a safe zone somewhere between the far right and the far left.  By safe zone I mean a place where even if they are clearly Liberal or clearly Conservative, they are not dangerous people.  I also believe that even if a network like FOX News has a Conservative agenda, and MSNBC has a Liberal agenda, they both agree on the issues that have the greatest impact on our survival.  Neither advocates terrorist activity, mass murder, or outright bigotry.  These networks have enormous influence worldwide, and if they took it on themselves to work together in discussing the issues they do agree on, they might be able to impact society towards a middle of the road mentality.  In fact I feel that on a daily basis the major networks should coordinate a simulcast for at least one hour where they discuss the issues they agree upon regarding our safety, health, and basic ethics, and leave the harsher philosophical battles for the rest of the day.   Imagine Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, and Bill O’Reilly on the same broadcast, shown on all 3 of these networks discussing the heroics of the schoolteachers of Sandy Hook, Ct., or condemning terrorist who blow up buses or kill dozens in roadside bombings.  They can discuss their feelings on the specifics of gun control laws on any other broadcast, but if they got together for one hour a day and spoke of ways to improve mental health or identify potential murderers, imagine the good they could do.

There has been much talk this past week on the need of our society to change its mindset.  I believe everyone agrees with this in one way or another.  However, with all the time being wasted on blaming the extremists on both sides, we may be missing out on a great opportunity to begin the shift towards a more civilized world.   I don’t lay the blame on the media, but I do think that it has an unprecedented opportunity and responsibility to marginalize the radicals and extremists who either are only concerned about their own personal or agenda or are so far gone they no longer care about anything important.

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Guns and Tragedies: A Common Partnership

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This post is a variation of a comment I wrote for an earlier thread on Facebook. Although this is more controversial than I normally get on my blog, my feelings on this subject are so strong that I feel compelled to state them openly, without fear, and without reservation.  To protect the privacy of those I responded to I have removed their names and adjusted the content appropriately as well as adding additional content.

I realize that personally I have a radical view on guns. Objectively I don’t usually think any radical approach is good, even when it’s my own. I don’t think good people owning guns generally do things to intentionally put other human beings in danger. I also know that many, if not most of them would gladly give up their guns if it was as a result of legislation that stopped the killing of innocent people.  I know that in reality it doesn’t work that way. I know there is no connection between criminals owning guns and decent, law-abiding citizens owning guns.  I even admit things don’t clearly get better by taking the guns away from good people. I just feel that many of them have misplaced passion.

A few people have tried to use the comparison of what happened in China a few days ago when a man attacked 22 children with a knife as “proof” that taking away guns won’t stop madmen. They’re correct, it won’t. But the difference between what happened in China and in Connecticut is the difference between children getting injured and children getting killed. That is right there in the headlines.  Both are horrible, but clearly one is worse than the other.

I understand that the good people who own guns want to keep their guns, but I don’t understand how some of them want it so much they won’t even admit something needs to be done. That is because some, and I emphasize some are so full of themselves and their Rush Limbaugh style politics that they consider someone like me the enemy. I resent the insinuation that they are better people than I am because I lash out in anger when something like this happens. They are so concerned about their politics, claiming it to be so important to own a gun that they come after me, who has freedom of speech, maybe even a greater, certainly equal cornerstone of our society, for placing the blame where I feel it belongs.

Am I right in how I look at the gun issue? Maybe yes, maybe no. But don’t tell me how I am taking away your constitutional right to own a gun while calling me an uncaring person for exercising my right to free speech. This, ‘you liberals don’t even wait till the blood is dry to turn this into something political’ attitude is complete and utter nonsensical self-serving partisan garbage. Who are these people to tell me when I am allowed to react? Who are these people to self-promote themselves to such an extent that they try to tell the world it makes them a better person than I am? Not once do I ever even insinuate that gun owners are less hurt by what happened than I am. But with some of them, the second you state an opinion contrary to theirs, they forget what is wrong in our society and come after someone like me. They have the audacity to imply, sometimes even say outright, that people who feel as I do are part of the problem. Do I put that onus on them? God forbid. I never would. But they are the ones politicizing everything, and anyone, Democrat or Republican, who uses this tragedy as a way to prove that they are a better person than someone else, needs to look long and hard in the mirror.  What they will see is someone more concerned about their image than in right and wrong.

In a less imperfect world, average citizens who own guns would be able to use them at a crime scene to either stop an evil lunatic from committing a heinous crime or if nothing else minimize the damage.  However, in our world it just doesn’t happen that way.  Not one of these gun related mass murders has ended with a gun-owning citizen shooting the murderer.  Does that mean that a decent citizen should lose his gun? No.  But saying that stronger gun control laws take away the option for a citizen to stop the crime is an argument that has yet to be proven to have any real merit.  I rather you just be honest and say you like hunting or want to protect your home.  Both of which you have every right to do.

I know there will be some who will feel such anger by my words that they will verbally attack me.  There will be some who will read this on Facebook and possibly choose to longer be my friend.  You all have every right to your opinion, but I ask you this.  Do we not want the same thing?  Do we not all want a country, dare I say a world, where children can live without fear, where people can go to a movie theater or to a park without fear, and where the value of human life is so great that we not only protect the children but protect all people?  Of course we do.  So before you come at me with all your venom and hatred, take a moment and realize that I very likely want the same thing that you do, and if that is not enough for you to have an intelligent respectful dialogue about a problem that impacts all of us, your friendship will not be missed.  But my hope is that good people will wake up and actually work together to come up with a solution that allows civilized behavior to flourish and grow, not be the ultimate victim of the guns of madmen.

As I was concluding this piece, two things happened that caused me to add to it.  The first thing was a chat I was having online with an old friend. She is a mother of 3 and lives in the country.  She was telling me that she owns guns, but that they are locked in a large safe where the children can’t get to them.  She allows her children to learn how to shoot but only while being very strictly monitored.  My reaction to what she said was extremely positive.  We both agreed that people need to take the careful measures that she does and since many don’t, government needs to get involved.

The second thing that happened was that I saw an interview on CNN with the family of Vicki Soto.  Vicki Soto was a 27 year old first grade school teacher at Sandy Hook elementary.  She is one of the victims of this terrible tragedy.  She is also someone I am deeply honored to mention on my blog.  She died shielding her students and saving the lives of young children.  Her heroics give us hope, restore our faith in humanity, and show us that heroes still do exist and I can think of no better way to end this post than to honor her memory.  As we ask God why, let us also thank God for people like Vicki Soto, for without angels like her we are surely lost.  May she and all the victims of this horrible tragedy rest in peace.