Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guns are not the answer

I think perhaps the most disturbing thing I have seen in the wake of the shooting in Newtown is an ad that ran in Maxim magazine from a gun company.  The tagline was "consider your man-card reissued."  I have no idea if the shooter in CT saw this ad and if that influenced his actions at all, but I cannot help but wonder if such a mentality is making it easier for people, mostly men, to see guns and violence as a solution when things become difficult in their life.  When we create the image in society that guns are a way to claim power or to reclaim a sense of identity we are helping people who are hurting to see guns, and in turn violence as a solution.  The answer in my mind is not to ban guns.  Banning drugs has not stopped enough people from seeking them as an answer when times are tough.  Instead I think we need to actively work to create a culture where there are better ways to get help than to grab a weapon, or a bomb, and see how many people you can take out with you as you go.

We cannot totally guard against the desperation that causes someone to cause mass violence.  Our efforts would better be spent helping people to not get to that state of desperation.  We have all felt the desire to hug our own children closer in the wake this violence, but I believe also need to be closer to those around us as well.  I worry that even as connected as our society is we are still to far apart, that people who are hurting are falling through the cracks.  Instead of turning to their neighbors for help they turn to guns, to violence, to death.

There are not easy answers to this problem.  To fix the epidemic of violence in our nation requires sacrifice.  I think it means we need to look at all the ways we teach ourselves, and we teach others that violence is an answer to the problems we face.  Maybe it means turning off the television a bit, or switching the channel.  For me it might mean playing less-violent video games.  Until we start to create a culture where we glorify things besides violence then I think we may be faced with more desperate individuals who turn to killing to solve the problems of their lives.