Gun Violence: Can we solve it already?

(Written after Parkland, FL school shooting)

When I used to have a “real job”, we would have a standard approach to solving problems. First, what’s your vision? Second, what problem are you ACTUALLY trying to solve? Then, and only then, would we start coming up with solutions – the “how”.

My vision (and yours too I’m sure) – I want to be able to walk freely in this country without being shot. I want to go to church, to a movie theatre, to a concert, without being gunned down. I want the children in my life and my community to go to school to learn, to be happy, to be kids. I don’t want kids to have to practice “hunker down” drills. I don’t want to turn on the news every week and hear about another mass murder. I want women to be safe in their homes. I don’t want to hear of another toddler being accidentally shot by a sibling or friend. I want to live in a country where people’s lives are more important than guns.

I’m pretty sure most of us share this vision. If you don’t, you may want to stop reading.

What problem are we trying to solve? (if it wasn’t obvious) On an average day 96 people die every day to gun violence in this country. Murders, suicides, mass shootings, accidents. 96. In an average month, 50 women are shot to death by their partners. Black men are 13 times more likely than non-hispanic white men to be shot and killed with guns. I could go on and on with the stats. (Stats come from everytown.org). Do you call this a problem? If not, stop reading now.

If only 17 children died due to food poisoning in their school cafeteria, something would be done. If only 17 children died because they ate dishwasher soap that looked like candy, something would be done. If only 17 children died because they accidentally got into their mom’s medication, something would be done.

With gun violence, nothing. Real dialogue doesn’t happen, and thoughts and prayers abound.

So what is the solution? I don’t know for certain, but I have ideas. But if you agree with the vision, and you agree that we have a problem, then we have to be able to come up with solutions. People throwing up their hands and saying “nothing can be done” or changing the subject (It’s not about guns, it’s about mental illness. Don’t trample on my 2nd amendment. Blame immigrants and “terrorists”. Let’s arm the teachers!) are part of the problem.  And if your elected officials cannot come up with SOMETHING, ANYTHING, ONE FRIGGING THING to address this problem, then you need to vote them out of office.

Focus on the vision. Focus on the problem. Then for god’s sake, let’s solve it.

© Rebecca Larson 2018

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