Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday.
We have now explored many aspects of the gun control and gun violence conversation in America. We’ve seen how our peer nations address gun control. We’ve seen how easy it is to acquire a gun in the US. We’ve seen how self-defense weapons greatly increase your risk of death by firearms. We took a good look at the NRA and the mental health crisis in America.
We’ve had an extensive conversation, to be sure. 1,036 comments thus far in this series. I thank you all for your participation. What I had hoped to do when starting this series, my initial concept, was to start an ongoing and extensive conversation among the great minds here about the gun problem. I feel I’ve accomplished that. I also hoped to develop and solidify my own firm set of beliefs around the issue, and I’ve accomplished that as well.
I believed in those early days (just 8 weeks ago!) that the only concrete solution to the gun problem in America was a ban on firearm ownership, similar to the laws in Australia or England that we took a look at in Part 3. I don’t believe that this ban would need to include seizures of guns currently owned, as happened in Australia. I think many American gun owners would fight, and many would die. This is not a viable solution. I do think a ban could succeed long term if it were enacted now (or soon) and manufacture and sale of firearms ceased. 100 years from now, with guns cast aside, rusted out, and broken, the supply of firearms in America would be greatly depleted, and we would be a much safer nation. Our great grandchildren, and their children, would not have to witness the yearly Sandy Hook or Columbine massacres that seem so common now.
Alas, this ban will not happen. America’s government is far too beholden to monied interests to boldly erase a giant economic sector like weapons manufacturing.
Given that the best solution is not politically feasible, what are we left with? For me, the answer to that question is simple. A better ideal.
Much of what maligns our society can be addressed without touching anybody’s guns. There are many loosely related problems today that, if corrected, could reduce the number of violent homicides in America.
How? you might ask. Richard de Berry showed me the way.
Here at last, firedogs and dear readers, is my conclusion, and my hope for a better future.
When we last saw Richard, or SouthernDragon, he was treating some of us to another serving of Marx in the Morning, his recurring series on the teachings of Professor Richard Wolff. Richard died shortly thereafter, losing his final battle to cancer.
Before leaving us, Richard opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective. Marxism was alien to me, and his Marx in the Morning posts taught me that I could look at the world in a different way. I had been focusing on the wrong things for so long, never really seeing the true core of any particular issue.
What Richard taught me, through the works of Marx and Professor Wolff, was that people are the core of any societal issue, be the issue economic, political, or any other. If we seek to understand our fellows, we can better serve them and address their ills.
I was left then, when pondering how best to wrap up this series, with a gnawing question. Why do we kill each other so much? There are a handful of answers, and I believe they are the basic problems that we need to fix if we ever hope to reduce violence in America. These are large national issues, but I believe their solutions stem from us working at a local or individual level. There is something all of us can do to reduce violence.
Our mental health system is sorely lacking.
How can we fix that? There are other areas of this site that address the political fixes. Corporate ownership of our healthcare system severely inhibits positive change. We can, however, love our neighbors and friends. We can pay more attention to what they’re saying, how they’re feeling, or what they’re going through. We can be more aware of their ups and downs, and reach out more often. We can listen when someone wants to talk. Simple acts of kindness among us can go a long way to making our society more mentally healthy as a whole. I’m not suggesting that we can take the place of mental health professionals, or prevent a massacre like Sandy Hook or Aurora, but how many suicides do you think could be prevented this way? My guess is a lot.
Poverty breeds crime