Come on, America, we have to do something about gun control. Our reaction to yet another mass shooting can’t be to just change our Facebook page profile picture to reflect that we’re praying for the victims and posting a link to the Mr. Rogers “Always Look for Helpers” interview.
Also not getting much done are the angry posts demanding that the AR-15 be outlawed and people just as angry answering back that the AR-15 is not an assault rifle, it just looks like one and you’re an idiot if you don’t know that. Add in heaps and heaps of statements that are basically a variation of “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” mix in political venom along the lines of, “It’s libtards ruining America, not guns” and end with a “So should we blame spoons for obesity?” meme and you’ve got a whole lot of trash talking that’s getting us nowhere.
I get it. America loves guns. I grew up in Texas, so I’m well-versed in the gun culture. My father-in-law was a gun collector and had a walk-in vault of guns in his home. My kids’ 80-something Nana has a concealed carry permit and an ankle holster. My husband got his first rifle when he was in elementary school, and I’m a decent shot with a pistol. This is my way of saying I do not believe guns are bad.
I also do not believe that we can just stay on our current course of doing nothing about gun control on the federal level.
In fact, let’s just get rid of even calling it gun control. I don’t think there are two words that send Americans into a frenzy faster. How about if we call it gun guidance? Everybody happier? Now do you think we can have a conversation without people immediately going into repetitive stump speeches on a 30-second loop about their viewpoint?
Here’s the deal. America is home to a preponderance of the best and the brightest minds in the known universe. We should be able to figure this out. The excuse that it’s just too complicated an issue or that the problem divides our country into two separate camps with no hope of compromise is just beneath us. We are better than that.
I suggest a summit where we send the smartest people we’ve got (i.e., no elected officials) to a secret location and have them brainstorm some solutions to this enormous issue. I would also invite the most ardent gun enthusiasts, mass shooting survivors, mental health experts, weapons manufactures, hackers, security savants — you name it and have them add to the conversation.
I would also make everyone wear a T-shirt with his or her viewpoint listed on it so it would be like, “OK, we know where you’re coming from. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s quit repeating ourselves and get down to business.”
I realize a secret summit sounds Marvel Universe-esque, but we’ve got to do something more than go to our collective corners and preach to the various choirs that agree with us and shout over those who don’t.
The bottom line is I’m not ready to accept that this is the new reality. That my children have more active shooter drills than fire drills. That every time I go to the movies I get popcorn and then talk with my daughter about what we should do if someone comes in with a gun. That I’m scared of every man I don’t know because it’s the dudes that are killing us.
I’m also not ready to go wild, wild, west. Last year, I saw some severely sunburned guys in tank tops and flip-flops openly carrying Glock 17s in their cargo shorts and it freaked me out. (Sidebar: If you’re not smart enough to use sunscreen, I question your gun acumen.) And I’m totally not buying the argument that the more people are out and about with guns the safer we are. Because while you may think having a Ruger in your sock would give you the power to defend a roomful of people being shot at by a crazy person, I question if, in that instance, you wouldn’t freeze, cry or crap your pants when facing that level of evil.
The bottom line is we have to do something and I don’t know what it is. More background checks, mental health screenings, maybe home visits? I’m serious about those home visits by the way, because if someone has to visit my home before I can adopt a cat or even chair an elementary school fundraiser, I think the same level of scrutiny should be applied to getting a gun.
What I do know is that I live in the greatest country in the world and that if we work together and shut our mouths long enough to listen to each other we might be able to figure something out.