People are not born killers I have to believe...
I don’t know what causes someone to want to pick up a gun and want to kill others. I don’t know why cops seem to keep shooting unarmed black people. I don’t know why white people can’t admit that racism still exists in our country. A quick look at the comments of Donald Trump or President Obama proves there is serious systemic issues in this country that need to be worked through. Unfortunately in this current political and social climate I am finally ready to admit that I think things are going to get much more dangerous and terrifying before they get better. All I do know is that we are not born killers, racists, or criminals, we are just people trying to live under the same sky and sun as everyone else.
I have earned 2 college degrees (political science and accounting), I’m a homeowner, own my car, work full-time, and have no real criminal record-traffic stops don’t count right? By almost any standard I am a positive contributor to society with some measure of common sense. That said, I cannot wrap my head around the idea of why anyone would think we need easy access to guns like the AR-15 or others in this category of rifle.
Assuming you have an ounce of respect for me and are a passionately curious person you will allow me the opportunity to express why I believe the way I do about guns. To begin with, thanks largely to my chronic pain and arthritic issues I’m an incredible jumpy person. I’ve been known to jump through the ceiling when my parents or friends try to sneak a hug in. On bad days I can’t tie my own shoes or unbuckle my own ski boats without help thanks to my medical issues. Also, due to a combo of meds and anesthesia after my right knee surgery, I woke up hyper farsighted. In summary, I’m a jumpy, disabled person with bad eyesight. By any rational or logical reasoning, I’m not medically qualified to fire a gun.
Next, I fully admit much of my dislike of guns is based on my own personal politics. For example, NRA president Wayne Lapierre is a horrible person in my humble opinion. There is no love of country, people, or compassion with Mr. Lapierre. His ideology comes from a place of fear and 21st century racist comments. It’s his way or you are anti-American. In Idaho, his rhetoric is considered equal to the word of God. Largely thanks to Wayne’s proclamations, you can now carry a concealed gun in Boise city limits without a permit. This idea took all of 35 seconds to pass in the Idaho legislature and gun rights advocates are not even pleased with this. By contrast, my state has been debating and preventing LBGTQ equality to be included in its human rights laws for roughly 10 years now because some think God needs the Idaho legislature to protect him from gay people. Guns should never take a higher priority than people.
Lastly, and most importantly, I’ve heard to many on the pro gun side advocate that everyone should carry a gun everywhere. We should go grocery shopping, to the movies, or school with guns according to them. Simply put, I do not want to live in a country where I have to grab my car keys, wallet, and AR-15 in order to go skiing. That isn’t the land of the free, home of the brave of my opinion. To me, that is the lazy mans cop out from dealing with the problems of our society. I’m proud to live in a country where I don’t have to own a gun in order to be safe and free. Being free should be hard work. It should always come from a place of love and respect for others, not having a tool that can simply waste the opposition in a matter of seconds.
Enough about guns. Easy and cheap access to guns is only a small part of our country’s systemic problems.
For a long time, social security was considered the third rail of American politics. For anyone younger than 35, either Google “third rail of American politics” or watch The West Wing tv show. It brought hatred and the accepted political demonization of the other side. I’m as guilty as anyone for that. However, I think the recent rash of shootings, in particular Dallas, has elevated race to the new third rail of America politics.
Thanks to tv, social media, and time, white sheets and cross burnings are no longer tolerated. It is incredibly easy now to show anger towards that type of hate marketing. For the most part, as a country we finally decided we had to and must do better. It is easy for me to sit in my local Starbucks and wonder why it took earlier generations so long to accept what seems to be pretty easy idea to be against now. The thing is, the more I think about it, the more I realize that yes we no longer want to see white sheets and cross burnings but we haven’t changed the underlying systemic racist ideology. We have just updated it for the 21st century social media culture we currently live in.
For example, Donald Trump is an educated racist. He plays on the racist beliefs of people in order to gain popularity. For example, at one point or another we have all laughed at some comedians joke referencing the fact that sooner than later we won’t be able to go to a convenience store unless we speak Spanish. Even if we don’t consider our self a racist, this jokes’ foundation is based on a racist ideology. Mr. Trump took this concept and ran with it with his desire to build a “magnificent wall” in order to keep the rapist, murders, and illegal immigrants out of our country. Yes, this country has an illegal immigrant problem that could potentially, and I emphasize the word potentially, affect our national security. However, the actual facts and numbers indicate that American’s needs no help what so ever in killing and raping each other. Illegal immigrants come here mostly because they think our country can offer a better quality of life than their current country, what they don’t realize is we are just better at hiding our racism, killing, and raping than their home country.
O.k. Mrs. Clinton and left; don’t think I forgot about you in Mr. Trump’s nonsense and absurdity. I fully understand why this kombaya #AllLivesMatter is disrespectful and also based on racist ideology to blacks. Simply put, #alllivesmatter does not acknowledge the fact that our country has a systemic racist problem. This idea sweeps our country’s original sin under the rug like it has done before. It is a poor attempt to hide a problem that has existed in our country for hundreds of years; on many levels it’s a new 21st century racist ideology in my humble opinion.
Imagine how outraged you would feel if you had to drive down Osama bin Laden Avenue or Jeffrey Dahmer Boulevard in order to go to grandma’s house. In the south, we expect blacks to drive down streets to vote on roads named after generals that died to prevent them from being able to vote. Cops are pulling over black kids and loved ones simply because of their skin color. It wasn’t that long ago that we all read about how cabs in New York are less likely to stop for a black person versus white despite New York’s reputation as a progressive state. Much like terrorism, racism is based in an ideology of hate, which can never be fully defeated thanks to human’s ability to remain stupid. However, we can give the #BlackLivesMatter their due respect by listening and acknowledging that their community is losing life unnecessarily and try to work towards a better tomorrow.
Law and Order. Any job that has the ability to take a life should be held to an incredibly high standard of excellence. Training for a job like being a policeman should never be done and qualifications for becoming a cop should be high. In my job, a mistake means my boss yells me at with the possibility of being fired. A mistaken cop shooting, even if done without malice or racist intent, more than likely will result in someone dying and a cop being put on paid administrative leave during an investigation before being cleared to return to duty. Being a cop in this country is like no other job that I can think of, you have an awesome responsibility with incredible power to affect the lives of many.
I have never had a desire to become a cop. It’s a job that I do not want and am thankful others do. To be perfectly frank, I would make a horrible cop I think. That said, since I vote, pay taxes, and I am a resident of this country, I believe that I am entitled to offer my opinion on law enforcement.
For a long time, I bought into the argument that there was not a systemic racist problem in law enforcement. I thought they were just like every other group, generally good people with a few bad actors. Now, I’ve changed my opinion. Regardless if it is right or wrong, there is now a strong public perception that cops are a good old boys club that protect their own. As I write this, I cannot think of an example of a police union publicly admitting that there is a problem within the ranks. They love to criticize President Obama for not offering blind faith in their ability to police yet I’ve never heard them step up and say we are sorry for their bad actors. Local and individual police departments are doing some truly groundbreaking approaches to racism, however I don’t see a national movement to work towards ending racism in police departments. We now demand that every Muslim publically declare their outrage at every act of terrorism throughout the world, why don’t we demand cops who have so much power and responsibility to do the same in regards to their own? As a country we must be pro cop and pro black people, right now we are failing on both accounts I think.
On social media right now there is an interview with a Dallas preacher making the rounds. In this interview, this preacher is worried that the shootings in Dallas has pushed the black lives matter movement back 50 years. I can definitely understand and respect that opinion, it is unfortunately correct I believe. This preacher is stepping up and claiming responsibility as a leader in the black community, why can’t whites admit that part of the reason the preacher as to step up is because we will now associate the gunmen in Dallas with all blacks? It is much easier for the ones that scream that loudest to associate the shooters to an entire race than it is to sit down and discuss the nuisances of incredibly complex social and economic issues that this country faces. In today’s world, the loudest bumper sticker thoughts seem to rule the day. The ability to discuss complex social and economic issues doesn’t make for great 24 hour cable news coverage, anger and hatred are amazing for ratings though.
Annuit Coeptis, Novus Ordo Seclorum. Anyone lately look at the back of our one dollar bill recently? The rough translation is, “[he/she/it] favors our undertakings”. This is the Latin phrase surrounding an unfinished pyramid. Our forefathers had the brilliance to understand the idea that what will make this country great is it’s willingness to admit that we are not, nor will ever be, finished in our creation. There will always be more opportunity and need to do work son. We seem to have forgotten this idea as a nation. There can’t be a conversation about guns because you are anti-constitution if you do. There can’t be a conversation about race because that would deny the greatness that is America. There can’t be a conversation about the pitfalls of greed because that contradicts the idea of a market economy. Our forefathers fought and created a country based on more than yes or no or for or against answers. We are meant to discuss ideas and continue to evolve into something better than yesterday. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have stalled in our path to a better tomorrow. I will probably never know why an individual feels the need to buy a gun and kill someone, I do know that we should never be afraid to try and learn the why a person feels that this in their only option in life in order to prevent it from happening in the again.
Before I say good-bye, I have one more thought. People created a situation where shooting, killing, and a general disrespect for life is rapidly becoming the new normal. Aliens, dogs, cats, or zombies did not do this, we did this to ourselves as humans that all live under the same sun and sky. As depressing as a thought that might be, there is a positive flip side to my thought. It means that people can solve this problem. People can and will create a solution to all of this. We might have to endure more carnage and destruction for a while, but somewhere in this beautiful world there is someone with an answer. Human centered destruction can be solved with human centered creation I truly believe.