Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Another (and another, etc) school shooting

 Many Americans are upset about the continual stream of shootings, but seem powerless to do anything serious about it.  The shooting in Nashville is dominating the news.  Those in charge don't seem alarmed enough about the highest rate of shootings in the world.  It is a conundrum that while gun deaths are exceptionally high, reducing them is such a political difficulty.

 One of the drivers of a demand for gun rights is fear.  It seems some really do want protection and they feel their own gun is the most reliable solution.  It likely does work for some people, at least for awhile.

There is another set of people who feel it gives them power, power unimaginable with out it.  Kyle Rittenhouse, underage felt righteous shooting to death some rioters protesting yet another black murder.

Underneath these human motivations are business motivations, after all money is heavily involved.   Gun makers and other manufacturers with supplementary interests are competing with other economic entities for the public's consumption.  Fear is good for sales.

Distorting the 2nd Amendment is done by slick operators.  Some make it seem guns are necessary to protect citizens from the government. Yes the government does indeed ultimately rely on gun power to enforce their laws, but the early American government really did need to boost their military defensive capabilities and not so much to arm those who disliked the laws.

There is an element of racism which might be a little more complicated.  It does seem that many whites fear blacks, others hate them and still others don't want them to get benefits that they get.

The real underlying money motivation is to reduce taxes and deregulate.  The really rich realize their complaints don't generate much sympathy, but racism, abortion, LGBT concerns, and gun rights make sure their representatives have power to block unfavorable legislation and often with help from the electoral system they can dictate legislation more to their tastes.  

Actions cannot succeed if people do not feel safe--amongst other steps they need to see that gun ownership is a two edged sword--it encourages wider spread ownership--it increases the chances of an "accident" and provides wider opportunities for others unhappy with how they see the world.  Suicide is also more common when vulnerable people have easier access to effective means.

Lots of restrictions have been proposed such as banning assault weapons for personal use or requiring background checks.  Such measures need to be adopted, but more importantly fear and hate need to be reduced.  That cannot be legislated.

Education is very important.  Some politicians have wanted to restrict true black history.  The United States has had a bad history with minority races and have avoided dealing with it.  Slavery is in the past, but its legacy lingers.  Indigenous were displaced from their land.  Asians and Jews have also suffered discrimination.  It really is a matter of understanding differences.

Religion is very personal, but when imposed on others can lead to violence.  Learning to respect others' beliefs is important.

Homosexuality is normal, but makes others feel uncomfortable.  More have come out of the closet and others have asserted their rights, but still there is resentment. 

Conflict resolution offers more effective ways of winding down tensions.  Listening to understand should be encouraged.

Mental health is often used as an explanation, but not enough is done.  Ironically many mentally ill people are apt to be the victims of gun violence.  Certainly a "sound mind in a sound body" is good for everyone. Money for training professionals would help on multiple fronts.

Politicians lead by example.  Some hate speech is obvious and somehow needs to be curbed.  Dog whistles keep tensions higher than necessary.  It is true it is possible to hate quietly, but outward expression fans it.  Politicians are sensitive to what their voters want, so ultimately it falls to the rest of us to set the agenda. 

I am sick that news casts are interrupted so often for another shooting and still nobody does anything to alleviate the obvious pain.  Other issues are neglected--climate change, nuclear proliferation, pollution that are tied to profit motive that hurt everyone and pandemics that somehow have become politicized.  Another shooting in the near future will demonstrate how pathetic politicians are at solving real problems.

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