I write a lot about the importance of creating a chemical-free life to be a healthy human on our planet. After the most recent mass school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, FL last week, I've been thinking a lot about the overwhelming need to create a bullet-free life. There's no need to think about healthy living if you're dead.
Creating a chemical-free life to decrease the danger of toxic exposure from preservatives, petroleum based derivatives, dyes, and other harmful ingredients used to manufacture cleaning products, cosmetics, personal care items, and processed food is a fairly simple process. Read the labels on everything you use on a daily basis. If an item contains a potentially harmful chemical ingredient, discard it and replace it with a safer version and you are well on your way to preventing some types of cancer, fibromyalgia, and a wide array of chronic illnesses.
Determining how to create a bullet-free life is not nearly so straightforward a proposition. How can we bulletproof ourselves and our families from the danger of continued mass shootings? Getting rid of toxic chemicals to create long term health is an exercise in futility while we continue to face the risk of being murdered just because we decide to go to a movie theater or a concert or school on the same day a violent person with a gun decides to show up at the same location bent on slaughter.
We need to have a thoughtful conversation about what to do to stop mass shootings, yet we seem to be incapable of merely having a rational discussion on the subject. My social media feeds have been filled with shouting, excuses, blaming, snarky remarks, partisan politics, and wildly varying ideas on the reasons for the problem and how to fix it. All the ranting and raving coalesces around several specific topics. Here's a collection of just a few of the suggestions I've read this week.The comments range from sensible to stupefying.
Hire armed guards to patrol the hallways of every school in America. Build high walls topped with barbed wire and broken glass around the entire school campus. Hire more counselors and give teachers the resources they need to deal with troubled students they encounter in the classroom before the students go off the rails. We shouldn't talk about school shootings so soon after one happened out of respect for the dead. Now is the perfect time to talk about it. School shootings happen so frequently that there will never be a time we can wait to talk about them. There aren't really a bunch of school shootings. It's all fake news. Our schools are at fault. It has nothing to do with guns.
Increase funding for and access to mental health treatment since a significant number of mass shooters have identifiable mental health issues. Shooters don't have mental health issues; they are just evil. Do a background check for potential gun owners that includes a mental health check. Any kind of background check will hinder my ability to buy guns.
Mental health professionals are bogus. The idea that addressing mental health issues will help decrease mass shootings is fake news. It's all about mental health. It has nothing to do with guns.
The current generation of teens caused all of this. We didn't have this problem when I was growing up.Teens are irresponsible, entitled, spoiled, and they play too many violent video games. This generation of teenagers are bright and capable. Because they have lived through this era of school shootings, they will be the ones most likely to solve the problem. Don't blame the teenagers; it's the fault of citizens who refuse to face the truth and take action. Blame the teenagers; it's all their fault. It has nothing to do with guns.
Parents let their kids get away with anything these days. If parents controlled their kids at home, those kids wouldn't be running amok committing heinous acts of violence. Parents
are overloaded with too many responsibilities. Despite the best parenting, some children are going to make unwise choices. It all starts with families. Fix families and we'll all be fine. It has nothing to do with guns.
Our country is going to hell in a handbasket. Everyone needs to go to church. People are wicked and filled with hate. Religion is the only thing that will change the hearts and actions of evil people. This all happened because they took prayer our of our schools. We need to get everybody right with God and the violence will cease. It has nothing to do with guns.
Our political system is broken. Neither party is capable of decisive action.They all lack the
courage to do what needs to be done. It's the fault of the Democrats. It's the fault of the Republicans. It's President Trump's fault. It's the fault of whichever previous president you don't like. Citizens shouldn't have to risk their lives because politicians are unwilling to risk their funding. All politicians are useless. It's the fault of the senator or representative I didn't vote for. It has nothing to do with guns.
The powerful NRA lobby spends millions of dollars a year to buy off politicians to support it's agenda of selling as many guns as possible to as many people as possible. The NRA promotes fear that if a single solitary gun law is passed, the government will come take away all the guns from all the people in the whole country. The NRA is a great organization and they aren't responsible for any of this. Anything negative about the NRA is fake news. It has nothing to do with guns.
There are not enough laws to control the sale of firearms. We need laws that require a license to purchase a firearm in every state and from every type of seller, background checks that include mental health history, a centralized database from all branches of the military and law enforcement that lists names and identification information for those already banned from buying guns by these organizations, lists like this that already exist need to be kept up to date. We need to ban firearms that are capable of firing multiple rounds of ammunition per minute plus mandatory gun registration from all seller sources. We don't need any new gun laws. We don't need the gun laws we have. Anybody should be able to buy any gun at any time without restriction. If we pass any new laws to regulate the sale of guns, we are doomed. Saying that sensible gun laws will change anything is fake news. It has nothing to do with guns.
Know which of our political leaders are unduly influenced by significant financial contributions from the powerful NRA lobby whose interests lie in promoting gun sales. Politicians from both parties who receive money from the NRA remain notoriously silent on reducing the number of guns sold and they refuse to make any changes in current laws, even those that might make it safer for the citizens they represent. Vote for candidates in local, state, and national elections who have the courage and determination to do whatever it takes to stop the violence of mass shootings. It doesn't matter who you vote for. Elections are rigged. Where a candidate stands on guns won't influence my vote. I'm interested in other issues. I vote a straight party ticket no matter where a candidate stands on guns. Declaring that who you vote for matters is fake news. It has nothing to do with guns.
Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Arm everybody. Arm all the teachers. Arm all the students. Don't pass any laws that restrict access to guns for anybody. Don't pass any laws that restrict the type of gun anybody can buy. Fill your house with all manner of weapons. Pass out conceal and carry permits like you pass out candy at Halloween. Don't sell any guns to anybody. Take away all the firearms. Nobody needs any type of gun for any reason. I need an assault weapon in case the government goes rogue and comes after me. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. If you call that particular gun an assault weapon, you are an idiot. You are more concerned with your ability to buy an AR-15 than preventing the next mass shooter from buying one. Saying
guns are the problem is fake news. It has nothing to do with guns.
My head is spinning. There are so many conflicting opinions. They can't all be right. So, what are we going to do? I can't answer for a single person other than myself. And I have made a few decisions. First, I'm going to admit that we have a problem. There have been five intentional shootings on school campuses so far this year that occurred during normal classroom hours and resulted in either injuries or death.(And it's only February!). I'm going to speak the truth: It's the guns. No matter how many changes we may need to make in our schools and families and spiritual lives and mental health access and all the rest of it, the stark reality is that innocent people keep dying because angry people have easy access to guns that are capable of firing the maximum number of rounds in the minimum amount of time.
I'm all for responsible gun ownership. In my neck of the woods, there are a lot of gun owners. As soon as a kid can hold a hunting rifle without falling over, he is off to bag his first deer. Lots of my friends and acquaintances own firearms for protection. And that's fine with me. If you want a gun for hunting or protection, you should be able to buy one. But that doesn't mean you should be able to buy one without any kind of restrictions. You need a license to drive a car. You have to register your boat. You have to show ID to purchase alcohol and cigarettes. You need a background check before a bank will give you a loan to buy a house. You have to be qualified and rigorously vetted before you can be considered for many types of jobs. Owning a gun is a huge responsibility. At the very least, we need laws that require a license to own a gun, universal gun registration, thorough background checks, mental health evaluations, and limitations on the type of firearms that can be purchased. None of my hunting friends need an assault rifle to kill a deer. (That level of ammunition would ruin the taste of the venison). Nobody needs an assault weapon for protection. These are serious issues that we need to seriously discuss and yet...
The previous paragraph just made me a pariah to both sides of the debate. Liberal readers see that I think it's fine for folks to own guns for hunting and protection and call me a gun nut. Conservative readers see that I'm an advocate for creating sensible gun laws and dismiss me as a bleeding heart liberal. Social media posts and memes thrive on discord. They want us to believe that compromise is impossible. I hope that isn't true. Our inability to talk to one another without anger and name-calling limits the power we could otherwise harness to work together toward solutions to decrease the number of mass shootings.
I've seen multiple #PrayingforParkland posts. Prayer is a good thing, but if we mean what we pray, we cannot sit idly by and do nothing. We need to end the horror of mass shootings. And I don't mind if you call me a bleeding heart for saying so. I'd rather be a bleeding heart than see one more bleeding child on a classroom floor because we lack the moral courage to stop the carnage.
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