Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cat Herding Appendix

I'd like to append my worldview post that I recently wrote about.

Given recent tragic events in Colorado, I find that there is particular resonance that comes from the original http://www.gleamingedge.com/mirrors/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html article on which my 'Herding Cats' post was based.

I don't want to tarnish or politicize the terrible tragedy that was the early morning shooting at the Batman movie premiere in Aurora, Colorado. The nation is reeling from the senseless and violent deaths of these innocent Americans.

It is, more than anything, a reminder that the world we live in can be cruel and without meaning. And we need still need protections to keep us safe. We need societies that are receptive to threats and anxious about the future. And that is because the very few of us who have destructive tendencies can destroy so much.

The peaceful among us have little recourse in times of psychopathic outbursts. In all honesty, I don't believe much in unfettered access to guns or weapons with the potential to kill. Certainly though I don't find the thought of a population without access to arms comforting either. Visions of Big Brother run through my head. I'm stuck on these points.

The gun man would have been harmless without access to guns. He also would have been useless without his malicious intent. Truthfully we have few ways to keep people with harmful intent from owning guns. And we have few services to help people assuage their malevolence.

In America we do little to try to curb violence before it occurs. Without having the answers to say precisely what needs to be done in a policy context I can say that we need to be having a conversation.

To the NRA: this does not mean I want to get rid of guns. It means I want to talk about how to help responsible gun owners continue to enjoy their rights to arms and guarantee the safety of over 300 million Americans. As an American dedicated to 'insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, [and] promote the general Welfare' I find it deeply troubling that we don't talk about how the 2nd amendment has irreversibly halted the pursuit of happiness for over 12,000 Americans annually.

How do we balance these two needs? That is where the conversation starts.

I find it deeply unsettling that understanding how to keep ourselves safe from imminent as well as future threats has been relegated to the most extreme factions. As long as we dig trenches in a policy context we will continue to sacrifice our most vulnerable citizens caught in the middle.

This tragedy could have been prevented and I feel a deep sorrow for those who have died and their families. My lesson is not 'guns or no guns.' My lesson is that we experienced, as a nation, a huge loss. And every year we experience this loss several thousand times over. The lesson is that not all is well in the country and vigilance requires anticipation as much as reaction. How do we work together to keep each other safe? How do we balance our most basic rights?

It is negligent behavior for us to continue living like this and idly accept the deaths of so many Americans. So, I've said it before and I'll say it again: let's talk. Let's be civil, and let's make it work for our safety, our rights, and our posterity. Is that so hard?