Guns, guns, guns

What’s caught me a bit off guard this year (although I guess it shouldn’t) is the American election’s rhetoric and the way people are reacting and so polarizing our friends to the south. The Donald Trump way is to throw fear in your face and let you figure out if you’re a part of the problem or part of the solution. Gun sales are climbing to new highs in the U.S., yet so are mass shootings. There’s so many, that the mass media doesn’t even bother to report on them if the body count isn’t high enough. That’s sad.

The problem is, you can argue for, or against guns by using the same event. Mass shootings mean to the gun people that we all should arm ourselves to be protected from the “bad guys”, while the no-guns people see mass shootings as a problem caused by crazy people with guns. You can’t win. The gun culture in the U.S. is different than here in Canada, although in some rural areas, there are more gun people than in the cities. Of course, when you have lower gun violence in the cities, because there are fewer guns, there are less people feeling like they need guns to protect themselves – with more guns. The same is true the other direction. You have gun violence, more people feel they need to have a weapon to protect themselves, which means there’s more guns and therefore more risk of more gun violence, and so on and so on.

The bigger question is, is there a solution? If there is, it’s a very complex one. It isn’t just “takin’ away our guns” is a solution. There are very few reasons a regular person needs an assault rifle for home defense. But, rounding up all the legal automatic weapons and throwing them in a pile doesn’t solve the issues with the illegal assault rifles.

To me, the biggest change isn’t whether or not you can or should own a weapon, is changing the attitude when it comes to how casual our society has evolved into about the loss of life. For some things, we mourn and bang our chests about the loss of innocents in a Paris shooting, or innocents in a school shooting, yet, we’re all too quick to turn our heads when it comes to seeing the violence perpetrated against the Syrians in their own country – which has caused the Syrian refugee crisis. So, we can cry about terrorists killing over 100 in Paris, but shrug our shoulders when thousands are murdered in countries we aren’t sure how to pronounce in Africa, or innocent Middle Eastern children dying during a struggle for power.

We’re a complicated people, us humans, but mostly we are conflicted. We have the capacity for both great evil and great compassion. For every Hitler or Pol Pot, Bin Laden, there’s a Mother Theresa or Ghandi, or a Mandela. For every Trump, hopefully there’s an Anti-Trump trying to preach peace and compassion and understanding not fear and hatred and bigotry.

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