There are times when the adage, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" intrudes on our lives and gun violence knows this all too well. Equally annoying, are the formulaic explanations we use rendering the situation unchanged, and leaving us to say, "woulda, coulda, shoulda", yet again. We do absolutely nothing, to this vagabond like persona, gun violence, which is as American as apple pie. Also troubling, are the data mashers, pulverizing us with stats, analysis, and one of my favorites; amateur psycho-analysis by the usual suspects. With each roll out of gun violence postmortems, I'm reminded once again; if you torture any data enough it will say exactly what you want it to say. I'm not being flippant, but despite the cost in lives and the outrage, change is not on the horizon, because violence is the hammer America uses on the stubborn nails we've pounded on around the world for centuries. It may be time to explore our cultural & political traditions, habits and instincts, that we are chained to, and inform our tendency for violence each and every day.
Full disclosure here. I've been around firearms for some time, I've shot and own one of the notorious weapons of war, and reside politically, as a leftist. Don't overthink that too much. That being said, its time to take another view on this problem, its time to look at more than our souls, our values, and our prayers.
Many are unaware, that today 45%-50% of our tax dollars, locally, statewide, and nationally, are committed to funding policing and the military. We love bringing in the big guns. As the most technologically advanced country, the pinnacle of that technology is amassed in hardware used by police and the military. Everything is a nail, for only one kind of hammer. Our gun problem is less the effect of marketing campaigns from gun makers, its our penchant for violence that we finance with our tax dollars. We elevate the tools of violence to an art form, and wonder why the society responds with violence. We deplore the violence of school shooting, but would be licking our chops, to BREAKING NEWS: 50 heavily armed terrorist, right-wing militia, or anarchist are holed up in a barn, somewhere in rural Michigan. For many of us, our minds would race with visions of a thundering Calvary like charge, bring the culprits to justice, cutting this crime to ribbons by SWAT snipers and henchmen using, well, AR-15's. Tell me its not so. Tell me the media wouldn't provide the estimated number of shots fired, "It was a barrage of over 1,200 rounds, thundering, bringing the culprits to their end, its was really impressive, back to you Miles". Maybe even some slow-motion replay. Such an event, become the fodder for conversation to convince ourselves that we know how to deal with the bad guys.
Lets stop pretending, OK? If we incessantly claim to desire correcting this violence, we need to find a new rubric of understanding how to solve the why of gun violence. But in our case, we remain hog-tied by a cultural narrative awash with guns-a-blazing, glorified throughout the 20th century, as the worlds top cop. We relish gun violence when it serves the instinctive cultural narrative that might is right. That our violence is justified. No, we will not find the answer to stop this anytime soon. We will not hire more cops, ending the wave of gun violence. We will not solve this with the same oratory that replaces the truth, our cultural narrative of might is right. Its all too comfortable for us.
How do we get beyond our bad habits? In the modern era we must first prepare a proof of concept statement. This is our political class bringing in the consultants, commission the study, compile the report, haggle over the truth, and call it a day. Hows that worked out so far? Historically, societies have stepped into challenges, confronting the unknown collectively, in the interest of the community. Not by cobbling together experts, despite the persistent failures. We've taken on challenges accepting serendipity, happenstance, and mistake. I'll ask, how many persons over the centuries suffered at the hands of naive medical professionals, before we learned how to truly save lives? Millions of lives. Men, women, and children. Therefore, we should forego the straight-jacketed approach offered by the professional class, the elites, that amount to no actions at all. We can replace their inaction with citizen controlled solutions and responses, within our communities, instead of the swashbuckling machismo of the police or military rough-riders, that are the exemplar admired by the various White Nationalist hooligans we fear. We should defend our communities, ourselves. We are the solution. We are not the bystanders to our future. We possess the desire, expertise, and imagination for success, and can leave behind, the elites sheltered within the hallowed halls of ineffective government institutions, that try to cajole our safety from a constitution replete with all the fire and fury that created our habit of violence.