In the wake of yet another mass shooting, I hear familiar rhetoric coming from familiar faces.
“Guns are not the problem,” they tell us. “People are the problem.”
Well… yes. I will concede that point: Guns are not the problem.
The problem is Hate.
The problem is Rage.
The problem is Fear. Pain. Guilt. Desperation. Misunderstanding.
The problem is the derangement of the human mind.
The problem, like the flu, is unpredictable, uncontrollable, and universal.
But the problem does not stand alone. Like any illness, it has side-effects that are just as affecting, just as torturous, as the root issue.
The illness is in the human mind, but mass shootings are its symptoms. They are the headache, fever, chills, and vomiting of our disturbed mentally ill.
I wholeheartedly agree that we must address “the real problem.” We absolutely must reform our healthcare policies and our mental health stigmas. We must demonstrate peaceful conflict resolution and offer alternative rage remedies.
However, like the flu, derangement has no easily pinpointed source. There is no simple solution. We can try preventative aid and still fail. We can mandate medical intervention without seeing results.
So, while we are using this metaphor, let’s examine what our doctors do for their patients compared to what our society does for its citizens.
What our doctors do not do is tell people with the flu: “Sorry, the problem is complicated and difficult. We’ll work on a long-term solution, but for now you just have to suffer.”
No. They prescribe medication to treat the symptoms. They make it easier to bear out the pain of waiting for a cure.
Our society, on the other hand, refuses to do this. We say, “Guns aren’t the problem, people are the problem,” and we leave it at that. We allow innocent people to be mowed down, literally every day, and simply throw up our hands asking, “Well, what can we do?”
People are the problem.
Mass shootings are the symptoms.
And guns are the go-between.
If we cannot immediately solve the problem but we are fed up with the symptoms, let’s start by taking a look at the middle man.
If people are determined to hurt others, let them attack with knives. Let them lash out with their fists. But stop letting them commit mass murder with such ease.
In asking for gun control, I am not asking to take pistols out of the hands of citizens. I am simply asking for limited access to the weaponry whose sole purpose is to inflict the most amount of harm in the least amount of time.
I am asking gun enthusiasts to compromise, just a little bit, in order to save the lives of thousands of innocent people.
I am asking to minimize the collateral damage while we work on a larger solution.
I beg of you – our elected officials, our NRA representatives, our second-amendment purists:
Please stop telling us that your unfettered rights to military-grade assault weapons take precedence over our safety.
Please stop telling us that we just have to live in fear and pain and grief until we can find a way to fix everyone.
Instead, do what some of the smartest, most educated professionals in the world do every day:
Ease the suffering while you search for the cure.
PS: Think this is a silly idea? Check out Australia.