We as a people need to accept the deep-seated social malaise that plagues us, if we are to ever resolve the issue around gun violence in America. It goes deeper than the fact that murderous weapons are widely dispersed within the general population.
There are many individuals within the fabric of this culture that suffer needlessly. There are many men, women and children who live without a home and find themselves without sufficient resources to live a “normal” life. There are many who are stricken with severe mental illness and have no recourse to adequate and sustaining care. There are many people of color who feel the constant weight of intolerance; who bear the burden of unequal treatment under the law; who endure the unrelenting pain of racial prejudice. There are many women who are subjected to derision simply because they seek to exert control over their own bodies.
As a society, we have chosen a path where the individual has been elevated to predominant position while the commons is being dismantled and those aspects of living that are essential to successful living such as access to adequate nutrition, shelter and health care are denied on a regular basis to so many in need. We have, in essence, become a people without the necessary degree of compassion that would lead to an alleviation of this degree of suffering.
We have allowed the voices of ignorance, intolerance and in many cases sheer and unmitigated stupidity to secure a hold on the national psyche. For example, in the face of unrelenting gun-related violence, there are suggestions – taken seriously – that the real solution to this issue is for everyone to carry guns. This idea is absolute madness; for, it envisions a future where the social contract that is a necessary component of a sane society is completely obliterated.
We have permitted illogical and spurious ideas to come to the forefront of serious national debate without being sufficiently challenged. The most of egregious of these is, in my opinion, the contention that climate change is not real and of no consequence.
In essence, if we do not collectively use reasoned judgment and a basic trust in reality-based information to fashion public policy grounded in compassion and a view towards a sane and sustainable future, we will effectively rob the future of possibilities for our descendants.
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