The debate rages on,
“We need gun control!”
“Taking away guns will result in Nazi America and concentration camps!”
“Civil rights!” blah blah blah… The newest form of manipulation really gets to me: “Our children are begging for action, they are dying and crying out!”
Yes, yes they are, but not over gun control. They are crying out for hope, for a chance, for a future. Also, it would be nice if we as a society could refrain from using our children as pawns in our game of chess.
Can we please pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and analyze the situation properly? Let’s pause for a moment and consider a few truths:
- Happy people don’t purposefully commit genocide (as far as I am aware, I have never seen a recorded case)
- Guns are a new(er) invention… violence is older than history itself
- Criminals by definition don’t follow the law, so attempting to make laws for gun control won’t keep dangerous weapons from the hands of criminals (though it might offset the ease of getting those dangerous weapons in the first place).
- Guns are not the only weapons used in violent crime. Look at the Boston bombing at the creative use of pressure cookers. Weapons of mass harm (biochemical, chemical, and mechanical) can easily be manufactured by nearly anyone.
- Science tells us there must be a physiological or social cause for such intense violence… and yet I haven’t heard a single debate, argument, or discussion about the underlying cause (why would we try and control something when we aren’t even considering the cause?)
- Studies have also shown that gangs, and troubled youth often are a result of said youth not being supported, not having outlets, having no hope, being depressed, lacking community, etc…
Haven’t you ever wondered about these things? Especially the last two points. More often than not there is more than one way to solve a problem, so why the extreme focus on gun control, without even discussing other possible alternatives? Let me share a few more truths that surround me daily:
- My brother is unable to pay his mortgage and bills, even though he gets paid above the average wage in our country (he had to ask for friends to move in with him to help him out). He is not my only sibling struggling.
- My own family needs to move out of our current rental but is absolutely unable to do so because the real-estate market is completely whacked. The average cost of a home in America is currently $232k, yet the average income is far below the recommended 1/3 wage ratio to cost of a home recommended by most financial institutions (keep in mind this is an average wage index… most of the people I know make less than $48k a year). Also, it isn’t easy to save $46k (20%) for a down payment when you make less than $48k a year. The average cost of rent is now $1600 a month, which if combined with the government reported average wage is over 51% of most salaries (keep in mind that wage is an average… not everyone is “lucky” enough to have an average wage)
- Most of my friends live in extreme poverty, with a large portion of them needing at least government assistance with food bills to get by
- A large number of the young people I know have crippling student debt, often for degrees they will never use. My former co-worker had $260k in student debt; this is a single case, but is not uncommon.
- My wife is unable to work (and she is not alone). The minimum wage where we live was just raised (artificially by law) to $10 an hour. $10 an hour will get you a rough net ~$1000 a month after taxes (calculating off part time positions, because it is difficult to get full time jobs any more due to the cost of employee benefits). The average cost of childcare is currently around $972 a month… so why work, and let someone else take care of our only son, when she will come up with a net negative wage (after the cost of having a job). She opted to be a stay at home mother instead.
- The cost of medical is obscene (mostly due to the unregulated nature of our industrialized for-profit medical sector). I just got a quote for myself if I were to purchase my own insurance plan for my family (and a crappy one at that)… the cost was over $20k a year in premiums alone (combine that with those average $48k a year incomes… think about it)
- Schools in America suck really bad in comparison to the rest of the world
I could go on (for a very long time) about the many crippling issues our youth face in our society today. The reality? They have no hope for a decent future. They are depressed (and rightly so). They are under-educated, and yet we expect them all to know what they need to know and work like dogs. They are burdened with debt they won’t pay off for another 30 years (if they are “lucky” enough to get an average salary). Good communities are scarce, homelessness is rampant, drug abuse is on the rise… and this list could also go on and on.
Is it really a surprise that our depressed and hopeless citizens are acting out with such violence? I will repeat: Gun Control is not the answer to the violence problem. Love is. By “love” I mean taking care of our citizens, providing good education, livable wages, good and cheap childcare, low-cost housing, good social medicine (which could easily be achieved by auditing and controlling the out of control cost of medicine and insurance), better counselling and therapy, free college education (for those who qualify… everyone does not need a college degree), good trade schools, teaching meditation and coping as standard curriculum, etc…
Guns aren’t the problem. Violence is. On one hand I am not inherently against intelligent and moderate gun control (I am actually pro better due-process in getting a gun in the first place, possibly following Japan as an example). On the other hand I am vehemently against the way we treat our neighbors, our colleagues, our children, and our citizens. Want to talk about gun control? Fine… as long as it is put at the bottom of a very long list of fundamental issues in our very broken society. Next time you ask what should be done about the “gun problem”, make sure you question the next homeless person you see, or the next single mother of three who is destitute, or that millennial who lives next door in depression, who is constantly bullied, and has zero hope for a decent future.