Blogs are supposed to be for philosopher wannabe’s like me. And yet it isn’t writer’s block that is giving me pause about joining the latest fray over the latest controversy. I ask myself: What do I have to say that can add to the conversation and not just to the din and clatter of the disgruntled? What can I say that hasn’t already been said?
The issues of the day are those that keep coming back into our collective consciousness because of current events. Gun violence and how to address it, poverty, unemployment, government intrusion into our lives… These are just a few. There are all kinds of information available about these topics. You can find a study or a statistic to back up any point of view. So when does common sense finally take precedence over the reactionary mob mentality which seems to prevail in these conversations?
For example, a few days ago cable news pundits were debating about whether legally blind people should ever be denied the right to own, carry, and presumably use a hand gun. Trying to defend a blind person’s right to carry a gun is ridiculous. Sure, a legally blind person might still have some vision, but if they can’t see who or what they are shooting at, they have no business using a gun. If you can’t be cleared to drive a car why would anyone clear you to carry a gun?
Listening to people bend over backwards to give this concern a full hearing was really sad. As some of these folks were talking you could see by the look on their faces that they were not buying their own arguments. You could see them experience cognitive dissonance in real time. Their brain was disagreeing with their mouth. Some of them looked like their eyes were about to cross permanently. They had to be wondering the same thing I was: How many blind people are actually so paranoid and selfish that they think carrying a gun is so important that there should be legislation to guarantee it?
In the following days we experienced yet another mass shooting by a mentally impaired and distressed individual. With a dozen people dead and more injured I could not help but think back to that ridiculous conversation about the rights of the legally blind to own and carry a gun. The real blindness is our society’s inability to see what drives these senseless acts and what needs to be done to minimize the carnage wrought with guns. I can’t site a study or a statistic to back up my premise but here goes anyway.
Common sense dictates that guns are dangerous tools which people should be licensed to carry after a background check and a 2-3 day waiting period. That is not a lot to ask. Common sense also dictates that we spend too much time talking about gun control and not enough time about mental illness. When will we learn to recognize and help people who are on the verge of causing so much destruction?
For the next few weeks there will be TMI - too much information about the shooter, too much intrusive rehashing of the terrible experience of the victims, too many inept excuses about helping the mentally ill. There will be too much inaction to address the problems that lead to mass shootings.