So, one of the things I have always said about writers is that we either write the world we want to see, to help people get there, or the one we are terrified we are headed towards, to help people avoid it. I'm one that does the latter. I believe avoiding that dark place we are blindly walking towards involves understanding what is wrong, and more importantly the causes behind it. The ignorance I see right now is amazing. I should warn some of my friends, you aren't going to like what I have to say here, and I'm okay with that.
So, one of the things I keep seeing everyone up in arms over is the mass shootings that the States are known for. I'm fairly certain that everyone agrees, the wholesale slaughter of innocent people is a problem. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure there are some people out there willing to say it helps with population control and makes the country great again. And yet I'm going to pretend those people don't exist and ask you to allow me this delusion, as me having it does nothing to harm you. Unlike the big one that some of you have.
The point being, we can all agree there is a problem. Many of you want to take the easy route instead of fixing this problem though. That shit is starting to get to me. How intelligent, compassionate, and loving people can miss the point. How people I know and respect, people I have seen show a willingness to fight for what is right now matter how hard it is, can look past the long road to making things better and want to skip to the end. An end that will, inevitably, bring us right back to this place, or one very much like it.
The easy route is is blaming the guns. We've all done something like this in our lives, but in a case like this we need to take a good hard look at reality. I'm going to ignore the insanity behind why people want to ban guns. I'm even going to skip the part about real solutions the gun control issues, and the simplest solutions to them. I'm even going to pretend that the arguments about how the government has us outgunned makes the second amendment useless might make sense. I might talk about some of that stuff later on, but it's not really the point here. Though, bring up the outgunned thing is kind ironic.
Now, I do have to briefly point out that the problem is not that people have guns. It's not that they have tons of ammunition. The problem isn't the weapons. It's the willingness to use them. It's the fact that we ignore people who are mentally ill and/or in pain. We are so obsessed with keeping our heads down and getting the work done, fitting in and not making waves that we don't notice when people are ready to snap. We can't notice those things, because it just looks like someone going through the same things we are. It makes my heart ache that we have given up our will to greatness, the driving passion that pushed us to be something special. Mediocrity is our call word, apathy our shield. In this world we create, this place where excellence is feared instead of chased, is it any wonder that people snap? In a country where we ignore each other, can we blame ourselves for missing the signs of a damaged mind ready to rampage?
Well, yes. There are important things there that need to be discussed too. Things like, how do we fix that problem? How do we help the people in need it so they stop killing our children? How can we become a people that both want more and willingly love again? However, they are also not the point of this diatribe. They are the middle of this long path, and we (or I, with you as my hostage) are interested in the beginning. We need the first steps to get moving on this journey.
The first step is, as always, understanding. So what is it we need to know? What is there to be seen that we are blind to?
The thing that I am best at, if one discounts writing, is management. By that I mean the managing of people, not the made up field of managing projects. There are certain philosophies, ideas, and truths that one learns in doing this. Only one of them is important here, but it is a big one. The best and easiest way to get your employees to do what you want is to model that behavior. That works because people will emulate the actions and personalities of their leaders. So, you treat your employees like you want them to treat the customers, because they will. Some will resist it, and all will modify it to fit their personality and style, but it means your company treats people the way that you treat people.
Now think about that in relation to a country. To our country. To this particular issue.
I just heard a bunch of you go, 'Aha!'
For the rest of you, let me explain...
We have these two huge problems in this country. where violence is concerned, right now. One, as mentioned, is people picking up weapons and brutally killing large groups of other people. Everyone knows this is a bad thing and that it needs to be stopped. A large number of people have no answer, for the same reason that another large group of people say, let's ban guns (which is just plain stupid). The answer is hard. Not looking for an answer is easy, but does nothing. Banning guns is easy, but does nothing to fix the problem. Machiavelli said it a long time ago, the only reason for a government to take weapons from the people is if that government has more reason to fear its people than its enemies. Only if the rulers are oppressing their citizens do they ever want them disarmed. Think about that, but realize it's another tangent. I've already mentioned some of the simpler things, like getting people the help they need and making people feel connected. Those things will help, and they are important but they are not the cure to this problem. They are things we need to do if we want to be good human beings. First we need to stop killing each other long enough to get there.
The second dilemma is the willingness of some cops to start shooting for no reason, or ones that are not good enough. So, this happens and we once again focus on the wrong things. We look at white cops shooting minorities. We talk about cameras so we can be sure to know what the cops are doing. Sometimes we make excuses, or we ignore legitimate reasons. So, what is the one thing we don't focus on? How someone in a position of authority and trust betrayed that position and killed someone they were supposed to be protecting. We don't look at how there is almost always another, better way to deal with the problem. We focus on that one issue. Again, these are things we can talk about another time though. What we need to see now is, why is it happening?
Are the two related?
You bet your ass they are. Not in the way most will think though. One is not the cause of the other. People are not committing larger and larger mass murders because some cops are out of control. Some of the police ordered to protect us are not betraying that trust because maniacs are running around and killing people in wholesale slaughters normally seen only in horror movies. They are related because they are the same type of actions, caused by the same stimuli.
If you want to see where it all starts you simply have to look at our managers, our handlers, and our culture of war.
It can be argued that once upon a time our country entered wars with good intentions, to save the world. It can even be argued that we continued to have good intentions after we started to become bullies. I honestly believe we entered Vietnam with the best intentions. We didn't think it through, and those ideals weren't pure anymore, but the intentions were good. I don't know, maybe they still are today, but we have to look at what we actually do, no matter what we mean to.
Our leaders take us into wars with much weaker nations. We take tanks, bombs, planes and computers and we beat the hell out of places that are trying to fight against us with sticks. I'm not saying some of these place don't hate us and want us dead, I'm saying they don't have the firepower to make it happen. I am saying that if we tried to talk to them they would have no choice but to meet us at the table. Because they don't stand a damn chance against us in battle. That doesn't stop us though, and we so rarely take the peaceful route. Instead we attack, mercilessly and brutally and don't stop until the enemy is dead.
So we choose targets that are weak. We also choose targets that are opposed to us in some moral way that not everybody can understand. We get it, or at least our leaders do. We cloak this in "protecting our way of life." I don't know what the hell we're protecting it from. Those guys armed with rocks and insanity aren't all that scary, but I digress.
Lastly, we attack in a very public fashion. We do it to make our point. When we get called out on it we don't offer any apologies. We just expect to be understood, because, damn it, we're right and we have God on our side. Those idiots that don't get it can go to hell.
Our leaders, our managers, our caretakers approach war in this way.
Sound like anything else we've been discussing?
Cops shooting unarmed people in the street. Saying they felt their life was in danger. Making a public display of what happens to those who oppose their authority. Never once apologizing for the terror this causes in the populace. Saying it's okay, because these people were a threat to decent people everywhere.
Citizens targeting building full of folks that have different agendas than them, often different religions. Taking weapons and slaughtering those who have none, often those who just wish to be peaceful. Choosing targets that will make national news, even if their mass slaughter would not have on its own. Never offering an apology, expecting the true believers to understand. Often times making themselves into martyrs for a cause they think others will just get but only they really understand. Leaving devastation and horror in their wake.
What does this sound like? Both situations, what do we see in common with what we do as a country? This isn't new. This is life in America. This is us following the example set for us by those who govern us. Which leads me back to the point...
It's not the guns.
Maybe it's time we stopped blaming them and thinking we can solve the problem by getting rid of the one thing we have that we can use to defend ourselves. Maybe it's time we look at the leaders giving us our examples and realize we should replace them, instead of giving up our rights.
Maybe, just maybe, it's time we stood up and started making good, and well informed, decisions.