Change our focus
After being arrested for a string of bank robberies, Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. He answered, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Is it too farfetched to believe that if the bank removed all its money, Willie would no longer rob it? Removing the goal to a crime will deter perpetrators.
As our world changes so rapidly our Generation Y has an increasing need to belong, to be heard and to be someone. Facebook and Twitter ensure that your voice, everyone’s voice, can be heard. For some, this is not enough, so they turn to another popular method of becoming known: the massacre.
So how do we prevent this from happening? Gun control? It certainly would not prevent the Molotov cocktail or homemade bombs, much easier than getting a gun in our current society. Or maybe the most accessible weapon of mass destruction available to almost all, their car. These are means to an end. The end being the fame for their actions. That is what we need to eliminate and this is where our focus needs to be.
Our government needs to stop looking at methods and more at goals. The reason that these attacks occur is because we glamorize them for years. We put them on a list and rank them for lethality. The attention that is dedicated to the attack in Connecticut is an overwhelming advertisement for those who feel they need to make their mark, and we provide a benchmark to surpass. The news coverage, the dedications from everywhere are the reasons, the goals of these attacks. We need to pass legislation that would prevent these acts from being publicized. It should become illegal for the press to provide any information regarding such attacks, including that they ever occurred.
As a society, it is a necessity for us to memorialize, and that is precisely why these crimes are committed. If the goal cannot be reached, the crime will most likely not be committed. We need to change our thinking to prevent further attacks.
Together, for a change
When are “they” — no, we — going to get serious about dealing with gun violence? We can readily agree that “they” — our national and state legislators, the “other” party, our state or local law enforcement officers, mayors, governors, or surely our administration leaders — should do something.
But what about us? What have we committed ourselves to do besides complaining? More than half of our eligible voters chose not to vote in our recent presidential election. The rest of us elected a president and a new Congress. Did that conclude our involvement in the affairs of this nation “of the people, by the people and for the people?” Do we know how to reach our recently elected officials, or, aside from the president, even know their names? Will these leaders ever hear from us, unless we’re personally offended by their chosen action?
Perhaps we need to ask some different kinds of questions of ourselves, such as where can we make a start on dealing with some agreed need for change — together? (There’s truth in the observation that we can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.) What things can we keep on the table while we continue our discussion together on this issue? (I’m willing to listen to what you say to learn where you’re coming from.) What positive priorities can we establish, together? (Example: We want to keep our children from danger when they’re away from home.) Where must my perceived rights and preferences be modified for the higher good of protecting the future of our children and other vulnerable or dependent neighbors? (Does my “right” to freely swing my fist end at the tip of my neighbor’s nose?) Can we make a new beginning together – for a change?