In the fallout of the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas, I’ve been wondering and asking some questions.
When I was a little punk I used to think girls had “cooties.” I actually didn’t come up with this idea all by myself. I thought this because all of my friends of the same age, told me about this thing called cooties and they displayed these negatives reactions to girls every time a girl showed up to display the “reality” of cooties. I didn’t actually feel this way about girls based on my own experience up to the first moment I heard about cooties, but since everyone else told me girls had cooties, I believed it and started acting like it myself. Then as I got older, after I had more interaction with girls, I began to question the whole cooties thing. After I openly questioned it, I then arrived at a conclusion about girls and women that was far more informed by facts and radically altered my interaction with girls.
On a very dark day in December of 2012, a young gunman walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut and slaughtered 2o kids, adults and himself. Since that tragic moment there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings leaving 1,715 people killed and 6,089 wounded. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Oh no! Here we go. He’s going to preach against gun ownership, and accuse the NRA of every evil on the streets of America.” Or you’re thinking, “If he’s not going to preach against gun ownership and the NRA, he’s going to present a diatribe defending the 2nd Amendment.” I’m actually not going to do either of these things, though we all see both sides of the gun debate doing this very thing in the aftermath of Las Vegas.
I simply want to ask a few questions for both sides of the gun debate to consider so that instead of wasting our time pointing fingers at each other, we enter into a real conversation about the pressing questions facing our society. I know, respect, and dearly love, people who passionately hold positions on both sides of the issue of guns on our streets and gun ownership in general. But after Las Vegas I think it’s time that every side put down their defenses, their fears, and their “rights,” and try to work together to find shared answers to a few important questions:
- What kind of society do we want to be and where do guns sanely fit into that society?
- What kind of access needs to be granted or denied to what kind of guns for the good of our society?
- How can our society move forward in a way that can reduce the number of deaths from mass shootings or the killing fields on the gang-land streets of our cities?
In 1 Corinthians 13: 11 the bible says,“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” You see the thing is, my childish idea that girls had cooties, informed by what everyone had been telling me, had to be rigorously questioned from a number of angles before I could arrive at a more accurate, and mature, understanding of women. In the same way, I dearly hope the people entrenched on each side of the debate, and the entrenched politicians who are in office to serve the overall public good, can drop their defenses and rigorously explore these questions in order to arrive at mature and sane answers that reduce the suffering heaping up in our increasing violence.