Early in the morning on June 12, a gunman opened fire in an Orlando nightclub. The incident immediately became the new largest mass shooting in American history.
On June 13, a 13-year-old boy from Cumberland, Indiana was charged with murder for the May 27 shooting of 9-year-old, Anthony Harmon, Jr. The catastrophic news from this suburban Indianapolis neighborhood seemed to be demoted by the day prior’s global sized drama.
At least it seemed that way for most.
The fact is that these are a couple of exhibits of undeniable proof of an intolerable cultural scourge that no American should tolerate. Most Americans defend their own solution to the scourge with uncompromising fervor. Individually, we seem to be either on the side of gun control or not. But the disagreement is not the problem any longer. The entrenchment of those who disagree is.
The psychology involved with the divisiveness in this uniquely American problem was detailed wonderfully in an article by Brian Resnick of Vox.com (Here).
This nonpartisan, science based piece reads like a user manual on how to get past our differences. More importantly though, it explores the value of empathy in opposing viewpoints. Empathy is the key to any negotiation that is truly based on progress or, heaven forbid, solutions. I am convinced it is the most vital component to America’s start toward addressing domestic gun violence.
If I were king for a day, all hand guns and non-hunting type rifles not under the control of law enforcement or the military would magically disappear. There would be no need to be armed, and therefore no need to allow for it. To my loyal readers who love their guns, save the rhetoric about how this is impossible, because I am about to lead by example and take a step your way.
There is no need to argue that doing nothing about gun violence in the name of 2nd Amendment freedoms is solution based, but many do.
I propose that those of us who want guns to disappear take a vow of silence on the issue for thirty days. In exchange, those who have thus far refused to support any new laws, or any additional appropriations for vigorous enforcement of current ones, come up with some movement off the status quo. If you like, we gun control freaks can give you a menu of options from which to choose.
None of those options will include the confiscation of the guns and ammunition you already own. None of those options will include the taxation of the things you have already bought.
My main question to you is: what are you willing to do, give or sacrifice that might contribute to progress on our undeniable problem? I just refuse to believe that the answer to that question, if asked directly to the NRA, is “nothing.”
Or is it?
Gun controllers need to be willing to give a little. We can do that. We can be satisfied in the short term if an incremental, yet meaningful step is taken in our direction. We can be satisfied monitoring and measuring the results of that step before asking for another one, if ever. We can be respectful of what seems, at least to us, to be an illogical desire to be armed by our opponents in exchange for a bone being thrown our way.
And why can we do all of this? Because it would be the first sign in a long time that our paralysis is curable.
All of the reasons for the killings are wrong, criminal and abhorrent. All of the victims of these crimes were loved by someone. With very few exceptions all involved are Americans. Does it matter to Anthony Harmon’s family that his death was not an act of terrorism? Of course not. As it shouldn’t matter to us whether the sick man who shot more than 100 in Orlando claimed he was a radical Islamic terrorist, when he likely was really just a disturbed, homophobic and armed maniac. In both cases, the result was the same: Americans loved by other Americans died.
I volunteer a truce to the gun lovers of America. I volunteer to promote it and maintain it. In exchange, all I ask is one step, one tiny little step, by all of you in our direction.
Go ahead gun toters, make my day. Either agree, or counter. In my heart, I believe when Americans think about it, they can and will find a way to take that monumental first step.