I suspect that my mother picked up this phrase while working as a nurse at the hospital she retired from some time ago. I can recall when she started slipping it into conversations; often her focus was on C. Everett Koop. She put him on a pedestal because of the way he was then treating the AIDS/HIV crisis of the day despite his religious beliefs. He put the health of his patients above his dogma and, in hindsight, I can see why my Mother venerated this man. And that was what she was saying, “See, this guy understands the problem and has risen above it, remained objective in the face of it, and can address it effectively.”
Yesterday, some more people died in our country’s latest moral crisis. I first learned about yet-another-mass-shooting because a friend in my Facebook feed tagged me in a post about it; I moved to an island to hide from this sort thing, and consequently I stay away from the news unless directed.
I need to thank Robert for his kind words; as an author it’s a rare moment that a reader might tell you that they’ve been moved by something you bothered to write down. I’m sitting here savoring this, in fact, because whatever I wrote I made a difference. As a wordsmith, it feels oh so good. But, hanging over that savory morsel is the simple fact that since I wrote about Sandy Hook absolutely nothing has been done about the underlying problem of cultural gun fetishization or mass shootings. Nothing! Nada! Zilch!
Given the situation and some thought Robert is right. So too, is my Mom. We need to start looking for helpers and heroes. People in the middle of the mess, like C. Everett Koop, who can look beyond their articles of faith and recognize that there is a problem that can’t be addressed by continuing the same traditions that got us in this predicament. Adopting institutional inertia as a battle banner is waving a big fat excuse over your campaign.
We need a fanatical supporter of Second Amendment rights to stand up and say in a clear voice with no disassembled words, “Gun ownership in the United States is a problem.” We’ve glorified the use of a simple tool to such a degree that pointing out the obvious is anything but politically expedient. The people that fetishize their armories are never going to listen to all us targets. We’re the ones trying to take away their guns. We’re weak, we’re uninformed, we’re part of the problem as they see it.
No, what the United States needs is an ATF Executive or an NRA director brave enough to insist that continuing to do things as they’ve been done will only result in more meaningless death. This person needs to propose a better way. A rational and effective roadmap because just as civil society can not tolerate an epidemic of infectious disease, a social vector left to kill innocent people will be purged one way or another. Our hero must enlist the sanest components of his faction as helpers and as they come along so will even the most fearful and deranged.
More guns, easier access to guns and ammunition, armed teachers and social workers, anything that resembles the current system of management around gun ownership found in the States won’t ever work. It can only lead to more tyranny, not less. That’s how hosts react to infection.
Our society has already begun to ape countries where guns are a ubiquitous part of day-to-day life and that’s not good. For instance, the only difference I see between those murdered yesterday in San Bernardino and the 129 students and teachers killed in Iguala is the body count. Is this what we want? How many more have to die before we recognize that we’ve got a cultural problem that must be addressed?