A Humble Proposal
I was reading the comments on the post by Jennifer Brown and, taken with so much of what I have read in the past month, prompted the following:
“I understand this is a complicated issue and this comment is not pointed at anyone in particular.
“Until someone can come up with a comprehensive plan that addresses the behavior, the laws will not do anything to stop shootings. For example … HB961 is not acceptable to me personally in part because it was the law in Va. Beach when that shooting occurred. It did nothing to stop it.
“That said, IMHO, it might go a long way if everyone involved would discuss and debate the issue, rather than the individual. As emotional as the issue is, there is no reason for folks to resort to insulting anyone just because their opinion differs. Sometimes, people should just agree to disagree.
“We can each be responsible and extend basic civility to each other. If we can’t … that might explain the surge in violence. I think I’ll do a post on this topic as I believe it is a conversation that needs to begin.”
So, this is one humble proposal to begin a conversation. I respectfully request that you simply give it honest consideration.
When I was growing up, even when people had totally different opinions on any given subject, they might have had a moment or two of anger thrown at the opposition.
Yes, people got angry and said nasty things … but there was a difference between then and now. Back then, hatred was not promoted as a commodity.
It is now. The level of pure hatred that has permeated the fabric of our society is dangerous and unnecessary. It permits one to totally dismiss the opinion of others who might disagree, usually based on one form of a label or another.
Each and every intelligent individual damn well knows that no problem has ever been, or will ever be, solved by closing your mind off to divergent opinions.
I believe a good example is think tanks. Those that are most successful gather a group of individuals with expertise on any given topic, put them in a room and expect them to devise a strategy to promote whatever cause they have. They want to know what opposing arguments will be.
The individuals in these groups might all be working toward the same end, but they are chosen because of the perspective they bring to the group. They disagree, they debate … a chair may even fly at a wall. BUT they do not attack each other to the extent that they allow hatred to fester.
The issue of gun-related anything … is no different. The RESULT is something everyone agrees on … by finding a way to stop gun violence. But why … when it seems that some people actually enjoy causing strangers to hate each other?
Well, guess what?
It makes no difference if you are republican, democrat, independent, libertarian, conservative, green, orange, or purple … if you get shot, you bleed RED … at times, die … and it changes your life forever 100 percent of the time if you survive.
So, regardless of where you stand on the gun issue, doesn’t it make more sense to bring together the world’s best psychologists, law enforcement officials, and gun manufacturers … put them in a room, and ask them to come up with action items that stand a chance of stopping gun violence?
Where is that Think Tank in Virginia?
In the meantime, I propose that the General Assembly stop jamming through gun legislation that has no hope of preventing gun violence. And before you tell me I am wrong, HB 961 was the law in Virginia Beach when that shooting happened. Extending it statewide won’t stop anything.
Some of the proposed bills the GA is considering, if they are adopted … not just about guns, but I digress … will have one affect they are not planning on. They will lose their majority in two years … even after redistricting.
But the point of this post is my other proposal. It will also be more difficult; it is a proposal to every single human being in Virginia …and to the political parties. One advantage I am hoping you’ll see is that even religion is on my side with this one.
Please STOP THE HATRED. Hatred causes illness, stress, and effectively causes people to automatically ban any idea that comes from “the other side.” Our Founding Fathers understood the meaning of consensus … please remember that.
Hatred also facilitates “fake news” and the people that profit from making us hate each other do not care about guns … and they do not care about you or me.
And while there are a few people on the outer fringe of left and right, the vast majority of the elephant clan aren’t racists … and the donkey clan aren’t radical communists.
Intelligent people do not need to resort to hatred and deflection to win any argument … sometimes, the argument is not even winnable.
Those in leadership positions have a moral obligation to LEAD without hatred.
Because the “status quo” is getting us nowhere, let’s try something different. Let’s just try to ignore labels and give equal consideration to everyone. Debate ideas without resorting to nasty. We might just manage to solve some serious problems and refrain from teaching the next generation that hate is expected.