Matt Sweetwood won a landmark Supreme Court case regarding gun rights. He recently wrote a 6-point plan to curtail gun violence. Much to his frustration, he found that neither side on the issue wanted to listen. He tries again.
There was another horrifying school shooting yesterday. Nine dead victims and numerous others wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The details sound familiar to the other shootings we have seen recently. The perpetrator was a twenty-something male shooter, with previous mental health issues, who posted hints on social media suggesting he might do something like this. Of course no one said anything or did anything. The evil killer walked into a school setting and starting executing innocent people. This time apparently based on whether they were Christian or not.
The immediate reaction was also predictable. Pro-gun people stood up claiming it’s not about guns saying Roseberg is a rural town steeped in gun tradition. They are woodland folk who love to hunt and are remotely located where police response can take a long time. Guns are needed for home and personal protection. The anti-gun supporters blamed the lack of gun laws and easy acquisition of guns. President Obama immediately got on TV and powerfully stated that anti-gun, more gun control argument.
I wrote an article this past August titled, “The Dad Who Won Landmark Supreme Court Gun Case Proposes 6-Step Solution to End Gun Violence”. It seemed that 3 of the 6 steps I proposed angered the pro-gun crowd. And 2 of my 6 steps angered the anti-gun crowd. Overall reaction to my article was “50-50” – about half the folks heaped praise on me and the other half hoped bad things would happen to me. I never anticipated the kind of visceral responses I would get nor did I anticipate the huge numbers of people who shared and read my article.
I engaged many of the people that commented on my article and what became clear to me is that there was no changing anyone’s mind on anything. My 6-step method was not a “pick and choose” which of the steps you like. My plan was to implement all 6-steps simultaneously. But people are so entrenched in their positions and so distrustful of the other side there can be no understanding or compromise. Pro-gun people seem to believe that anyone wanting to place any restrictions on guns actually want to ban guns completely. And more-gun laws people believe that pro-gun people will not accept any restrictions at all.
For the pro-gun people, there have been 45 mass shootings in 2015. What is your solution to stop that?
For the more-gun laws people, let’s use Chicago as an example. Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. The last 2 weekends, there have been 111 shootings. Since 2012, there have been over 6000 shootings and 1679 murders. What is your solution to stop that?
There is so much hate, distrust, and lack of ingenuity in this gun violence debate with each side saying, “It’s my way or the highway.” Unfortunately politics doesn’t work that way, life doesn’t work that way and problems aren’t solved that way. Until both sides can figure out a way to compromise on this issue, innocent men, women and children will continue to die.
We are beyond the wake up call. It has happened. Something has to change.
If not, the violence will continue to grow. Next time, there is a chance you will not be feeling the pain empathizing with a stranger over the loss of a loved one.
You may be the person mourning the loss of some of your own.
Top Photo: Flickr/Tony Webster