The recent shooting in Connecticut has created a mega-storm in regards to the debate on gun control.
This is not about gun control.
Instead of skirting the main issue we need to confront it head on.
Okay, so a mentally disturbed person used a gun to murder a bunch of innocent people. The equation for a solution that most people see here is to either 1. Take Away The Gun or 2. Give People More Guns
The gun in the equation is not the problem.
I remember when I was younger there was a slogan that became incredibly popular at least in my area of small-town Kansas, which was “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People.” Though this is a true statement, the opposite side of the gun control debate would argue that less people would die if it was less easy to pull the trigger. Both of these concepts are right… in a way.
Again. Not the point.
What we’re failing to recognize here are the mechanism of power that keep this kind of horror repeating itself.
In other words, power—the lack of power and the quest for power—keep us from being free, keep us from feeling safe, keep us from feeling love at its fullest.
Think of a two-year-old who throws tantrums. Why is the kid throwing a fit? Because she or he is coming into consciousness and lacks the ability to communicate proper needs and desires. The child’s powerlessness is realized. How does a parent cease the tantrum? The parent does not throw a tantrum back because this is futile, the parent eases the tantrum with love. Care, affection, understanding.
I refuse to back down on my argument that the world needs more love.
We must re-evaluate what is important.
Money, things, being “better” than our neighbor—these concepts, rooted in capitalism which thrives on individualism, are literally killing us and keeping the rest of us in a constant state of anxiety and fear.
Keeping a gun at our hip will only fuel this more. We will become a trigger-happy society that shoots firsts and asks questions later. We will retreat and become more isolated. We will continue to have no power and even less love in our lives.
Regardless of how cheesy it sounds, we have to open our hearts.
This is vague, but basically it comes down to recognizing other people’s existence on the planet. A smile, a “hello, how are you?,” a creation and development of community connectedness, a willingness to give with no-strings attached. Communication—an open dialogue voicing our needs, wants, desires, concerns, where we actually listen to each other and act accordingly.
In the documentary Happy, sociologists discovered that small acts of kindness literally changed people’s brain chemistry and allowed more endorphins to flow through the body creating a more constant state of happiness. Kindness towards others should be valued more than pleasing the self.
So, yeah, we can sit around and debate all we want to about guns and mental health and health care and democracy but until we get to the root of the issue our society is not going to transform into something better—and neither will we—as individuals.
bell hooks in All About Love (a book I think everyone should read) discusses the concept that love is about helping another transform themselves into the best person they can be—it’s time we do that collectively, not just in pairs, but as a society. We should look out for one another because when we do it makes our own lives more fulfilling and the lives of others more about love, which is what we all need any way.