Thursday, March 01, 2018 1:00 am
Smallest anti-gun efforts seem beyond our reach
Are 17 lives a small price to pay for the broadest possible access to guns?
It seems we must have all of our guns, at all costs. After another shooting, there are again calls for stricter gun legislation. There is again resistance from the National Rifle Association and, by some coincidence, from our Congress and our president.
More than 80 percent of our citizens favor universal background checks. The NRA, at last check, opposes this. Our of the people, by the people, for the people government seems to side with the NRA regardless.
Research into gun violence might help us determine what we can to do to reduce or end it. Our government is restricted from gathering the information to allow informed discussions and decision-making that could help improve this situation. In this age of so much information, there are things we don't want to know.
How many more events like Parkland and Sandy Hook will fill our headlines before we truly take the steps needed, whatever they are, to put a stop to mass shootings and to begin to reduce all gun violence? Universal background checks and gun violence research seem like reasonable, measured steps in the right direction. If you think so, contact your senators and representatives.
'Politicizing tragedy' to make bad things better
Without making reference to any America-specific, preventable phenomena, I want to consider the oft-repeated sentiment that “politicizing tragedy” is a bad thing – or that there's a right and wrong time to do it.
It is perhaps one of the most woefully ignorant abuses of privilege that people, from the comfort of their homes, are annoyed that their movie or sports or Twitter feed has political messaging they don't want to see. It is upsetting when these people (probably the “race relations were fine until Obama came into office” and “I was reminded of inequality that I don't face” types) do not realize that their ability to give their thoughts and prayers and then move on is a privilege.
I imagine there are many people out there who would give just about anything for the biggest thing going on in their life to be earning an extra buck fifty a week (thanks, I guess, Paul Ryan). Some people can't turn off their televisions or relegate these atrocities to distant places happening to distant people who aren't them; some people are forced to confront these tragedies and understandably react by wanting to fix them.
People trying to “politicize” the awful things done by tormented souls who should have gotten help long, long ago in this country are not trying to propagandize or disrespect victims: they are trying, in good faith more often than not, to fix things. I think it is a shame that politicizing something has come to mean throwing it into this dirty realm with dirty people who do backhanded things synonymous with the word “corrupt.” It is a shame that, for some, wanting to fix an issue using the very structures we have in place to fix things is disrespectful to the dead while “thoughts and prayers” and a silent endorsement of the status quo are, instead, the preferred response.
It should be the most obvious thing that we, as a country, need to make moves toward at least trying to fix our problems. Not later or under a different administration or when it gets worse – now.
Jacob Alan Ridenour
CHEERS to Jennifer Hartman and East Allen County Schools for participating in our Youth Services “Dude, Where Is My Transition Plan?” program. The support we have received for our program furthers our efforts to help prepare youth with disabilities for a seamless transition into adulthood.
Youth Services Coordinator